Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Deed of John Freeman’s Indenture to James Madison, 19 April 1809


Deed of John Freeman’s Indenture to James Madison

I hereby assign & convey to James Madison President [of the Uni]ted States the within named servant, John, otherwise called John Freeman during the remaining term of his service from the 11th day of March last past when he was delivered to the said James1 for the consideration of two hundred and thirty one Dollars 81. cents. Witness m[y hand] this 19th day of April 1809. at Monticello in Virginia.

Th: Jefferson

MS (DLC: Carter G. Woodson Collection); in TJ’s hand; mutilated; written on verso of original deed of sale, 23 July 1804.

Having leased his time by the month since May 1801, TJ purchased the indenture of John Freeman for $400 in 1804. Freeman was a dining room servant during TJ’s presidency and was married to Melinda Colbert, a slave given by TJ to Maria and John Wayles Eppes in 1797. At Freeman’s request, the deeds outlining his eleven-year indenture were recorded on 8 Mar. 1809, confirming that he was the property of TJ and ensuring that he would obtain his freedom on 22 July 1815 (Deeds of Freeman’s Indenture from William Baker, 10, 23 July 1804 [DNA: RG 351, District of Columbia Deed Book, V21:30–2]; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1043; Freeman to TJ, 2 Mar. 1809 [DLC]; Stanton, Free Some Day description begins Lucia Stanton, Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello, 2000 description ends , 80, 129, 185n; Marriage Settlement for Mary Jefferson, [12 Oct. 1797], PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 29:549–51).

1Remainder of sentence interlined.

Index Entries

  • Baker, William search
  • Colbert, Melinda search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); receives slaves from TJ search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); slaves of search
  • Eppes, Maria (Mary) Jefferson (TJ’s daughter; John Wayles Eppes’s first wife); receives slaves from TJ search
  • Freeman, John (dining room servant); and indenture with TJ search
  • indentures search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; conveys indentured servant to J. Madison search
  • Madison, James; purchases J. Freeman indenture search
  • slaves; of J. W. Eppes search