Willie G’s First Slaves

My ancestors emigrated from Britain early in this nation’s history.  These families settled frontiers and tended farms, communities and schools.  When needed they sent fathers and sons off to war, fighting to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But geographic location at the turn of the 19th century determined how families prospered throughout the 1800’s; or rather, by what means these groups prospered.  Family in New York became educational leaders.  The branch in Pennsylvania bought land bounties and leased them out, supplementing its own farming income with speculation in this nation’s westward expansion.  Those families south of the Potomac River predictably farmed, and in times of plenty purchased slaves to supplement their own labor.

This knowledge is hard to state; my ancestors owned slaves and when they didn’t own slaves they wanted to own slaves.  And when they could, they bought more slaves.

In 1828, my great-great-grandfather’s brother bought his first slaves–four Negro children.  Willie G. Strickland, of Wake County, North Carolina was but 21 years old himself, but he could afford to bid the $232.42 needed to purchase Levi, Tildy, Borline, and Caroline at a Raleigh auction.   The children had belonged to Mary Jeffreys, Willie G’s grandmother, and to John Perry Strickland, his father.

Received June 17th 1828 from Willie G. Strickland Two hundred and thirty dollars, forty two cents, which amount is in full payment for four Negro children.  Sold at the court House in the city of Raleigh as the property of Mary Jeffreys decd and John P. Strickland, say Levi, Tildy and Borline the property of Mary Jeffreys decd and Caroline the property of John P. Strickland, and the said William G. Strickland being the last and highest bidder for the consideration above, I warrant the right of the negroes to the said William G. Strickland and his heirs forever–so far as the right of the said Mary Jeffreys and John P. Strickland and as far as officers are bound in general at such sales.  Given under my hand the 17th of June 1828.

Teste John L. Terrell                        John Wall Constable  February Term 1829

The Bill of Sale was in Open court duly proved by the oath of Sion Rogers a witness thereto and ordered to be Registered.

B.S. King   C Clk

Registered in the Registers office of Wake County in Book No.9 and page 44 the 26th day of May A.D. 1829

R. Smith  Regr.


Tate, Carla. “Wake County, North Carolina Records.” Strickland Records and Family Groups: Wake, Franklin, and Early Johnston Counties, North Carolina. [North Carolina?]: C. Tate, 2007. 88. Print.

One thought on “Willie G’s First Slaves

  1. No ages, no last names, ‘only’ children. How do we pay this debt forward? First by owning up to it, which is well-accomplished here, thank you.

    Cheap fossil fuels have made us less dependent upon labor. We must defend against falling back into the horrid trap of slavery as we reach peak oil. We avail ourselves of cheap labor each time we buy clothing and other goods from countries that have no hard-won union protections against child labor, against health hazards in the workplace, and against misuse of women and abuse of the earth.

    We can choose Fair Trade labels, vote with your dollars for Fair Trade Chocolate! For a list of Slave-Free chocolate brands, see http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/main.html#Table

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