Slaves Purchasing Freedom for Relatives
Original Author: John Moncure
Created: August 1836
Medium: Hand-written ledger

Purchasing Freedom from Enslavement

This handwritten page is from a ledger book kept by John Moncure, a nineteenth-century businessman from Fredericksburg. The ledger contains many entries dealing with the enslaved and with commerce and trade in the local area. This page, written in August 1836, notes that a Black women named Rachel Morgan has forged a financial deal with Moncure. Morgan had formerly been enslaved by Moncure but had purchased her own freedom. She is now seeking to buy two of her grandchildren and has borrowed money from Moncure for that purpose. Moncure notes that "the right to these children is vested in me until Rachel pays me the principal and interest I have advanced and then they are to have their freedom and a bill of sale is to be executed as Rachel may direct." Moncure lent Morgan $100 ($2,935.52 in 2021 dollars) to buy her grandchildren. He also charged her $10.50 (roughly $300 in 2021 money) for "Interest and expenses attending this matter with a small charge for a great deal of trouble and writing bills sale &c."

Citation: John Moncure, expense account ledger, 1836–1843.  Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

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