On These Grounds: Slavery and the University

Item set

Title
On These Grounds: Slavery and the University
Description
This set contains all items created by Rutgers University's Scarlet and Black Research Center for On These Grounds: Slavery and the University. On These Grounds is a cross-institutional initiative to create a descriptive model designed to represent the lived experiences of enslaved people who labored for colleges and universities. This item set represents persons who are connected in some way to the history of Rutgers University and the events that they participated in.

This item set provided the starting point for the creation of the New Jersey Slavery Records database published at https://records.njslavery.org.

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  • 1730 Sale: Ukawsaw Gronniosaw
    According to Ukawsaw Gronniosaw's autobiography, the Rev. Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen purchased Gronniosaw from his former enslaver named Vanhorn for 50 pounds. As the result of this sale, Gronniosaw moved from Vanhorn's household in New York City to Frelinghuysen's home in Raritan, New Jersey. See p. 12 in Gronniosaw's book: "Mr. Freelandhouse, a very gracious, good Minister, heard it, and he took a great deal of notice of me, and desired my master to part with me to him. He would not hear of it at first, but, being greatly persuaded, he let me go, and Mr. Freelandhouse gave £50. for me."
  • 1733-06-09 Sale: Genny
    On June 9, 1733, Richard Scudder of Elizabethtown sold a Black girl (or woman) named Genny to Jonathan Dickinson. Genny's age at the time of the sale is uncertain. ----- Transcript of the source document: "Know all Men by these Psents that I, Richard Scudder of Elizabeth Town in the County of Essex and Provine of New Jersey Yeoman Have bargained sold and delivered unto Jonathan Dickinson of Elizabeth-Town aforsd a certain Negro Girl named Genny To Have and To Hold the sd Negro Girl unto him the sd Jonathan Dickinson and to his Heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns during her natural Life And I do hereby for my self my Heirs Executors and Administrators bargain Covenant and agree with him the sd Jonathan Dickinson and with His Heirs Executors and Administrators that I the sd Richard Scudder had at the Time of the sale of that Negro Girl a just Propriety in her & full Power to dispose of her And also that I and my Heirs will warrant and defend him the sd Jonathan Dickinson and his Heirs and Assignes in the peaceable Possession and Property of the sd Negro Girl against all manner of Persons whatsoever legally claiming a Propriety in Her as Witness my Hand and Seal this ninth Day of June one thousand seven hundred and thirty three and in the Sixth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the second of Great Brittain & King & — Richard Scudder {Seal} David Thomas Samuel ____ton"
  • 1738-02-09 Advertisement: Black man
    Samuel Hazard advertised an auction for a 35-year-old Black man as well as a house and lot in New York City on Broad Street (occupied by Mrs. Marston). The auction was to take place on February 9, 1738. (Samuel Hazard was a merchant and one of the original trustees of Princeton University.) ----- Transcript of the source document: "To be sold at Publick Vendue on Thursday the 9th of February, at 2 o'clock in the Afternoon, a House and Ground in Broad Street, in which Mrs. Marston now lives, the Lot contains in length on each side, One Hundred Foot in Breadth on the East-end, Fronting Broad Street, Forty Foot, and in the Rear Forty Four Foot, Wood-Measure. Also to be sold Five Sixths of a Quarter of an Undivided Lot of Ground lying near the Fresh-Water, Together with the Pot-House and Lot there, the whole Lot contains in Length Forty Four Rods, and in Breadth Twenty Four Rods. There is also to be sold a Negro man, Aged about Thirty Five Years. The Sale of all to be at the House in Broad Street above mentioned. Whoever inclines to purchase may be informed of the Title by Samuel Hazard at Mr. Thomas Nobles near the Old Slip. "
  • 1747 Manumission: Ukawsaw Gronniosaw
    According to Ukawsaw Gronniosaw's autobiography, the Rev. Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen manumitted Gronniosaw in his will and also left him 10 pounds. At the time of Frelinghuysen's death around 1747, Gronniosaw had been enslaved in the Frelinghuysen household for nearly two decades. After his manumission, Gronniosaw continued working for the Frelinghuysen family as a servant for several years. See p. 18-19 in Gronniosaw's book: "my temporal comforts were all blasted by the death of my dear and worthy Master Mr. Freelandhouse, who was taken from this world rather suddenly: he had but a short illness, and died of a fever. I held his hand in mine, when he departed; he told me he had given me my freedom. I was at liberty to go where I would.--He added that he had always pray'd for me and hop'd I should be kept unto the end. My master left me by his will ten pounds, and my freedom."
  • 1752-10-28 Freedom seeking: Unnamed African man [Livingston]
    In November 1752, slave trader Philip Livingston offered a reward of 3 pounds for the capture of an African man who escaped from Livingston in New York City. The man did not speak any English or Dutch (the primary European languages in eighteen-century New York) because he was only recently brought to New York City from Africa. This incident took place 14 years before Philip Livingston would became a charter trustee of Queen's College. The advertisement offered a description of the man's African hairstyle: "his hair or wool is curled in locks, in a very remarkable manner." Livingston also referred to the man as a "a very likely lusty fellow." In eighteenth-century America, the term "likely" meant good looking, while the term "lusty" meant healthy and vigorous. Thus the words "a very likely lusty fellow" suggest that the freedom seeker was a strong and healthy man in the prime of his life. Livingston supposed that the freedom seeker made his way toward the woods near Harlem, which was at that time a small village north of New York City on the Island of Manhattan (the Harlem area has since then been incorporated into New York City as a neighborhood north of Central Park). The following is a transcript of the advertisement from the New-York Gazette issue of November 6, 1752: "Run away from Philip Livingson [sic], of New York, on the 28th of October last; a Negro Man, lately imported from Africa, his Hair or wool is curled in locks, in a very remarkable manner; he is a very likely lusty fellow, and cannot speak a word of English, or Dutch, or any other language but that of his own country. He was seen last Monday on New York Island, and is supposed now to be in the Woods near Harlem. whoever takes up said Fellow, and delivers him to his said master shall receive THREE POUNDS as a reward, from PHILIP LIVINGSTON."
  • 1756-09-02 Sale: Caesar
    On September 2, 1756, Aaron Burr Sr bought an enslaved Black man named Caesar from John Livingston of New York. At this time, Aaron Burr Sr was serving as the president of Princeton University (then called the College of New Jersey). In consequence of this sale, Caesar would relocate from New York to Princeton. ----- Transcript of the source document: "Know all Men by these Presents, That I John Livingston of the City of New York Merch. For and in Consideration of of the Sum of Eighty Pounds Current money of the Province of New York to me in Hand paid at and before the Ensealing and Delivery of these Presents, by The Rev. Mr. Aaron Burr President of the College of New Jersey the Receipt whereof I do hearby acknowledge, and myself to be therewith fully satisfied, contented and paid: Have Granted, Bargained, Sold, Released, and by these Presents do fully, clearly, and absolutely grant, bargain, sell and release unto the said Mr. Aaron Burr his heirs assigns a Certain Negro Man named Caesar. To Have and to Hold the said Negro Man Caesar unto the said Mr. Aaron Burr his Executors, Administrators and Assigns for ever. And I the said John Livingston for Myself, my Heirs, Executors Administrators, do covenant and agree to and with the above - named Aaron Burr His Executors, Administrators and Assigns, to warrant and defend the Sale of the above - named Negro Man named Caesar against all Persons whatsoever. In Witness whereof I hereunto set my Hand and Seal Second Day of September Annoq; Dom. One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Six Jno Livingston [seal] Sealed and Delivered in the Presence of Jos. Forman John G. Lansing "
  • 1758-08-13 Freedom seeking: Prince
    On August 13, 1758, a Black man named Prince ran away from his enslaver William Peartree Smith of Elizabethtown (present-day Elizabeth), New Jersey. He went to New York and crossed over King's Bridge heading north from Manhattan Island. At the bridge, he showed a false pass and said that he was enslaved by a butcher in New York City and that he had authorization to go to the country to bring back cattle for the butcher. Prior to this escape, Prince was at one time a resident of Dutchess County in New York's Hudson Valley, where he had been enslaved by a man named Mr. Nixon, and it is possible that Prince was headed toward his old home when he passed King's Bridge. William Peartree Smith, who was a long-time trustee of Princeton University (then called the College of New Jersey), posted a runaway ad seeking Prince. The transcript below is from the August 21, 1758, issue of the New-York Gazette, or, the Weekly Post-Boy newspaper: "RUN away on the 13th of August Instant, from William Peartree Smith Esq; of Elizabeth-Town in New Jersey; A Negro Man called Prince, had on a Leather Cap, Linnen Waistcoat and Breeches, coarse blue Stockings, a thick pair of Shoes, speaks English and Dutch, has lived in Jamaica in the West-Indies with Mr Simon Parsco, and in Dutchess-County, in New York Colony with Mr. Nixon, has been lately seen in New-York, and it is said has passed King's-Bridge, where he shewed a Pass and pretended that he belonged to a Butcher in New-York, and was going into the Country to fetch Cattle for his Master: Whoever secures him in any of his Majesty's Goals, so that his Master may have him again, shall be well rewarded." This ad ran in the paper for three weeks. Then, on September 18, 1758, Smith updated the ad, changing only the last sentence to specify the amount of the reward: "Whoever secures him in any of his Majesty's Goals, so that his Master may have him again, shall have FIVE POUND reward." Considering the timing of this update, it appears that Prince was still at large more than a month after his escape. Prince's fate after September 1758 is uncertain.
  • 1763-06-15 Freedom seeking: Phill
    Phill, a Black woman or girl, ran away from Samuel Hallett of Hallett's Cove (present-day Astoria, Queens, New York) around June 1763. Her age at the time of this event is unknown. Phill's primary enslaver was James Neilson of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and it is unclear how long Phill was living with or working for Samuel Hallett in New York prior to her escape. A runaway advertisement offering a reward of twenty shillings for Phill's capture and return was published in the newspaper called The New-York Gazette, or, the Weekly Post-Boy on June 16, 1763. In addition to Samuel Hallett and James Neilson, the ad mentioned that Phill could be brought to James Abeel in New York if she was captured. James Abeel was the husband of James Neilson's niece Gertrude Neilson Abeel, and evidently he was ready to assist James Neilson in capturing Phill. The full text of the runaway ad follows below: "RUN away, last Night, from Samuel Hallett, of Hallett's Cove, a Negro Girl, named Phill, belonging to James Neilson, Esq; of New-Brunswick, about five Feet high, well made, and pretty Black. Whoever will take up and secure the said Wench, or bring her to said Hallett, or James Abeel, in New-York, or to her said Master, at New-Brunswick, shall receive TWENTY SHILLINGS Reward, and all reasonable Charges, by either of the above mentioned Persons."
  • 1766-07-31 Advertisement: 2 Black women, a Black man, and 3 Black children for the estate of Samuel Finley
    On July 31, 1766, a sale advertisement for six Black people was published in a Philadelphia newspaper called the Pennsylvania Journal. These six people would be sold at public auction on August 19, 1766, in Princeton. The advertisers also indicated that they were willing to arrange a private sale before the auction date. These six enslaved people were sold for the estate of Samuel Finely, the late president of Princeton University (then called the College of New Jersey). The advertisers were two men. One was Samuel Breese of New York, the late president's son-in-law and executor of his estate. The second man was listed as "Jonathan Seargeant, jun. in Princeton," who was not an executor but was brokering the sales in Princeton. This probably refers to Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, a 20-year-old Princeton alumnus. His father, Jonathan Sergeant, was also affiliated with Princeton University and living in Princeton at this time, but since the ad specified "junior," we can infer that the younger Jonathan was the one who placed the ad. The auction was to take place at the President's House in Princeton where Finley had resided. Household furniture, cattle, tools, and books would be sold at the same time. ----- Transcript of the source document: "July 31 TO BE SOLD, At public vendue, on the 19th of August next, at the presidents house in Princeton, all the personal estate of the late Revd. Dr. SAMUEL FINLEY, consisting of, TWO Negro women, a negro man, and three Negro children, houshold furniture, horses, and neat cattle, a light wagon, a new chaise, a sleigh, some hay, and grain, together with a variety of farming utensils. Also a choice collection of books, religious, moral and historical, containing the complete library of the deceased. The Negroes will be disposed of at private sale previous to the day appointed for the vendue, should a suitable price be offered for them, The Negro woman understands all kinds of house work, and the Negro man is well fitted for the business of farming in all its branches. The conditions of the vendue will be made known on the day of sale. All those that are indebted to the said estate by bond, note, or book debts, are desired to make immediate payment to the subscribers, and such as have any demands against the estate are desired to send in their accounts properly attested to. JONATHAN SEARGEANT, jun. in Princeton, or SAMUEL BREESE, Executor, in New York."
  • 1772 Autobiography: Ukawsaw Gronniosaw
    Ukawsaw Gronniosaw published his autobiography in approximately 1772 in England where he lived by this time as a free man. In his book, he recounted the details of his life, including his years in slavery in the Raritan River Valley in New Jersey. The title of the book is: A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African Prince, As related by Himself. This is one of the earliest autobiographies published by a formerly enslaved person.
  • 1775-01-30 Advertisement: Black man, 1st Black boy, 2nd Black boy
    On January 30, 1775, enslaver Richard Paterson advertised the sale of a Black man and two boys, along with the sale of several real estate properties in Princeton, NJ. Richard Paterson (the father of famous New Jersey statesman William Paterson) was a merchant who maintained a general store in Princeton since the 1750s. In 1775 he decided to close his business, which is what precipitated the sale. No identifying information or ages were listed in the sale ad for the man and the two boys. ----- Transcript of the source document: "TO BE SOLD, By the subscriber, at private sale, the following houses and lots of land, in Princeton, in the Province of New-Jersey. The house the subscriber now lives in, built of stone, and two stories high, in length 53 feet, and 30 in breadth; there are on the first floor five rooms, with a fire place in every room, one of which was formed for a store, and is excellently adapted for that purpose, being 18 feet in front, and 30 feet in depth. The second floor contains six rooms, with fire places in three of them. A commodious cellar runs under the greater part of the building, and a large convenient garret over the whole. This house may easily be converted into two distinct tenements. A kitchen 22 feet long and 16 wide; a negro-house, a well, a garden, and convenient yard. A barn, a stable, and a chair-house under one roof, 50 feet long and 20 wide, fixed on stone pedestals, and covered and inclosed with cedar. A brick house, two stories high, two rooms on the first floor, and three on the second; a good garret, and a cellar-kitchen, that extends under the whole house. To this belongs a lot containing one acre of land. A small frame house, with a well and garden. Forty-eight acres of good, cleared, and well improved land adjoining the said town. The land is divided into four fields, in proper sense; 12 acres of which is meadow, yielding yearly about 12 tons of hay, chiefly lover and spear-grass. The rest of the land is equally good for pasture or tillage. A constant stream of water runs through the meadow-ground, which may, at little expence, be so turned, as to wash and fertilize every part of it. Little need be said of a village so well known as Princeton, situated about mid-way between the cities of New-York and Philadelphia, and in the heart of a fertile thriving country, its advantages in point of trade must necessarily be many and great. This cannot fail of recommending it to traders. Nor is it less inviting to persons fond of an elegant retreat, or of having their children pass through a course of education under their own immediate care and inspection. Princeton is seated on a beautiful eminence, commanding an extensive prospect, and so remarkably healthful, that several gentlemen, perhaps on that account chiefly, have made choice of it as the place of their abode. Surrounded too by an agreeable set of neighbours, it has every requisite to render retirement easy and delightful. The stone house already described, consisting of several apartments, and being within an hundred years of the college, would suit extremely a person disposed to let lodgings and take in boarders. The purchaser of the whole, or of any part of the premises, must pay down one half of the purchase money; for the other half easy payments will be given. The title is unquestionable. The subscriber hath for sale, an assortment of DRY GOODS, which he will dispose of at a low rate for cash, country produce, or short credit. Also a Negro man and two Negro boys. The subscriber requests all persons indebted to him on bond, note, or book account, to make immediate payment. He is desirous of quitting business, and closing his affairs. To pay those to whom he is indebted, it is necessary that those should first pay who are indebted to him. RICHARD PATERSON."
  • 1775-09-28 Death: Ukawsaw Gronniosaw
    Ukawsaw Gronniosaw died on September 28, 1775, several years after publishing his autobiography where he recounted his life in slavery in the home of the Rev. Theodorus Jacobs Frelinghuysen in the Raritan River Valley in New Jersey. Gronniosaw was approximately 65 to 70 years old when he died. The following is the complete text of Gronniosaw's obituary published on October 2, 1775, in the newspaper called Chester Chronicle, or, Commercial Intelligencer: "On Thursday died, in this city, aged 70, James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African prince, of Zoara. He left the country in the early part of his life, with a view to acquire proper notions of the Divine Being, and the worship due to Him. He met with many trials and embarrassments, was much afflicted and persecuted. His last moments exhibited that cheerful serenity which, at such a time, is the certain effect of a thorough conviction of the great truths of Christianity. He published a narrative of his life."
  • 1777-11-30 Sale: Unnamed Black man captured from the enemy [Neilson]
    On November 30, 1777, Thomas Bullman issued a receipt to Colonel John Neilson (1745-1833) for 55 pounds for the sale of an enslaved Black man at public auction. The name of this Black man was not recorded on the receipt, but the document mentioned that the man was "taken from the enemy" and then sold at public vendue (i.e. auction). The receipt was issued in Elizabethtown. Neilson probably became the man's new legal owner; however, the receipt does not clarify whether Neilson purchased the man for himself or for someone else. Other archival documents from the Revolutionary War era in the Neilson Family Papers indicate that John Neilson bought and sold enslaved people during the war for himself and for others. This document was issued during the Revolutionary War, and the Black man mentioned had been captured by the New Jersey militia from the enemy, i.e. from a Loyalist enslaver. During the war, the New Jersey militia routinely captured enslaved men and women who belonged to Loyalist enslavers in New York and New Jersey. The Patriots typically sold these enslaved persons to the highest bidder at a public auction to raise money for the war effort. --- The following is a full transcript of the receipt: [FRONT] Elizh Town } 
Novr 30th 1777 } Receiv’d of Col John Neilson Fifty-five Pounds for a negro Man taken from the the Enemy & Sold Of Publick Vendue this Day — 
Thos. Bullman
 
Rec-d 30th Novr. 1777 of Col Neilson Four pounds four Shillings for 2 Handkerchiefs. bougt. at Vendue by Col Runyon 
Thos. Bullman
 [BACK] 
Bullman paid 
For Negro & handfs
 30 Nov 1777
  • 1777-12-06 Mention: Unnamed Black man [Hardenbergh]
    Rev. Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh (1736-1790), first president of Queen's College (later Rutgers), mentioned a Black man in a letter to his father Col. Johannes Hardenbergh (1706-1786) written on December 6, 1777. The letter was sent from Hardenbergh's parsonage in Raritan (present-day Somerville), and was likely sent to Rosendale, NY, where his father lived. Written in Dutch, the letter states "Schrijve dese wynige in haast, wijl de neger gereet maakt om af te gaan." The English translation is: "Writing these words in a hurry while the negro is getting ready to leave." These words most likely refer to an enslaved Black man who was working at Hardenbergh's parsonage at this time; the man's name is not recorded.
  • 1778-08-20 Freedom seeking: Prime
    On August 20th, 1778, Prime ran away from his enslaver, the Loyalist surgeon Absalom Bainbridge, who was at that time residing in Flatbush, Kings County, New York. Following his escape, Prime returned to Princeton, New Jersey, where he had previously resided with the Bainbridge family. He went on to work for the American troops and would eventually gain freedom for his service in the Revolutionary War. ----- Transcript of the source document: "Two Guineas Reward. RUN away from the subscriber the 20th instant, a Mulatto Negro Boy, named PRIME, 23 years old, about five feet five or six inches high, his hair of a remarkable light colored woolly kind. Whoever secures said Boy: and will inform, or deliver him to the subscriber at Flatbush, Long-Island, or to Mr. John Taylor, in Queen Street, No. 15, shall be entitled to the above reward. All matters of vessels and inhabitants are forewarned to carry him off, or conceal him, as they ill answer to the consequences. A. BAINBRIDGE, Surgeon, N.J.V. "
  • 1780-05-20 Freedom seeking: Michael Hoy
    On the night of May 20, 1780, during the Revolutionary War, a Black man named Michael Hoy escaped from his enslaver Colonel George Morgan. Hoy was in his 40s. He escaped from Morgan's estate called the Prospect Farm, which was adjacent to Princeton University (then called the College of New Jersey) and which is now part of the Princeton campus. Michael Hoy took a horse from his enslaver, and Morgan supposed that Hoy was acting as an informant and carrying letters or intelligence to the British troops in New York. Morgan also believed that Michael Hoy was traveling with a white accomplice and that they also stole a second horse from the "Rev. Mr. Smith" of Princeton, which appears to refer to Princeton professor (and later president) Samuel Stanhope Smith. Morgan and Smith posted rewards for the return of Michael Hoy and the two stolen horses. ----- Transcript of the source document: "Princeton, May 23, 1780. A MULATTO SLAVE, who it is supposed has been seduced to undertake to carry letters or intelligence into New-York, ran away from the subscriber, and took off with him a dark bay horse, 6 years old, 14 and an half hands high, with two white feet and a blaze, and is a natural trotter. The Slave is near 6 feet high, strong and well made; had on, and took with him, a variety of cloaths, but those he will most probably wear are, a suit of super fine mixt broad cloth, a new great coat, white stockings, half boots, a black velvet frock and a beaver hat, but little worn. He appears to be 40 odd years of age, speaks good English, reads and writes a tolerable hand, and is a decent and well-behaved ingenious fellow, capable of a variety of works. His name is Michael Hoy, but may go by some other, and it is probable he may travel as a servant to a white man who is supposed to have gone off with him; and as such may change his dress. He went off in the night of the 20th instant. Five Hundred Dollars will be given, and all charges paid for securing the slave and the horse, or Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars for either, paid by GEORGE MORGAN. P.S. A deep blood bay mare, with a black mane and tail, was stolen the same night the above mentioned slave went off, supposed by him or his accomplice. She has a short dock and a lump, that looks like a wind gall or small wen, on the hindermost part of one of her thighs. She is half blooded, pretty old, trots, and is with foal. Six Hundred Dollars will be paid by the Rev. Mr. Smith of this town, to the person who shall return the mare and convict the thief, or Three Hundred Dollars for the mare alone. "
  • 1780-11-20 Advertisement: Black boy aged 11
    Samuel Stanhope Smith (professor and later president of Princeton University) advertised an 11-year-old Black boy for sale in a Trenton newspaper. ----- Transcript of the source document: "TO BE SOLD, A LIKELY NEGRO BOY, between eleven and twelve years old. Inquire of S.S. SMITH. Princeton, Nov. 20, 1780. "
  • 1781-01-10 Advertisement: Black girl
    In January 1781, Thomas Wilson advertised for the sale of a 17-year-old Black girl in Princeton. ----- Transcript of the source document: "TO BE SOLD, A LIKELY NEGRO WENCH, about 17 years of age. Enquire of the subscriber at Princeton. THOMAS WIGGINS. "
  • 1784-03-25 Advertisement: Black man aged 25
    Samuel Stanhope Smith (professor and later president of Princeton University) placed a slave sale advertisement in a Trenton newspaper. Smith sought to sell a 25-year-old Black man who was trained as a farmer and to acquire instead a new enslaved worker to perform domestic labor in Smith's home in Princeton. ----- Transcript of the source document: "TO BE SOLD, Or exchanged for a servant accustomed to cooking and waiting in a genteel family, A NEGRO SERVANT, About 25 years of age, who is well acquainted with the business of a plantation, and used to taking care of horses. Enquire of the Printer, or of the subscriber in Princeton. SAMUEL S. SMITH March 25, 1784."
  • 1785-12-01 Will (of Israel Read): Tony, Isabel, Jean
    The will of the Rev. Israel Read (pastor of the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church) was written on December 1, 1785, in Piscataway, NJ. Israel Read died 8 years later in 1793, and the will was proved on February 8, 1794, at Somerset. The will mentions several enslaved persons by name, including Toone (referred to as Tony in other archival documents), Isabel, and Jean. Note that Jean was described as an old woman and was granted "her freedom" in the will. Whether Jean was still alive in 1794 and whether she attained freedom is uncertain. New Jersey law prohibited enslavers from officially manumitting elderly Black persons lest they become a public charge. The executors of Read's estate could not have legally manumitted Jean after the pastor's death, although unofficial arrangements for her senior years could have been made in accordance with Read's wishes. The following is a copy of the will abstract as published in the Calendar of Wills, Vol. 8, 1791-1795: "1785, Dec. 1. Read, Rev. Israel, of Piscataway, Middlesex Co.; will of. Son, Thomas, one silver pint mug, 5 silver table spoons and 4 1/2 of residue of personal property. Son, Archibald, one silver server, one silver sugar cup and the other 1/2 of residue of personal property. Daughter, Mary, negro girl named Isabel, 2 feather beds, one silver teapot, 2 silver canasters, one silver cream pot, 6 silver tea spoons, all china and other household furniture; also the annual interest in the widow’s fund in Philadelphia, while single. Library to be sold and divided between the 2 sons. Lands in Somerset Co. and other realty to be sold and proceeds divided between the 3 children. Old negro wench, Jean, her freedom. Negro man, Toone, to be kept by sons. Executors—friends, Dr. Moses Scott and Matthias Baker, Esq. Witnesses—David Kelly, Anthony Cosad, Aaron Coon. Proved Feb. 8, 1794, at Somerset. 1794, Feb. 7. Inventory, £304.9.8; made by Abraham Staats and James Van Duyn. Lib. 33, p. 442; File 948R."
  • 1787-01-31 Sale: Flora, Ann, Phillis Neilson
    Anthony L. Bleecker, a merchant in New York City, sells to John Neilson an enslaved woman named Flora and her two female children Phillis and Ann for 120 New York pounds. The Bill of Sale was signed by Anthony L. Bleecker on January 31, 1787 and was witnessed by Leon Bleecker and Jas. Bleecker. ----- Transcript of the source document: "KNOW all Men by these Presents, That I Anthony L. Bleecker of the City of New York, Merchant For and in Consideration of the Sum of One hundred & twenty pounds Current Money of the State of New York to me in Hand Paid, at and before the Ensealing and Delivery of these Presents, by John Neilson, Esqr the Receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, and myself to be therewith fully satisfied, contented and paid: Have granted, bargained, sold, released; and by these Presents do fully, clearly and absolutely grant, bargain, sell and release unto the said John Neilson a certain negro Woman named Flora together with her two female children, one called Phillis, the other Ann To have and to hold said Flora & her two children unto the said John Neilson, his Executors, Administrators and Assigns, for ever. And I the said Anthony L. Bleecker for myself, my Heirs, Executors and Administrators, do covenant and agree to and with the above named John Neilson his Executors, Administrators and Assigns, to warrant and defend the Sale of the above named Negro Woman & her two children against all Persons whatsoever. In Witness whereof, I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal, this Thirty first Day of January Annoq. Dom. One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty seven. Anthony L. Bleecker Signed, Sealed, and Delivered, in the presence of } Leon Bleecker Jas. Bleecker"
  • 1787-10 Manumission: Bell, Lambert
    William Livingston manumitted Bell and her son Lambert in October 1787. The manumission took place in Elizabeth, NJ. Livingston, who increasingly embraced abolitionist ideas after the Revolution, noted that he made the decision to manumit Bell and Lambert due to his "regard for the natural liberties of mankind" and that he aimed to "set the example" for other enslavers in the hopes that his "voluntary manumission of Slaves, may have any influence on others." The following is a transcript of the Bill of Manumission signed by William Livingston in October 1787: "October [1 – 31] 1787 Know all Men by these presents that I William Livingston of the Borough of Elizabeth in the County of Essex & State of New Jersey, in consideration of my regard for the natural liberties of mankind, & in order to set the example as far as my voluntary manumission of Slaves, may have any influence on others have manumitted emancipated and set at Liberty & Do by these presents manumit emancipate & set at Liberty a certain Negro woman slave called Bell and also her male child called Lambert both born in my family in a state of slavery & do hereby release acquit & discharge the said Bell and her child from any services to me or my representatives as fully & effectually to the extent & purposes whatsoever as if they had been born first free. It witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this [ ] day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty seven."
  • 1792-04-24 Freedom seeking: Sam
    Sam, an 18-year-old Black man, ran away from enslaver James Stevenson of Amwell, Hunterdon County, on April 24, 1792. James Stevenson published a runaway ad offering a reward of $8 for Sam's capture. The ad provided a description of Sam's appearance, scars, and clothing. The following is a transcript of the ad: "Eight Dollars Reward. RAN away from the subscriber the 24th inst. a Negro Boy named Sam, eighteen years of age, five feet six or seven inches high, had on when he went away, a wool hat, sailor coat, waistcoat, and trowsers, all grey linsey, stript linsey shirt, grey stockings, old shoes, a remarkable scar on one of his legs; any person apprehending said negro and securing him so that his master may get him again, shall receive the above reward and all reasonable charges paid by me, JAMES STEVENSON. Amwell, Hunterdon County, April 27, 1792."
  • 1793 Sale: Jef
    Mr. Mattison of Princeton sold Jef to one Mr. Kelsey for the sum of 90 pounds when Jef was aged approximately 21 or younger. Subsequently, the sale was reversed and Jef was returned to Mattison's household at the request of Mr. Mattison's wife. The date of this sale event is unknown, but it occurred sometime before February 24, 1794, when Robert Finley of Princeton mentioned this situation in a letter to his friend Col. John Neilson of New Brunswick. Neilson had asked Finley about the possibility of purchasing Jef for 90 pounds. Finley wrote to Neilson about Jef: "He was once sold to Mr. Kelsey for the sum mentioned in your letter but taken back at the request of his present Mistress."
  • 1794-02 Sale: Jef
    Correspondence between Col. John Neilson of New Brunswick and the Rev. Robert Finley of Princeton in February 1794 discussed Neilson's plans to purchase Jef from Mr. Mattison of Princeton for the sum of 90 pounds. It is unclear whether this sale was ever finalized. In a letter sent on February 25, 1794, Neilson asked his friend Finley to discreetly find out information about Jef's skills and character. Neilson sought information from someone other than Mr. Mattison and hoped to get an honest assessment of Jef's personality and habits. On February 27, 1794, Finley sent a reply saying that he had asked around and obtained information from Samuel Snowden, who had lived with Mattison and was well acquainted with Jef. The name Samuel Snowden mentioned by Finley in the letter likely refers to the Rev. Samuel Finley Snowden (1767-1845), a Presbyterian minister who was studying theology in Princeton at the time and would become the pastor of the Princeton church in 1795. Finley's letter described Jef as a healthy and sober young man 21 years of age. Jef was skilled at tending a kitchen garden and had limited experience managing horses—an activity that he seemed to like. Finley also noted that Jef routinely left the household at night because he was lonely at Mattison's home. Most likely, this means that Jef was separated from his family at Mattison's and had to go outside of the household in order to see his loved ones. This was a common situation for enslaved young adults in New Jersey who often experienced isolation in white households and were at a considerable distance from their own family members. For the full transcript of the two letters, see the linked source documents.
  • 1794-12-24 Advertisement: Black boy
    In December 1794, Thomas Wiggins advertised the sale of a 12-year-old Black boy in Princeton. ----- Transcript of the source document: "To be SOLD by the SUBSCRIBER, An elegant COACHEE, with HARNESS complete, not the worse for wear ; likewise, A smart, active, likely Negro Boy, in his thirteenth year. THOMAS WIGGINS. Princeton, December 24, 1794. "
  • 1797 to 1799 Birth: Sojourner Truth
    Sojourner Truth was born into bondage in Swartekill (near present-day Rifton), a hamlet in Hurley, Ulster County, New York. Her birth name was Isabella. Her parents were James and Betsy Baumfree, who were enslaved to Johannes Hardenbergh Jr. (1729-1799). Following New York law, Isabella inherited her mother's condition of unfreedom and was at the time of her birth deemed a slave of Johannes Hardenbergh Jr. ESTIMATING THE DATE OF SOJOURNER TRUTH'S BIRTH: The exact date of her birth is not known. Many secondary sources list her approximate year of birth as 1797. Comparing her book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth (narrated to Olive Gilbert and first published in 1850), with archival sources that document the events of her childhood suggests that she may have been born in 1798 or in the first half of 1799. EXAMINING PASSAGES FROM THE NARRATIVE OF SOJOURNER TRUTH: "THE subject of this biography, Sojourner Truth, as she now calls herself, but whose name originally was Isabella, was the daughter of James and Betsey, slaves of one Col. Ardinburgh, Hurley, Ulster County, N. Y. Sojourner does not know in what year she was born, but knows she was liberated under the act of 1817, which freed all slaves who were forty years old and upward. Ten thousand slaves were then set at liberty. Those under forty years of age were retained in servitude ten years longer, when all were emancipated." (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 13) In 1799, New York State began to gradually abolish slavery. The Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery went into effect on July 4, 1799. The law stipulated that a daughter born to an enslaved mother after July 4, 1799, would not inherit the condition of permanent enslavement, but rather would become free after serving her mother's master for 25 years (sons had to serve for 28 years before they could become free). Evidently, Sojourner Truth did not benefit from this law. We know Truth inherited her mother's condition of enslavement, and thus we must assume that Truth was born before July 4, 1799. As Truth's narrative recalls, she expected to gain freedom under the Gradual Emancipation Law of 1817, which stipulated that enslaved individuals born before July 4, 1799, would be emancipated on July 4, 1827. "Of her first master, she can give no account, as she must have been a mere infant when he died; and she with her parents and some ten or twelve other fellow human chattels, became the legal property of his son, Charles Ardinburgh." (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 13) Truth recounted that she was an infant when Johannes Hardenbergh Jr. passed away. Johannes Hardenbergh Jr. passed away in 1799. "Isabella and Peter, her youngest brother, remained, with their parents, the legal property of Charles Ardinburgh till his decease, which took place when Isabella was near nine years old." (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 17) "At this memorable time, Isabella was struck off, for the sum of one hundred dollars, to one John Nealy, of Ulster County, New York; and she has an impression that in this sale she was connected with a lot of sheep. She was now nine years of age, and her trials in life may be dated from this period. She says, with emphasis, 'Now the war begun.'" (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 26) Truth recalled being sold at auction at the age of 9, a sale that was precipitated by the death of her second enslaver Charles Hardenbergh. This is one of the most vivid memories of her childhood. Charles Hardenbergh died in early 1808.
  • 1798-04-24 Sale: Tony
    On April 24, 1798, Thomas Read and Archibald Read sold a Black man named Tony to John Neilson of New Brunswick, NJ, for a term of 5 years. John Neilson paid 100 dollars for Tony (50 dollars to each of Tony's two sellers). Tony was an adult at this time, but his age was not recorded in the relevant documents. The sellers were the sons of the late Rev. Israel Read (late long-time pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Bound Brook in Somerset County), and they had inherited Tony from their father when he passed away in 1793. Where exactly Tony lived between 1793 and this sale in 1798 is unclear. The Read brothers grew up in Bound Brook, but Dr. Thomas Read lived in Montgomery County in upstate New York in 1798. He personally came to New Brunswick to sign the sale documents. Archibald Read probably also lived outside of the area by 1798 because he did not personally appear at the sale. Archibald had the executor of his father's estate, Dr. Moses Scott, sign the documents and accept the payment on his behalf. As the result of this sale, Tony would go to live with John Neilson in New Brunswick. Two archival documents pertaining to the sale were preserved in the Neilson Family Papers. Both documents were dated April 24, 1798. In the documents, the sellers' family name is variously spelled Read or Reed, and the name of the enslaved man is variously written as Tony or Tone. The first document is an indenture for Tony, an agreement between the sellers Thomas Read and Archibald Read (signed by Moses Scott on Archibald's behalf) and the buyer John Neilson. This indenture was witnessed by Judge Elijah Phillips and Joseph W. Scott. The indenture stated that Tony was sold for a period of 5 years from the date of the sale. The indenture did not explicitly state what would happen to Tony after the 5-year term, but it said that Thomas and Archibald "divest themselves of all right & title in the said negro man Tony." This seems to imply that Tony was supposed to gain freedom at the expiration of the 5-year term in 1803 and would not return to the Read family. The second document is a certification of Tony's consent to be sold to John Neilson for the 5-year term. This certification was signed by Elijah Phillips, Judge of the Common Pleas for Middlesex County, who noted that Tony personally appeared before him and agreed to the terms of the sale. See the linked sources for the complete transcripts of the documents.
  • 1799 Transfer: Sojourner Truth, James Baumfree, Elizabeth Baumfree
    In 1799, when Sojourner Truth was an infant, her first enslaver Johannes Hardenbergh Jr. (1729-1799) died. Johannes Hardenbergh Jr.'s son Charles Hardenbergh inherited Sojourner Truth and her parents James and Betsey Baumfree as part of the Hardenbergh estate. At the time of this event, Sojourner Truth's name was Isabella. The following is a copy of the relevant passage from her book The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: "Of her first master, she can give no account, as she must have been a mere infant when he died; and she with her parents and some ten or twelve other fellow human chattels, became the legal property of his son, Charles Ardinburgh." (p. 13)
  • 1799-01-19 Sale: Lydia
    On January 19, 1799, the executors of the estate of David Williamson of South Brunswick sold a Black woman named Lydia to Professor John Mclean Sr. of Princeton University (then called the College of New Jersey) for the sum of $160. Lydia's age was not recorded in the bill of sale. The estate executors who signed the bill of sale were Thomas McDowell, John Perrine, Stephen Johnes, and James Schureman, all sons-in-law of the deceased David Williamson. Williamson had died about two years prior in 1797. Benjamin Griggs and John Van Pelt signed as witnesses. ----- Transcript of the source document: "Know all men by these presents that we Thomas McDowell John Perrine Stephen Johnes & James Schureman Executors of the last will & Testament of David Williamson Dec'd. Late of South Brunswick County of Middlesex and State of New Jersey for the sum of one hundred & fifty dollars to them in hand paid have and do bargain and sell to John McClane his Heirs Executors administrators or assigns a female slave named Lydia to have and to hold to him his Executors administrators heirs & assigns forever of which said slave Lydia we have put the said John McClane in full possession at the sealing of these presents in the name of the whole hereby sold - and we do warrant and defend the said John McClane in peaceable possession of said slave Lydia against us & all persons Lawfully claiming from or under us or from the said David Williamson Dec'd. as witness our hands and seals this 19th Day of January In the year of our Lord 1799. Thos. McDowell John Perrine Stephen Johnes Jas Schureman Sealed & Delivered In the presence of Benjamin Griggs John Van Pelt"
  • 1800 Property destruction: Caesar
    There is an anecdote about Caesar and his enslaver Elias Van Bunschooten that was included by William Henry Van Benschoten in his 1907 family history book. The author noted that the story was told to him by Mr. William De Witt, an octogenarian from Clove, an area in Wantage, NJ. The events described would have taken place when Elias Van Bunschooten lived in Wantage where he pastored the Clove Church from 1787 to 1815. The following text is a transcript of the relevant passage from the book on p. 39: “This is another story from the same source: the Domine had a privileged old slave as a gardener who was particularly fond of melons and always planted of them abundantly as well as of cucumbers for which his master had as great a liking. It had of late become a conviction with the Domine that melons were great 'make-thieves,' and so one day without a word he entered the garden and ruthlessly tore up the vines. Caesar spied him in the act: so to even up with his master, next morning early he pulled up the cucumber vines. When the Domine called him to account his plea was: ‘Tit for tat, butter for fat, Massa: my melons, your cucumbers!’ and the Domine had not a word further to say.”
  • 1800-12-16 Advertisement: Unnamed Black woman [Hardenbergh]
    Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh Jr. (1768-1841) advertised a 35-year-old black woman for sale in Somerville, NJ. The ad was first submitted on December 16, 1800, and ran for at least 3 months until March 1801, in the local New Brunswick newspaper called the Guardian, Or, New-Brunswick Advertiser. The ad noted that the woman was a cook and was being "sold for no other reason than being dissatisfied with the place of her master’s residence." This suggests a possible act of resistance on the part of the woman; perhaps she appealed to Hardenbergh to sell her to a more favorable location so she could be closer to family. Hardenbergh grew up in Somerville (at the historic site now known as the Old Dutch Parsonage), but he moved to New Brunswick in the late 18th century, and perhaps his move disrupted this woman's family life. The following is a transcript of the ad, as printed in the March 27, 1801, issue of the newspaper: "FOR SALE BY the subscriber, a Negro wench, of about thirty five years of age, a good cook, sober and honest, sold for no other reason than being dissatisfied with the place of her master’s residence. Apply to JACOB R. HARDENBERGH. Somerville, Dec. 16, 1800." Note that some historians erroneously attribute this advertisement to Rutgers University's first president Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh Sr. (1736-1790), but the president had died a decade before this ad was published. The person who placed this ad was the president's son. The son was an alumnus of Rutgers (then called Queen's College) and an active trustee of the school for decades; he served as the Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the college at the time when he placed this ad in 1800.
  • 1802-07-03 Manumission: Sarah
    Sarah was manumitted by Andrew Kirkpatrick (1756-1831) of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (John Van Nuis) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Abraham Schuyler, Elijah Phillips) on July 3, 1802. The document stated that Sarah was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. Sarah's exact age was not recorded in the document. This manumission was recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on July 7, 1802. Andrew Kirkpatrick was a prominent Queen's College / Rutgers trustee and benefactor.
  • 1804 Advertisement: Black woman, girl, and boy [Morgan]
    On April 12, 1804, John Morgan of Prospect Farm in Princeton advertised the sale of a Black woman, who was used to domestic work, and two Black children, an 11-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy. Morgan noted that he planned to leave the state, and this was the reason for the sale. Around the same time, Morgan sold Prospect Farm to John I. Craig (Prospect is now part of Princeton University's campus). It is possible that the three people listed in the ad were related, although the advertisement does not specifically mention that they were a family. ----- Transcript of the source document: "For Sale, A NEGRO WOMAN, capable of all kinds of House Work, sober, honest, and industrious. A GIRL, Eleven years old, used to the care of children. A BOY, Ten years old. These servants are sold as the subscriber is about leaving the state, and for no other cause. Apply to JOHN MORGAN Princeton, April 12, 1804."
  • 1805-04-27 Birth: Phebe-Gertruda
    Middlesex County Births of Enslaved Children book contains the following record: Page: 8 Child: Phebe-Gertruda Mother: Nancy Enslaver of mother and child: Gertrude Parker, Executrix of the estate of James Parker Sr. Location: Perth Amboy, NJ Birth date: April 27, 1805 Reported date: September 27, 1805 Clerk: William Philips Deare The following is a complete transcript of the document: "Phebe-Gertruda / I do hereby certify that a female child called Phebe-Gertruda was born of a black woman called Nancy belonging to the estate of James Parker dec’d. On Saturday the twenty seventh day of April last. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand at Perth Amboy in the County of Middlesex this twenty seventh day of September one thousand eight hundred and five. Gertrude Parker Executrix of James Parker decd Recorded Oct. 5th 1805."
  • 1806 Sale: Clara Voorhees, Flora Stryker
    According to the obituary of Clara Voorhees, published after her death in 1892, Clara and her twin sister Flora were sold by enslaver Matthew Rue of Scott's Corner to John Joline of Princeton circa 1806. The date of the sale is questionable, because the obit also mentioned that the girls (who were born in 1793) were 17 years old when they were sold, which would put the sale circa 1810 based on their age. John Joline reportedly wanted to buy only Flora, who was stronger and bigger than her sister, but Matthew Rue would only sell the sisters together. John Joline reportedly paid $350 for Flora and $150 for Clara. The sale was for a limited term, and John Joline agreed to manumit the sisters when they reached age 25.
  • 1806-03-01 Manumission: William
    William was manumitted by Cortland L. Parker of Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The certificate of manumission was signed by two Overseers of the Poor of Perth Amboy (James Compton, William Cross) and two Magistrates of the City of Perth Amboy (Recorder James Parker and Alderman John Angus) on March 1, 1806. The document stated that William was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. William's exact age was not recorded in the document. This manumission was recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on March 11, 1806.
  • 1806-06-05 Birth: Martin
    Sussex County Births of Enslaved Children microfilm contains the following record: Child: Martin Mother: Phebe Enslaver of mother and child: Elias Van Bunschooten Location: Sussex County (locality not specified) Birth date: 5 June 1806 Recorded date: 17 December 1806 Clerk: Johnson Although the locality was not specified in the document, Elias Van Bunschooten was a well-known resident of Wantage Township, and it can be assumed that Martin was born in that area. The following is a complete transcript of the birth certificate: "I had born of the body of ny negroe wench Phebe, a slave, a male child the 5th of June 1806 which I have named Martin. - The Clerk of Sussex is requested to record the same. - Elias V. Bunschooten" On reverse side: "Slave Certificate Filed 17 Decmr 1806 Johnson CLK"
  • 1806-09-18 Freedom seeking: Sampson (aka Francis)
    On Thursday night, September 18, 1806, a Black man named Sampson ran away from his enslaver Richard Stockton in Princeton, NJ. He was approximately 30 years old. A runaway ad for Sampson first appeared in a Trenton newspaper on September 29, 1806. At the end of December, Stockton continued running the ad, suggesting that Sampson was still at large three months after his escape. ----- Transcript of the source document: "Twenty Dollars Reward. RANAWAY from the subscriber on Thursday night last, a Negro Man slave named Sampson. He is about 30 years of age, five feet six or seven inches high, very black, of good countenance, but awkward in his appearance when spoken to; his knees knock, and his legs are remarkably small, compared with his body. He had on when he absconded, common summer working clothes. Any person returning him to me at this place shall receive the above reward. RICHARD STOCKTON Princeton, Sept. 24, 1806."
  • 1807 Sale: John Annin
    In 1807, when John Annin (or Jack) was 10 years old, his enslaver Joseph Annin of Somerset County, NJ, sold him to James Parker Jr. (1776-1868) of Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, NJ. At the time of the sale, James Parker Jr. promised to manumit John Annin when the boy reached the age of 25. Information about John Annin's sale comes from his deed of manumission, signed by Parker in 1822 and recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk.
  • 1807-05-01 Birth: Phillis
    Middlesex County Births of Enslaved Children book contains the following record: Page: 23 Child: Phillis Mother: Patty Enslaver of mother and child: James Schureman, Esquire Location: North Brunswick, NJ Birth date: May 1, 1807 Reported date: July 29, 1807 Clerk: William Philips Deare
  • 1807-07-16 Freedom seeking: Dick
    Dick ran away from the house of his enslaver Alpheus Freeman on Thursday evening, July 16, 1807. Dick was aged about 17 or 18 at this time. Since Alpheus Freeman owned multiple properties in New Brunswick, it is difficult to know for certain where Dick resided prior to running away. Dick may have lived (and ran from) the large building on the corner of George Street and Prince (Bayard) Street which was one of Freeman's properties. Freeman was an alumnus of Queen's College (now Rutgers University) and an attorney. Alpheus Freeman offered a 20 dollar reward for the capture and return of Dick and published a detailed description of Dick's physical appearance, scars, and meager apparel in the local newspaper called Guardian, or, New Brunswick Advertiser. The following is a complete transcript of the runaway advertisement, copied from the November 12, 1807, issue of the newspaper: "Twenty Dollars Reward Ranaway from the subscriber on Thursday evening the 16th inst. a mulatto boy, named Dick, a slave of the subscriber, about 17 or 18 years of age, short and thick, with very bushy hair, has one or two scars in the forehead, the sinews of one of his hams a little contracted from a burn when an infant, the scar of which still remains, a scar on the top of one of his feet from an ulcer, an another scar on one of his great toes, occasioned by its being split open with an axe; had on when he went away a pair of tow trousers and shirt, an old great coat an old hat, no shoes or any other wearing apparel. Whoever will take up and secure said boy in any gaol, so that the subscriber may get him again, shall be entitled to the above reward with reasonable expenses. Alpheus Freeman New Brunswick (N.J.) Aug. 22, 1807"
  • 1808 Sale: Sojourner Truth
    Sojourner Truth was sold at an auction by the executors of the estate of Charles Hardenbergh (1765-1808), who was Sojourner Truth's enslaver until his death in 1808. The executors of the estate were Isaac LeFever, Samuel DuBois, and Peter LeFever. Hardenbergh's will stipulated that all his "real and personal property" should be sold and the proceeds divided among his heirs, thus consigning Sojourner Truth and her family to the auction block. She was sold together with a flock of sheep for $100 to John Nealy of Ulster County, NY. Sojourner Truth was 9 years old and was known as Isabella at the time of these events. She recalled the auction, and the ensuing family separation, as the first major traumatic event of her life. The following passages from her 1850 book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, recall the circumstances of the auction sale. "Isabella and Peter, her youngest brother, remained, with their parents, the legal property of Charles Ardinburgh till his decease, which took place when Isabella was near nine years old. After this event, she was often surprised to find her mother in tears; and when, in her simplicity, she inquired, 'Mau-mau, what makes you cry?' she would answer, 'Oh, my child, I am thinking of your brothers and sisters that have been sold away from me.' And she would proceed to detail many circumstances respecting them. But Isabella long since concluded that it was the impending fate of her only remaining children, which her mother but too well understood, even then, that called up those memories from the past, and made them crucify her heart afresh." (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 17) "At length, the never-to be-forgotten day of the terrible auction arrived, when the 'slaves, horses, and other cattle' of Charles Ardinburgh, deceased, were to be put under the hammer, and again change masters." (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 18) "At this memorable time, Isabella was struck off, for the sum of one hundred dollars, to one John Nealy, of Ulster County, New York; and she has an impression that in this sale she was connected with a lot of sheep. She was now nine years of age, and her trials in life may be dated from this period. She says, with emphasis, 'Now the war begun.'" (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 26)
  • 1808-05-12 Probate (of Charles Hardenbergh): Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Baumfree, Peter Baumfree, Sam
    The probate documents related to the estate of Charles Hardenbergh (1765-1808) are related to the famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth and her family. On January 4, 1808, shortly before his death, Charles Hardenbergh (1765-1808) signed his last will and testament in Hurley, Ulster County, NY, in the presence of witnesses William Hutchins, Cornelia Hardenbergh, and John C. Hardenbergh. The will was proved by the Surrogate of Ulster County on May 10, 1808, following Charles Hardenbergh's death. In this document, Hardenbergh declared his wish for his estate to be liquidated and the proceeds divided among his heirs, writing, "it is my will and desire that all my real and personal property shall be sold by my executors herein after named within a convenient time after my decease." Hardenbergh did not mention any Black people by name in his will. His instructions would affect all of the enslaved people in his household, who would all be sold shortly after his death. The inventory of the estate of Charles Hardenbergh (1765-1808) was taken on May 12, 1808, by Peter LeFever and Lewis Hardenbergh, and filed with the Surrogate of Ulster County on January 2, 1810. Page 5 of the inventory lists four enslaved persons who were part of the estate of Charles Hardenbergh. The following is a transcript of their names and the monetary values assigned to them by the inventory: "Negro slave Sam $100 Negro wench Bett $1 Negro wench Isabella $100 Negro boy Peet $100" The name Isabella refers to Sojourner Truth (Isabella was her birth name). Bett refers to her mother, Betsey Baumfree. Peet likely refers to Sojourner Truth's brother Peter. The inventory does not state the ages of these enslaved individuals, but according to The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, at the time of Charles Hardenbergh's death, she was nine years old: "Isabella and Peter, her youngest brother, remained, with their parents, the legal property of Charles Ardinburgh till his decease, which took place when Isabella was near nine years old." (Narrative of Sojourner Truth, p. 17)
  • 1808-09-28 Hire: Will
    An enslaved man named Will performed construction labor for the first permanent building for Queen's College (later Rutgers). The building is now known as Old Queens. Will's enslaver Jacob Dunham hired out Will to the college to work at the construction site. Around September 1808, Will worked to lay the foundation for the building. On September 28, 1808, Abraham Blauvelt, chairman of the Queen's Building Committee, recorded a payment for $5.60 to Jacob Dunham for Will's labor on the foundation. Blauvelt's accounting record does not provide further details, but based on the cost of labor, one might estimate that the payment of $5.60 was for about one to two weeks of work.
  • 1809-04-29 Manumission: Abraham Glasgow
    Abraham Glasgow was manumitted by Andrew Kirkpatrick (1756-1831) of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Andrew Kirkpatrick was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey and a prominent Rutgers trustee. The certificate of manumission noted that the man was a "slave commonly called Glasgow, but who call himself Abraham Glasgow." The document stated that Abraham Glasgow was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. Abraham Glasgow's exact age was not recorded in the document, however, the judges stated that his aged was confirmed "as manifestly appears from his certificate of baptism, and from his own representation," thus revealing that Abraham Glasgow has been baptized as a child. This certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (John Van Nuis) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Asa Runyon, Thomas Hance) on April 29, 1809. The certificate was recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on the same day. Two days later, on May 1, 1809, Andrew Kirkpatrick issued a deed of manumission for Glasgow. In this document, Kirkpatrick wrote that he decided to set free Glasgow "especially for and in consideration of his faithful services to me heretofore rendered." This document was witnessed by Anna Maria Bayard and Mary Ann Kirkpatrick and then notarized by judge Jacob Van Wickle. The deed was recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk on the same day it was issued.
  • 1809-11-30 Hire: Will
    An enslaved man named Will performed construction labor for the first permanent building for Queen's College (later Rutgers). The building is now known as Old Queens. Will's enslaver Jacob Dunham hired out Will to the college to work at the construction site. Around November 1809, Will worked on the building's masonry. On November 30, 1809, Abraham Blauvelt, chairman of the Queen's Building Committee, recorded a payment for $39.88 to Jacob Dunham for Will's labor on the masonry. Blauvelt's accounting record does not provide further details, but based on the cost of labor, one might estimate that the payment of $39.88 was for at least a month and a half of work.
  • 1811-09-08 Marriage: Mark Harris Sr., Ambo Harris
    Mark Harris Sr. and Ambo were married on September 8, 1811, by Rev. Joseph Clark of the First Presbyterian Church of New Brunswick. A notation in the pastor's register of marriages for 1811 reads thus: "Sept. 8 Mark a black man belonging to Capt. Taylor, to Ambo a [black] woman [belonging to] Col. John Neilson $2.50"
  • 1812-01-29 Birth: Peter
    Middlesex County Births of Enslaved Children book contains the following record: Page: 51 Child: Peter Mother: Hannah Enslaver of mother and child: Abraham Blauvett Location: North Brunswick, NJ Birth date: January 29, 1812 Reported date: January 29, 1812 Clerk: William Philips Deare The document indicates that the enslaver was a printer.
  • 1812-09-14 Birth: Clara Harris
    Clara Harris was born on September 14, 1812, in New Brunswick, the daughter of Ambo and Mark Harris Sr. Ambo's enslaver John Neilson reported Clara's birth to the Middlesex County Clerk. The following is a transcript of Clara's birth record in the County Clerk's register: "I John Neilson of the city in in of New Brunswick in the township of North Brunswick in the county of Middlesex State of New Jersey, certify that a female negro child called Clara was born of my slave Ambo at the place aforesaid on the 14 day of September in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred twelve. - Witness my hand at New Brunswick aforesd. John Neilson. - Recd. December 19, 1812 recorded. -"
  • 1814-01-26 Advertisement: Unnamed Black woman [Freeman]
    In January 1814, William B. Parker and Joseph W. Scott, the administrators of the estate of Alpheus Freeman, began advertising the sale of a Black woman, aged 24, who was enslaved to the late Alpheus Freeman of New Brunswick, NJ. The same advertisement listed 8 buildings for rent in New Brunswick. The advertisement was first submitted on January 26, 1814, and continued running in the local paper at least until April of 1815. The following is a transcript of the ad as it appeared in the April 13, 1815, issue of the newspaper, called the Guardian, Or, New-Brunswick Advertiser. The Black woman is mentioned at the bottom of the ad: "To Rent, THAT elegant and established stand for business, the CITY HALL; Now in the occupancy of Philip Pierson, situate on the corner of Prince and George streets, in the City of New-Brunswick. The house is large, commodious, and in complete repair—the out buildings are spacious and complete, with a pump of excellent water and a cistern in the yard. This stand is in every respect circulated to carry on an an extensive and profitable business.—Possession given the first of May. ALSO, The house adjoining the above, in Prince-street; an excellent stand for a Grocery Store, having been occupied as such for several years.—Immediate possession given. ALSO, The house adjoining, in Prince-street—Possession given the first of May. ALSO, The house now occupied by John Machet, apposite the above described property, in Prince-street—Possession given the first of May. ALSO, The house occupied at present by Simon Pette, adjoining Dennis' Row in George-street—Possession given the first of May. ALSO, A house in Somerset-street, opposite the College, at present occupied by Stephen Huat—Possession given the first of May. ALSO, A house in Washington-street, near the Turnpike Road, now occupied by Thomas Bell—Possession given the first of May. ALSO, The house occupied by Mrs. Freeman, in Burnet-street—Possession given the first May. For further information apply to WILLIAM B. PARKER, or JOSEPH W. SCOTT, Am’rs. of Alpheus Freeman dec. For Sale, A BLACK WOMAN, slave for life, about 24 years of age, stout, active and healthy—Apply as above. Jan 26, 1814. 25-4w."
  • 1814-04-20 Sale: Teunis
    Enslaver Joseph Baldwin of Newark, NJ, sold 26-year-old Teunis to James Neilson (1784-1862) of New Brunswick, NJ, for the sum of $175. We can infer that this sale caused a relocation of Teunis from Newark to New Brunswick. The Bill of Sale was signed on April 20, 1814, in the presence of John Guild.
  • 1814-04-21 Advertisement: Grace, Dine
    On April 21, 1814, John Neilson and John Pool, two of the executors of the estate of the Rev. Joseph Clark (late pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Brunswick), placed a sale advertisement for two Black women in the New Brunswick newspaper the Fredonian. The ad also mentioned that buyers could inquire with "P. I. Clark" which refers to Joseph Clark's son Peter Imlay Clark, although he was not one of the executors of his father's estate. The text of the ad was as follows: "For Sale, TWO BLACK WOMEN, Belonging to the estate of Rev. Dr. J. Clark, dec— one in her 25th the other in her 18th year. They are sober, honest, and industrious. For terms enquire of JOHN NEILSON, JOHN POOL, Executers. Or of P.I. CLARK. Also for sale— A CHAIR AND HARNESS. April 21." Although the ad did not mention the women's names, we are able to identify the women as Grace and Dine based on related receipts that were preserved in the Neilson Family Papers at Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives.
  • 1814-04-22 Manumission: Patty
    Patty, aged 39, was manumitted by John Croes D.D., of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. (The Reverend John Croes was the rector of Christ Church in New Brunswick at this time and would be elected first Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey the following year.) At age 39, Patty was on the brink of aging out of the possibility of manumission. New Jersey law held that enslaved persons aged 40 and above were too old to earn a livelihood on their own and were at a high risk of becoming paupers; thus the law held that they should be supported by the enslaver in their old age and could not be manumitted and sent away from the household where they had toiled for decades. The certificate of manumission for Patty was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (Moses Guest) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Thomas Hance and Asa Runyon) on April 22, 1814. The document stated that Patty was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. The deed of manumission was signed on April 22, 1814, by John Croes. These documents were recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) four and a half years later on October 6, 1820.
  • 1814-06-23 Birth: Ann Harris
    Ann Harris was born on June 23, 1814, in New Brunswick, the daughter of Ambo and Mark Harris Sr. Ambo's enslaver John Neilson reported Ann's birth to the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare). The following is a transcript of Ann's birth record in the County Clerk's register: "I certify that Ann, Daugr of Ambo, my colored servant woman (by Mark her husband) was born the 23d day of June 1814. - New Brunswick County of } Middlesex New Jersey. - } John Neilson Received May 3d 1820. Recorded by Deare Clk"
  • 1814-08-04 Sale: Grace
    Grace was sold by the executors of the estate of the Rev. Joseph Clark (late pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Brunswick) in 1814 to a man named Mr. Linn. Clark had left his estate to wife Margaret Clark and his children, naming several prominent members of his church as executors of his will. The executors of the estate advertised the sale of two black women (aged about 24 and 17) in the local newspaper the Fredonian starting in April 1814. Grace was the older of the two women. Grace was sold to Mr. Linn for the sum of 150 dollars, and John Neilson (one of the executors of the estate) collected the payment. On August 4, 1814, John Neilson delivered the payment of 150 dollars for Grace's sale to Margaret Clark, the widow of Joseph Clark. Neilson obtained a receipt from Margaret Clark, which was actually signed by Margaret's daughter Hannah Clark on Margaret's behalf. The following is a transcript of the receipt: "New Brunswick 4 August 1814 Received from John Neilson one hundred & fifty dollars which he received from Mr. Linn for a black girl Grace belonging to the estate of the late Revd Doctr Clark sold to the said Mr. Linn. Margaret Clark by Hannah Clark"
  • 1815-01-03 Sale: Elizabeth
    Elizabeth, a Black woman, was sold by the Middlesex County sheriff at a public auction as a result of a lawsuit. It appears that Elizabeth's enslaver John Powers was indebted to Staats Van Deursen (treasurer of Queen's College). Staats Van Deursen brought a lawsuit against John Powers, and a Writ of Execution was issued ordering the sheriff to sell Elizabeth at public auction. Sheriff Abraham Van Arsdalen sold Elizabeth to James Neilson (trustee and benefactor of Queen's College, later Rutgers University) on January 3, 1815, for the sum of 250 dollars. On January 23, 1815, James Neilson paid the sheriff for the sale and took possession of Elizabeth, as shown in a receipt issued by the sheriff on that date. --- The following is a transcript of the receipt: "Rec'd New Brunswick 23d January 1815 from Mr. James Neilson two hundred & fifty Dollars in full payment of a certain Negro Woman named Elizabeth, belonging to the personal estate of John Powers, sold by me on the 3d day of January Inst by Writ of an Execution at the suit of Staats Van Deursen which negro I do hereby deliver to his possession. $250 Abrm Van Arsdalen Sheriff"
  • 1815-04-17 Sale: Dine
    Dine was sold by the executors of the estate of the Rev. Joseph Clark (late pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Brunswick) in 1815 to George Farmer. Clark had left his estate to wife Margaret Clark (who died shortly after him in 1814) and his children, naming several prominent members of his church as executors of his will. The executors of the estate advertised the sale of two black women (aged about 24 and 17) in the local newspaper the Fredonian starting in April 1814. Dine was the younger of the two women. It took approximately a year for the executors to complete Dine's sale. George Farmer paid 75 dollars for Dine to John Neilson (one of the executors of the estate). On April 17, 1815, John Neilson delivered the payment of 75 dollars for the sale to Hannah, the daughter of the late Joseph Clark. This was part of Hannah's inheritance. Hannah Clark issued John Neilson a receipt for the money. The following is a transcript of the receipt: "New Brunswick 17th April 1815 Received from John Neilson seventy five dollars received by him as Excr of the est. of Revd. Docr Jos. Clark from George Farmer for black girl Dine sold by the Executor to the said Geo Farmer Hannah Clark"
  • 1815-05-25 Sale: Prince
    On May 25, 1815, Cornelius C. Vermeule sold Prince to John Neilson (1745-1833) for 150 dollars. Prince was about 23 years old at this time. The buyer and seller both lived in New Brunswick, NJ. The terms of the Bill of Sale suggest that there was some prior indenture agreement between Prince and Cornelius C. Vermeule that set September 1, 1819, as the expected manumission date for Prince. Vermeule sold Prince to Neilson for the remainder of Prince's "unexpired time" which was listed as 4 years, 3 months, and 6 days. The Bill of Sale was signed in the presence of witness John Guild.
  • 1816-07-02 Birth: Eliza Harris
    Eliza Harris was born on July 2, 1816, in New Brunswick, the daughter of Ambo and Mark Harris Sr. Ambo's enslaver John Neilson reported Eliza's birth to the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare). The following is a transcript of Eliza's birth record in the County Clerk's register: "I certify that Eliza, Daugr of Ambo, my colourd servant woman (by Mark her husband) was born in New Brunswick 2d day of July 1816. - New Brunswick County of Middlesex State of New Jersey. - John Neilson - Received May 3d 1820. Recorded by Deare Clk"
  • 1816-07-18 Advertisement: Black girl
    On July 18, 1816, Princeton professor Elijah Slack advertised the sale of a 19-year-old Black girl. In addition to Slack, John N. Simpson of New Brunswick and Samuel Leake of Trenton were listed as points of contact for the sale. ----- Transcript of the source document: "For Sale, A NEGRO GIRL, Nearly 19 years of age. She is well versed in all kinds of house work, and is a very good spinster. It is believed she will particularly suit a farmer. She is a slave. For terms enquire of John N. Simpson, Esq. New Brunswick—Samuel Leake, Esq. Trenton—or of the subscriber in Princeton. ELIJAH SLACK. July 18. 3tp"
  • 1816-10-15 Sale: Mark Harris Sr.
    Benjamin Taylor sold Mark (Mark Harris Sr.) to James Neilson for $200 on October 15, 1816. The buyer and seller both lived in New Brunswick, NJ. William P. Deare and Joseph Dunn signed the bill of sale as witnesses. The bill of sale describes the enslaved man as a "mulatto slave" and does not list Mark's last name. Other archival documents indicate that Mark's family name was Harris. Mark was approximately 25 years old at this time. As part of the slave sale contract, James Neilson promised to manumit Mark "at the expiration of five years from the date 12 March 1816." The mention of the 5-year term suggests that Mark probably entered into a 5-year agreement with Benjamin Taylor and was promised his freedom before he was sold to James Neilson. Five years prior to this sale event, Mark Harris Sr. married to Ambo, an enslaved woman in the Neilson household. Ambo and Mark Harris had several children together. When James Neilson purchased Mark Harris, the Harris family was unified in the Neilson household, and Mark could come live with his wife and children who also served the Neilsons. --- The following is a complete transcript of the bill of sale: [FRONT PAGE] Know all men by these presents, that I Benjamin Taylor Junr of the city of New Brunswick in the state of New Jersey, Mariner, for the sum of two hundred dollars to me in hand paid by James Neilson of the city and State aforesaid, Merchant, have and do bargain and sell unto the said James Neilson his executors administrators and assigns my mulatto slave called and known by the name Mark aged about twenty five years; To have and to hold the said slave Mark to the said James Neilson his executors administrators and assigns forever; and I have this day delivered the said slave into the posesion of the said James Neilson and I do warrant and will defend the said James Neilson in the peaceable posesion of said slave against me and all persons whatsoever. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fifteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen. Benjn Taylor Sign sealed & delivered in the presence of } Wm P. Deare [BACK PAGE] I do hereby covenant and engage to and with the written named Benjn Taylor Jnr his executors administrators & assigns that at the expiration of five years from the date 12 March 1816 I will manumit and set free the written named Mark from slavery and servitude. —Witness my hand & seal this fifteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen. James Neilson Sign sealed & delivered in the presence of } Joseph Dunn
  • 1817-01-15 Membership or participation: Samuel Lane
    Samuel Lane was one of the founding members of the African Association of New Brunswick, and his name appears on the first list of subscribers in January 1817. Lane was enslaved at this time. He received a permission slip from enslaver Andrew Kirkpatrick to join the organization. The following is a transcript of the permission slip signed by Andrew Kirkpatrick: "I do hereby give permission to my man Sam to become a member of and to attend the African Society in the city of New Brunswick, and to join them in all such things as shall be lawful and necessary, and at the same time consistent with his condition as a slave.

 15 Jan. 17. And Kirkpatrick"
  • 1817-01-21 Membership or participation: Mark Harris Sr.
    Mark Harris Sr. was among the founding members of the African Association of New Brunswick in 1817, and his name appears on the first membership roll in the association's minute book. He received permission from enslaver James Neilson to join the association. The following is a transcript of the permission slip written by James Neilson: "New Brunswick 21 Jan: 1817 I certify that I approve of the African Association of New Brunswick & give Mark Harris a Colored man belonging to me, liberty to join the same. James Neilson" Mark would continue to be a member of the organization until 1821.
  • 1817-06-12 Manumission: Thomas Boston
    On June 12, 1817, Henry Rutgers manumitted a Black man named Thomas Boston. This manumission took place in New York City where Henry Rutgers resided. The manumission was certified by mayor Jacob Radcliff and Richard Riker, the Recorder of the City of New York. The deed of manumission and the accompanying certificate have been preserved by the New-York Historical Society as part of the New-York Manumission Society records collection. See the linked manumission source for the complete transcript of the document.
  • 1817-07 Freedom seeking: Abraham Sherrit
    Around July 1817, Abraham Sherrit, a 23-year-old Black man, ran away from his enslaver Joseph Clark. Clark was a sea captain in charge of the brig Friendship that sailed between Montserrat and New York, and Abraham Sherrit had worked as a steward aboard this vessel. Abraham Sherrit absconded while the brig was docked in New York. Joseph Clark had to leave Abraham Sherrit behind when he sailed out of the port, but he relied on a business associate of his, a merchant named Robert Lenox, to search for Abraham Sherrit. This merchant, Robert Lenox, was a trustee of Princeton University (then called the College of New Jersey). Lenox published a runaway ad offering a reward for Abraham Sherrit's capture. ----- Transcript of the source document: "TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD, WILL be paid for apprehending and securing (so that his master may get him again) a black man named ABRAHAM SHERRIT, a slave to the owner of the brig Friendship, of Montserrat, Joseph Clark, master, of which vessel he was stewart. He is a good looking young man of about 23 years of age, 5 feet 4 inches high, and dresses neatly. He has remarkable thick ancles, (the effect of disease) which he endeavours to conceal by his long trowsers. All persons are forbid harbouring the said runaway, and masters of vessels are requested not to ship him. Application in the absence of the master of the said brig to be made to ROBERT LENOX, Esq. july 8--1m "
  • 1817-08 Sale: Dinah
    Enslaver Dr. William Van Deursen of New Brunswick (alumnus and long-time trustee of Queen's College, now Rutgers University) sold Dinah, age 22, to Jacob Klady, a New Brunswick landholder who intended to move to Ouachita Parish in Louisiana and take Dinah with him. At the time of the sale, Jacob Klady promised to manumit Dinah if she served obediently for 15 years in Louisiana. This promise was probably made by Klady in order to gain Dinah's consent for the relocation, since New Jersey law required registering the consent of an enslaved person before that person could be taken out of the State of New Jersey. Around the same time, William Van Deursen's brother Staats Van Deursen also sold a woman named Phillis to Jacob Klady for relocation to Louisiana.
  • 1817-08-30 Removal: Dinah
    In 1817, William Van Deursen, a physician in New Brunswick and a graduate of Queen's College (now Rutgers University) sold Dinah to a man named Jacob Klady, a New Jersey landholder who was getting ready to move to Ouachita Parish in Louisiana to establish a plantation. Klady took Dinah to Louisiana with him. Dinah was aged 22 at this time. Before Klady was allowed to take Dinah out of the State of New Jersey, Dinah had to appear in court and give her consent to move with Klady. It appears that Dinah used this as an opportunity to negotiate with Klady for her freedom before giving her consent. On August 30, 1817, William Van Deursen brought Phillis to the Court of Common Pleas of Middlesex County to obtain a removal certificate authorizing Jacob Klady to take Dinah to Louisiana where she would serve Klady as her new enslaver. According to this removal certificate, Klady promised to manumit Dinah if she served him obediently for 15 years in Louisiana. The certificate was signed by two judges (Thomas Hance and John Fitz Randolph). The certificate was recorded by the County Clerk (William P. Deare) on October 8, 1817. A complete transcript of the removal certificate follows: "Dinah } State of New Jersey } Middlesex County } On the 30th day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen Dinah the female servant of Doctor William Van Deursen of the city of New Brunswick, in the county and State aforesaid, being a slave for life, was privately examined before us Thomas Hance and John Outcalt two of the Justices of the Peace, and Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for sd County, which sd slave Dinah upon her sd examination did say that she was near twenty two years of age, that she is perfectly satisfied and willing to leave the place of her present residence and remove with Jacob Klady to the State of Louisiana and that she prefers to serve the said Jacob Klady to the service of her present master – all which we do hereby certify and that the said Dinah is a slave for life – and that the said Jacob Klady has and does hereby promise and engage that if the sd slave Dinah shall behave in an obedient and orderly manner and serve him honestly and faithfully for the space of fifteen years from the date hereof she shall at the expiration of that time be manumitted & set free. – In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names the day and year above written. – Thos. Hance Jno. Outcalt – Received October 8, 1817 recorded by Deare clk"
  • 1817-09 Sale: Phillis
    In 1817, Staats Van Deursen (Treasurer of Queen's College, later Rutgers Univesity) sold Phillis to a man named Jacob Klady, a New Jersey landholder who was getting ready to move to Ouachita Parish in Louisiana to establish a plantation. Klady took Phillis to Louisiana with him. Phillis was aged 22 at this time. Around the same time, Staats Van Deursen's brother William Van Deursen sold a woman named Dinah to Jacob Klady for relocation to Louisiana.
  • 1817-09-23 Removal: Ben
    In 1817, James Smith of Middlesex County, NJ, sold Ben to a man named Jacob Klady, a New Brunswick landholder who was getting ready to move to Ouachita Parish in Louisiana to establish a plantation. Klady took Ben to Louisiana with him. Ben was aged 18 at this time. On September 23, 1817, James Smith brought Ben to the Court of Common Pleas of Middlesex County to obtain a removal certificate authorizing Jacob Klady to take Ben to Louisiana where Ben would serve Klady as his new enslaver. The certificate was signed by two judges (Thomas Hance and John Fitz Randolph). The document stated that Ben was examined by the judges and consented to move with Jacob Klady to Louisiana. It additionally stated that Ben had no parents living in the state of New Jersey (i.e. parental consent was not obtained for Ben's move). The certificate was recorded by the County Clerk (William P. Deare) on October 8, 1817.
  • 1817-09-23 Removal: Phillis
    In 1817, Staats Van Deursen (Treasurer of Queen's College, later Rutgers Univesity) sold Phillis to a man named Jacob Klady, a New Jersey landholder who was getting ready to move to Ouachita Parish in Louisiana to establish a cotton plantation. Klady took Phillis to Louisiana with him. Phillis was aged 22 at this time. On September 23, 1817, Staats Van Deursen brought Phillis to the Court of Common Pleas of Middlesex County to obtain a removal certificate authorizing Jacob Klady to take Phillis to Louisiana where she would serve Klady as her new enslaver. The certificate was signed by two judges (Thomas Hance and John Fitz Randolph). The document stated that Phillis was examined by the judges and consented to move with Jacob Klady to Louisiana. The certificate was recorded by the County Clerk (William P. Deare) on October 8, 1817. A complete transcript of the removal certificate follows: "Phillis } State of New Jersey } Middlesex County } On the 23rd day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen Phillis the negro slave of Staats Van Deursen of the city of New Brunswick, in the county and State aforesaid, aged twenty two years was privately examined before us Thomas Hance and John F. Randolph two of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for said County of Middlesex, and on her examination did state and acknowledge to us that she was twenty two years old and that she was perfectly willing to leave the service of her present master and to remove with Jacob Klady to the State of Louisiana and that she would rather go with and serve the said Jacob Klady than continue with her present master. All of which we do hereby certify. In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands the day and year above written. - Thos. Hance John F. Randolph. - Received October 8th, 1817 recorded by Wm. P. Deare CLK"
  • 1818 Manumission: Clara Voorhees, Flora Stryker
    According to the obituary of Clara Voorhees, published after her death in 1892, Clara and her twin sister Flora were manumitted when they reached age 25, pursuant to a term agreement put in place when John Joline purchased the sisters from Matthew Rue. The manumission would have occurred around 1818 in Princeton. Legal documents related to this manumission have not been found.
  • 1818-07-27 Birth: Mark Harris Jr.
    Mark Harris Jr. was born on July 27, 1818, in New Brunswick, the son of Ambo and Mark Harris Sr. Ambo's enslaver John Neilson reported Mark's birth to the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare). The following is a transcript of Mark's birth record in the County Clerk's register: "I certify that Mark born of Ambo my col'd servant woman (by Mark her husband) was born in New Brunswick 27 July 1818 New Brunswick County of Middlesex State of New Jersey. - John Neilson Received May 3d 1820 recorded by Deare Clk"
  • 1818-08-21 Manumission: Samuel Lane
    Slaveholder Andrew Kirkpatrick manumitted Samuel Lane on August 21, 1818. Samuel Lane was between 21 and 40 years old, but his exact age was not recorded by the county officials. Kirkpatrick noted that he manumitted Lane "especially in consideration of his services for several years to me rendered." Kirkpatrick described Lane as "negro man named Sam, but who calls himself Samuel Lane." The Middlesex County Book of Manumissions and Removals contains two records related to Samuel Lane's manumission. The Certificate of Manumission, issued on August 21, 1818, by officials Abraham Van Arsdalen (Overseer of the Poor of the township of North Brunswick), Thomas Hance and John Gillman (two Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County), appears on page 274. The Deed of Manumission signed by Andrew Kirkpatrick on August 21, 1818, appears on pages 274-275. These documents were recorded in the book by Middlesex County Clerk William P. Deare on August 24, 1818.
  • 1818-09-05 Membership or participation: Mark Harris Sr.
    Mark Harris Sr. was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick who paid dues during the meeting of September 5, 1818. He paid 50 cents membership dues. His name was recorded in the association's minute book as "Mark Harres."
  • 1819-01-01 Membership or participation: Mark Harris Sr.
    Mark Harris Sr. was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick on January 1, 1819. He paid 50 cents membership dues. His name was recorded in the association's minute book as "Mark Harress."
  • 1819-01-01 Membership or participation: Samuel Lane
    Samuel Lane was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick who paid dues during the meeting of January 1, 1819. He paid 50 cents membership dues (the customary 6-month dues for free persons of color). His name was recorded in the association's minute book as "Samuel Lain." Samuel had been previously enslaved by Andrew Kirkpatrick, but had been manumitted four months prior to this event.
  • 1819-12-13 Manumission: Cato
    Cato, aged 30, was manumitted by Abraham Van Arsdalen and William P. Deare, acting as executors for the estate of Elijah Hunt, deceased. Before his death, Elijah Hunt promised to manumit Cato in September 1819 (at the expiration of a 9-year term of service that began in September 1810). The manumission deed, signed by the executors on December 13, 1819, states: "Elijah Hunt late of the Township of North Brunswick in the County of Middlesex New Jersey dec'd, did in his lifetime by writing under his hand & seal covenant & bind himself on the 11th Sept. 1810 to manumit and set free his Negro Slave Cato in nine years from the date thereof, which term hath now expired," and thus the executors "in pursuance of the said covenant manumit and set free the said Negro Slave Cato aged about thirty years from slavery and servitude." The executors brought Cato to court to complete the process and obtain a certificate of manumission. The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (who happened to be Abraham Van Arsdalen, one of the executors of Elijah Hunt's estate) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Thomas Hance and Nicholas Booraem Jr.) on December 13, 1819. The document stated that Cato was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. The deed and the certificate were recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare, who was also one of the executors named in the documents) on December 24, 1819.
  • 1820-01-01 Membership or participation: Mark Harris Sr.
    Mark Harris Sr. was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick on January 1, 1820. He paid 50 cents membership dues.
  • 1820-01-01 Membership or participation: Phillis Neilson
    Phillis Nelson became a member of the African Association of New Brunswick on January 1, 1820, with the permission of enslaver John Neilson. The following is a transcript of the permission slip written by John Neilson: "Phillis a colored woman has my entire approbation to join the Affrican Association. New Brunswick 1 Janry 1820 John Neilson" The minute book for the association records Phillis as a member who paid dues during the meeting of January 1, 1820. She paid 25 cents membership dues (the customary 6-month dues for enslaved members of the organization). Her name was recorded in the minute book as "Phillis Nelson."
  • 1820-01-01 Membership or participation: Samuel Lane
    Samuel Lane was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick who paid dues during the meeting of January 1, 1820. He paid 50 cents membership dues (the customary 6-month dues for free persons of color). His name was recorded in the association's minute book as "Samuel Lain." This is the last time his name appears in the organization's records. He was a member from 1817 to 1820. At the time of this event, Samuel was a free man. He had been previously enslaved by Andrew Kirkpatrick, but was manumitted in 1818.
  • 1820-07-01 Membership or participation: Mark Harris Sr.
    Mark Harris Sr. was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick on July 1, 1820. He paid 50 cents membership dues.
  • 1820-07-01 Membership or participation: Phillis Neilson
    Phillis Neilson was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick who paid dues during the meeting of July 1, 1820. She paid 25 cents membership dues (the customary 6-month dues for enslaved members of the organization). Her name was recorded in the association's minute book as "Phillis Nelson."
  • 1821-01-01 Membership or participation: Mark Harris Sr.
    Mark Harris Sr. was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick on January 1, 1821. He paid 50 cents membership dues. Additionally, he promised to contribute 50 cents as part of an effort to raise funds for printing 500 pamphlets with Gustavus V. Caesar's address to the association. This was the final time Mark Harris's name was recorded in the association's minute book. He was a member from 1817 to 1821.
  • 1821-01-01 Membership or participation: Phillis Neilson
    Phillis Neilson was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick who paid dues during the meeting of January 1, 1821. She paid 25 cents membership dues (the customary 6-month dues for enslaved members of the organization). Her name was recorded in the association's minute book as "Phillis Nelson."
  • 1822-01-01 Membership or participation: Phillis Neilson
    Phillis Neilson was recorded as a member of the African Association of New Brunswick who paid dues during the meeting of January 1, 1822. She paid 25 cents membership dues (the customary 6-month dues for enslaved members of the organization). Her name was recorded in the association's minute book as "Phillis Nelson." At the time of this meeting, she was still an enslaved woman, but she would be manumitted by John Neilson fifteen days later. This is the last time that Phillis's name is recorded in the organization's minute book; she was a member from 1820 to 1822.
  • 1822-01-16 Manumission: Ambo Harris
    Slaveholder John Neilson manumitted Ambo Harris on January 16, 1822. Ambo Harris would have been in her 30s at the time, but her exact age was not recorded on the manumission documents. The manumission certificate refers to her as "female slave named Ambo" and does not list her last name, but other archival documents indicate that her family name by marriage was Harris. The manumission certificate was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of the Township of North Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and two Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (James Dunham and Nicholas Booraem Jr.). The original certificate was preserved in the Neilson Family Papers. A manuscript copy of the manumission certificate for Ambo, dated January 16, 1822, appears on page 351 in the Book of Manumissions for Middlesex County; a copy of John Neilson's deed of manumission for Ambo, dated January 18, 1822, appears on page 353. The documents were recorded in the book by Middlesex County Clerk William P. Deare on January 16, 1822, and January 21, 1822. Relatedly, John Neilson also manumitted Phillis Neilson on the same day.
  • 1822-01-16 Manumission: Phillis Neilson
    Slaveholder John Neilson manumitted Phillis Neilson on January 16, 1822. Phillis's exact age was not recorded on the manumission certificate, which noted only that she was not over 40 years old as required by New Jersey's law regulating manumissions. Since we know that Phillis was born before 1787 when she was sold with her mother to John Neilson, we can calculate that Phillis would have been between 35 and 40 years old at the time of the manumission in 1822. Only Phillis's first name was recorded on the manumission certificate, but other archival documents from the African Association of New Brunswick indicate that she used the last name Neilson (or Nelson) in the 1820s. The manumission certificate was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of the Township of North Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and two Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (James Dunham and Nicholas Booraem Jr.). The original certificate was preserved in the Neilson Family Papers. A manuscript copy of the manumission certificate for Phillis, dated January 16, 1822, appears on page 351 in the Book of Manumissions for Middlesex County; a copy of John Neilson's deed of manumission for Phillis, dated January 18, 1822, appears on page 352. The documents were recorded in the book by Middlesex County Clerk William P. Deare on January 16, 1822, and January 21, 1822. Relatedly, John Neilson also manumitted Ambo Harris on the same day.
  • 1822-05-18 Manumission: Miller
    Miller was manumitted by Abraham Schuyler Neilson of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Nicholas Booraem Jr. and James Dunham) on May 18, 1822. The certificate identified the enslaver as "Abrm. S. Neilson of the firm James H. Neilson of the Township of North Brunswick." The document stated that Miller was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. Miller's exact age was not recorded in the document. The original certificate was preserved in Neilson Family Papers, held at Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries. A copy of this document was recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on May 18, 1822, in his Book of Manumissions on p. 359. The transcript of the original certificate follows: "State of New Jersey Middlesex County to wit, We do hereby certify that On this eighteenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & twenty two, Abrm. S. Neilson of the firm James H. Neilson of the Township of North Brunswick in the County of Middlesex aforesaid, brought before us, the Overseer of the poor of the said Township of North Brunswick, and two of the Justices of the Peace of the said County of Middlesex, his male slave named Miller, who on view & examination appears to us to be sound in mind, and not under any bodily incapacity of obtaining a support, and also is not under the age of twenty one years nor above the age of forty years. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands the day & year above written Abrm. Van Arsdalen } Overseer of the poor of North Brunswick Nicholas Booraem Jr. } James Dunham } Justices of the peace"
  • 1822-07-27 Manumission: Benjamin
    Benjamin, aged 28, was manumitted by Robert Boggs of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Thomas Hance and Nicholas Booraem Jr.) on July 27, 1822. The document stated that Benjamin was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. The deed of manumission was executed on July 27, 1822, by Robert Boggs. These documents were recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on July 27, 1822.
  • 1822-08-08 Manumission: John Annin
    John Annin, aged 25, was manumitted by James Parker (1776-1868) of Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The manumission documents listed the man as "John Annin (usually called Jack)." The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseers of the Poor of Perth Amboy (Joseph Marsh and Charles Ford) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (James Skinner and Robert Arnold) on August 8, 1822. The document stated that John Annin was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. The deed of manumission was executed on August 8, 1822, by James Parker in the presence of James Skinner and Joseph Marsh. The deed was unusually detailed and provided additional information about Jack and about James Parker's reasons for manumitting him at this time. James Parker's deed stated that he had purchased Jack in 1807 from Joseph Annin of Somerset County, New Jersey. At the time of this slave sale in 1807, Jack was a 10-year-old boy, and James Parker promised to manumit the boy on his 25th birthday. James Parker also mentioned in the deed that he chose age 25 to manumit Jack because that was the age of manumission provided for boys born after July 4, 1804, under New Jersey’s gradual abolition law. Because Jack was born in 1797, seven years before gradual abolition began, he was not eligible for manumission under this law, and he was considered a slave for life. Nevertheless, James Parker agreed that Jack should attain freedom at age 25. James Parker was a New Jersey legislator and a supporter of the gradual abolition process. Both the certificate and the deed were recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on August 20, 1822. ----- The following is a complete transcript of pages 364-365 in the Clerk's Book of Manumissions where these documents appear: "364 / Certificate } 
John Annin } 
als. Jack } State of New Jersey } Middlesex County } To wit, We do hereby certify that on the eighth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty two, James Parker of the township of Perth Amboy in the said County of Middlesex brought before us two of the Overseers of the Poor of the said township and two of the Justices of the Peace of the said County his slave named John Annin (usually called Jack) who on view and examination appears to us to be sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity of attaining a support and also is not under the age of twenty one years nor above the age of forty years. — In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands the day and year above written.
 Joseph Marsh }
 Charles Ford } Overseers of the Poor of the said township of Perth Amboy — 

James Skinner } 
Robt Arnold } Justices of the Peace for the said County of Middlesex

 Received Aug. 20th, 1822 & recorded by Deare CLK
 
Manumission }
 John Annin } als. Jack } 
To all whom these presents shall come— Whereas I James Parker of Perth Amboy in the said County of Middlesex and State of New Jersey am entitled to the services of John Annin (usually called Jack) as a slave for life having purchased the same of Joseph Annin of Somerset County in the year one thousand eight hundred and seven the said John being then the age of ten years or thereabouts, And it having been always my intentions to manumit and - 365 / - set free the said John at the age of twenty five years the period fixed by law for those who were born since the fourth day of July 1804, and he having now or lately attained that age. Now know all men by these presents that I the said James Parker in execution of my said intention and in consideration of the faithful services rendered me by the said John Annin have manumitted and set free, and by these presents do manumit and set free him the said John Annin my said slave of and from all services due and from all claim and demand whatsoever which I may or can have upon him as a slave as aforesaid - so that the said John Annin shall hereafter be and considered a free man - In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this eighth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundrend and twenty two. — James Parker Signed sealed and delivered } in the presence of } James Skinner - Joseph Marsh } State of New Jersey } Middlesex County } Be it remembered that on the eighth day of August 1822 before me James Skinner one of the Justices of the Peace for the County aforesaid personally appeared James Parker known to me as the grantor in the written deed of Manumission & to whom I made known the contents thereof - who did acknowledge that he signed sealed and delivered same as his act & deed for the uses and purposes therein mentioned. — James Skinner Recorded August 20, 1822 & recorded by Deare CLK"
  • 1823-03-29 Manumission: Betsey
    Betsey, aged 34, was manumitted by Robert Boggs of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Manumission documents noted that she was "named Betsey, otherwise called Eve." The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Thomas Hance and Nicholas Booraem Jr.) on March 29, 1823. The document stated that Betsey was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. The deed of manumission was executed on March 29, 1823, by Robert Boggs, in the presence of witness Samuel S. Deare. These documents were recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on March 31, 1823.
  • 1823-06-25 Manumission: Dinah
    Dinah was manumitted by Abraham Schuyler Neilson of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The certificate of manumission listed the enslaver's name as "A. S. Neilson of the township of North Brunswick." The certificate was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Nicholas Booraem Jr. and James Dunham) on June 25, 1823. The document stated that Dinah was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. Dinah's exact age was not recorded in the document. This document was recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on July 14, 1823.
  • 1823-09-12 Manumission: Margaret
    Margaret, aged 28, was manumitted by the last will and testament of Peter Vredenburgh (1745-1823) of New Brunswick in the Township of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The executors of Peter Vredenburgh's estate (son Peter Vredenburgh and brother-in-law James Schureman) brought Margaret to court to complete the process and obtain a certificate of manumission on September 12, 1823. The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of New Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Thomas Hance and Nicholas Booraem Jr.). The document stated that Margaret was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. The deed of manumission was signed by the executors Peter Vredenburgh and James Schureman. The deed lists the date October 12, 1823, but the word "October" may be a mistake here. The certificate and deed were both recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) in his Book of Manumissions on September 16, 1823, and it appears likely that both documents were originally signed at the same time on September (not October) 12, 1823. A man named Tom was manumitted by the executors on the same day.
  • 1823-09-12 Manumission: Tom
    Tom, aged 26, was manumitted by the last will and testament of Peter Vredenburgh (1745-1823) of New Brunswick in the Township of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The executors of Peter Vredenburgh's estate (son Peter Vredenburgh and brother-in-law James Schureman) brought Tom to court to complete the process and obtain a certificate of manumission on September 12, 1823. The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of New Brunswick (Abraham Van Arsdalen) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Thomas Hance and Nicholas Booraem Jr.). The document stated that Tom was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. The deed of manumission was signed by the executors Peter Vredenburgh and James Schureman on September 12, 1823. The certificate and deed were both recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) in his Book of Manumissions on September 16, 1823. A woman named Margaret was manumitted by the executors on the same day.
  • 1825-05-03 Manumission: Nicholas
    Nicholas was manumitted by Robert Morris Boggs of North Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseer of the Poor of North Brunswick (Staats Van Deursen) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (James Dunham and Nicholas Booraem Jr.) on May 4, 1825. The document stated that Nicholas was examined in court and met the eligibility requirements for manumission in New Jersey, i.e. the person was 21 to 40 years old and was "sound in mind and not under any bodily incapacity" of obtaining a livelihood. Nicholas's exact age was not recorded in the document. The deed of manumission was executed on May 3, 1825, by Robert Morris Boggs, in the presence of All. Griffith and Littleton Kirkpatrick. These documents were recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on May 5, 1825.
  • 1826-02-20 Birth: Harry
    Middlesex County Births of Enslaved Children book contains the following record: Page: 79 Child: Harry Mother: Hannah Enslaver of mother and child at the time of birth: Abraham Dumont Location: North Branch, Somerset County, NJ Birth date: February 20, 1826 Clerk: Elias J. Thompson Reported to the Middlesex County Clerk on February 5, 1829, by the new enslaver of the mother and child, Robert Boggs of New Brunswick, NJ, who bought Hannah and Harry from Abraham Dumont shortly before this date. Boggs noted that the original enslaver neglected to notify the Somerset County Clerk of Harry's birth in 1826. The following is a complete transcript of the document: "Harry I, Robert Boggs, of the city of New Brunswick in the township of North Brunswick in the County of Middlesex and State of New Jersey, Attorney at Law, do hereby certify, to the Clerk of the County of Middlesex, that I have in my possession a negro male child called Harry, who with his mother called Hannah, a slave I lately purchased of Abraham Dumont of North Branch in the County of Somerset, that the said Abraham Dumont has informed me that he had never certified the age of the said negro boy - Harry - to the Clerk of the County of Somerset - but that the said negro boy Harry would be three years old on the twentieth day of February eighteen hundred and twenty nine, which is the only knowledge I have of his age. Witness my hand this fifth day of February eighteen hundred and twenty nine. Robt Boggs Recd Febry 6th and recorded by Thompson Clerk"
  • 1829 Sale: Hannah, Harry
    Hannah and her 2-year-old son Harry were sold by Abraham Dumont of North Branch, Somerset County, NJ, to Robert Boggs, attorney at law. As a consequence of the sale, Hannah and Harry relocated to New Brunswick, Middlesex County, NJ, where Robert Boggs resided. Evidence of this sale comes from a document that Robert Boggs submitted to the Middlesex County Clerk on February 5, 1829, to register Harry's age. The exact date of the sale is uncertain, but it took place shortly before this document was filed with the clerk. The document did not mention the price or terms of the sale.
  • 1832-02-14 Birth: Alfred
    Middlesex County Births of Enslaved Children book contains the following record: Page: 83 Child: Alfred Mother: Caroline Enslaver of mother and child: Robert Adrain Location: New Brunswick, NJ Birth date: February 14, 1832 Reported date: September 14, 1833 Clerk: Nicholas Booraem The document notes that the mother Caroline died by the time the birth certificate was filed with the clerk.
  • 1838-12-16 Sale: Mark Harris Jr.
    Enslaved man named Mark (Mark Harris Jr.), aged 20, was sold by James Neilson of Wood Lawn Mansion, Middlesex County, NJ, to Abraham Veghte of Somerset County, NJ, on December 16, 1838, for $20. James Neilson's brother Abraham Schuyler Neilson signed the Bill of Sale as a witness. Mark was sold for a partial term of 4 years and 7 months, which represented the remainder of his term of enslavement according to New Jersey's gradual abolition law. Mark's term of enslavement would expire on his 25th birthday on July 27, 1843; at the expiration of this term, Mark would become eligible for emancipation. (Enslaved men born after July 4, 1804, in New Jersey had to serve 25 years before they qualified for emancipation under the state law.) ----- Transcript of the source document: "Know all men by these presents that I James Neilson of the county of Middlesex and State of New Jersey have and by these presents do grant bargain & sell and transfer unto Abraham Veghte of the county of Somerset and state aforesaid all right with and intrust in and to the services of a certain Negro servant named Mark for and until he arrives at the age of twenty five years which will be in the month of July A. D. 1843 & I hereby covenant in consideration of Twenty dollars to me in hand paid by the said Abraham as the price of the said bargain sale & transfer that I have full right to transfer & sell the service of said servant for the price aforesaid & I hereby put the said Abraham in possession of said services by delivery to him And the said Abraham hereby covenants & agrees to & with the said terms that he will indemnify & save harmless the said James from all cash & charges that may arise if at any time hereafter the said Mark shall become chargeable In without whereof we have hereunto set our hands & seals this 16th day of Dec. 1838 Witness present - A.S. Neilson James Neilson Abrm Veghte "