The Resource Chesterfield County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records

Chesterfield County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records

Label
Chesterfield County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1760-1862
Title
Chesterfield County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records
Inclusive dates
1760-1862
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
  • Chesterfield County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1760-1862, consist of slave patrol returns, accounts and commissions (1760-1862); certificates of importation of slaves (1813 and 1815); free negro lists (1847-1855); lists of free negroes suspected of living illegally in the county or without free papers (1837 and 1853); free negro registrations, affidavits and certificates (1790-1861 and undated); documents relating to lost free papers (1831-1850); petitions of free negroes to remain in the state or county (1838-1856); documents relating to runaway slaves or free negroes taken up as runaways (1804-1847); and miscellaneous free negro and slave records (1800-1862)
  • Slave patrol returns, accounts and commissions contain two kinds of documents. The patrol returns and accounts list the names of patrollers and the dates and/or hours served on the slave patrol. Sometimes other information is listed such as the name of the captain of the patrol, how much money is owed to the patrollers, locations patrolled, and any actions taken. The patrol commissions are orders from a justice of the peace for a slave patrol to form and patrol. The name of the ordering justice is given along with the appointed captain, names of the men named to patrol, the duties of the patrol, and the length of time the patrol is to serve
  • Certificates of non-importation of slaves contain information whereby a slaveowner swears that (s)he has not imported the slave from Africa and that (s)he has not brought the slave into Virginia with the purpose of selling it. Most certificates include the names, ages, a brief physical description, and the circumstances of how the owner came to possess the slave(s)
  • Free negro lists were compiled by the commissioner of the revenue and are mostly lists of free negroes delinquent in the payment of their taxes who are to be hired out as a result. The 1855 list is of all free negroes in the district of William E. Gill and lists names, sex, age, occupation, residence, and where the person is registered as a free person or if they have no papers
  • Lists of free negroes suspected of living illegally in the county or without free papers were compiled by the commissioners of the revenue and the county constables. These give names, whether they have free papers or not, in what county the free papers are from, and any circumstances that the list compiler may know about the person remaining illegally in the county or state, including details about emancipation. Some of the lists give residences and occupations
  • Free negro registrations, affidavits and certificates contain the name of the free person, sometimes the individual's age and a brief physical description, and a statement or affidavit based either on another person's knowledge or on other official documentary evidence seen by the certifier that this person was either born free or was emancipated. If born free, reference is sometimes made to parents. If emancipated, emancipating owner, place and date of emancipation, and prior registration as a free negro are usually mentioned. Occasionally the register number is given; this number corresponds to the entry number in the register of free negroes kept by the clerk of court at the courthouse. Many of the registrations appear to be rough drafts rather than official copies
  • Documents related to lost free papers are either newspaper advertisements for lost free papers or are applications for the reissuance of free papers by the court due to their loss
  • Petitions to remain in the commonwealth often include the name of the petitioner, the circumstances of free status, and a request to remain in the county often with accompanying names of citizens who can testify to the free status or who support the request of the petitioner to remain
  • Runaway slaves or free negroes taken up as runaways include valuations and other paperwork related to runaway slaves, and documents relating to proof of free status. Included are documents used to prove the free status of William Harvey, originally from New Hampshire and a Revolutionary War veteran, including a certification of bounty lands awarded him in Illinois as a result of his service
  • Miscellaneous free negro and slave records include a deed of emancipation from Thomas Fluornoy to his slaves Abraham, Reuben, Matt, Peter, Christopher, George, Pop, Amos, Julius, and Nanny (1800); a deed of emancipation from Benjamin Plummer to his slaves Jim Plummer and Mary and her child Reuben (1801); a summons to Robert Woodcock to produce the boy Dick who has been apprenticed to William Hix by the overseers of the poor (1804); the apprentice indenture of James Scott to Benjamin Moody (1832); an order to pay the apprentice wages directly to John Stewart now that his mother has died (1846 circa); the sale of the slave Mary from the estate of Daniel Brooks (1852); and the petition of John Green (Greene) to be sold into slavery to Henry Covington (1862)
Member of
Action
Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Chesterfield County was named for Philip Dormer Stanhope, forth earl of Chesterfield, British statesman and diplomat, and was formed from Henrico County in 1749.
  • Beginning in 1778, slaveholders who brought slaves into Virginia were required to register the slaves with the county court and sign an oath agreeing not to bring slaves into the commonwealth with the intent of selling them.
  • Lists of free negroes were compiled by the commissioner of the revenue for tax purposes.
  • An act passed by the Virginia legislature in 1803 required every free negro or mulatto to be registered and numbered in a book to be kept by the county clerk. Some clerks recorded additional information not required by law.
  • In 1806, the General Assembly moved to remove the free negro population from Virginia with a law that stated that all emancipated slaves, freed after May 1, 1806, who remained in the Commonwealth more than a year, would forfeit his right to freedom and be sold by the Overseers of the Poor for the benefit of the parish. Families wishing to stay were to petition the legislature through the local county court. Beginning in 1837, freed slaves could petition the local courts for permission to remain.
  • An act passed in 1806 required freed slaves to leave the state within a year. An additional act passed in 1831 allowed free negroes convicted of remaining illegally in the state to be sold into slavery by the sheriff.
Cataloging source
Vi
Location of other archival material
Additional Chesterfield County Free Negro and Slave Records can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm" found on the Library of Virginia web site.
Label
Chesterfield County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records
Link
http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaead/published/lva/vi04037.xml.frame
Note
These items came to the Library of Virginia in transfers of court papers from Chesterfield County
http://library.link/vocab/branchCode
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
For additional information, see inventory
Extent
.9
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Chesterfield County Circuit Court
http://library.link/vocab/recordID
001616598
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft. (2 boxes)

Subject

Genre

Member of

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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