Document Concerning Returning Slaves, Scott County, Virginia, 1830s

Godsey, John. DS, framed, 1 p, 12.5 x 7.75 in. (sight), "South district of Scott County [Virginia]." June 1, 1830. 

Document reads, "A list of all free negroes or mulattoes within the South district of Scott County on the 1st day of June 1830." Below this heading, a chart is drawn with designated columns for the "names," "sexes," "places of abode," and "trade occupation or calling." Seven entries fill the chart, including, "Barbara Day," whose occupation is listed as, "Spinster." Document is signed, "John Godsey Com. [commissioner] South district SC."

The signer, John Godsey, was a prominent Scott County Virginian who held the office of commissioner of revenue for the southern district of the county. These lists or “returns” of free African Americans were compiled under an 1801 Virginia law requiring every commissioner of revenue, when producing his annual list of the taxable property in his district, to also compile “a complete list of all free negroes or mulattoes within his district, together with their names, sexes, places of abode, and particular trades, occupations, or callings.” (Joseph Tate, Digest of the Laws of Virginia, Second Edition (1841), 866 (online).

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