1803, James, Will


1803, James, Will
Event Description
Jacob Van Dike mentioned James in his will, which he wrote in 1803. The will noted that James was enslaved to Van Dike "for a term of years only," meaning that James was supposed to become free after some agreed-upon term of years. The will stipulated that James and a woman named Hannah "shall have the liberty of choosing their own masters" and that they could only be sold in a private sale, and not at an auction.

Below is the relevant passage from Van Dike's will:

"My Negro Man James whom I hold for a term of years only and my Negro Woman Hannah shall have the liberty of choosing their own masters, provided they shall do so within three months after my death and that in no case they shall be sold at public outcry or vendue, but only at a private sale."

Van Dike died in 1809, six years after writing his will.
Event Type
Legal: Will
Action Status
16 June 1803
Related Event
1803, Hannah, Will
Primary Participant
Primary Participant Description (verbatim)
Negro Man James
Freedom Status
Enslaver of Primary Event Participant
Jacob Van Dike (1723-1809)
Additional Participant
Will of Jacob Van Dike, Middlesex County, NJ
Will of Jacob Van Dike, Middlesex County, NJ, June 16, 1803. In Hutchinson, Elmer T., ed. Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey. Archives of the State of New Jersey, 1st series. Vol. 40. Calendar of Wills, Vol. 11, 1806-1809. Trenton, NJ: MacCrellish and Quigley, 1947.
Microfilm: Middlesex County, NJ, Surrogate Court Records, Wills, Vol. A (1804-1813).
Record Contributor
Jesse Bayker

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Title Class
1803, Hannah, Will Event