State of North Carolina, Craven County } To the Worshipfull, the Justices of Craven County
The Petition of James Manly an Indian humbly represents to your Honor that he was free born at Edenton and that he never has been Guilty of any Action by which his Freedom can be forfeited by any of the Laws of this or any other of the United States.
Your Petitioner further begs leave to inform your Worships that he has lived some Time past at Broad Creek and that on or about the [blank] Day of [blank] a Certain John Garland came to the dwelling House of the said James Manly and forcibly drove him away and sold him as a Slave to Colonel Levi Dawson for the Consideration of one hundred pounds Specie. Wherefore as your Petitioner is a Subject of this States; and under the present happy Constitution humbly moves that this worshipfull Court will pass an Order for liberating or Setting him free from the service of Colonel Levi Dawson aforesaid and restore him to his Freedom And as in Duty bound your Petitioner will ever pray. Jas. Cooke Atty. For the Petitioner.
[On back.] James Manlys Petition December Term 1782. James Gatlin & Levi Dawson Read and Granted The Petitioner set Free Chrisr. Neales C.C.
Thank you to Lisa Y. Henderson for finding and publishing this record. http://ncfpc.net/2013/04/26/never-guilty-of-any-action-to-forfeit-his-freedom/
In the 1790 census in Craven County, NC, above, James Manley was listed with 1 “other free” in his household, so apparently he lived alone. There are no other Manley families in Craven County that are classified as “other free.” There are no white Manley families either.
In 1800, James Manly is again a household of 1 but lived in Beaufort County, NC and is listed as “free colored.” There are no other Manly families in Beaufort County.
James is not found in the 1810 census. He petitioned the court in 1782 as an adult, so he was born probably well before 1762. He would have been at least 48 in 1810 and probably significantly older.