Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Slavery in Old Gloucester, New Jersey

Slavery existed here as elsewhere in New Jersey, but there is plenty of evidence to show that many of the slave owners were opposed to it.

In a dilapidated book in the basement vault of the Gloucester County Court House, at Woodbury, is a record of a few of the slaves who were freed.

According to this book it was somewhat of a formality to free a slave. The owner would appear with the slave before two of the overseers of the township and two of the Justices of the Peace, who would examine the slave for soundness of mind and body and age, to determine capacity for self-support. The names of most of the slaves were fanciful or Biblical, such as Ishmael, Levi, Jeremiah, Aaron, Roger, Tab, Flora, Violet, Rintha, Phillis, Boston, Coffee, Tabby, etc., etc.

There were a few slaves in New Jersey at the outbreak of the Civil War, and it is not unlikely that some of them were owned in the confines of Old Gloucester.

The first record in the Manumission Book is John Gill, Sr., who freed a slave on Nov. 23, 1787.

Joseph Hugg, March 26, 1788.

Lize Smith late Price, widow of Robert Friend Price, Esq., Blanche Price, Hannah Albert late Price and Mary Price, freed a slave May 24, 1788.

Hannah Wilkins, late Hannah Matlack, widow of Joseph, freed one on Dec. 7, 1789.

Amy Hunter, Jan. 6, 1791.

Hugh Creighton, Apr. 18, 1791.

David Cooper and Samuel Allinson, on Dec. 27, 1774 freed a Negro woman named Catherine, and her five children born on various dates ranging from 1758 to 1772.

The following persons also set slaves free on the dates mentioned :

Joseph Bates, Aug. 12, 1791.

Joseph Hugg and Elizabeth Hugg, Dec. 1, 1789.

Susannah Taylor, Oct. 22, 1789.

James Hurley, Jan. 3, 1782.

John Gill, May 31, 1792.

Jacob Stokes, May 31, 1792.

Edward Gibbs, Aug. 30, 1792.

Marmaduke Cooper, Dec. 17, 1792.

Joseph Hugg, July 16, 1793.

David Davis and Rachel his wife, March 25, 1794.

Thomas Wilkins, June 9, 1794.

Joseph Cooper, Dec. 15, 1796.

Elizabeth Room and Barzilla Room, July 17, 1795.

William Eldredge, July 29, 1791.

Susannah Taylor, Oct. 11, 1791.

Thomas Carpenter, March 2, 1792.

Thomas Clark, July 4, 1800.

Joseph Hugg, Esq., Apr. 4, 1800.

Abigail Ellis, John Blackwood and Samuel Ellis, Administrators of the estate of Joseph Ellis, dec'd Aug. 20, 1801.

Henry Roe, Aug. 14, 1801

Elisha Clark, June 20, 1802.

Isaac Mickle, April 14, 1803.

James B. Caldwell and Solomon Combs, Dec. 3, 1803.

Elisha Clark, acting Execr. of Elijah Clark, Dec'd, Dec. 6, 1802.

Randall Sparks, Execr. of John Sparks, Esq., Dec'd Mar. 30, 1804.

Samuel W. Harrison, Sept. 8, 1804.

Joseph Hugg and Elizabeth Hugg, Dec. 1, 1790.

James Stratton, June 23, 1806.

John and Jacob Stokes, Execrs. of Jacob Stokes, May 14, 1805.

Beulah Graisebury, widow of James, Oct. 3, 1807.

Abigail Stokes, widow of Jacob, Oct. 3, 1807.

James Hurley, Dec. 24, 1807.

Henry Wood, Nov. 18, 1807.

John Browning, June 3, 1809.

Wm. Hugg, Aug. 4, 1812.

Stuard Beatty, Sept. 28, 1812.

The slave record book is apparently very incomplete because it will be noticed that some of the freedom papers were not recorded until several years after they were granted. Anyone interested in the question of slavery should search the unrecorded papers that number thousands and are stowed away in fifty large boxes in the Court House Building, covering a period of over two hundred years.

New Jersey AHGP

Source: Slavery in Old Gloucester, New Jersey Society of Pennsylvania, Volume 1, Compiled by Frank H. Stewart, 1917.


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