Free Blacks in Norfolk VA 1790-1860

by Tommy L. Bogger

SUMMARY OF PAGES 14,15,16,17



Note: most of the documents Tommy talks about are avail at the Norfolk court house or the Norfolk Public Library (The Kirn). You just have to have the time to sit there and go through all the documents……………………………………



TOMMY STATES THAT BETWEEN 1791 & 1820 AT LEAST 39% of the manumissions in Norfolk were a result of blacks painstakingly saving money to purchase their freedom or the freedom of a loved one.

In some instances there was a direct transaction between the slave and the owner. And in other cases slaves undoubtedly were freed after whites had been paid money by a third party.

He also says that if a black person wanted to free another black person, they had to first purchase him or her and have the transaction witnessed, approved and recorded by deed in the local court house. Then the free person granted a deed of manumission to the slave. After this deed was again witnessed, approved and recorded, the newly freed person rec’d papers that served as proof of free status and that they were being allowed to reside in the city or county granting papers.

Tommy spends a lot of time taking about Francis Drake and his friend Lemuel Bailey.

Francis Drake worked as a barber at his shop on Water ST and Lemuel bailey worked as a shoemaker in his shop 13 Commerce Street.

Francis Darke and Lemuel Bailey were involved in someway of the freeing of the following:

  1. Edy West
  2. William Peters
  3. Peyton Skipwith
  4. Rachel Berry
  5. Robert Owens
  6. John Baker freed by Henry Jackson, free black pilot



Others that are noteworthy:

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