Free Blacks in Personal Property Tax Lists
of Frederick County, Virginia

Frederick County, compared with Virginia in general, or to the other counties in the Shenandoah Valley, had an unusually large number of free blacks. They played an important part in the growth of community but there are few published sources that document their presence.

To help correct this omission, Joy MacDonald has used the Frederick County, Virginia Personal Property Tax Lists to compile a list of free blacks from 1793 – 1862. She has reviewed the microfilm of these records and prepared a list of the information included. Some years a separate list of Free Negroes was created, other years everyone was listed and there was a notation F.N. for Free Negroes, or there was a checkmark in the column marked Free Negroes. Every effort was made to decipher the names and to include everyone, but some were illegible.

Robert Carter III, a prominent landowner in eastern Frederick County and Westmoreland County, manumitted over six hundred slaves over the course of many years. This was the largest single act of liberation in the history of American slavery before the Emancipation Proclamation. His trustee, Benjamin Dawson, oversaw the efforts after his death in 1797. Early lists (1796, 1797, 1798, 1800, 1801, 1802) listed Carter’s free Negroes separately.

Every effort has been made to accurately transcribe these records. If you have any questions, please examine the microfilm copies of the Frederick County Personal Property Tax Lists found in the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives of the Handley Regional Library, Winchester, Virginia and the Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA. The material is arranged chronologically, in alphabetical order by surname, and alphabetical order by first name.

arranged chronologically

arranged by surname

arranged by first name

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page updated 31 August 2010