To the General Assembly of North Carolina
The undersigned, Respectfully Petition, the Legislature, to pass an act, in favor of Sucky Borden (a woman of colour) vesting in her, all the rights, and privileges, of a free woman Your Petitioners have long known said Suckey, and believe her to be a worthy woman, who will duly appreciate all her privileges and your Petitioners will ever pray, etc.
Twenty-six white Wayne County residents presented this petition to the state General Assembly in 1852. The only woman among them? M.A. Borden.
Maria Ann Brownrigg Borden, proprietor of the Goldsboro Hotel, was the daughter of George and Obedience Brownrigg. In the 1850 census, she reported $20,000 in real property and 67 slaves. She and her sister Eliza Obedience Brownrigg Wright (whose husband John Wright also signed the petition) had inherited all but one of their mother’s slaves in 1841. That one person was Suckey, who went to Alfred Brownrigg. As noted earlier, Alfred Brownrigg quickly sold Suckey to their brother Edwin Brownrigg. Edwin, however, had begun registering large land grants in Sumter County, Alabama, in 1837 and died there, without heirs, in 1843. It’s not too much of a stretch to conjecture that Suckey never left North Carolina, and her ownership passed to Edwin’s sister Maria Borden after his death.
The 1852 petition to manumit Suckey Borden was successful, and the 1860 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina shows baker Susan Borden, 70, with Angia Capps, 60, sewer, and Catharine Carrol, 7. Borden reported owning $500 in real estate and $100 in personal estate. She is not listed in 1870 and presumably died in the intervening years. Had Susan Borden spent most of her life on a lower Edgecombe (Wilson) County plantation, enslaved by successive Brownrigg family members until one felt moved to seek her freedom?
Petition of W.H. Washington et al. to General Assembly of North Carolina, 1852; Petitions; Papers of the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina State Archives.