A Guide to the Lynchburg (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1784-1864 Lynchburg (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1784-1864 1144773

A Guide to the Lynchburg (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1784-1864

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1144773


Library of Virginia

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©2011 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
Lynchburg (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1784-1864
Physical Characteristics
0.45 cu. ft. (1 box)
Lynchburg (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Lynchburg (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1784-1864. Local government records collection, Lynchburg Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court papers from Lynchburg.

Historical Information

Lynchburg, in Campbell County, was named for John Lynch, the owner of the original town site. It was established in 1786, was incorporated as a town in 1805, and became a city in 1852. Parts of Campbell and Bedford Counties were annexed to the city in 1976.

A law passed in 1782 by the state legislature made it lawful to emancipate slaves.

An act passed in 1793 by the Virginia legislature in 1793 required every free Negro or Mulatto to be registered and numbered in a book to be kept by the county clerk. Emancipated slaves may have been registered with the court at an earlier date in some localities. Registrations were to be renewed annually at a cost of 25 cents.

In 1806, the General Assembly moved to remove the free negro population from Virginia with a law that stated that any emancipated slaves, freed after May 1, 1806, who remained in the Commonwealth more than a year, would forfeit the 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.

Scope and Content

Lynchburg (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1784-1864, are comprised of free papers (1797-1864), deeds of emancipation (1784, 1805-1860), and miscellaneous records (1827, 1834, 1837, undated).

Free papers, 1797-1864, consist of free negro registrations, certificates of registration, and affidavits verifying an individual's emancipation or birth to a free mother. Certificates of registration were issued by the Hustings court and were used as free papers to verify free status. They contain name, sometimes age and a brief physical description, and the circumstances of the person's freedom or emancipation. If born free, reference to parents is sometimes made. If emancipated, the emancipating owner, place and date of emancipation, and prior registration as a free Negro are usually mentioned. In addition to the certificates of registration issued by the Lynchburg Court, there are certificates of registration, or registers, the records contain registrations issued by these localities: Albemarle, Amherst, Bedford, Botetourt, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charlotte, Dinwiddie, Essex, Fluvanna, Goochland, Halifax, Isle of Wight, and York Counties and the Cities of Fredericksburg, Petersburg, and Richmond.

Deeds of manumission, 1784; 1801-1864, document date of emancipation, by whom, and sometimes for what reason. These records include deeds of manumission from Campbell, Charlotte, and Prince George Counties.

Miscellaneous records consist of the petitions of Archey Carey (1827) and Isaac Harrison (1836) to remain in the state and affidvits related to a petition of Maria Dunn to remain in state (1839), a list of insolvent free negroes (1834), a writ ordering the sheriff to hold in the jail the slaves Ned and Melly who have been going at large and hiring themselves out (1837), and an undated list of names which may be related to a free negro registration.

Related Material

The Lynchburg Free Negro and Slave Register, 1843-1865, can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm."

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Lynchburg (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • Free African Americans -- Virginia -- Lynchburg.
  • Slaves -- emancipation -- Virginia.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Lynchburg (Va.) -- History.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Affidavits -- Virginia -- Lynchburg.
  • Emancipations -- Virginia -- Campbell County.
  • Emancipations -- Virginia -- Charlotte County.
  • Emancipations -- Virginia -- Lynchburg.
  • Emancipations -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
  • Free negro and slave records -- Virginia -- Lynchburg.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Albemarle County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Amherst County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Bedford County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Botetourt County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Buckingham County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Campbell County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Charlotte County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Dinwiddie County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Essex County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Fluvanna County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Fluvanna County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Fredericksburg.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Goochland County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Halifax County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Isle of Wight County.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Lynchburg.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Petersburg.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- Richmond.
  • Free papers -- Virginia -- York County.
  • Local government records -- Virginia -- Lynchburg.
  • Tax and fiscal records -- Virginia -- Lynchburg.
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Lynchburg (Va.) Hustings Court.