1787 CONNECTICUT Bill of Sale 5 SLAVES to Thomas Cumming Savannah GA
Directory: Popular Collectibles: Memorabilia: Black Americana: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 1460365
Please refer to our stock # BA969 when inquiring.
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PO Box 1896
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Offered is an extraordinarily rare, 1787, Fairfield, Connecticut, Bill of Sale for five SLAVES owned by Ephraim Willard of Fairfield, sold in November 1787 to two brothers, Ebenezer Whiting of Savannah, Georgia, and Bradford Whiting of Fairfield, Connecticut. The two Whiting brothers then resold these five slaves three months later in February 1788, to Thomas Cumming of Savannah, Georgia.
Also included with the 1787 Bill of Sale are three other Cumming's family documents, two measuring approximately 2"L x 8" W, and one 14"L x 8"W (see photos for condition). They are: an 1815 Receipt from Thomas Cumming to Richmond County, GA, for a $25 payment in taxes; a Dec 8, 1848, Receipt from Henry Cumming of Augusta, GA, a son of Thomas Cumming and a very prominent figure in 19th century Georgia politics, to George W. Crawford, Agent of the Bank of Augusta and Henry's law practice partner, a promise to pay on "the first day of January, 1849,"..."one hundred and three dollars for value received in house rent"; a 28 page 1812 Land Dispute document, Superior Court of Chatham County, GA, executed by Thomas Cumming btwn J. Knowle Fanning and the Joseph Clay Sr estate (Thomas Cumming's father-in-law).
The 1787 Bill of Sale is a single page, 7.5" wide x 12" long document, with text written on both sides of the document. Condition is quite remarkable given its 235 years of age!(see photos) Expected age-related discoloration of paper and some very slight paper loss in center of document ONLY noticeable when doc is held up to light.
The text of the 1787 document reads as follows, Paragraph one:
“Know all Men by these Presents that Ephraim Willard of Fairfield and State of Connecticut for and in Consideration of one Hundred and Sixty Eight Pounds Lawful Money Rec. (Received) to my full Satisfaction Of Eben,, (the double comma “,,”representing an abbreviation for Ebenezer) Whiting of Savannah of the State of Georgia & Bradford Whiting of Fairfield and the State of Connecticut do give, grant, bargain sell & Deliver unto them the said Eben,, Whiting and Bradford Whiting One Negro Man Named Peter Aged about Twenty one Years old, and his Wife Named Cate about Twenty Six years old, and her Two Children one a Girl about Five Years old, and the other a Boy about Eighteen Months old, and one other Negro Woman Named Vilot about Twenty One Years old.”
“To have and to hold the above granted the Bargainer Premises with the appurtenant thereof unto them the Said Eben,, & Bradford Whiting their Theirs Executors And Administrators and the Said Ephraim Willard do for myself my heirs Executors and Administrators Covenant with the Said Eben,, & Bradford Whiting their heirs Executors and Administrators that I am Now the Soul and Lawful Owner of the above Granted and Bargained Premises, and That I have said Right to Sell the Same as aforesaid, and that the same are free of all Incumbrances whatsoever -and I do by these Presents bind myself my Heirs Executors and administrators and assign forever against all claims and Demands whatsoever in Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal in Fairfield this Twenty first Day of Nov,, (November) in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven~ Ephraim Willard”
“Savannah, February 23 1788. I have Sold the five Negroes, mentioned in this Bill of Sale to Thomas Cumming of Savannah, for which I have received a consideration to my satisfaction~”
A bit of History-
Slavery in Connecticut:Connecticut, in 1848, was the last New England state to abolish slavery. The state's city of New London was one of the New England port cities that was an integral trading partner in what is generally referred to as “The Triangle Trade”- between New England, the West Indies, and the African Gold Coast. In this triangular trade, molasses produced in the West Indies from sugar cane was sent to New England, New England sent rum made from this molasses to Africa in exchange for enslaved people, and the enslaved were sent to the West Indies to work the sugar cane plantations that produced the molasses, maintaining the prosperity of the northern colonies through the 18th century and into the 19th.
Thomas Cumming: Thomas Cumming, to whom the above five slaves were sold in Savannah, Georgia, in 1788, was born in Frederick, Maryland, having moved to Georgia as an adult. In 1787, the year before this purchase, he married Ann Clay, the daughter of Joseph Clay, a wealthy owner of multiple Savannah-area rice plantations. It is hypothesized that Thomas purchased these slaves in conjunction with or for his father-in-law. At some point in the 1790s, he moved his wife and children to Augusta, and served as Augusta’s first mayor upon its incorporation in 1798. From 1819 until his death at age 68 in 1834, Thomas Cumming was President of the Bank of Augusta.