Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not copy without written consent
Being free in Kentucky did not guarantee a person of color the same rights and privileges as a white person. Their movements were often restricted to the area where they were known. Traveling outside their immediate area and sometimes even in their own area required papers identifying them as free.
Several free men of color, all carrying the surname of Going settled in Livingston County prior to 1820. They lived in the part of Livingston County that would become Crittenden County in 1842. One of those men, John "Jack" Goin, was born about 1787. In 1847, Going wanted to visit Mississippi to claim his portion of his brother’s estate. The following petition was filed Wednesday, 26 May 1847 and is found in Crittenden Circuit Court Order Book A, pages 308, 312 and 322. Although called John H. Going in the circuit court sessions, he is listed as Jack Going in the order book index.
"To the Honorable Judge of the Crittenden Circuit Court ... Your Petitioner John H. Going, a man of color a resident of this County would Respectfully [say] to your Honor that he has lived where he now does & its neighbourhood for near thirty five years that he is very well Known to many persons of the County & he hopes & believes favourably Known that he is a free man & has been so since his birth altho his color is dark & might be taken as prima facie evidence that he was a slave. That his Mother was named Agnis an Indian by blood his father a free man of color. He would further represent to your Honor that he has a brother by the name of Thomas Going of the County of Claibourne & state of Mississippi - that he has been dead some years & died without children leaving him as he understands one of his heirs that the Estate is valuable & time enough has elapsed since his death for its full & entire settlement ... and he now desires to go to sd. state of Mississippi & claim his wrights But he finds some difficulty in travelling because of his collor. He therefore humbly & Respectfully petitions & asks your Honor to permit him to introduce in Court proof of his freedom & have it certified to all whom it may concern so that he shall be able to pass & attend to his business."
Two days later, John H. Going filed the depositions of Thomas S. Phillips and Ira Nunn. Phillips stated that he had been acquainted with Going for about 30 years and during that time he had resided as a free man of color and not born a slave. It was reported that he was of Indian and Negro blood or parentage [and] from information he had a brother by the name of Thomas Going who was an eminent Physician and died in Mississippi and affiant [Going] had an uncle who was a Physician who once practiced medicine in copartnership with Thos. Going.
Ira Nunn stated in his deposition that he had known Going for 30 years and that he was raised in the same county in Georgia as Going. He also stated Going had always been considered & recognized by his neighbors as a free man of color.
The following circuit court entry is dated Saturday, 29 May 1847: "It appearing from the petition and the Depositions that the petitioner has for the last 30 years been acknowledged and recognized in the community ... to be a free man of color & that he was born free considered of African & Indian blood [and] it is therefore considered that Going be recognized and considered to be a free man of color and entitled under the laws of this commonwealth to all the privileges such persons are entitled."
John H. Going is listed on the 1850 and 1860 Crittenden County census records as a wagonmaker born in Georgia. In 1867, L.J. Crabtree submitted a claim to the Crittenden County Court for "hauling Jack Goins a pauper from Bells Mines to Marion .... $5.00" The reason for this claim is unknown, as are the date and place of John Goins' death.