RARE THREE PAGE INDENTURE DOCUMENT OF EIGHT SLAVES: "Ciss, Liz (or Elizabeth), Betty, Mary & Catharine (and their future increase) Tom, Ben, & Joe", USED TO SETTLE A DEBT, AND TO PRESENT A RECORD OF SLAVE TRADE ACTIVITIES IN PRE-CIVIL WAR AMERICA.
[Slavery] Rare Richmond, Virginia Manuscript Document Signed With Multiple Signatures, King William County, City of Richmond, Virginia, July 26, 1841, 3 pgs., 7.75 x 12.25 and 7.75 x 6.25
In Part: "This indenture made...between Randolph Turner...John Powell...Eldred W. Satterwhite...all of the county of King William and Stare of Virginia. Where as the said Randolph Turner is justly indebted to the said Eldred W. Satterwhite in the sum of twelve hundred, thirty-six dollars...as by these (several) Bonds executed by the said Randolph Turner and payable unto the said Eldred W. Satterwhite, one Bond on demand the first day of January 1841 for six-hundred dollars...one Bond payable the first day of January 1842, for Three Hundred & eighteen dollars, and one Bond payable the first day of January 1843 for Three Hundred & eighteen dollars...Now therefore this indenture...in consideration of the promises and for the further consideration of the sum of ten shillings...paid by the said John Powell...Randolph Turner has granted, bargained, and sold...unto the said John Powell...Eight Negro slaves as follows, name by Ciss, Liz (or Elizabeth) Betty, Mary, & Catharine (& their further increase) - Tom, Ben, & Joe - and the said Randolph Turner...do warrant, and forever defend the right and title to the aforesaid Negro slaves, Ciss, Liz, Betty, Mary, & Catharine (& their future increase) Tom, Ben, and Joe...unto him the said John Powell...that if default shall be made by the said Randolph Turner...in the payment of the aforesaid bonds...then it shall be lawful for the aforesaid John Powell upon being requested by the said Eldred W. Satterwhite...to sell at public auction (after having given twenty days notice of the time and place of sale...within the county of King William...and by advertising in one of the newspapers published in the City of Richmond for three weeks previous to the day of sale) the same Negro slaves, namely, Ciss, Liz, Betty, Mary, and Catharine (& their future increase) Tom, Ben, and Joe...In testimony whereof the said Randolph Turner, John Powell, and Eldred W. Satterwhite...have here unto set their hands and affixed thier seals...."
Endorsements: Randolph Turner, John Powell, Eldred W. Satterwhite, plus three witness signatures, and Goddard W. Puller, King William County Court Clerk
Historic Background: The rise of cotton production in the Lower South and the end of the transatlantic slave trade in 1808 also created a market for Virginia slaveholders, who rushed to sell enslaved people to meet the increasing demand for labor. Throughout Virginia and the Upper South, a large network of traders purchased slaves and transported them to urban centers, where they were confined to so-called jails, usually located on the grounds of large firms. After being held in these facilities, sometimes for weeks at a time, slaves were auctioned, often to another trader.
Slave sales represented an intricate and economically vital activity in Virginia from late in the eighteenth century through the American Civil war (1861-65), ending only with the abolition of slavery. Sales in Virginia exceeded those of all other Upper South states, with Richmond doing the most business of any city. Between 1790 and 1860, more than 1 million enslave men, women, and children were from the Upper South – mostly Virginia – to the Lower South. Two-thirds of those were the result of sales taking place in hubs such as Richmond, Virginia. Auctions in Virginia facilitated the sale of enslaved men, women, and children to buyers from all over the South. In smaller cities and villages, slaves were auctioned on courthouse steps, while in larger cities such as Richmond auctioneers sold slaves at their offices.
A few months later in 1841 slavery was very much in the news of America. In November 1841, a slave revolt on the American brig Creole, part of the coastwise slave trade, had forced the ship to Nassau. Bahama officials eventually emancipated all 128 slaves who chose to stay in Nassau, as Britain had abolished slavery in its colonies, effective in 1834. It has been ranked as the "most successful slave revolt in US history". The U.S. initially demanded return of the slaves, then compensation. The issue was not resolved until 1855. Also in the news the next year the Webster–Ashburton Treaty, signed August 9, 1842, among other things, called for a final end to the slave trade on the high seas, and resolved a long-standing dispute with England regarding slavery. The treaty was signed under John Tyler's presidency by United States Secretary of State Daniel Webster and British diplomat Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton.
Condition: This rare find is in good condition with the usual age toning, a few edge chips, and the signature page completely separated at the fold line.
(Please note we have also listed an 1842 companion slave document. Together they trace an interesting story of the business of slave sales in Richmond, Virginia in the 1840's)