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Another Kind of Indenture—In 90 Years You Will be Free

In the case of Indiana:

Although there were really two classes of Negroes held in bondage—slaves who had been in the Territory before 1787 and their descendants and persons held under indentures—in practice there was little difference in the condition of the two. Throughout the territorial period Negroes in both categories were bought and sold. Numerous examples of such sales have been found but a few examples will suffice. A record of the sale of goods and chattels in connection with the settlement of the estate of Mrs. Margaret Gamelin of Vincennes in 1804 lists the sale of “an old Negroe wench about 90 years of Age” for one dollar (the purchase presumably being an act of charity) and of “a young mulattoe Boy 14 years of age . . . born of a Negro woman Slave” for $150.00. These were slaves of a French inhabitant, but not all of those sold belonged to French owners. Knox County records show that in 1808 Robert Evans purchased five slaves from A. H. H. Buck, presumably with the intention of indenturing them. In 1813 it was recorded in Gibson County that John Goodwin of that county sold to Benjamin Scales for the sum of $371.00 “a certain Negro woman Dinah, aged about seventeen years.”[1]

[1] Source: The Negro In Indiana Before 1900, Indiana Historical Bureau, 1957, p. 14; Bill of sale, July 4, 1804, in Lasselle Collection; Knox County, Minutes of Court of Common Pleas, 1807-10 (microfilm, Indiana State Library), 137; Tartt, Gibson County, 77.

English: "Also for sale 2 likely negro we...

English: “Also for sale 2 likely negro wenches…” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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