White Slave Children of Charles County, Maryland: The Search for Survivors

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Author: Phillips, Richard Hayes
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: xv 413 pp.
ISBN: 9780806320311


In this companion volume to Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records, Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips takes the story forward–examining the treatment of children kidnapped and sold into slavery, and identifying those who survived.

In his original book Dr. Phillips identified 5,290 “servants” without indentures, transported against their will to places in Virginia and Maryland, including Charles County. For this book Dr. Phillips has indexed seventy-five years of handwritten records from Charles County, Maryland (1658-1733). The records are nearly complete and most have never been transcribed before–872 “servants” without indentures were brought to this county, and 333 were owned by the judges on the very court that sentenced them to slavery.

This book contains three indexes–with detailed abstracts–to Charles County servants with or without indentures (recaptured runaways, petitions for freedom, complaints of abuse or neglect), and six indexes to all residents of the county (vital records, witnesses who stated their ages, grantee index to deeds, gifts of livestock, deaths and estates, and orphan children). Most of these records have been microfilmed, scanned, and posted online by the Archives of Maryland. With brief citations, the reader is steered to online images of actual handwritten records.

All nine new indexes have been cross-checked with Dr. Phillips’ master list of 872 “servants” without indentures, from which he has compiled an Encyclopedia of Survivors. This section of the work, one of the longest, assembles all that is known about the lives of the children following their release from servitude. Many of these biographical sketches trace descendants for several generations, refer to acquisitions of land, and contain other details useful to genealogists. The alphabetically arranged chapter entitled Vital Records is a godsend for anyone tracing Charles County roots, whether or not your ancestor suffered white enslavement. Dr. Phillips has also included full-fledged biographies of three of the worst abusers of child labor among the county officials, an exposé of how the system of white slavery operated, and instances of resistance by the survivors. Thus begins the dark era of white slavery on the North American continent.

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