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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Black Laws of Virginia#7

This is the seventh posting of the "Black Laws of Virginia." These laws were originally published in 1936 by Whittet & Shepperson and these Law have been printed several times by others. The last known printing was the fourth printing 1996 by Willow Bend Books, by June Purcell Guild - compiled by Karen Hughes White & Joan Peters.

Over the course of several months, I will share some of the "Black Laws of Virginia" with this group. It is important; if you are doing
research prior to 1865 you need to obtain a copy of the State "Black
Laws or Black Codes" where you are researching. I will be sharing some of the Virginia's Black Laws. It is advised if you are researching in the State of Virginia prior to 1865, you should get your own copy of this book. Also when researching in this period of time, check the original laws.

Below are the Black Laws or Black Codes" of Virginia - continuing with the section on "Taxes, Civil Rights and Duties of Negroes and Others."

* Year 1642 - Act I - All freemen that are hired servants shall
pay their own tithes and duties. Divers poor people that have been of very long continuance in this country and are disabled by sickness or age, are exempt from all public charges, except ministers' and parish duties.

* Year 1657 - Act XLVI - It is enacted that all male servants
hereafter imported into this colony of whatever age shall be liable to pay county levies, and all Negroes imported, whether male or female, and Indian servants, male or female, however procured, being sixteen years of age; such Christians only to be excepted as are natives of this country, or such as are imported free, who are exempt because under sixteen years of age.

* Year 1662 - Act XIII - Whereas, divers persons purchase women
servants to work in the ground to avoid the payment of levies, it is
enacted that women servants whose common employment is working in the
crops shall be tithable and shall be named by every master in his list of titables, under penalty.

* Year 1668 - Act VII - Negro women though permitted to enjoy
their freedom, yet ought not in all respects to be admitted to a full
fruition of the exemptions of the English and are still liable to the
payment of taxes.

* Year 1676 - Act VII - The act which forbids freemen to have
votes in the election of burgesses is repealed, and they may be admitted with freeholders and housekeepers to vote as formerly.

* Year 1680 - Act VII - The act deems it too hard and severe for children, Christians as well as slaves, imported into the colony to be liable to taxes before they are capable of working. It is accordingly enacted that Negroes shall not be tithable until twelve years of age and no Christian servant before fourteen years, former laws or customs notwithstanding.

* Year 1682 - Act II - Indian women servants sold to the English are to pay levies in like manner as Negro women.

* Year 1723 - Chapter IV - All free Negroes, mulattoes, and
Indians (except tributary Indians to this government), male and female above sixteen years of age, and all wives of such, shall be deemed tithables.

* Year 1748 - Chapter XXI - All male persons of the age of sixteen years and over and all Negro and Indian women of the same age, except tributary Indians, and all wives of free Negroes and Indians are tithable and chargeable for defraying the public and parish levies, except such as the county courts for charitable reasons shall excuse. Owners of imported children, being servants or slaves, shall bring them to court and have their age adjudged and recorded.

* Year 1814 - Chapter 1 - This act imposes taxes on land, property and slaves, and makes all male free Negroes above sixteen years subject to a poll tax of $1.50, except those bound out as apprentices.

* Year 1814 - Chapter XX - In case any free Negro or mulatto shall neglect in any year to pay all taxes, poor rates, and levies, he may be hired out for so long a time as will raise the said taxes, provided sufficient cannot be raised on this estate, and provided the Negro has been first summoned to show cause, if any, against making such order.

The above laws and acts were amended as time went on, but this is an
example of how the laws were placed on Indians, freed Negroes and

In two weeks, I will continue with a few more laws from "Black
Laws of Virginia" - "Taxes, Civil Rights and Duties of Negroes and

Char McCargo Bah, professional genealogist/historian

Messages In This Thread

Black Laws of Virginia#7
Re: Black Laws of Virginia#7
Re: Black Laws of Virginia#7

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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