manumission & Abolition
During the American Revolution, many white Americans began questioning the institution of slavery.
During the American Revolution, many white Americans began questioning the institution of slavery. The ownership of human beings seemed incongruous with–possibly even dangerous to—a republican form of government. On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, two other factors were even more significant. Quakers had begun opposing slavery in the 1750’s, and as Methodism soon swept through the region, a significant number of slaveholders began to free their slaves on religious grounds. The changing economy of the region made manumission practical, too, as farmers moved away from labor-intensive tobacco towards corn and wheat production. A small group of whites organized to press for the abolition of slavery altogether.
Knowledge of slaveholders who freed people they held in bondage and those who considered the possibility of abolishing slavery as an institution is important to understanding the Revolutionary era. Dismissing slaveholding as something whites simply did or found acceptable denies much of our history.
Slaveholding cannot simply be dismissed as something all white people engaged in—the majority of white Marylanders never enslaved people. Of those who did, many reconsidered the practice and freed some, if not all of the people they held in bondage. Yet others debated and fought for the broader goal of legal abolition
Members of the Washington College community were well-represented in both these endeavors—individual manumission and the broader goal of complete abolition.
The following is a list of slaveholders connected to Washington College who manumitted (freed) one or more of the people they held in slavery, the names of those freed, and the dates. Unless otherwise indicated, the enslaved people mentioned were freed immediately.
TBF: to be freed; slaveholders often set a date for manumission in the future. This was particularly done when the enslaved person was a child, teenager or young adult. Some slaveholders used the promise of future freedom to ensure good work and behavior from an enslaved person. This practice was sometimes referred to as term slavery as was common on the Eastern Shore.
For women of childbearing age, reference was sometimes made that any children born while they finished out their term of slavery would be born free.
Isaac Perkins, subscriber, Board member – Tom TBF 1792, George TBF 1782, Cuff TBF 1803. James Claypoole, subscriber – Priss aged 45. Morgan Browne, subscriber – Dinah aged 40, Jack aged 17, Harsey aged 14, Tom aged 11, Pill aged 8, Minta aged 6, all TBF at age 27; Joe aged 40, TBF 1782.1782 Raisin Gale, subscriber – Isaack, Abraham, both under age 35, TBF 1783. John Lorain, subscriber – George, Jane, Mint, all TBF 1786; Abraham TBF 1803.
John Moore, subscriber – Benjamin Senior and wife Dorcas TBF at the death of the grantor and his wife; Methys TBF 1797; Benjamin Junior 1799; Daniel 1802; Festus, 1804; Aaron, 1806; Hannah; 1802; Tom, 1804; Roxellanas, 1803; Sib, 1810. In the event of the death of the grantor, his wife and son George prior to the freedom of these slaves, they shall be free.
Emory Sudler, subscriber – Samuel Coger, aged 55.
Morgan Brown – subscriber – William Berry.
James M. Anderson, subscriber, Board member – Cuff, Matt; Will/Bill TBF 1792; Suck TBF 1794; Beck TBF 1799; Henn, Dave and Tiney TBF 1804.
James M. Anderson, subscriber, Board member – Jim, London, Joe, Bett TBF 1786; Bristol 1787; Hazard 1788; Beck, Peg, 1801; Moses 1806.
Samuel Davis, subscriber – Moll TBF at death of grantor.
John Cadwalader, subscriber – Thomas and Henrietta Sampson.
William Slubey, subscriber – Jake, aged 50.
Simon Wickes, subscriber – Step, Jacob.
St. Leger Everett, subscriber – Dorothea, Thomas, John.
James M. Anderson. subscriber, Board member – Hannah Howard; Jude Young TBF 1804; Dave TBF 1824.
John Day, subscriber – Peg, aged about 44, Margaret, aged about 24, Sale, aged about 2 (child of Margaret); Moses TBF 1796, Daniel TBF 1800; Jacob TBF 1804; George TBF 1808; Rachel TBF 1804; Mint TBF 1805; Jim TBF 1806.
John Day – moved delayed manumissions of above people forward: Moses, Daniel TBF 1791; Jacob TBF 1794; George 1799; Rachel 1801; Mint 1802; Jim, 1803.
Raisin Gales (subscriber) and others – Will TBF 1793; Sam TBF 1794; James 1796; Isaac 1797.
William Maxwell, subscriber – Leah, 29, her daughter Mint, Joe, Peg; Jack, age 10 TBF at age 25.
Robert Anderson (estate of), subscriber – Moses.
John Carvill Hynson, subscriber – Willander TBF 1795; Raney TBF 1796; Minty TBF 1800; Toney TBF 1808; Charles TBF 1809; Minta TBF 1813, Grace TBF 1816.
James Claypoole, subscriber – Samuel Williamson and sister Elizabeth; James Munk TBF 1792.
William Maxwell, subscriber – Charles, aged 34; Tate, aged 39, TBF 1796; Lane, aged 12, TBF at age 25; Phillis, aged 8, TBF at age 25; Fan, aged 6, TBF at age 25.
Emory Sudler, subscriber – Henry Mullen, aged 48.
Raisin Gale, subscriber – Cesar, Hager, Sarah.
William Slubey, subscriber – Bett/Elizabeth, TBF in 12 years.
Edward Scott, alum, Board member – James.
William Slubey, subscriber – Sall, aged 16.
John Carvill Hynson, subscriber – Hager TBF in 18 years.
William Bordley, subscriber, founder – Jack, aged 3.
Edward Beck, lot renter – Prince William Henry
Robert Buchanan, subscriber – Willy, aged 14, TBF at age 28.
Joseph Brown, subscriber – Milcha, her two children Lydia and Harry, Lydia, aged 30; Elizabeth, aged 12, TBF at age 27, in 1810.
William Slubey, subscriber – Delia.
John Lorain, subscriber – Hannah/Henney, TBF in 6 years.
Benjamin Chambers, lot renter, subscriber, founder, Board member – Peter, aged 6.
John Kennard, subscriber and others – Abraham, TBF 1798; Richard TBF 1801; Grace, TBF 1804, issue of Grace TBF at age 30; Emory TBF 1822; Moses TBF 1824; Maria, TBF 1825.
Marmaduke Tilden, Jr., subscriber – Edd, Cate, Rachell TBF 1796; Frank TBF 1814; Pere, TBF 1815
Donaldson Yeates, subscriber – Joseph, aged 14, TBF at age 30.
John Scott, alum – Tom/Tucker, aged 35.
William Tilghman, subscriber – Phillis.
Elizabeth Hopkins, lot renter – James, Tom, both aged 4, TBF at age 27.
Emory Sudler, subscriber – Charles, aged 16, TBF at age 31.
John Lorain, subscriber – Rachael, TBF 1801.
James Pearce, subscriber – Jacob, TBF 1798.
Joseph Williams, staff – Rebecca, Nathan
Samuel Davis III, alum – Stephen, aged 21; Martha, aged 19, TBF 1799; William, TBF 1802.
Thomas Bordley, alum – Sam.
James M. Anderson, subscriber, Board member – Deborah.
William Slubey, subscriber – Rachel and her two children Hannah and Mila (freed immediately provided Rachel not reside or hire in Chestertown.)
James M. Anderson – Deborah Guy; Bill and Charles TBF 1810.
John Moore, subscriber – Temperance.
Robert Dunn, subscriber – Tom, aged 39, TBF 1803.
Colin Ferguson, faculty, Board member – Hannah Mander, aged 39 and daughter Ruth, aged 3 months.
Elizabeth Hopkins, lot renter – Daniel aged 19; Henry, aged 17, Rebecca, aged 12, all TBF at age 27.
Isaac Cannell, lot renter – Clarissa, aged 7, TBF at age 25.
Morgan Browne (Jr.), Board member – Charles TBF 1803; Dick TBF 1804; Ann TBF 1811.
James Pearce, subscriber – Lucy, aged 5, TBF at age 28 in 1822.
Robert Anderson, subscriber – Henny, wife of Harry Graves.
Benjamin Chambers, lot renter, subscriber, founder, Board member – Stephen, TBF in 8 years, Anna, TBF in 7 years, Rachel, TBF in 24 years.
William Tilghman, subscriber – Jeremiah/Benjamin Dunkin.
Peter Snyder, lot renter – Clary, aged 13, TBF at age 25, her female children TBF at age 21, male children at age 25.
George Washington Thomas, lot renter, Board member – Cuff, aged about 25, TBF 1811.
Edward Scott, alum, Board member – Nathaniel/Nat, aged 33, TBF 1804.
John Carvill Hynson, subscriber – Charles, Zena.
George Washington Thomas, lot renter, Board member – Joe, aged 11 TBF at age 31.
Joseph Brown, subscriber – Hannah, aged 22.
1811 – 1857
Edward Scott, alum, Board member – Jane, aged 22; her son Henry, aged 2, TBF in 1836, Cassandra, aged 18, TBF in 1818, boys James and Stephen TBF in 1818, Aaron, aged 22 TBF in 1817. Thomas Whittington, Board member – Nan.
Edward Scott, alum, Board member – Tempe.
James M. Anderson, subscriber, Board member – David, aged about 18, TBF 1830.
Edward Worrell, subscriber – Henry/Harry, Harriet, Mary, Abraham, Charlotte.
Francis Waters, President – freed Phil, aged about 25, Dinah, about 20, and her two children, Sally about four, and Violet, about seven months.
Isaac Cannell, lot renter – Fan, Easter.
George S. Hollyday, Board member – John.
George S. Hollyday, Board member – Susan Anderson, aged 17, Margaret Lively, aged 13.
Richard Ringgold, Board member, faculty, President – Kitty.
Richard Ringgold, Board member, faculty, President – unnamed girl aged 13 and unnamed young man aged 20.
George W.T. Perkins, Board member – James H. Simons, aged 30.
1857 James B. Ricaud (and wife and Cornelia), Board member – Thomas Jones.
With research contributed by Sara Underwood and Jennifer Walls, Class of 2019
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