A Guide to the Lancaster County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1751-1861 Lancaster County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1751-1861 1133868

A Guide to the Lancaster County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1751-1861

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 1133868


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
Fax: (804) 692-3556 (Archives Reference)
Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
URL: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

© 2006 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
previous hitLancaster next hit County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1751-1861
Physical Characteristics
.45 cu. ft. (1 box)
previous hitLancaster next hit County (Va.) Circuit Court.
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

previous hitLancaster next hit County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1751-1861. Local government records collection, previous hitLancaster next hit County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in transfers of court papers from previous hitLancaster next hit County.

Historical Information

previous hitLancaster next hit County was named probably for the English county. It was formed from Northumberland and York Counties sometime between 26 March and 16 September 1651. The county court first met on 1 January 1652. The county seat is previous hitLancaster next hit.

An act passed by the Virginia legislature in 1856 allowed freed slaves who desired to remain in Virginia to petition for reenslavement and choose a master or owner and remain in the state.

Scope and Content

previous hitLancaster next hit County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records include lists of free negroes (1813-1814, 1832, 1837-1841, 1851, 1853, 1857-1861, n.d.); patrol accounts (1785-1861); petitions, affidavits and certificates (1818, 1826, 1837, 1840, 1843-1844, 1851-1853, 1855); slave bills of sale (1789, 1802-1803, 1808, 1811, 1818, 1821, 1832-1834, 1840, 1853); and miscellaneous records (1751-1854).

Lists of free negroes were compiled by the commissioner of the revenue for tax purposes. They record the full name of each individual, whether male or female, place of residence, and trade, occupation or calling for each person on the list. On some lists, family groupings are clearly delineated. The 1814 list is a photocopy.

Patrol accounts give the district patrolled by a particular company of slave patrol and the names and number of hours for each participant. On most lists, the captain of the company is noted and a total amount of payment is given.

Petitions, affidavits and certificates consist of several kinds of records. The certificates or registrations (1840, 1851-1853, 1855) are copies of an individual's free negro registration kept by the clerk of court and contain the registration number, name, age, physical description, and circumstances of free status (i.e. born free or emancipated). The 1840 certificate is a copy of an 1817 registration from Baltimore County, Maryland, for Richard Johnson and was probably used to prove free status as a notation on the reverse of the document instructs the jailor to release him. There are petitions and summons relating to petitions to remain in the county of previous hitLancaster next hit (1826, 1837, 1843, 1844). The petitions state 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. The summonses give the names of witnesses, name of the petitioner(s), and the court date that the petition will be considered. There are two affidavits (1855) from Baltimore, Maryland, concerning the free status of a boy named John Ellis.

Slave bills of sale are deeds transferring ownership of slaves and include the name of the seller, the name of the purchaser, the price, and usually the names of the slaves being sold. Occasionally the ages of the slaves are given. Several of the deeds are more like fiduciary records in that they are reports of slaves sold from a particular estate. Some deeds include other goods being sold in addition to slaves such as livestock or furniture.

Petition for Reenslavement, 1857, consists of the petition of Armistead Currie to give up his freedom in order to remain in Virginia. He asked the court to assign Addison Hull as his owner.

Miscellanous records include commonwealth causes against slaves for assorted crimes (1824-1828, 1854); deeds of emancipation (1751, 1790-1796, 1827); a photocopy of a guardian's bond for free persons of color Robert and Jane Lowe (1832); a petition from Caroline Sherman for tax relief on an infirm and elderly slave named Jacob (1822); a photocopy of the petition of Anna Laws to be freed from her indenture (1779); a letter from David Boyd requesting that a search of the clerk's records be made to determine whether Susanna Jones and her children, mulattoes, were ever bound out by the court (1754); and a photocopy of a notice of judgment from the Overseers of the Poor to Elizabeth A. and Sarah Lattimer for the maintenance of a slave named Shadrach (1826).

Related Material

Additional previous hitLancaster 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.

Separated Material

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • previous hitLancaster next hit County (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans--Employment--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • African Americans--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Free African Americans--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Freedmen--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Slave records--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Slaveholders--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Slaves--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Tax collection--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Geographical Names:

  • previous hitLancaster next hit County (Va.)--History.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Accounts--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Affidavits--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Bills of sale--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Bonds (legal records)--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Certificates--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Criminal court records--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Deeds of manumission--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Free negro and slave records--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Free negro lists--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Free negro registrations--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Free papers--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Letters (correspondence)--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Local government records--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Summons--Virginia--previous hitLancaster next hit County.
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Baltimore County (Md.) Circuit Court.