Monday, January 22, 2018

Slave Name Roll Project: Releasing Betty, Billy and Mary

I have had an abstract of the last will and testament of Benjamin Jennings, Sr., for years and knew that he bequeathed his personal property to be divided equally among four of his children. From the will abstract I also knew that personal property included "Negroes."

A few weeks ago I found the probate package for Benjamin Jennings in Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983, collection held by Benjamin Jennings wrote his will 27 March 1815. It was brought to the Powhatan County Court to be proved and filed on 19 July 1815 and an executor was approved by court and tasked with conducting an inventory and appraisal of Benjamin's personal effects. The executor submitted that appraisal on 24 July and the three enslaved people were identified by name:

A snippet of the inventory and appraisal of the estate of Benjamin Jennings, Sr.;
courtesy of

And so I am releasing Betty, Billy, and Mary, formerly enslaved by Benjamin Jennings, Sr., in Powhatan County, Virginia.

The 1783 Powhatan County Tax List indicated Benjamin had no "black" people in his household. However, the 1810 Census showed that three slaves were part of his household. My assumption is those three people were Betty, Billy, and Mary. Unfortunately, the 1810 census did not ask about the age ranges or sex of enslaved persons.

Benjamin Jennings, Sr., (c1740-1815): Last Will and Testament
Slave Name Roll Project

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