Petition of Dred Scott for Leave to Sue For his Freedom
To the Honorable the Circuit Court within and for the County of St. Louis.

Your Petitioner Dred Scott, a man of color, respectfully represents that from some time in the year 1835 Your Petitioner [was a slave] was purchased ^ as a slave by one John Emerson since deceased, who afterward, to wit, [illegible] about the ^year[Month of] 1836 or 1837 [illegible] conveyed Your Petitioner from the State of Missouri to Fort Snelling, a fort ^ then occupied by the troops of the United States & under the Jurisdiction of the United States, situated in the Territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, lying north of 36 degrees & 30 minutes north latitude, not included within the limits of the State of Missouri, and ^resided and continued to reside at Said Fort Snelling for a period of one Year and holding Your Petitioner in Slavery at Said Fort, during all that time; in violation of the Act of Congress of March 6th 1820, entitled “An Act to Authorize the People of Missouri Territory to form a Constitution & State Government & for the Admission of Such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States & to prohibit Slavery in Certain Territories”.

Your Petitioner avers that Said Emerson has since departed this life leaving his widow Irene Emerson and his children an infant Child whose name is unknown to Your ^ Petitioner and that one Alexander Sandford has administered upon the estate of Said Emerson

Emerson[& that] Your Petitioner is now unlawfully held in Slavery by Said Sandford, as Said Administrator, & Said Irene Emerson who claims Your Petitioner as Part of the estate of Said Emerson – and by one Samuel Russell Your Petitioner therefore prays Your Honorable Court to grant him leave to Sue as a poor person, in order to establish his right to freedom & that the necessary orders be made in the Premises.—

Dred Scott