Georgia Archives

University System of Georgia

Primary Sources that Document Enslaved and Free Persons of Color Online Exhibits

Original entry by ahudgins, Georgia Archives Staff, February 20, 2018. Last edited June 19, 2018.

  • For more information about historical and genealogical records that document African Americans, see the African American Resources page.

  • State of Georgia Forsyth County } Know all men by these presents that I James A Green of the County and State aforesaid for and in consideration of the Sum of Seven Hundred and fifty dollars to me in hand paid by Josiah H. Woodliff of the same place the Recept [receipt] whereof I do herby acknolledged [acknowledged] have granted bargained and sold and by these presents do grant bargain and sell unto the said Josiah H Woodliff his heirs and assigns the following property to wit, a Negro fellow named Nat, Eighteen years of Age of dark complexion five feet six Inches high which negro fellow Nat I warrant to be sound and well in body and mind and to be a slave for life To have and to hold the said Negro fellow Nat heirs and assigns forever And I the said James A Green for myself my Executors and administrators the said bargained property unto him the said Josiah H Woodliff his heirs and assigns, against me and my Executors administrators and against all an every other person or persons whatever shall and will warrant and defend by these presents

    In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 31st day of December 1849 Signed seals and delivered in presents of

    To word fellow in thirteenth line interlined be for signed } James A Green {seal}

    A.L. Woodliff

    James A. Green JIC

    • Indictment, The State vs. Jacob, a slave, 1858. Bibb County Superior Court Minutes.

    Georgia Bibb County} The Grand Jurors sworn, chosen & selected for the County of Bibb to wit,

    Charles Collins Foreman, James A. Ayres, James W. Kisett, Abner F. Redding, William Newman, Joseph Kenelly, William O. Hurt, Samuel F. Dickinson, William H. Cason, Warren B. Riley, Edwin Saulsbury Robert B Clayton, Robert R. Raiford Thomas Stubbs, Ellison Edwards Thomas T. Wyche, William A. Cherry, Roben Birius.

    In the name and behalf of the Citizens of Georgia, charge and accuse Jacob, a negro man Slave, the property of Henry Newsom Of the County & State aforesaid, with the offence of Murder. For that the said negro man Slave Jacob, on the Twenty sixth day of September in the year Eighteen hundred and fifty Eight, in the County aforesaid, did then and there unlawfully and with force & arms in and upon one Thomas Bagby a free white man in the peace of God and said State, then and there unlawfully, feloniously, wilfully [willfully] and of his malice aforethought did make an assault and the said negro man Slave Jacob, with a certain Knife of the value of Fifty cents, which he the said negro man Slave Jacob in his right hand then & there had and held, the said Thomas Bagby in & upon the lower part of the left side of the chest & on the left side just above the left hip of him the said Thomas Bagby, then & there feloniously wilfully [willfully] and of his malice aforethought, did Strike & thrust, giving to the said Thomas Bagby, then and there with the Knife aforesaid in and upon the lower part of the left side of the chest and on the left side just above the left hip of him the said Thomas Bagby, two mortal wounds. Each of the breadth of one inch, length of Two inches & depth of Three Inches, of which said mortal wounds the said Thomas Bagby on the Twenty Eighth day of September, Eighteen hundred and fifty Eight, in the County and State aforesaid died, And So the Jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do say that the said negro man Slave Jacob, him the Said Thomas Bagby in manner and form aforesaid unlawfully, feloniously, wilfully [willfully] & of his malice aforethought, did Kill & murder, Contrary to the Laws of said State, the good order, peace & dignity thereof. Bibb Superior Court November Term 1858, Theod K.W. Montfort, Solicitor General John A. McManus, Prosecutor

    Witnesses Endorsed

    W. E. Hardy. John Howard Wm Ford E. Groce Dr E. Fitzgerald

    True Bill.

    Chas. Collins, Form [foreman]

    The Defendant Jacob, a negro man Slave, arraigned & pleads not guilty Theod K.W. Montfort, Solicitor General

    Copy Bill of Indictment & list of Witnesses sworn before the grand Jury, waived before arraignment, Nov. 11th 1858.

    Stubbs & Hill, Defdt. Attys. [defendant’s attorneys] Bill of Indictment waived & consent that this special presentment stand instead thereof

  • Georgia Wilkes County} The grand jurors, sworn chosen & selected for the County of Wilkes, to wit, Thomas Wooten Bolen Anthony, George A. Hughs Francis Billingslea, Archibald Gresham, John Favor, Joseph T Worsham William Jones, John T Dent Joseph Henderson, James Chivers, James W Jack, Charles R Carter Andrew Ruddell, John Hill Jonathan Fouche, Augustus H Gibson John Walker, Joseph Callaway, Abraham Hill in the name & behalf of the citizens of Georgia charge & accuse Abner Henley of said county, with the offence of Buying, & Receiving from a Slave, two bushels of corn of the value of two Dollars For that the said Abner Henly, on the sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & twenty-two with force & armes [arms] in the town of Washington in the county aforesaid Did Buy & receive of & from a certain negro woman, Slave named Winny, the property of Alexander Pope Esqr. two Bushels of shelled corn, of the value of two Dollars- without a ticket authoriseing [authorizing] said negro woman slave, Winny, to dispose of the said two Bushels of shelled corn, from her owner, overseer, or employer, or other person having charge of said Slave – Contrary to the Laws of said State, the good order, peace & dignity thereof-

    Jeptha V Harris Sol. Genl. pro tem

    Daniel Brockner. prosecutor

    • Richmond County Free Persons of Color Register, 1863. RG 221-2-3. Available for 21 counties: Appling, Baldwin, Camden, Chatham, Clarke, Columbia, Elbert, Emanuel, Hancock, Jefferson, Jones, Liberty, Lincoln, Lumpkin, Morgan, Pulaski, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Thomas, Warren, and Wilkes. Available on microfilm and published in “Georgia free persons of color”, abstracted by Michael A. Ports..

    • Savannah Morning News, Sept. 16, 1851.

    • Georgian, Feb. 23, 1833.

  • An Act to Emancipate and set free Austin a mulatto, also Harry, a Negro fellow. Whereas Austin a mulatto man at present the property of the Estate of Richard Aycock, esquire, during the late revolution instead of advantaging himself of the times to withdraw himself from the American lines and enter with the majority of his colour and fellow Slaves in the service of his Brittanick Majesty and his officers and vassals, did voluntarily enroll himself in some one of the Corps under the Command of Col. Elijah Clark, and in several actions and engagements behaved against the common Enemy with a bravery and fortitude which would have honored a freeman and in one of which engagements he was severely wounded, and rendered incapable of hard servitude and policy as well as gratitude demand a return for such service and behavior from the Commonwealth –

    Be it Enacted that the said Austin be, and he is hereby emancipated and made free, and he is and shall be hereby entitled to all the liberations, privileges and immunities of a free citizen of this State so far as free negroes and mulattos are allowed, and is and shall be entitled to annuity allowed by this State to wounded and disabled soldiers. –

    And be it further Enacted that Colonel Elijah Clark, Zachariah Lamar, and John Talbot shall be and they are hereby appointed agents for the State to contract and agree with the heirs Executors or administrators of the said Richard Aycock for the value of the said Austin, provided the same does not exceed the sum of seventy pounds, and that they give a Certificate for such sum to the proper owner of the said Austin for which sum his Honor the Governor is hereby empowered to draw on the Treasury of the State. –

    And be it also enacted that negro Harry late the property of William Sherrill for his meritorious services to this State, be also Emancipated and made free and entitled to the rights of Citizenship so far as free negroes and mulattos are entitled as aforesaid. –

    By order of the House

    Augusta 14th August 1786

    William Gibbons, Speaker

    • Ordinances for the Internal Government of the Town of Macon, passed by the Board of Commissioners, March, 1829. Printed in the Macon Telegraph, April 4, 1829.
    • Inventory and Appraisement of William Zeigler’s estate, 1855. Crawford County Probate Court Records, RG 139-2-1.

    Amount forward Negroes Bibb Place

    Family 1 Bob & his wife Mary & their children Anderson, Fanny, Alford, Bailey, Dennis & Mariah 3000.00

    Family 2 George & his wife Nancy & their children West, Amos, Sandy, Manda, Maryana, Cintee & Lucina 3200.00

    Family 3 Isaac & his wife Harriet & their children Tilda & Wash 1900.00

    • Excerpt from James W. Jackson’s Will, 1855. Thomas County Probate Court.

    Item firstly I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Margaret Oliver Jackson for and during her natural life four Negroes and their increase and at her death the four Negroes and their increase is to [be] divided equally between my beloved children the names of the four Negroes is as follows Bill a man about twenty four years of age his wife Malisa about twenty two years of age and their infant child about four months old named Mary and one girl named Ruth about ten years old.

    • Original Will of Sarah Parks, July 4, 1834. Franklin County Probate Court Records.

    In the name of God, Amen, I Sarah Parks of the County of Franklin and State of Georgia being sound in mind and body, and knowing the uncertainty of life do make and ordain the following as my last will and Testament.

    Firstly, I bequeath my body to the earth from whence it came, and my soul to God who gave it.

    Secondly, For the disposal of such worldly goods as it has pleased God to bless me with, I will and bequeath to Robert Pulliam of the said County of Franklin The tract of Land adjoining the one whereon I now live, known as the Royston tract it being surveyed and sold to Richard Royston by Thomas King, and afterward purchased by said King and by him sold to me.

    Thirdly I give and bequeath to Thomas William Walton, son of the said Robert Pulliam a good Riding horse Saddle & Bridle, and a good Bed, Bedding and furniture, or a sum of money sufficient for the purchase thereof.

    Fourthly I will and bequeath to Sarah Mackie the daughter of the late Isaac Herbert of Richmond County Georgia the sum of Two Hundred Dollars, and I also give and bequeath to Thomas the son of the late James Pulliam the sum of Forty Dollars.

    Fifthly, I hereby manumit and set free all my Negroes towit Joe, Jesse, Jim, Lotty, Nancy Jeruce and Maria and their issue, and I firmly trust in the justice and benevolence of the Legislature of Georgia to confirm this my bequest of manumission, and I hereby order and appoint that the said Negroes shall be and remain under the Government and Control of the said Robert Pulliam and his heirs or Assigns as Guardian of the same.

    Sixthly, After the payment of all my debts left unpaid at the time of my decease, and the expenses of my last sickness, and my funeral expenses, and the foregoing gifts bequests and Legacies which are to be paid out of my personal Estate, I hereby give and bequeath to Robert Pulliam as Guardian for the Negroes aforesaid, all the residue of my personal Estate consisting of Household and Kitchen Furniture, Farming Tools and utensils, Stock of Horses Cows Sheep and Swine, or of whatsoever species of personal property the same may be, and also to the said Robert Pulliam as Guardian of said Negroes the Tract of Land whereon I now live adjoining the one first above bequeathed to the said Robert (in his own right,) the said tract of Land & personal property last aforesaid to be held by the said Robert for the only proper use benefit and behoof of the said Negroes & their issue as joint Tenants, and it is further my will that the said Negroes shall live together on said plantation, and in the event that any one or more of them shall separate or remove from the same without the consent of their said Guardian & the rest of the Negroes, he she or they so removing separating or departing there-from, shall forfeit all right title or interest in said real or personal estate as aforesaid

    Seventhly, I hereby appoint Robert Pulliam aforesaid sole Executor of this my last will and Guardian for said Negroes. Witness my hand and seal this first day of July 1834

    The words “as aforesaid” interlined before Signing Signed Sealed & delivered to JR Stanford, and acknowledged before us.

    And it is further my will that the Negro man Jesse the Slave of Benjamin Pulliam shall by consent of his master, live with the said Negroes, as joint Tenant with them under the Guardianship of said Robert, and that the said Jesse shall share equally with the said Negroes in said Estate

    Signed Sealed and delivered as aforesaid & published in presence of us this 4th day of July 1834

    Homer V. Pulliam Henry W Davis Jno R Stanford Sarah Parks her mark (seal) Georgia Franklin County

    Personally appeared before Noah Looney Abram Dean, Green B Holbrook, and Robert Williams Justices of the Inferior Court of said County. John R Stanford who being duly sworn deposeth and saith that he saw the above named Sarah Parks sign and seal the above and foregoing will for the purposes therein mentioned when in her proper mind, and that he deponent subscribed the same as a witness, and saw Henry W Davis and Homer V Pulliam do so likewise- Sworn to and subscribed before us this 25th day of July 1836-

    Jno. R. Stanford Noah Looney JJC Green B. Holbrook J.J.C. Robert Williams JJC

    • Recorded Will of Sarah Parks, July 4, 1834. Franklin County Probate Court Records.

    In the name of God Amen, I Sarah Parks of the County of Franklin and State of Georgia being sound in mind and body, and knowing the uncertainty of life do make and ordain the following as my last will and Testament

    Firstly, I bequeath my body to the earth from whence it came, and my soul to God who gave it

    Secondly, For the disposal of such worldly goods as it has pleased God to bless me with, I will and bequeath to Robert Pulliam of the said County of Franklin, The Tract of Land adjoining the one whereon I now live, Known as the Royston tract, it being surveyed and sold to Richard Royston by Thomas King and afterwards purchased by said King and by him sold to me.

    Thirdly I give and bequeath to Thomas William Walton, son of the said Robert Pulliam a good Riding horse sale and Bridle, and a good Bed Bedding and furniture, or a sum of money sufficient for the purchase thereof-

    Fourthly, I will and bequeath to Sarah Mackie the daughter of the late Isaac Herbert of Richmond County Georgia the sum of two hundred dollars, and I also give and bequeath to Thomas the son of the late James Pulliam the sum of Forty Dollars-

    Seventhly, I hereby appoint Robert Pulliam aforesaid sole Executor of this my last will- Witness my hand and seal this first day of July 1834-

    Signed sealed and delivered as aforesaid & published in presence of us this 4th day of July 1834

    Homer V Pulliam Henry W Davis Jno R Stanford Sarah Parks her mark (seal)

    • Excerpt from William Zeigler’s Will, 1854. Crawford County Probate Court Records, RG 139-2-1.

    Item 4 It is my desire and so I direct that the colored children of my woman slave Mary be taken to a State where the laws thereof will tolerate their manumission or freedom and that they be there put under competent and proper teachers, keeping them together if possible, where they may be properly educated according to the means hereinafter set forth; that they be provided with good and suitable board and lodging having an eye in this as in the selection of Teachers to strict morality also that they be properly clothed And in respect to the said William Henry it is my will and desire and so I direct my executors to do that he shall receive a good collegiate education fitting him for any profession he may choose and I wish him to be allowed when he attains to the age of discretion and is qualified so to do to choose his profession and that this and the next item may be faithfully fully affectually [effectually] carried I hereby nominate appoint and direct my beloved brother Henry Zeigler guardian of the person of Malinda and my nephew John W. Dent guardian of the person of William Henry and my brother Lewis Zeigler guardian of the person of Octavius [Octavia]…

    • Zeigler, Octavia v. Greene Culverhouse, petition, 1869. Crawford County Probate Court Records, RG 139-2-1.

    Georgia Crawford County } To the Honorable Carlton B. Cole Judge of the Superior Court of the Macon Circuit and holding jurisdiction in Equity, Humbly complaining sheweth unto your Honor your Oratrix [female petitioner] Octavia Zeigler minor, who sues by her next friend [a person who acts on behalf of a child in a court of law] Mary Zeigler and brings her bill against Green P. Culverhouse of the Country of Crawford in said State and Will C. Cleveland Executor of the Estate of W. C. Cleveland deceased.

    On the twenty eighth day of July eighteen hundred and fifty four, William Zeigler then a citizen of and residing in Crawford County in said State of Georgia duly executed and published his last will and testament his own name and seal being thereto subscr [subscribed] and affixed in presence of E.H. Jackson, A.J. [illegible] and G.P. Culverhouse, a copy of which said will is hereto appendixed and marked exhibit A which your Oratrix prays may be taken as part of this her bill and to which leave of reference is prayed when necessary – Your Oratrix further states unto your Honor that afterwards to wit on the twenty ninth of January eighteen hundred and fifty five the said William Zeigler executed and published according to the said will in presence of Cary H. Crouth, Alexander M Spear and G.P. Culverhouse, which is also appendixed in Exhibit A made party this bill and leave of reference to pray when necessary.

    Your Oratrix further shows that afterwards to wit on the eleventh of June eighteen hundred and fifty-five the said William Zeigler died, leaving the said will and codicil [addition], which said will and codicil were afterward, to wit, on the second of July eighteen hundred and fifty five being the regular July term of the Court of Ordinary of said County of Crawford regularly presented for probate, duly proven according to law, and by order of James J Ray, Ordinary of said County of Crawford, admitted to record; and John W. Dent one of the Executors named in said will was duly qualified to execute the same. All which now fully appears in said Exhibit A to which leave of reference is again prayed.

    Your Oratrix further states unto your honor that by the fourth item of said will, your Oratrix with her sister and brother, all being children of Mary Zeigler then a slave of said William Zeigler, by the said William, their father as your Oratrix is informed, believes and charges, was directed to be removed for her freedom, maintenance and education to some State where, she, with her brother William Henry and sister Melinda Ann, could be lawfully manumitted and educated; and by the fifth item of said will and the codicil continued together, the sum of thirty thousand dollars was bequeathed to Lewis Ziegler, a brother of said William Zeigler and a beneficiary under the said will, in trust for your Oratrix, the interest thereof to be annually applied to the maintenance and education of your Oratrix in such free state, and the principal to be paid to her on her attaining the age of twenty one years.

    Your Oratrix further states to your Honor that in accordance with said will, she was taken with her mother, brother and sister to the State of Ohio by the said John W. Dent, and there manumitted according to the laws of said State of Ohio, and that he had resided there ever since that time to wit, shortly after the death of said William Ziegler and the Probate of his will, that she is still a minor and sues by her next friend aforesaid who is a citizen of and resident in said State of [Ohio].

    Your Oratrix further states unto your Honor that though the said Lewis Zeigler was so related to the said Testator and a beneficiary under his said will he declined to take upon him the trust in behalf of your Oratrix and in his declination informed the Chancellor that Green P. Culverhouse would act in that behalf; that the said Green P. himself addressed a petition and prayer to the Honorable Abner P. Powers, Judge of the Macon Circuit, which circuit embraces the said County of Crawford, to be appointed Trustee for this fund of your Oratrix; and that in accordance with said petition and prayer the said Green P. Culverhouse was at Chambers on the twentieth day of January eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, appointed such Trustee for your Oratrix…

    …Your Honor that the said Green P. Culverhouse having been thus appointed Trustee as herein fore narrated accepted the said trust and received the said sum of thirty thousand dollars so bequeathed to your Oratrix, but your Oratrix states that the said Green P. hath wholly failed to discharge his duties as such Trustee under the terms of said will – that he hath not paid or caused to be paid to her the interest or any part hereof for many years but hath wholly neglected and refused to do so – that he hath not made any returns to the Chancellor or to the Ordinary or any other officer – that he hath not invested such funds for the benefit of your Oratrix, but hath managed the same for his own benefit and involvement – and your Oratrix believes and so charges that he hath so diverted changed and covered up under false and fictitious titles the said fund of your Oratrix and endanger the recovery of any considerable part thereof –

    Your Oratrix states further to your Honor that the said Green P. refuses to account for the interest due her when requested by her next friend or her solicitor; and will give to them no account of what he had done with the principal sum…