Charles, a man of color v. Peter Verhager
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To the Honorable Luke Lawless
Judge of the Circuit CourtCircuit Court of St. Louis County:

In the State of MissouriMissouri

The Petition of negroCharlesCharles respectfully represents:
That he is held in slavery by PeterPeter VerhagenVerhagen
of the city of St. LouisSt Louis in the State of MissouriMissouri : Your Pe-
titioner begs leave to state, that sometime in the year of our
Lord eighten Hundred and Thirty-seven. (he thinks in Feb-
ruary or March of that year) he was ordered directed and
sent into the State ofIllinois IllinoisIllinois by a certain JosephJoseph Rosati RosatiJoseph Rosati ;
who at that time claimed him, your Petitioner, as his slave
& exercised the power of ownership over him your Petitioner, for
the purpose of doing work in and about the House then
for fitting up for a Nunnery; that your petitioner did go
into that State for the purpose aforesaid and there remained
for the space of Ten or Twelve days, during which
time he (your Petitioner) was engaged in whitewashing the
House, in Painting and Plastering; that he (your petitioner)
afterwards returned into this State & has remained as he
was before, in the servitude and as the slave of the said
Joseph RosatiJoseph Rosati ; until within a few days past, when
the said Joseph RosatiJoseph Rosati having left this city, he, your
petitioner has been in the servitude and acting as the
slave of the said PeterPeter VerhagenVerhagen

Your Petitioner believes that the laws of the land do
therefore entitle him to freedom. To those laws he here
makes his appeal, and prays that your Honor will grant
him leave to sue as a poor person, in order to establish
his right to freedom; and that Tristen Polk and C. C.
CarrollCarroll Esquire may be assigned as his Counsel; and that he
may have reasonable liberty to attend his Counsel & this hon-
orable court, as occasion may require; that he be not removed
out of the jurisdiction of this court & that he be not subject to any
severity on account of his application for freedom, may it please your
Honor to grant him order to that effect. And as is duty bound; he will ever pray &c

May 16th 1840