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Bill of sale for slave named Kate
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Slavery existed throughout the colonies before the American Revolution. The relatively low numbers of slaves in New England compared to other colonies was not due to antislavery sentiments. Land and settlement patterns limited the growth of slavery in New England, but few if any colonists challenged the prevailing belief system regarding the institution. On May 22, 1734, Samuel Kent of Suffield, Massachusetts, sold "a Certain Negro Girl named Kate" to Israel Williams of Hatfield for "Eightynine Pounds in cash." The bill of sale states that Kate was about eight or nine years old on the date of sale. Israel Williams was typical of many New England slaveholders in purchasing a child rather than an adult. Children were considered to be easier to train and control and, it was hoped, might develop closer bonds of loyalty to their masters.
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