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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Henry Watts' freedom status

I read the string of messages regarding the confusion about manumission of slave women and the status of their children born after manumission. You might consider checking out the book written by Paul Heinegg, entitled "Free African Americans of North Carolina and Virginia."

The book states the following:

. . . In addition to the discriminatory tax, poor and orphaned African American children were bound out until age 21 by the county courts just like their poor white counter parts. [note 12] In July 1733 the General Assembly received complaints from "divers Inhabitants" that - "divers free People, Negroes, Molattoes residing in this Province were . . . bound until they come to age 31 years contrary to the contest of the Parties bound out. The said committee further report that they fear that divers Persons will desert the settlement of those parts" The General Assembly ruled that those illegaly bound should be released and the practice of binding children out to 31 years of age instead f 21 years was to cease (Saunders, Colonial Records, III:556). . . . Children were bound as apprentices in various crafts [trades]. . . (end of excerpt)

From what I can tell, some children born after their mothers recieved manumission papers - were bound as "apprentices" until age 21 - regardless of the mothers' status.

I can't reiterate enough that you should check out the aforementioned book, if you haven't done so already. It's a great resource. More important, you should read the excerpt in its proper context.

Just an FYI.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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