Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Negroes Who Owned Slaves


It may not be generally known, but free negroes in Maryland, and probably in other states, 100 years ago owned negro slaves. The following deed of emancipation, bearing date Dec. 9, 1793, is duly recorded in record book 25, page 312, in the clerk's office of the circuit court at Easton, Talbot county, Md.:

Know all men by these presents that I, Negro Tom, late slave of Christopher Birkhead of Talbot county and state of Maryland, being possessed of a negro girl named Grace, who is now about the age of 18 years old, who is held by me in a state of slavery, and think it in my conscience that all mankind are entitled to equal freedom in this life and being desirous of securing to her liberty and freedom: Now, know ye, that I do hereby declare that the said negro girl Grace shall be free immediately from the date hereof, and I do hereby for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators, renounce all right, title and claim from and after the date hereof.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 9th day of December, anno Domini 1793. NEGRO TOM His [X] Mark

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of us. PETER WEBB. SARAH TRIPPE.

A similar deed of emancipation was recorded by a free negro, Abraham Gastus, May 17, 1794. There were afterward other deeds of emancipation by free negroes of slaves purchased or otherwise acquired. — Baltimore Sun.

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