Manumission document for Jane, an enslaved girl, 5 January 1822
Manumission document for Jane, an enslaved nine-year-old girl.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. The papers created by Barbara Wilson are in the public domain.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
The collection contains a manumission document for Jane, an enslaved girl, and is signed by "Barbary Wilson" and four witnesses. The document states "Being upon principle opposed to holding any person in slavery, and for other good causes…by these presents liberate, emancipate and quit claim to and discharge from my service my white girl slave named Jane aged about nine years." The document includes a signed note by the Bath County clerk.
Barbara Wilson, a white woman, lived in Bath County, Virginia, in the 1820s. She appears on the 1820 United States federal census as the only free person in a household holding 11 enslaved people. According to the Virginia court ruling in the case Henry v. Bollar, Wilson had freed fourteen enslaved people in 1822, but was declared incompetent and the individuals were re-enslaved. The enslaved individuals filed suit on the grounds that "that they were in fact white persons, and therefore could never have been lawfully held in slavery, and that Barbara Wilson had, for the purpose of restoring them to the enjoyment of their rights, executed the deeds of emancipation of January 1822." The ruling also stated that the defendants in the case maintained that the enslaved individuals were of mixed Black and white heritage, and that Wilson had been attacked by Native Americans as a child and as a result had not been of sound mind when she signed the deeds of emancipation. However, the court ruled in the favor of the enslaved individuals and they were granted their freedom in 1836.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: 2020-M54
The manumission document for Jane, an enslaved girl, was acquired from the Swann Galleries in May 2020.
Processed: November 2020
By: Paula Aloisio
The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library Fund and the Gerard Schlesinger Library Fund.
- EAD ID
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