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

Essex County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records

Essex County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1714-1857
Essex County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records
Inclusive dates
  • Essex County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1714-1857, include slave bills of bargain and sale (1714-1771); deed of manumission (1848); free negro registrations and certifications (1812-1857, undated); and patrol returns, accounts and commissions (1787-1857)
  • Slave bills of bargain and sale gives the name(s) of the seller of the slave, the name(s) of the purchaser, usually the name of the slave(s) being sold, the price, the date of the deed, and the date the bill of sale was registered or proved with the court and on what page it is recorded. Some items within this group are also labeled as deeds, agreements, or mortgages
  • The deed of manumission is from Alexander T. Baylor for Matilda Gains and her children William and Alexander
  • Free negro registrations give information on a single person as to the name, age, complexion, stature in feet and inches, apparent marks or scars, whether emancipated or free born, registration number, and date this information was certified by the court
  • Certificates of free negroes contain the court date of the document, the name of the person, sometimes their age and a brief physical description, and a statement 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
  • 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. Often a patrol commission is sealed onto the return of that patrol with sealing wax
Member of
Biographical or historical data
Essex County was formed in 1692 from Rappahannock County, a now extinct Virginia county.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
Additional Essex 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.
Essex County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records
These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Essex County
Chronological by record type.
  • The Library of Virginia
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Essex County Circuit Court
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft.

Library Locations

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