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Slaves freed in America before the Emancipation Proclamation

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  • Mary Clach / Athens / Van Aiken? (c.1776 - bef.1859)
    Last living in Manchester, Dearborn, Indiana in 1850 with daughter and William Crookshank
  • Eliza Cook (1800 - d.)
    Listed as the daughter of Henry Cook (Hendrick van der Koek) and Mary Clach, a slave of Philip van Cortlandt. She was christened in 1800 at the Belleville Church in New Jersey.
  • Peter Swailes (c.1782 - 1862)
    Peter in the 1830 United States Federal Census He is also mentioned in his wife's obituary: View1830 United States Federal Census (before Stephen Swailes was born) Name: Peter Swails Home in 1830 (Ci...
  • John W. Jones (1817 - 1900)
    ~• of Elmira NY in 1900 bio and photo at brother-in-law of the also notable Hon. Stephen A. Swails (USA)

Sub Project to the American Slave Owners Project


  1. To link individual people of bondage (legally held as property) with the owners who freed them
  2. This project is intended to be a resource to building genealogies, something that is extremely difficult as slave records most often exclude surnames
  3. To serve as a resource for cultural associations in various communities and industries
  4. As the date range is basically limited to the years before the American Civil War, this project may end up being a spring board for more comprehensive understanding of the issues that faced freed blacks of the 17th,18th and early 19th centuries.

How to list

  1. Link profile of the person who was freed
  2. State the date of freedom in each profile's <About> section
  3. In each profile, list the url of the owner who freed them (if known)
  4. Try to remember to link that slave holder in the American Slave Owners Project & the state where the freedom originated
  5. Specify source(s) of the information. In other words, please document, if at all possible


  • Please add any freed slave from the earliest time of European immigration to any of the colonies or, later on, states of the US.
  • Tracing the lives and whereabouts of enslaved Blacks of early America is a monumental task. You can help by cross-referencing your profiles here.

Sub Projects to this one

rotating_world.gif State by State

  1. Connecticut
  2. Delaware
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Maine
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. New Hampshire
  9. NewJersey
  10. New York
  11. North Carolina
  12. Pennsylvania
  13. Rhode Island
  14. South Carolina
  15. Virginia
  16. Vermont


  1. Sierra Leone
  2. Nova Scotia
    1. Birchtown, NS
      1. ~ an individual's tracing of his family
      2. ~ Africville (Halifax) relocation
      3. A complete list of the founding members of Birchtown

(please add others! (just cut and paste the format) I've only include my limited areas of focus) ~• MMvB, project originator)

Notable Descendants


  1. The Black Loyalist Directory, edited by Graham Russell Hodges, 318 pp. (Garland Publishing Inc., New York and London, 1996)
  2. Searchable Black Loyalist database
  3. The Book of Negroes > freed by edict at the end of the American Revolution and sent to Canada

reading list/notes

  1. DeWint house - Evacuation Day : The distance to the De Wint House was about three miles. Justice Smith wrote that the Generals rode in a four horse “chariot,” some of the others by horseback, but he and Mr. Elliot walked the distance with Col. Smith. After arriving at the De Wint house, about an hour was spent outside in pleasantries and “separate chats” until the Generals entered the house. General Washington spoke first. Three points needed to be resolved as soon as possible. First there was a need to protect property from being carried off by the Loyalists. ¶ The property he was most concerned with was the “negroes.” Secondly, a day and time needed to be set for the evacuation of New York and lastly, there must be a government in place when the evacuation would take place.