Thomas Newby's Petition to Free His Slave Hannah
Thomas Newby filed a petition to the county court for permission to free a slave called Hannah as she had “grown old.” The terms of the 1776 manumission and the circumstances of the 1777 petition to free the superannuated slave Hannah suggest that by seeking to free Hannah he may have sought to relieve himself of the obligation of supporting an elderly woman and he was not deriving economic benefit from freeing his slaves. Although the court denied Newby's petition, he did give Hannah her freedom, for she appears in a list of emancipated blacks who were later seized and sold by order of the county court.
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