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]

[faded]th May 1805

Elizabeth Bullock
Frances Boyd
William Boyd
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].


Anonymous said...


i'm researching my geneology of relatives from north carolina and i'm related to possibly Elizabeth Bullock in this post. do you have any information about her--was she white/black? My grandmother from north carolina who is now deceased looked ethnic like part indian or something so i'm trying to uncover what possibly her relatives background were. - thanks for any info!

"Ike" said...

Erin! Thank you! This man is my ancestor. My family has traced our lineage back to Sally Fain in North Carolina, and now I know more about her husband. I had no idea before today that her husband had purchased her freedom. It's an awesome story. Thank you!!!