The Resource Staunton (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records

Staunton (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records

Staunton (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1811-1863
Staunton (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records
Inclusive dates
  • Staunton (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1811-1863. The collection contains an indenture and deed of emancipation, 1811; a deed of emancipation, 1817; a bill of sale for a slave, 1823; lists of free negroes, 1845, 1855, and 1861; the petition of George Dennis Harris to be registered as a free negro, 1861; the registration of Abbey Epperson, 1850; an affidavit regarding the free papers of Caroline Kinney and family, 1855; and a letter responding to a request for a copy of the registration of Edmund Triplett, 1853 Apr 15. The collection also contains photocopies of records, mostly criminal, that document enforcement of laws regulating free negroes and slaves
  • The free negro lists were compiled by the Commissioner of the Revenue for tax purposes. They document the name and occupations of free negroes living in Staunton in 1845, 1851, 1855, and 1861. The 1855 list also includes age and whether or not the individual has free papers. The 1861 list includes gender and age
  • The folder of photocopies of records from other series includes records from criminal cases against free negroes for not registering as free negroes, 1823 and 1829; for remaining in Virginia after emancipation without obtaining leave for doing so, 1830, 1845, and 1863; and for going at large without a registration or attested proof of emancipation, 1842, 1847, 1856 and 1857. Also included are summonses of justices to hear petitions of emancipated slaves to remain in the state, 1849 and 1854, and to register as a free negro, 1857
Member of
Biographical or historical data
  • Staunton, in Augusta County, was named, according to most authorities, for Rebecca Staunton, wife of Sir William Gooch, lieutenant governor of Virginia from 1727 to 1749. Staunton was laid out in 1748 at the site of the Augusta County courthouse and was established as a town in 1761. It was incorporated as a town in 1801 and as a city in 1871.
  • 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. The register listed the age, name, color, stature, marks or scars, in what court the person was emancipated or whether the person was born free. Some clerks recorded additional information not required by the 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 their 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.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
Additional Staunton 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.
Staunton (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records
These items came to the Library of Virginia under accession number 33143 and in transfers of court papers from Staunton
  • The Library of Virginia
  • 84
  • 16
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Staunton (City) Circuit Court
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
  • leaves and
  • p.

Library Locations

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