Talk about suppressed slave stories! This one is among the most interesting I have come across.
I’m still working on my connection to Turner House, but there is a relation. Will post it here as soon as I have tracked it down.
“921. [HOUSE], Hardie – slave of Turner HOUSE. See HOUSE, Turner and wife, Patience.
922. HOUSE, Turner and wife, Patience. Petition of Turner HOUSE of Pitt County sheweth that he intermarried with Patience YOUNG many years ago and enjoyed in her society more than the usual comforts and blessings of a married life. His exertions to perpetuate this happiness were indefatigable, and he discharged the duties of an affectionate husband in every particular. Your petitioner and the said Patience were blessed during this time with those fondest pledges, for they had born to them four promising children in whose society he believed both enjoyed the endearing pleasure of parents. This state of connubial bliss continued up to the year 1823, when the conduct of his wife was so strangely different and repulsive that his suspicions were awakened, and his mind yielded to the influence of corroding jealousy. He suspected that he had been supplanted in the affection of his wife by some object unknown. He was determined to conceal his feelings from his wife and the world and to grieve in silence. He believed that his forbearances would regain her love, and domestic harmony would be restored. But in these fond expectations, he was woefully disappointed, for his demeanor seemed to add to her alienation. Eventually she refused to admit your petitioner to her embraces and to a participation of all the rights of a husband. He was determined if possible to ascertain the cause of his suspicions and kept a strict watch on her conduct. To his great mortification he discovered her secretly enjoying the embraces of a slave, the property of your petitioner. What was before to him a terrestrial paradise was thus converted into a Hell. He has been informed and believes that she was guilty of a repetition of the same crime with the same person. Some time after this occurrence, your petitioner and the said Patience agreed to separate and entered into deed for that purpose. Your petitioner conveyed to said Patience the one-third part of his estate, and since that time they have lived separate and apart. Pray for a divorce from said wife, Patience. Sworn and subscribed before J.J. Brickell, J.P., 4 December 1826.
Deposition of Hillary WHITEHURST of Pitt County that he is a near neighbor of Turner HOUSE and went to his house about eighteen months ago to make a pair leading lines. He learned that Mr. HOUSE and his two eldest sons had gone to neighbor, so he went into the house to get the instruments for making the lines. After entering one room, he saw through an open door of another room the wife of said Turner on the bed and a negro slave named Hardie, belonging to said Turner, on top of her in an act of adultery. This deponent being ashamed of the sight immediately turned around to the kitchen and sent a negro woman for the instruments. Mrs. HOUSE afterwards came to the door, but this deponent does not know whether she was aware of his discovery or not. Some weeks afterward, this deponent was going to his brother’s and while passing said Turner’s house, he saw near the corner of the fence in a potato patch the same negro slave with Mrs. HOUSE engaged in the act of adultery. Sworn at Raleigh, 20 January 1827, before Wm. PEACE, J.P. of Wake County.
The Committee on Divorce and alimony to whom was referred this petition of Turner HOUSE have considered the same and report that the statements of the petitioner are well substantiated and recommend the accompanying bill be passed into law: that Turner HOUSE of the County of Pitt is hereby divorced from his wife Patience as if the rites of matrimony had never been solemnized. [On reverse:] In the House of Commons, 22 January 1827, read and laid on the table. In the House of Commons, 7 February 1827, read and postponed indefinitely.
(GASR 28 Dec. 1826 – 10 Feb. 1827, Box 1, folder “HB 23 Jan.”)”
Source for the above information is imprecise. It is published in the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, but I do not know what volume, date, or page number. I was provided a photocopy of a photocopy by a Mr. House, resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, and who frequents the bookshop where I work. I will endeavor to locate better source information.