York Freedom Suit


These records include York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills Book 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14.

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York Freedom Suits (1685-1715)

York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills Book 7--Freedom Suits

25 January 1685/6

Whereas It appeareing by the Will of Capt Phillip Chesley dated
the Eighteenth of December One thousand six hundred seaventy
fower from the Date thereof that his Negroe Joseph should
serve Eleaven Yeares and noe longer wherefore upon the
Petition of the said Joseph It is Ordered that mr: Peter
Berry who is Intrusted with the said Estate sett the said
Negro free the sd. Eleaven Yeares being fully expired

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (7) 134.

24 March 1686/7

Whereas Hester Jones late Servant to Thomas Platt Deced. haveing
truely served her Limited time as a bought Servant unto The said
Thomas Platt, and haveing Not yett Received her freedome Corne
and Cloathes, Itt is therefore Ordered the said Jones be paid her
Corne and Cloathes according to the Custome of the Country out of ye.
Estate of the said Thomas Platt Deced. with Costs of Suit als Exec.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (7) 292.

York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills Book 8--Freedom Suits

25 March 1689

Whereas Rewbin Layton was bound an Apprentice by Indenture
to Edward Weyman of New Kent County Carpenter whoe hath
served out his time within one yeare, And itt being Evydently
made appeare to this Court by the oaths of two sufficient
Evidences that they did hear the said Weyman say before
hee went out of the said County, That his said Apprentice
might bee free and goe about his owne buisness, for hee
did Reckon that the year hee had to serve him, and the
Tooles which hee had att mr. Joseph Goodrichs if hee Could
gett them, might satisfye him for what hee was obliged to
give his said Apprentice by Artickles of agreemt. Therefore
upon the petition of the said Rewbin Layton, Itt is Ordered
that hee bee free and att his owne Dispose to Labour for
himselfe, And that the said Indenture bee of noe further
force and vertue.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (8) 224.

25 March 1689

Know all men by these prsents that I Daniell Parke of York
County Gent: Considering the true and faithfull service of one of
my Negroes, Comonly knowne by the name of Virginia Will
being the son of a Negroe woeman of my fathers Called old
Mary, Doe after my Death give him the said Negroe his
freedome, and I doe by these prsents binde my heires Executors
Administrs: and Assignes to Allow unto the said Negroe fifteen
bushells of Clean shilled Corne, and fifty pounds of Dryed
beife to be delivered him Annually as longe as hee the said
Negroe shall live, alsoe one Kersey Coat and Britches and hatt
two pair of shoes, two pair of yarne Stockens, two white or blew
shirts, one pair of blew Drawers, An Ax, a Hoe, all these to bee
delivered the said Negroe Annually Dureing his life, and to
pay his Leavies, and for the true pformance of this my Act
and Deed I binde my heires Executors: Adminstrs: or Assignes,
In Wittness whereof I have sett my hand and seale the twenty
Eight day of September one thousand six hundred Eighty
and seaven

Dan Parke (seale)

Signed sealed & delivered
to ye. above Named Negroe in
the presence of Jane Parke
Willm W Dyer Geo: Kelinge

March ye. 25th. 1689
Acknowledged then in open Court by the
above named mr. Danll: Parke and is Recorded

Test J: Sedgwicke D Cl Cur

Source: York County, Deeds, Orders, and Wills (8) 239.

25 March 1689

The Deposition of George Pargiter of New Kent County aged
about Thirty five yeares, declares that a little before Edward
Wenman Carpenter went out of New Kent County, hee heard him
say that Rewbin Layton whome was his Apprentice might
bee free and goe about his owne buisnesse, for hee did reckon
that the year hee had to serve him, and the tooles which hee
had at mr. Joseph Goodrichs, if hee Could gett them might
satisfye for what hee was oblidged to give his Apprentice
by Artickles of agreement, and further yr. Depont.
saith not.

George Pargiter

March ye. 14th. 1688/9

sworne to before me Nathaniel Bacon

Edmund Carter of New Kent County, Examined And sworne
saith the same as above by George Pargiter, & further
saith not

Edmund Carter

March ye. 20th. 1688/9

sworne to before me
Nathaniell Bacon

March ye. 25th. 1689

Produced then in open Court
and is Recorded

Test J: Sedgwicke D: Cl Cur

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (8) 240.

25 January 1691/2

Benajmin Vickers servant to mr: Dannll: parkes peticoning this Cort. for his freedom
setting forth in his peticon yt. his father bound him in England to serve ye. said mr:
parkes in Virga: for ye. terme of five years after his arrivall hear mr: pines Weldon
appeing Attorney for ye. said mr: parkes but noe indenture or Judmt. of Cort: appearing
for ye. time of ye. said Vickers service & he haveing now served five years according
to ye. Custome of this Country & seventeen moneths over or thereaboutes as appes to
this Cort. Itt is therefore ye. opinion of this Cort: yt. ye said servant be free from his
servitude aforesaid And his freedome is accordingly granted And ye. said mr: parkes
ordered to pay him his freedome Corne & Cloaths according to law with Costs.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (9) 92.

24 November 1693

Willm Kitching late a servant to mr: John Underhill deced. haveing
finist his full time of service to his said Master before his decease
peticoning this Cort. for his Corne & Cloathes due to him from ye. said
decedents Estate according to law And alsoe tenn shillings sterl
being due to him as aforesaid in arears of wages for service pformed
by him to his said Master according to contract after his said first time
of service expired being likewise due to him before ye. decease of his
said Master, hee ye. said Kitching haveing made oath in Cort: yt. hee never
as yett received any pte of Satisfaccon for ye. same, Itt is therefore Ordord:
that Mr: Joseph Ring as Admor: of ye. said Decedents Estate forthwith
make paymt: thereof to ye. said Kitching with Costs &c.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (9) 267.

26 February 1693/4
Sarah A molotto servant to mr: Thomas Harwood peticonin this Cort: for
her freedome and Alleadging herselfe to be ye. daughter of an English woman
named Mary Cooke & yt: shee hath served her said Master to her age now
of twenty one years ye. same is refered to ye. next Cort. for tryall thereof.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (9) 297.

26 March 1694

Upon tryall of ye. Differance depending to this Cort betweene Sarah
a Molotto servant to Mr: Thomas Harwood and her said Master for
her freedome being ye. Daughter of an English woman And alleadging
herelfe to have now served to ye. age of Twenty one years, but not being
att prsent capable of proveing ye. same her age, wherefore Mr: Robt Read
is desired by this Cort: to Examine Mrs: Jane Mountfort on her Oath to
declare her knowledge of ye said servants age & make report thereof
ot ye. next Cort:

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (9) 318.

2 April 1694

The suite depending betweene Napho a Negro agt: Mr: Henry Tyler as Admr.
of Mr: Martin Gardiner decd. for his freedome wherein ye. plt now failing to
appe & prosecute ye. same, hee is nonsuited with Costs.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (9) 331.

York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills Book 10--Freedom Suits

6 April 1695

Willm Catillah servant to mrs: Margrett Booth haveing
sumoned his said Mistres to this Cort: to answere his Complnt.
whoe saith that whereas hee was ye. sonn of a free woman
& was baptized into the Christian faith haveing honestly &
truly served his Mistres aforesaid to his full age of twenty
four years praying ordor: for his freedome together with his
Corne and cloaths according to law with Costs the same is
accordingly granted And ye. next Cort: to be confirmed if the
Deft his said Mistress then faile psonally to appe and
& shew just cause to ye. contrary.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 137.

24 May 1695

Willm Catillah servant to mrs: Margrett Booth hath Judgmt:
confirmed on ye. last Corts ordor: for his freedome from his
said Mistriss service shee now appeing in Cort: & shewing
noe just or legall reson to ye. contrary And itt is further
Ordord: yt. shee forthwith make paymt: to ye. said Catillah his
freedome Corne and Cloaths according to Act with Costs
Als Execucon.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 153.

25 November 1695

Thomas Barbar as intermarrying with prudence late
servant to mr: Francis Read deceased on his peticon to this
Cort: hath ordor: granted him agt. mr: Joseph Ring as Admr:
of ye. said Decedent's Estate for a new coat & wascoat
being ye. ballance due to her ye. said prudence from ye said
Decedents Estate for her freedome cloathing proved in Cort. on
her oath which ye said mr: Ring is ordor: to pay with Costs &

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 230.

9 December 1695

Cornelius Cornute late servant to Stiphen pond by
Indenture dated December ye. 1st: 1691 thence to continue for
ye. terme of four years as by ye said Indenture doth appe
since ye. comencemt: whereof his said Master haveing
assigned him to John Gardner & haveing now faithfully
compleated his said time of service on his peticon to this Cort:
is fully released & discharged from ye same And ordord: the
said Gardner pay Costs.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 242.

24 November 1696

John Casey complaining to this Cort: agt: Coll: Edmund Jenings p
his peticon sayth yt. whereas hee together with Ann his wife
and their Child Katherine Arived in this Country in ye: year
1690 servants to Capt: Willm Norrington Comander of ye: ship Baly
& were all three by him sold to ye. said Coll Jenings for ye. terms of
five years with this reservacon and agreemt: yt. they should
be all free together att ye. expiracon of ye. said terme from
their arrivall aforesaid And yt: whereas ye said Coll Jenings
hath & still doth detaine ye said Katherine in his service
And ye: Complainant produceing in Cort: divers Witnesses to
prove ye agreemt: aforesaid to which ye said Coll Jenings
voluntarily & freely apped in answere thereto, but there
appering nether Indenture or any other writeing to testify
ye. Defts promise or agreemt: aforesaid whoe declared in Cort:
hee remembers nothing of ye. matter And likewise produceing
an order of this Cort: dated November ye. 10th: 1690 by which itt
appes ye. said Katherine was then adjudged att three years of
age & to serve according to Act whereupon ye said Complnt. is
dismist with Costs.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 338.

24 June 1697

James King servant to Ralph Walker setting forth to this Cort: by
his petiton that hee hath served his said Master his full time
of service whoe refuseth both to discharge him or pay him his
corne and cloths, wherefore itt is ordered yt. ye said servant have
his freedome untill ye next Cort: And yt. ye sherr sumons him the
said Walker for his psonall appeairce att ye next Cort: then & there
to shew cause why Judgmt: should not be confirmed agt: him
for ye said servants freedome & for paymt: of his corne & Cloths
according to law

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 420.

24 June 1697

Upon tryall now of ye suite which depended to this Cort: between
John Casey plt agt Coll: Edmund Jenings Deft in an Action
of ye case upon an assumpsit declareing by Dionitious Wright
his Attorney yt. whereas ye Deft in ye year 1690 purchased
of Capt. Willm Norrington then Comander of ye shipp Baley,
the said Deft his wife & Child for ye terme of five years
servitude And yt. in Consideration of ye said terme of service
ye Deft did then assume they should be all free together
att ye end of ye said terme of five years (to witt) ye father
ye mother and ye Child, And yt. upon ye said Assumpsit the
said Norrington assigned them as aforesaid for ye said
terme of five years yett nevertheless att ye end of ye said
terme ye Deft did & still doth refuse to sett ye said Child free
And pleads by mr: Hugh Owen his Attorney yt. ye. assignment
laid in ye declaracon is not good in law, ye servt: haveing
noe Indentures nor noe spetiall assignmt: appering in which
tryall after Evidences sworne & Examined in behalfe of ye plt
the matter was refered to a Jury (vizt.) Robt Leightonhouse
foreman &c) whoe being accordingly sworne & haveing
fully heard ye pleas on both sides & Evidences, departed to
consult their verdict And after haveing agreed thereon
made this Returne, wee finde for ye plt signed Robt
Leightonhouse foreman to which ye Deft Demurs yt. ye
Jury did not relate in their verdict whether ye said Assignmt:
was good or not, whereupon ye said matters lyes by consent
of ye Attorneys to bee argued the next Cort:

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 421-422.

24 August 1697

James King late servant to Ralph Walker hath Judgment
granted him agt. his said Master for prsent paymt: of his
freedome Corne and Cloaths (vizt.) a new Kersey suite & shert
a pr of new shoos & stockins a new hatt or Cap with Costs And
itt is alsoe further ordered yt. hee pay his said servts: levys
this prsent year

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (10) 451.

York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills Book 12--Freedom Suits

24 July 1703

Charles Tyler Late Servt. of Robt Green of this County by his setting forth that
he hath Served faithfully his sd Master ye full space and term of years
as by his Indenture he was Oblidged to do and yt ye sd Green Refuseth
to Pay ye sd Tyler his Corn and Cloaths According to ye Law and Custom
of this Country hath Order Granted that ye sd Green be by ye sherriff sumonsed
to ye next Court to answer ye same

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (12) 138.

24 January 1703/4

To all Christian People to whom these prsents shall come Greeting: Whereas
Thomas Pate late of ye Parrish and County of York Virginia Planter deced
Did (by his Last Will & Testament bearing Date ye Seventh Day of Aprill Ano Dom
one thousand Seven hundred and three and Duly Proved in York County Court as by
ye Records thereof doth appear) ordain & appoint me Rowland Peirson (of ye
Parrish & County aforesaid Batchilor Executor of his said Last Will and likewise
in another Clause of his said last Will gave unto his Negroe Man called Tony
his freedom having Severall Times promised it him for his true & faith
full service & did therein & thereby Declare That ye said Tony should be
free from all maner of Slavery that should be demaunded of him by any
person or persons whatsoever & that imediately after his ye said Testators decease
he ye said Tony Should be at Liberty to Departe ye Country according to Law
Know Ye therefore that I ye said Rowland Pierson as Executor aforesaid
have Given & Granted unto ye Said Tony his freedom (according to ye
Tenor of ye said Will) And do by these prsents for my Selfe my Executor: Admr
& Assignes fully & freely as far as in me lyeth Exonerate Acquitt & Discharge
ye said Negroe Tony from all claims Debts Dues & Demaunds of Service
or else whatsoever And do hereby Declare him free & clear from ye said
Testators Estate & all other persons whatsoever from hence forth for Ever
In Wittness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand & seale this
Nineteenth Day of January Anoq Dom 1703

Row: Peirson ye (seale)

Sealed & Delivered in ye prsents of us
Wm Tunley
Andrew Young
John Hilliard

At a Court held for York County in Virginia
Janaury ye 24th 1703

The above Release was then personally Acknowledged
in Court by ye said Rowland Peirson to ye said Negroe Tony
& according to Order is Comitted to Record

p Willm Sedgwick Cl Cur

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (12) 163.

24 December 1703

Negroe Tony Late Slave of Thomas Pate of this County Deced by
his Peticon to this Court setting forth yt ye said Decedt by his Last
Will & Testament did will & bequeath ye Said Tony his freedom from Slavery
but by Rowland Pierson Exector to ye said Will is unjustly Deteined contrary
to ye Tenor of ye said Will hath Obtained Order yt ye said Peirson be by ye
Sherrif sumoned to ye next Court to Answer ye Same

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (12) 169, 24 December 1703.

24 January 1703/4

Negroe Tony Late Slave of Thomas Pate Late of this County Deced his Discharge from Rowland
Rowland Pierson Executor of ye Last Will & Testament of ye said Thomas Pate was this day
by ye Said Rowland Peirson personally acknowledged in Court to ye said Negroe Tony & is Ordered
to be Comitted to Record

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (12) 174, 24 January 1703/4.

24 February 1703/4

In ye Suite Depending to this Court between Abraham Martin plaintiff against George
Brown Defendant in a plea of Debt Declared for a good & Sufficient Suite of Apparrell
as followeth one Serge Coate & Breeches two Shirts one pr of Shoes & Stockins & hatt
due by Indenture Dated September ye 24th 1694 whereon Order formerly passed against
Lt Coll Thomas Ballard High Sherriff for ye Defts non Appearance & ye Deft now
likewise failing to Appear Judgment is confirmed against ye Said Sheriff & Ordered
he forthwith to pay ye Suite Declared for to ye plt wth Cost Alias Execucon

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (12) 182, 24 February 1703/4.

24 March 1704/5

York County Ss March Court 1704/5

Elizabeth Davis humbly moves that Being servant by Indenture to Mr
Sampson Sherwood and by him assigned to William Davis planter for the terme
of fore Years which sd time was Expired the 29th day of Xbr last past yet
not with standing yor Peticon is Detained and kept in servis by the sd Davis
therefore praies this Worshipfull Court that she may be Discharged from the
sd. servis & Awarded Satisfaction for the time she hath allready over served
and as In Duty.
shall Ever Pray

March ye 24th 1704

Judgment for freedom

WmsBurgh March the 3th 1704/5

I do hereby [ad]vise whom it may Concern that I the said Subscriber saw the
above named Elizabeth Davis her Indenture about the month of June 1703
and the sd. Indenture was but for fore years As witness my hand the day &
year above written

Tho Podmore

March ye 24th 1704

On Mocon of Wm Davis Ordered to be Comitted to Record
& Accordingly pformed p Wm Tunley Cl Cure

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Willls (12) 308, 24 March 1704/5.

York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills Book 13--Freedom Suits

24 March 1708/9

Thomas Ravenscroft by his petition set forth that he has served James Morris Carpenter as an
apprentice five Year's & the said Morris in Consideration thereof did oblige himselfe at the
Expiration of the aforesaid time to pay to the petitioner five pounds Sterl or a New Sett of
Carpenters Tool's of that Value & praying order for the Same It is ordered that the Sheriff of this
County Sumon the said Morris to appear at the next Court to answer the said Petition

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (13) 211.

25 May 1709

In the Petition of Thomas Ravenscroft praying that James Morris to whom the petitioner
bound himself an Apprentice may be Compelled to allow him a set of Tools of five pounds
Value or the Money to procure them with in Consideration of his Service & According to an
Agreement between them made the said Morris being at the Barr & not offering any thing agst
it, It is therefore the opinion of the Court that unless the said Morris do procure for the petitioner
a set of Tools of the aforesaid price within Ten day's next Comeing Judgement is to go agst him
for five pounds Sterl at the Next Court untill when the petition is Continued

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (13) 221.

York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills Book 14--Freedom Suits

21 January 1711/12

Thomas Edmunds & Jane his wife by their petition Sett forth that the said Jane late Servt to John
Dozwell Senr: haveing Served her full time Expressed by Indenture the said Dozwell refuses to pay
her the allowance of Corn & Cloth given by Law the Court upon hearing the defence of the sd. Dozwell
do order that he pay & deliver unto the said Thomas Edmunds & Jane his wife fifteen bushells
of Indian Corn & forty Shillings in mony or the Value thereof in goods as the Law directs with Costs als Exo

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (14) 122-123.

16 November 1713

To all to whom these Presents shall come Now know ye that Whereas an East India Indian
woman named Moll (imported into this Colony by Joseph Walker Gent in ye Year One Thousand
seven hundred & by him sold to Jno: Tullitt) being desirous of freedom hath for some time besought
us ye above named Joseph Walker & Jno: Tullitt to give her her liberty & to discharge her out of ye Cond: of slavery, therefore we ye sd. Jos: Walker & Jno. Tullitt for divers good causes & considerations us thereunto
moving hath acquitted & by these Presents & for our selves, our heirs, Execrs: & Adminrs: acquitt ye sd
Moll from being a Slave & do also by these Presents for ever hereafter declare her to be a free woman
Given under our hand & seales this nineteenth day of October One Thousand seven hundred & Thirteen

J Walker (seale)
Jno: I T Tullitt (seale)

Signed, Sealed, & Delivered
in ye presence of Wm Buckner
N: Burwell

At a Court held for York County 16th Novr: 1713

Joseph Walker Gentt in open Court presented & Acknowledged ye above Release &
Acquittance to Moll an East India woman & it is Admitted to Record

Test Phi: Lightfoot Cl Cur

Truly Recorded Tru Phi: Lightfoot Cl Cur

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (14) 291.

21 March 1714/5

In the petition of Sarah Blackley agst. John Lyall her late Master for Corn & Cloths
according to Law, the Court upon hearing the partys & the law relateing thereto do order
that the said Lyall pay unto the petitioner the Sum of twenty five Shills: & Costs als Exo

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (14) 397.

20 February 1715/6

In the petition of Ann Grey agst: Simon Stacy Seting forth that Notwithstanding
She had been discharged from the sd: Stacy by a Jury yet he detains her in Servitude
the Court haveing fully heard both partys do adjudge her free & ordered that the said
Stacy to pay Costs als Exo

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (14) 475.

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