Monday, August 20, 2007

Manumission Records from Granville County, part 1

Ok, you might be wondering what happened to the Carter family of Craven County. Sorry, I am still working on that.

I want to talk a bit about manumission. This is how I started on this project was writing a paper on the manumission practices of antebellum North Carolina. I believe I explained in a previous post about the word choice "manumission" vs. "emancipation". To my understanding, the terms are interchangeable. If you look them up in a dictionary, you're most likely going to come up with the same definition. In records, "manumission" was usually used during the 1700s and early 1800s. Around 1820 or so, records are generally called "emancipation" records. My person preference, in referring to the freeing of slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation is to use the term "manumission." I like to have consistency in the things I do and it causes too much confusion to go back and forth between the terms, so my own personal definitions are as follows:

Manumission: The voluntary freeing of ones slaves

Emancipation: The forced (or involuntary) freeing of ones slaves

So, here we go with some transcriptions for you (as always, wording and spelling is preserved). I do have to apologize for the lack of call number (archival call numbers, I guess you could say). When I copied these manumission records, I was new to this and neglected to record them, but I'll put what I can under "Source:" in case anyone wants to view the originals for themselves.

To the Honb the Court of Granville

We your petitioners (who are the only proprietors) do here humbly state to the Court that Jacob Fain, This his Honest industry has procured Money suficient to our Satisfaction to purchase his freedom, which together with his faithfulness as a servant, induces us to petition your Worships that he may have his freedom and to humbly desire that the worshipfull Court of Granville would emancipate the said Jacob and your petitioning will ever be in duty bound to pray[?] bu[rest is faded]
Elizabeth Bullock
Frances Boyd
William Boyd
[faded]th May 1805 James Marlin*
Eliza Marlin*
Wm Bullock

[on the reverse]
Worshipful County of Granville

*= not sure if that is an "r" or a "c", it's either Marlin or Maclin

Source: Granville County. Misc. Slaves [box name]. "Emancipation of Jacob Fain" [folder name].


ShiraD said...


Thank you for your work here. I've come across an ancestor of mine who purchased her own freedom, according to a military document, and I am wondering under what terminology I should search for her documents. I wonder if purchased freedom falls under the same category as a sale, or if it would be called a manumission? Many thanks (details: Martha Givens Porter Artson, mother of James Ward Porter born near Charleston, SC; She was born in 1803, SC),
p.s. I wonder if you could email your reply to since I am using this evening to do a bit of searching before getting back to work, and may not be able to find your site and check for your reply, please.

Many Thanks and Happy Holidays,
Shira D. (UnivHealthCareCantaora)

ShiirUniversalHealthCare said...

My email address is now, rather than catalan_athens.

Many thanks,
Shira Dest.