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I John Charles Junr of Brimfield in the County of Hampshire
In Consideration of The Sum of fifty Three pounds six shillings
& Eight pence to me in hand well and truly paid by Major
Ephraim Williams of Hatfield in the County aforesd . The
Rect whereof I Do hereby acknowledge and my self fully
Satisfied & paid Do hereby Sell Assign Sett over and Con
vey to the Sd Ephraim Williams his Heirs & Assigns my
Negroe Boy Named J Romanoo aged about sixteen years to be the sole Property
of the sd Ephraim his Heirs and Assigns to his and Their Use
Benefit and Behoof as his & their Slave During The natu
-ral Life of The sd Jromanoo and I Do hereby Cove
-nant promise and agree That before The Ensealing hereof I
am The Rightfull and Lawfull owner of The sd Slave
and have good & Lawfull Right to sell and Dispose of him
in manner as aforesd and That I will by These presents
for my Self, & my Heirs Execurs & Admn Shall always be held
to Warrant & Secure The Sd Negroe from This Day During
his Natural Life as aforesd as The Sole Property of the sd
Ephraim his Heirs & Assigns to his & Their Use & Behoof
against The Claim & Challenge of any othe person and All
Rightfull Pretensions of his own to Freedom by any Law or Right whatsoever Wittness my
hand & Seal This Thirteenth Day of February Anno
Domini 1755
These words (Aged about Sixteen Years) John Charles Junr
were interlined before Signing & Sealing
Signd Seald & Delivd In presence
of
Joseph Dwight
Abner Tousely

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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New England bills of sale and other legal records often referred to slaves as "servants" or "servants for life". In contrast, this bill of sale starkly spelled out the slave status of sixteen-year-old J. Romanoo. John Charles of Brimfield, Massachusetts, sold Romanoo to Major Ephraim Williams of Hatfield "as his & their Slave, during the natural life of the sd. Jromanoo?" Charles further stated that Romanoo would remain a slave "against the claim and challenge of any other person, and all Rightful Pretentions of his own, to Freedom, by any Law or right whatsoever." Slavery was never officially outlawed in Massachusetts, but rather gradually disappeared when a series of court cases ruled the practice unconstitutional according to the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 that declared all men to be "born free and equal."

 

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Bill of sale for slave J. Romanoo

creator   John Charles, Jr.
date   Feb 13, 1755
location   Hatfield, Massachusetts
height   12.25"
width   7.75"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Legal Documents/Invoice
accession #   #L00.075


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See Also...

Bill of sale for slave named Kate

"Negro Slavery in Massachusetts"

Advertisement in "The Boston Weekly Post-Boy" newspaper

Pages from Rev. Jonathan Ashley's account book

Pages from Elijah Williams (Old Soldier's) account book, Vol. 2

Complaint against slave Caesar for stealing

Bill of sale for slave named Prince


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