Notes and Documents, is a nonfiction book of 250 pages, including Table of
contents, Endnotes, and Index. The setting of the book is in Colonial
Virginia. The book is being published by Heritage Books, and is scheduled to
be in the February 2003 Catalog.
The book that details the lives of several groups labeled Free Persons of
Color in Colonial Virginia. The subjects lives are chronicled through
documents, excerpts from newspapers, military, and court records. The
subjects lives were as varied as the areas they lived in. Some lived on
Plantations, others in Rural, and Urban settings. All were governed by the
laws, and statues passed by the Virginia assembly.
One family whose life is chronicled are the Bowdens, Mary and Patty, who
were Indentured Servants to George Washingtons family. They resided in
Westmoreland County on the Plantation known as Popes Creek (now George
Washington Birthplace). Mary (born 1730, died after 1810), and Patty (born
1750, died 1830), were mother and daughter. Because of their mixed raced
status, the women were under a thirty year indenture, set by the law of
Another family chronicled is Charles and Ambrose Lewis, brothers who both
served in the Revolutionary War, out of Fredericksburg. The brothers were
Seamen on the Galley Page, and the Dragon Ship. After his war service
Ambrose Lewis resided in Alexandria, living in the Olde towne District. He
mentioed living in Alexandria in his pension application, and stated that
he, and his ten year old son, both lived in Alexandria. Several slaves
manumitted by Charles Lewis moved to Alexandria, including Ambrose wife
Fanny. Their manumission papers are on file in Alexandria's Free Negro
Registry. After his service Charles moved to the Rockets Landing area of
Richmond. He is listed in the 1783 census, as a Mulatto, and a landowner.
The Pinn family, who resided on Virginia's Eastern Shore, are another group
chronicled. John Pinn II, fought at Yorktown with his father, brother, and
Uncle. John moved to Massachusetts after his service, and filed for a
pension when he was over eighty years old. In his pension record Pinn states
that his mother was Cherokee, and his father Mustee. This is one of the few
remaining records detailing the racial makeup of the Pinn family. John
fought at Yorktown along with his brothers Billy, and James, his father
Robert Pinn, and his Uncle Rawley Pinn.
The Cooper, Rowe, Powell, and related family members were connected to the
Powhattan Indians, and Pocahontas. They were mixed race Indian/whites, some
of whom were accepted as white. The families were divided along color lines
when they moved to Amherst County Virginia from Elizabeth City.
Virginia is important because much of the Western Movement began in that
region. The drives to resettle Natives in Oklahoma, and other parts west
began in Virginia. Many of the early laws governing our country came out of
Colonial Virginia. This book delves into the lives of those who were most
affected by those early laws.
Please see below for ordering information. Please contact me with any
questions, or comments about the book's content.
Anita L. Wills
Heritage Books Inc.
1540E Pointer Ridge Place
Bowie MD 20716-1859
Fax: (301)-390-7153 or 1-800-276-1760
Phone: (301) 390-7709 or 1-800-398-7709
: From today's Oakland, CA Tribune:
: Colonial Virginia's Free People of Color
: BAY Area author Anita Wills releases her controversial book "Notes and
: Documents of Free Persons of Color: Colonial Virginia 1650-1850," in
: December. The book chronicles the lives of several families through legal
: documents, newspaper clippings, military and court records, and provides a
: clear historical picture of the lives of free persons of color in colonial
: Virginia. Of particular interest are the profiles of Mary and Patty
: Bowden, who served indentures for George Washington's family at Pope's
: Creek in Westmoreland County, Va. Wills' book is available through
: Heritage Books, Inc. and in bookstores nationwide.
: "Guided by the Ancestors"