Author: Gyles Sone

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Contract and Recommendation for William Buckland (1755; 1759)

In this document dated August 4, 1755, twenty-two-year-old William Buckland, a carpenter and joiner from Oxford, England, agrees to become an indentured servant for four years “in the Plantation of Virginia beyond the Seas.” George Mason, overseeing the construction of his house, Gunston Hall, was in need of a skilled woodworker, and he called upon his brother Thomson, who was then in England, to engage a servant for the task. Mason agreed to pay Buckland twenty pounds sterling per year in addition to room and board (“Meat, Drink, Washing, Lodging”). The contract is a printed form, with the specifics—such as names and dates—filled in with ink. (Information in ink is indicated below by underlining.) After his four years of service were completed, Buckland gained his freedom, while also earning an excellent recommendation, which Mason wrote on the reverse side of the document. Some spelling has been modernized.

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