The Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery


Virginia Gazette Items Relating to Slaves in
Alexandria and Fairfax County, 1768-1777

Alexandria had no newspaper until 1784. Consequently, during the colonial and Revolutionary War periods, for news Alexandrians relied upon a couple of Maryland and Virginia papers with statewide circulations and, of course, newspapers from the cities of Britain and the rest of the East Coast of America.

From the mid eighteenth century, the colony of Virginia had its own newspaper, published in the capital at Williamsburg. In fact, the Virginia Gazette actually became two competing papers of the same name, published only a few blocks apart. In fact, some of the following items were actually printed in nearly identical form in both papers. Only one version has been here supplied. Because there were two Gazettes, and each had a succession of publishers, they are distinguished by the publishers' names, e.g., Purdie & Dixon. The newspapers are available on microfilm, organized by year and then by publisher.

Publishers:

Purdie & Dixon = Alexander Purdie and John Dixon

Rind = William Rind, and then his widow, Clementina

Purdie = Alexander Purdie

Dixon & Hunter = John Dixon and William Hunter

 

The following items principally include advertisements of runaway slaves and the sale or hiring of slaves. Tim Dennee.

 

May 12, 1768 (Rind)

Fairfax county, April 20, 1768.

RAN away from the subscriber, a Negro man named JACK YARMOUTH, about 40 years old, a low squat made fellow; he has lost two of his fore teeth, and is by trade a gardener. He formerly belonged to the late Governor Gooch, is well known in the county of Hanover, and is suspected to have gone there. Whoever takes up the said slave, and conveys him safe to the subscriber, shall be paid 40 s. besides what the law allows.

PETER WAGENER.

 

December 22, 1768 (Purdie & Dixon)

WILLIAMSBURG, Dec. 7, 1768.

COMMITTED to James City prison, a Congo Negro man slave, named YAMMER, about 5 feet 1 inch high, about 45 years old, has on a brown cloth coat, Negro cotton breeches, and an osnabrugs shirt. He was formerly coachman to Governor Gooch, did once belong to John Hyndman, late of this city, as also to Mr. Meriwether Shelton, and now belongs to the estate of George Johnson, deceased, of Fairfax. The owner may have him on proving his property, and paying charges, of

WILLIAM LANE.

 

October 19, 1769 (Rind)

To be SOLD for ready money, at Rover's Delight in Fairfax county, on Monday the 23d inst. (October)

A TRACT of valuable LAND in said county lying on Potowmack river, adjoining to the land on which the subscriber now keeps ferry, and very fit for farming. On the premises is a large barn, 60 feet by 30, framed and shingled; eight framed barracks 16 feet square; a large corn-house and sundry other houses, with a good fishery appertaining. At the same time and place, and upon the same terms, will likewise be sold, about twenty-five choice SLAVES, consisting of men, women, and children. Also sundry horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs; together with various kinds of houshold furniture, and implements of husbandry. The money arising from the slaves to be paid into the hands of George Washington, Esq.

JOHN POSEY.

 

August 30, 1770 (Purdie & Dixon)

To be SOLD, for ready money, to the highest bidder, on Monday the 17th of September, at Alexandria, being Fairfax court day, SEVENTEEN valuable SLAVES, consisting of men, women, boys, and girls. Among the number are three valuable forgemen, a sawer, a Collier, a blacksmith, a carpenter, a miller, and a baker. There will be sold, at the same time and place, a tract of land lying on Pimmitt's run, near the falls of Potowmack, containing about 400 acres, settled with four tenements, two of which are well improved with buildings. There is a good deal of meadow ground on the run, and bending on the same for two miles, well watered and timbered. The above slaves and land are part of the estate of John Ballendine, and sold to satisfy a debt due to

HECTOR ROSS.

 

August 1, 1771 (Rind)

RUN away on the 16th of June last from the subscriber, living on Marsh Creek, York county, Pennsylvania, an Irish servant man, named DAVID CLARK, by trade a woolcomber and tobacco spinner, about 4 feet 7 or 8 inches high, has a large long nose, and loves drink. Had on when he went away, a coarse blue jacket, with broad white metal buttons. He was committed to Alexandria prison, in Fairfax county, Virginia, but broke gaol, in company with a Negro fellow, about 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, well set and went by the name of Wills Jones, but has since confessed his name to be Charles, and says he belongs to Brett Randolph, Esq; and came from Cumberland county, where Bernard Markham is overseer, on the first of January last. The said Negro has a large scar on the left side of his forehead, and a small one over his left eye, has been severely whipped. He had on an old fustian jacket, an oznabrig shirt, black stocking breeches, brown yarn stockings, and a pair of old shoes, with brass buckles; he had a wallet, containing a pair of old blue cloth breeches, with white buttons, and much patched, a light coloured camblet coat, with black shalloon lining, black buttons and binding. It is probable that Clark may claim the said Negro, in order to entitle them to pass unmolested. Whoever takes up the said white man, and brings him to the gaoler in Alexandria, shall have FORTY SHILLINGS Pennsylvania currency reward, and all reasonable charges, paid by

ALEXANDER RAMSAY.

 

August 1, 1771 (Rind)

NOW in the gaol of Alexandria, in Fairfax county, taken up as a runaway, a likely young Negro man, about 20 years of age, 5 feet 3 inches high or thereabouts, speaks bad English; has a small scald on his left side, and a mark near his left armpit, supposed to be cut with a knife, calls himself CHARLES, says he belongs to John Jacobs, but the place unknown. Had on when taken up, a felt hat, a pair of crocus trowsers, and an old cotton jacket without sleeves. The owner is desired to take him away, and pay charges to

MICHAEL GRETTER, gaoler.

 

September 5, 1771 (Rind)

COMMITTED to the gaol of Alexandria, two likely young Negro men, one of whom calls himself CHARLES, the other BOATSWAIN. Charles is about 20 years of age, 5 feet 3 inches high, speaks bad English, has a scald on his left side, and a scar near his left arm pit, supposed to have been occasioned by the cut of a knife; had on, when taken up, a felt hat, a pair of crocus trowsers, and an old cotton jacket, without sleeves. Boatswain is about 24 years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches high, speaks bad English; had on a yellow striped country spun shirt, old cotton breeches, patched with blue; and has a scar on his forehead, over his left eye. They say they both belong to one John Jacobs, but the place unknown. The owner is desired to take them away, and pay charges to

MICHAEL GRETTER, gaoler.

 

September 26, 1771 (Rind)

RUN away from the plantation of Mr. Brett Randolph, in Cumberland county, the 8th of this instant, a Negro man named CHARLES, he is Virginia born, about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, of a yellowish complexion, walks quick and upright, he has lost his upper fore tooth on the right side, has a small piece cut out of one ear, is much marked on his back with whipping. He run away the first of January last, had been committed to the gaol of Alexandria, which place he got out of in June, was afterwards committed to Frederick gaol for felony, and was brought home from there the 2d of this instant. He endeavoured to pass for a free man, when he run away before, and I expect he will try to pass for a free man again, and to get on board some vessel. All masters of vessels are therefore desired not to employ him. Any person that will deliver him to Charles Rice, on the aforesaid plantation, or to the subscriber at Warwick, in Chesterfield county, shall have FORTY SHILLINGS, beside what the law allows, and if taken out of the colony FIVE POUNDS. He is outlawed.

September 16, 1771. BERNARD MARKHAM.

 

October 17, 1771 (Rind)

COMMITTED to the gaol of Westmoreland county, on Thursday the 19th instant, a Negro fellow who calls himself George, he is a very sensible intelligent fellow, supposed to be about 30 years of age, about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, has lost the top of his left ear. He says he belongs to George Adkins of Fairfax county, and was formerly the property of Jonas Mercer of Suffolk. The owner is desired to take him away and pay charges.

EDWARD RANSDELL, Jun D. S. Sept. 26.

 

May 27, 1773 (Rind)

To be SOLD at Alexandria, on Potowmack river on Wednesday the 9th of June, for cash, or good bills, A SMALL cargo of choice GOLD COAST SLAVES, well assorted, and healthy; also a fine fellow, who understands the sailmaking business.

BALDWIN MATTHEWS BUCKNER.

 

July 1, 1773 (Rind)

To be SOLD, for ready money, on Friday the 16th of this instant (July) at the late plantation of Robert Boggess, deceased, in Fairfax, TEN Virginia born NEGROES, consisting of men, women, and children, together with the STOCK of HORSES, CATTLE, HOGS, and SHEEP, all the HOUSEHOLD and KITCHEN FURNITURE, and all the PLANTATION UTENSILS.

ROBERT BOGGESS, Administrator.

 

April 21, 1774 (Purdie & Dixon)

FIVE POUNDS REWARD.

RUN away from the Subscriber, in Fairfax County, the 4th Instant (April) near the little Falls of Potowmack, a likely Country born Negro Fellow, named GEORGE, straight made; had on, when he went away, an old Cotton Jacket pretty much wore on the left Shoulder, a Pair of old gray Braodcloth Breeches with some Silver Twist Buttons on them, a middling fine old white Shirt, a Pair of old white Cotton Stockings, a Pair of British made Shoes about Half wore, with a Pair of plain Iron Buckles in them, and a Boy's Leather Cap. He is a slow spoken fellow, was formerly the Property of one John Hightower in Carolina, whose firm Bill of Sale I have in my Possession, and he is supposed to have gone that way. Any Person who will apprehend the said Fellow and commit him to Jail, or bring him to me, shall have the above Reward, and all reasonable Charges paid.

JOHN HUNTER.

 

July 14, 1774 (Purdie & Dixon)

RUN away from the Subscriber, who is removed from Boyd's Hole, on Potowmack River, to Buckskin Creek on Nottoway River, Dinwiddie County, on Saturday the 2d of July, a likely well made Mulatto Fellow, named HARRY, about 22 or 23 Years of Age, five Feet ten or eleven Inches high, some Scars may be seen on his Arms and Back if stripped, has remarkable high Insteps, speaks fair, and is very subtle and insinuating, is very fond of Dress, and cannot bear to go barefoot; had on, when he went away, a dark brown Cloth Livery Coat turned up with Green, Waistcoat of the same, striped Velveret Breeches, a white Shirt, Shoes and Stockings, all his Clothes a little ragged, and I do not doubt his having a Variety of them. He is very well known in many Parts of Virginia and Maryland, having constantly travelled with me. As he was bred in Fairfax County, it is probable he will make there to his Mother, an old Negro Woman formerly the Property of the late Parson Green of said County, but has, I believe, been set free some Years. All Masters of Ships, and other Persons, are hereby forewarned from harbouring or conveying him out of the Colony, and I will give 50 s. Reward, besides what the Law allows, to any Person that will deliver the said Slave to me, or secure him in any Jail so that I may get him again.

THEODORICK BLAND.

 

January 7, 1775 (Dixon & Hunter)

AT a Meeting of the Trustees for opening the Navigation of Potowmack River, held at George Town the first Day of December, 1774, present, THOMAS JOHNSON, Jun. Attorney at Law, WILLIAM DEAKINS, ADAM STEUART, THOMAS JOHNS, and THOMAS RICHARDSON, of George Town, Merchants, WILLIAM ELLZEY, ROBERT ALEXANDER, and PHILIP ALEXANDER, of Virginia, who ordered and directed that the Subscriber should, on the Credit, and at the Risk of the above-named Trustees, hire fifty Slaves to labour in cutting the Canals round the several Falls of said River; And at another Meeting of Trustees, for the Purpose aforesaid, held at Alexandria the 19th Day of the same Month, present, GEORGE WASHINGTON, JOHN CARLYLE, JOHN DALTON, and WILLIAM RAMSAY, Gentlemen, together with many of the Trustees at the former Meeting, who recognized and approved of the Order for hiring fifty Slaves, and agreed to become equally liable. In Consequence of which Order of the Trustees, I hereby give Notice that I want to hire Negro Men for the ensuing Year, for the Purpose above-mentioned. Any Person inclining to hire the Whole, or any Part of them, may see the Proceedings of the said Trustees, subscribed by and with their respective Hands, in my Custody.

JOHN BALLENDINE.

 

April 1, 1775 (Dixon & Hunter)

Fifteen Dollars Reward. RUN away from the Subscriber, near Piscataway, in Prince George County, Maryland, a likely Negro Fellow named VALENTINE, 22 Years of Age, about 5 Feet 10 Inches high, had on an Osnabrug Coat, an old Cotton Waistcoat without any Sleeves, old Wilton Breeches, Thread Stockings, and a Pair of Shoes, with plain Brass Buckles. He has a Wife in Virginia, belonging to Mr. George Noble, who was then at Doctor George Alexander's, in Fairfax County, Virginia, and the Fellow was seen there the same Night he went away, which was the 5th of November last. Whoever secures him so that his Master may get him again shall have TEN DOLLARS, and if brought Home, the above Reward.

JAMES HAWKINS.

Mr. Noble has lately removed near Winchester, where it is supposed the Fellow is gone.

 

May 9, 1777 (Purdie)

ALEXANDRIA, April 17, 1777.

THE death of mr. John Dalton dissolving the partnership of Carlyle and Dalton, there will be sold at publick sale in Alexandria, on Monday the 18th of May, being Fairfax court day, 8 NEGRO MEN, six of which are good smiths. They have served regular times to the trade, and do all kinds of ship and planters work, shoe horses &c. One of them has been used to gun work, and is a good nailor. One of the others is a waterman, and pilot in this river and bay. The other is a plantation negro.--- At the same time will be sold 4 complete sets of smiths tools, a quantity of new and old iron, steel, &c. two schooner flats, one of which carries 45 and the other 25 hhds of tobacco, with their rigging, sails, anchors, and cables. The terms of sale will be fixed on the day.

N. B. The negroes have all had the smallpox.

 

September 12, 1777 (Purdie)

RUN away from the subscriber in Fairfax county, near Alexandria, about the 10th of August, a young man named JOE, about 21 years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches high, well made, has a round face, which is full of small bumps, a mole on his neck, and large flat feet. Had on when he went away an osnabrug shirt and trousers, but may probably change his clothes; he can read and wright. I have understood that he wants to enlist as a freeman. Whoever takes up the said negro and brings him home, or secures him so that his master may get him again, shall receive the above reward, and all reasonable charges, paid by

CHARLES JONES.

 

September 12, 1777 (Purdie)

FAIRFAX, Mount Vernon, Sept. 9, 1777.

THOSE getlemen who are indebted to the subscriber, on bonds, are earnestly requested to up pay the interest due on their several bonds. It would be very convenient and agreeable to the subscriber if the gentlemen could discharge the principal; and it is expected they will do the justice to pay the interest. Those who are indebted by dealings with mr. Hill will please to settle their accounts with him, as soon as possible. I will take young negor men or boys in payment.

JOHN P. CUSTIS.

N. B. Wanted, two likely MULATTO BOYS, of the proper size for positions.

 

November 28, 1777 (Purdie)

TO BE SOLD,

THE term of seven years yet to come, and unexpired, of and in a very valuable estate rented to me by the Hon. Philip Ludwell Lee, consisting of about one hundred and thirty SLAVES, young and old, and about eleven thousand acres of very fine LAND, situated in the counties of Loudon and Fairfax, with two large ISLANDS in Potowmack river, called the Sugar Lands. On this estate are several plantations in fine order for cropping or farming; and for the convenience of purchasers, the whole will be laid off in ten or twelve divisions. The sale in Fairfax will be on Thursday the eighteenth, and in Loudon on Monday the twenty second, of December next. At the same times and places respectively will be sold the crops of corn, tobacco, and wheat, the stocks of cattle, horses, hogs, and sheep, and the tools and utensils of trade and husbandry. My lease will be produced the time of the sale, for the satisfaction of purchasers, and any of my creditors will have their just demands discounted.

JOHN BALLENDINE.


Freedmen's Cemetery Historical Site Marker - E 109 Freedmen's Cemetery - Federal authorities established a cemetery here for newly freed African Americans during the Civil War. In January 1864, the military governor of Alexandria confiscated for use as a burying ground an abandoned pasture from a family with Confederate sympathies. About 1,700 freed people, including infants and black Union soldiers, were interred here before the last recorded burial in January 1869. Most of the deceased had resided in what is known as Old Town and in nearby rurual settlements. Despite mid-twentieth-century construction projects, many burials remain undisturbed. A list of those interred here has also survived.

Friends of Freedmenís Cemetery
638 North Alfred Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
E-mail: freedmen@juno.com

Freedmen's Cemetery Logo - This logo was designed by Alexandria Archaeology Assistant City Archaeologist, Dr. Steven Shephard, in 2006. The beautifully executed final drawing was made by Alexandria Archaeology volunteer, Mr. Andrew Flora, who made a few modifications. At the center of the logo is a headboard of the design seen in historic photographs of the Alexandria National Cemetery, established at the north end of Wilkes Street in 1862. These grave markers were supplied by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department in Alexandria and records state that this department also supplied the headboards and coffins for Freedmens Cemetery. The pine boards were whitewashed and the plot number, and presumably, the name of the deceased, and possibly the date of death, were painted in black on the headboard. The number 1864 in the logo represents the year that the cemetery was established. The black silhouette of the African American woman in the center of the board is meant to represent the people, the Freedmen, who were buried at the cemetery. Civilian men, women and many children were buried here, along with African American soldiers of the United States Colored Troops. The rays radiating from the top of the headboard are meant to represent the light of freedom, as well as the souls of the Freedmen ascending into heaven and their final reward. The F and C are for Freedmen's Cemetery. The surrounding broken chain wreath symbolizes the severed bonds of slavery which resulted from the American Civil War which transformed Alexandria and the nation.

April 29th, 2007