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Re: Blacks in Bedford Co., Va. circa 1786

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From: shirley whitmore
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 14:19:11 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks for your response and direction. I was made aware of her birth/parentage, through a series of indenture documents drawn up as the child was transfered from person to person. She was initially apprenticed out by the mother's husband four months after her birth, and was then transferred to two other folks. Her mother was at the end of her term when she married her husband, and they lived together until death many years later.

The indenture papers we've found were filed, interestingly enough, in Louisiana, where the child relocated to with the family to whom she was apprenticed. The indenture records (3) are apparent transcriptios from the original records, and only the first includes a date, and none include either a place or officiators name. It apears that the transcriber, for some reason, omitted all of the data that would allow us to track the child's exact place of birth, movement, and transfers.

A simple note written by her final "holder", released her from "his care" in 1810, and identified her as the wife of my 3rd great grandfather. In 1815 she appealed to the court in Louisiana to be released from her bond. Depositions given then identified her mother, and her mother's race. The note does not "look like" other manumission papers I have seen in that area--leading me to believe that she was kept as an indentured servant at that moment in time---and not as a chattel slave.

My partner in this search did hire a NC researcher to look for additional information in the Rutherford/Burkes area---but nothing of any value surfaced. A Kentucky researcher was also hired---to no avail. Her mother with her husband and oldest "legitimate" child migrated to Kentucky after 1790. It seems as if the indenture documents may not have been filed anywhere----until Louisiana.

It is logical to assume that the mother was not in any condition to travel much between December 30, 1785 and February 9, of 1786--so the child was likely born in Rutherford, or some nearby area. We believe the mother may have been sent to relatives in Rutherford, from Bedford, Va.--when her pregnancy was discovered.

I will look for evidence of rape charges---thanks for the lead, and forward any other suggestions you might have.


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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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