A Guide to the Princess Anne County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1766-1862 Princess Anne County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1766-18621120074

A Guide to the Princess Anne County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1766-1862

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1120074


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
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Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
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Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
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©2009 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
Princess Anne County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1766-1862
Physical Characteristics
0.45 cu. ft. (1 box)
Virginia Beach (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Princess Anne County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1766-1862. Local government records collection, Princess Anne County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court records from Princess Anne County.

Historical Information

Princess Anne County (extinct) was named for Anne, daughter of James II, who became queen of England in 1702. The county was formed from Lower Norfolk County in 1691 and became extinct in 1963, after its consolidation with the city of Virginia Beach. The county seat was Princess Anne.

Virginia Beach was located in Princess Anne County, which is now extinct. The oceanside resort was incorporated as a town in 1906 and as a city by an act of the General Assembly in 1952. It was greatly enlarged in 1963 by consolidation with Princess Anne County, which thereby became extinct.

An act passed by the Virginia legislature in 1803 required every free Negro or mulatto to be registered and numbered in a book to be kept by the county clerk.

In 1806, the General Assembly moved to remove the free Negro population from Virginia with a law that stated that all emancipated slaves, freed after May 1, 1806, who remained in the Commonwealth more than a year, would forfeit their right to freedom and be sold by the Overseers of the Poor for the benefit of the parish. Families wishing to stay were to petition the legislature through the local county court. Beginning in 1837, freed slaves could petition the local courts for permission to remain.

Scope and Content

Princess Anne County (Va.) Free Negro and Slave Records, 1766-1862. The collection contains Free Negro Registrations, Affidavits, and Certificates, 1794-1860; Free Negro Delinquent Tax Lists, 1812-1814 and 1849-1861; Free Negro Lists, 1802 and 1821-1862; Petitions to Remain in Virginia, 1837, 1858, and 1860; Slave Patrol Accounts and Returns, 1771-1862; Miscellaneous Records pertaining to African Americans, 1766-1860; and photocopies of court records from various series that pertain to African Americans, 1820-1856.

Free Negro Registrations, Affidavits, and Certificates, 1794-1860, include name, sometimes age and a brief physical description, and the circumstances of the person's freedom or emancipation. If born free, reference is sometimes made to parents. If emancipated, the emancipating owner, place and date of emancipation, and prior registration as a free Negro are usually mentioned.

Petitions to remain in Virginia, 1837, 1858, and 1860, contain court orders, notices, and affidavits relating to the petitions of free African Americans Jacob Boush and Toney Boush, 1837; George Boush 1858, and Adam Land, 1860. The records document the circumstances of the petitioner's emancipation and statements attesting to his character and reasons for wanting to remain in Virginia.

Free Negro Lists, 1802 and 1821-1862, and Free Negro Delinquent Tax Lists, 1812-1814 and 1849-1861, are tax records compiled by the commissioner of the revenue. Free Negro Lists document name, age, occupation, and residence of free blacks assessed for taxes. Delinquent tax lists contain names and residence of free African Americans who have not paid their taxes in a given year or years.

Slave patrol accounts and returns document the recruitment and payment of local citizens appointed to patrol the enslaved population of the county. Occasionally, a return includes a report of unlawful activity among enslaved people.

Miscellaneous records pertaining to African Americans, 1766-1860, contain a list of enslaved people born between 1766 to 1770 (no slaveholder is indicated); a slave pass, 1802; a deed of gift transferring ownership of slaves from Ann H. Brooks to her sister Rebeca Dubury, 1834; a deed of emancipation, undated; a list of claims submitted to the county court by Edward Moseley for various legal services, some of them pertaining to enslaved persons belonging to the estate of Colonel Thorowgood, 1779-1780; a record of an indenture, circa 1786; an order to execute a bond of apprenticeship, 1850-1852; a sheriff's order, 1815, pertaining to enslaved people who were taken or went off to the British during the War of 1812; and a printed circular 1802, publicizing new legislation requiring county courts to submit records of capital cases involving enslaved people.

Photocopies of records from various serious pertaining to African Americans, 1810-1856. The records copied are military and pension records documenting the military service of two African Americans in the Revolutionary War; Tax and Fiscal Records documenting the number of free white, slave, and free negroes tithables in the county in 1847; Commonwealth Causes documenting charges against African Americans for going at large without free papers and for remaining in the state more than a year without leave according to the law; and a jailer's claim for payment for holding an enslaved person whose owner, a free African American women, is insolvent.

Related Material

Additional Princess Anne County Free Negro and Slave records are available on microfilm. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm."

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Virginia Beach (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • African American slaveholders--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • African American soldiers--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Free African Americans--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Slaveholders--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Slavery--Law and legislation--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Slaves--Emancipation--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • United States--History--War of 1812.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Princess Anne County (Va.)--History.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Articles of apprenticeship--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Bonds, Commissions, Oaths--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Certificates--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Deeds--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Emancipations--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Fiduciary records--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Free Negro and slave records--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Free Negro lists--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Free papers--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Judicial records--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Local government records--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Military records--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Petitions--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Tax and fiscal records--Virginia--Princess Anne County.
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Princess Anne County (Va.) Circuit Court.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Princess Anne County (Va.)--History.