Many times I have mentioned the Washington County newspaper articles written by Orval W. Baylor and complies into the book Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky. Most of these articles were written in the 1930’s. The Washington county clerk probably kept more very important little pieces of paper than many clerks. At least important to genealogists! Many of the early county records have been sent to the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives in Frankfort. For those of you who have not visited the Archives it is well worth your time. Most records are on microfilm, but you can request to see the original records.
Back to Mr. Baylor. A few of his articles talk about an act of the General Assembly of Kentucky that was passed February 8, 1815. The following was taken from the
Digest of the Statute of Law of Kentucky: Being a collection of all the Acts of the General Assembly, of a public and permanent Nature, from the commencement of the Government to May session 1822.
Chapter CLXXIV – Slaves
An act passed February 8th, 1815, in force from the first of May thereafter.
Page 1165, Section 3.
No defendant or defendants, who have been a resident or residents of any other state or territory of the United States, and shall remove to this state to reside therein, and bring with him, her or them any slave or slaves, shall be discharged or acquitted from the pains and penalties inflicted by this act, unless he, she or they can satisfactorily prove, by competent legal evidence, that within sixty days after his, her or their arrival in the commonwealth, he, she or they have taken the following oath or affirmation, before some justice of the peace, to wit: “I, A. B. do swear, (or affirm,) that my removal to the state of Kentucky was with an intention to become a citizen thereof, and that I have brought with me no slave or slaves, and will bring no slave or slaves to this state, with intent of selling them.” And shall further show and prove that the certificate of such oath or affirmation, granted by the magistrate, has been recorded in the clerk’s office of the county where such oath or affirmation was taken, within thirty days after the date thereof. Each certificate of the oath or affirmation, filed with the clerk of any county in which the same was administered, shall be recorded by him; for which he shall be entitled to a few of twenty-five cents.
This meant a new resident to Kentucky would go to a justice of the peace in his new county of residence and swear that he or she were not bringing slaves into Kentucky with intention to sell. Mr. Baylor gives several examples in his article, several of which are my ancestors. The interesting part for African American genealogists is many of these slaves are named, some noted as men, women, girls or boys. If you follow through with the will of the person owning these slaves, sometimes the same slaves are mentioned in the will. Other information found is the oath is where the owner of the slaves moved from and the date of arrival in Washington County.
A few oaths from Mr. Baylor’s article:
I hereby certify that Thomas Nash came before a Justice of the Peace for said County and took the oath required by the third section of an act to amend the several acts concerning the importation and emancipation of slaves. Approved February 8th, 1815. Given under my hand this 11th day of January 1816. Travis Coppedge.
Personally came before me, a Justice for said county, Hickerson Jacobs and made oath that he has just moved to this state from the state of Virginia and Albemarle County and that he has imported to this state four slaves, three women and one man. The women’s names are Jane, Mary and Peg, the man by the name of James and that he has brought said Negroes for his own use and not for trade of barter. Given under my hand this 23rd day of December 1816. A. E. Gibbins.
I, Otho Adams, do swear that my removal to Kentucky was with an intention of becoming a citizen thereof and that I have brought with me the following slaves, to wit, Betsy, a Negro woman and her son James, and John, a Negro boy and that I have brought with me no slave or slaves and will bring no slave or slaves to this state with intent of selling them. Witness my hand and seal this 10th day of December 1817. Otho Adams, seal. Washington County in Kentucky. Before me the undersigned in Commission assigned to keep the peace in and for the county aforesaid came Otho Adams and subscribed to the above affidavit on this 10th day of December 1817. A. E. Gibbins, J. W. C. Kentucky, Washington County.
I, Basil Mullican, do swear that I moved to the state of Kentucky about five years since with an intention of becoming a citizen thereof, that in the month of November 1817, I bought of Rebecah Clemens of the state of Maryland a Negro girl, a slave named Mary, and shortly afterwards removed the said slave to this state for my own use and not for the purpose or with an intent of selling her. Given under my hand this 6th day of January. Basil Mullican, (Seal).
And my 4th and 5th great-grandfather (I descend from two of his children – William and Nancy) –
I, John Linton, do swear that my removal to the State of Kentucky was with an intention to become a citizen thereof and that I have brought with me the following slaves, to wit: Dick, Caney, Flory, George, Jack, Amy, Tithe, Washington, Lee, Henry and Maria, and that I have brought with me no slave or slaves to this state with an intention of barter or selling for traffic and that my arrival in this county was on the 4th instant. Given under my hand at the home of A. E. Gibbins, Esq., in Springfield this 5th day of November 1818. John Linton (Seal). Washington County. Personally came the above named John Linton before me and made oath that the above certificate or affidavit contains the truth, given under my hand as a Justice of the peace for said county this 5th day of November 1818. A. E. Gibbins.
Categories: Old Documents
I wondered if you’d ever tried to trace the families of the slaves your family owned?
Not in the way I should. My Linton family was the only one of that name in Washington County, so any occurrences would be part of that family. In the 1870 census there are a few black families with the last name Linton – something on my to do list. However I’ve found out that other ancestors also owned slaves.