1804, Hannah Oakham, Manumission


1804, Hannah Oakham, Manumission
Event Description
Hannah Oakham was manumitted by Mary Minto of West Windsor, Middlesex County, New Jersey. West Windsor was part of Middlesex County at this time, but it would later become part of Mercer County in 1838.

The certificate of manumission was signed by the Overseers of the Poor of West Windsor (J Harrison, Henry Dye) and Justices of the Peace for Middlesex County (Daniel Agnew, William Holmes) on October 13, 1804. The document stated that Hannah Oakham 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. Hannah Oakham's exact age was not recorded in the document. This manumission was recorded by the Middlesex County Clerk (William P. Deare) on January 19, 1805.

Middlesex County records also include the deed of manumission signed by Mary Minto on November 28, 1804, and witnessed by Thomas P. Johnson. This document described Hannah as "negro woman slave named Hannah Oakham wife of Richard Oakham a free black man." The records contain a note explaining that the Oakhams purchased Hannah's freedom for the price of 50 pounds. Mary Minto had already received most of the purchase money for Hannah Oakham's freedom, but Hannah still owed 19 weeks of wages. As a free woman, Hannah would continue working for Mary Minto without receiving wages until the purchase price was fully paid off. Hannah's agreed-upon wages were 2 shillings and 6 pence per week. At this rate, her debt to Mary Minto would be paid off on April 10, 1805. The wages over the 19-week period from November 28, 1804, to April 10, 1805, would amount to 2 pounds 7 shillings and 6 pence. After April 10, 1805, Hannah could begin receiving cash wages for her work.

The following is a transcript of the note attached to Hannah Oakham's manumission records:

"Note all the purchase money which was to be paid Mrs Minto, to wit fifty pounds, is paid except the wages of Hannah till the tenth day of April next at two shillings and six pence per week. dated Nov. 28th, 1804. Thos. P. Johnson Witness"
Action Status
13 October 1804
West Windsor, NJ
Primary Participant
Hannah Oakham
Primary Participant Description (verbatim)
negro woman slave named Hannah Oakham wife of Richard Oakham, a free black man
21 to 40
Freedom Status
Enslaver of Primary Event Participant
Mary Skelton Minto (c. 1750s-1824)
J. Harrison
Henry Dye
Thomas P. Johnson
Middlesex County Manumissions and Removals, page 56
Middlesex County Manumissions and Removals, page 57
Manumission of Hannah Oakham (certificate dated 1804-10-13, deed dated 1804-11-28), recorded in Manumissions and Removals Book, p. 56-57. Middlesex County (N.J.) Records, 1688-1929, Vol. XI (MC 784.1). Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.
Record Contributor
Isaac Guzmán
Jesse Bayker