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North Carolina Manumission Society (1816-1834)

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  • Isaac Newton White (1752 - 1819)
    Isaac White was born about 1752 and arrived in North Carolina sometime before the Revolutionary War. He was married to Sarah Vaughn, October 12, 1775 in Guilford County, North Carolina by Mr. Thomas Ri...
  • Jesse Stanley (aft.1776 - 1856)
  • Obadiah Harris (1741 - 1830)
    Miriam Rich Mendenhall married Obediah Harris, as his second wife, 9/5/1805 at New Garden MM, North Carolina. In 1811 Obediah, Miriam, and daughter Lydia Mendenhall were granted a certificate to White ...
  • Charles Osborn (1775 - 1850)
    Charles Osborn was born in Guilford County, N. C., in 1776, and commenced the ministry in the Friends Church about 1806 or 1808. He was one of the earliest and most extreme of the abolition preachers, ...
  • Zenas Worth (1770 - 1825)

On July 19, 1816, twenty-three delegates from Quaker meetings at Centre, Carraway, Deep River, and New Garden organized the North Carolina Manumission Society at Centre Friends Meeting House in Guilford County. The delegates represented 147 members in the local societies. The antislavery organization alternated between meeting at Centre and Deep River until it disbanded after 1834. The Mendenhalls, along with the Swaims and Coffins, were the most active families in the organization.

Female auxiliary societies were added beginning in 1825 by which time the delegates totaled eighty-one and active male membership in the local societies was 497. Members met resistance from many quarters and had difficulty retaining printers for their handbills and other publications. While printer Joseph Gales of Raleigh declined to perform the work, William Swaim of Greensboro was friendly to the group.

The Manumission Society was the chief antislavery society in antebellum North Carolina. After 1830 participation in the society declined, due to westward migration and the rise of the more radical abolitionist movement. Its final meeting was held in 1834.

"Whether by trepidation or frustration, many manumission supporters went west, largely to Indiana and Illinois. There, reportedly, they helped found the Free Soil movement and ultimately drew all antislavery parties into the Republican Party." (NCPedia)



  1. Patrick Sowle, “The North Carolina Manumission Society, 1816-1834,” North Carolina Historical Review (January 1965): 47-69
  2. H. M. Wagstaff, ed., “Minutes of the North Carolina Manumission Society, 1816-1834,” James Sprunt Historical Studies, vol. 22, nos. 1-2 (1934)
  3. Charles C. Weaver, “North Carolina Manumission Society,” Trinity College Society Papers, ser. 1 (1897): 71-76
  4. Paul M. Sherrill, “Quakers and the North Carolina Manumission Society,” Trinity College Historical Society Papers, ser. 10 (1914): 32-51