Finally Free

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In this 1789 manumission, Richard Fisher of Kent County legally frees his slaves. However, like numerous manumissions, individuals remained enslaved for long periods of time before their freedom was granted.

Finally Free?

During this time in Delaware history, many slaves were being manumitted, or freed, by their owners. Kent County Delaware had the largest free black population in the United States in 1790. Many of the manumissions were made by the Quakers and Methodists who were originally slave owners, but had come to the conclusion that it was morally abhorrent to hold another human being in bondage.

A manumission is a legal document stating that a slaveowner would free his/her slaves either immediately or at some point in the future. Manumissions are found in the recorder of deeds office. This collection includes deed books and indexes, land warrants, surveys and grants, corporation dockets, plot books, apprentice indentures, power of attorneys, liens, bonds and other documents relating to the office.