Rothman Remarks on Marguerite Thompson’s Petition for Freedom

Adam Rothman remarks on a freed woman of color’s petition for manumission, posted by the National Archives on June 30, 2015:

“…One aspect of Marguerite Thompson’s petition that drew my attention is the fact that she submitted her petition to the Judge Charles Peabody’s U.S. Provisional Court (USPC). This court was established by the United States after Union forces seized New Orleans in 1862. Legal scholar John Gordan writes that “the most legally dramatic of the Provisional Court’s activities was its granting of manumission petitions by slaveholders.” (See Gordan’s article, “New York Justice in Civil War Louisiana,” Judicial Notice 8, p. 20)

As Gordan reveals, one of those slaveholders who appealed to Judge Peabody to manumit his slaves was the lawyer Thomas Jefferson Durant, who later represented Rose Herera in her quest to recover her children.

Read the rest: Marguerite Thompson’s Petition | Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery.

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