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African American Collection

Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Handley Regional Library
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society

P.O. Box 58, Winchester, VA 22604
(540) 662-9041 ext. 17

1599 WFCHS

Inventory created by Archives Staff 11/1990. Last revised 02/2021.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS: Collection is open to all researchers.

USE RESTRICTIONS: Restrictions may apply concerning the use, photoduplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a member of the archives staff for information concerning these restrictions. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright.

EXTENT: 1.89 linear feet

DATE: 1784-2020

SCOPE AND CONTENT: The African American Collection contains a variety of materials relating to the history of African Americans in Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia and, more broadly, the Lower Shenandoah Valley from the eighteenth century to the present. Items in this collection document the lives of enslaved people in the Valley, and include fugitive slave notices, bills of sale, and hiring agreements. There are also manumission records, abolitionist society materials, and information about enslaved and free Blacks in the Civil War and during Reconstruction, as well as the development of free Black communities.

Materials derived from the twentieth and twenty-fist centuries deal with segregation and the continuing Civil Rights Movement, up to and including Black Lives Matter. These later documents also reveal more of the community and social structures of African American families, churches, and businesses in the Winchester-Frederick County area.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL: The history of African Americans in Winchester and Frederick County reflects both local circumstances in the Shenandoah Valley and the broader themes of Black history in the United States. Evidence of African Americans living in the Winchester-Frederick County area can be found as early as the mid-1700s. While the Lower Shenandoah Valley did not support the type of large plantations that were to be found in the Lower South, there was still considerable use of enslaved labor by farmers and planters. Enslaved people performed domestic labor in households and owners also hired them out as manual and industrial labor. There was also a small free Black population.

During the Civil War, enslaved persons in the Shenandoah Valley found themselves in an uncertain position as the region shifted between Union and Confederate control. With the Union victory, and emancipation, the formerly enslaved began to build new lives, and free Black communities developed in the post-Civil War period. However, the imposition of Jim Crow Laws in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries enforced racial segregation. Despite limited opportunities and continued unequal treatment, African Americans living in Winchester and Frederick County forged strong communities through their churches, schools, and families, operating businesses and participating in community organizations. These bonds helped propel the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, both locally and nationally. African American community organizations, as well as Black churches, continue to be an active and engaged in education, community activism, and civil rights in Winchester and Frederick County.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hofstra, Warren, “The 18th Century Origins of an Antebellum Free Black Community,” Winchester-Frederick Historical Society Journal, Volume 1 (December, 1986): 57-66; Noyalas, Jonathan. Slavery and Freedom in the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War. University of Florida Press, 2021.

CITE AS: African American Collection, 1599 WFCHS, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA, USA



BOX 1 - Slavery

Slave cemeteries – articles, notes, unnumbered pages

Slavery -- Anti-Slavery Societies Conventions –excerpts, The Genius of Universal Emancipation includes Anti-Slavery Society of Brucetown in the Valley, Virginia; notes, 6 leaves

Slavery -- Fugitive Slave narratives of Dan Josiah Lockhart, J.C. Brown and Henry Brant, 13 leaves, printed from web site

Slavery – Note to hire male slave for one year, December, 1840, “Daniel”, Hugh W. (McGuire) to Elizabeth (Roots), 1 leaf

Slavery – Petition to exempt a limited amount of slave property from process for debt, 1860, 4 pages, typescript

Slavery – Slave Notice, 4 leaves, photocopy

Slavery -- Slave Patrol – three leaves, manuscript (photostat)

Slavery -- Slave(s), Bill of Sale, 1821, Clay Co. KY, James White to Hugh White, 1 leaf, manuscript

Slavery – Slave, Bill of Sale, 1808, Mary Dearmont purchased Emily from John Porter of Fauquier County, VA, one leaf, manuscript

Slavery – Slave, Bill of Sale, 1839, Jesse Frye, Christiana Frye, Hrme Frye sold John to Abraham Miller, one leaf, manuscript

Slavery -- Slaves for hire – Agreement with H. A. Miller to hire Dave for one year – 1837, unsigned, manuscript, transcript of agreement, 1 leaf, typescript

Slavery -- Slaves for Hire – news clipping, 1839, one page, printed

Slavery -- Slaves Sale, broadside – 1784, one leaf, printed (photostat)

Slavery -- Slaves, runaway – Ads for, from Pittsburg Gazette 1788, 1818, three leaves printed (photocopy)

Slavery -- Slaves, runaway – paragraph about David Lockhart in Pittsburgh being recaptured by Lloyd Logan of Winchester, 1847, 2 leaves, typescript

Slavery -- Underground Railroad – Hatley Fountain, Charles Torrey, and Bushrod Taylor, 1844, data collected by Hank Trent, c. 2012, 4 leaves, typescript  

Slavery -- Underground Railroad – one leaf, printed (photostat)

Slavery—Indenture 1813; transcript and original document, 2 leaves, manuscript/printed  

BOX 2 - Free Blacks, Manumission Records   

Free Blacks – Directory of Free Negro Registers in Virginia by County or City, complied by Lauranet L. Lee, August 15, 1999, 7 leaves, typescript (printed)

Free Blacks- Manumission Records, Winchester-Frederick Co. Virginia- Abstracts, 94 Items, abstracts 6 leaves list

Free Blacks- Manumission Records, Winchester-Frederick Co. Virginia- copies/notes, unnumbered, photocopies, 9 items, 23 leaves

Liberia Folder (contains the following):
Lott, Cary – founding father of Liberia, biographical sketch,” Glorious  Yesterdays, A Self-made Man," by Donald P. Jordan, pages 33-34, Commonwealth, vol. 47, #11(12),

BOX 3 - Civil War

Civil War -- African-American Civil War Soldiers – Colonel Robert G. Shaw, Post #206, Grand Army of the Republic, (found on Internet), 118 leaves, printed

Civil War – Emancipation Proclamation (folder contains the following):     
Notes, undated, typescript, 4 leaves
Program held January 5, 2013

BOX 4 - Reconstruction and Segregation to Present

Reconstruction – Freedman’s Bureau, Winchester-Frederick County, VA, excerpts, unnumbered leaves/items, 9 leaves, 1 pamphlet, 2 flyers, printed

Segregation – Rules to Govern Courtroom, n.d., 1 item, printed

19th Century- Cemeteries, 1 leaf

19th Century-Lynchings-news articles, unnumbered pages, printed (photocopied)

19th Century -- Winchester-Fairfax Colored Cemetery, Winchester, VA, Chancery Court Case # 1885-004, June-July, 1885, copied from Library of Virginia website, “Chancery Court Records”, 112 leaves, manuscript (photocopy)

19th Century – “Stephens City, VA: Two Peoples, One Community – A Study About the African-American Experience in Stephens City, VA, 1850-1875” by Jonathan Noyalas, 2004, 1 item, typescript, unnumbered

20th Century Civil Rights – Niagara Movement at Harpers Ferry Centennial Commemoration, 1906-2006, 3 items, printed

20th Century -- Kent Street Residents – compiled from city directories by Barbara Dickinson, 2005, unnumbered leaves, 61 leaves, typescript

20th Century – Segregation-Businesses, Dunbar Tea Room

20th Century – Segregation, Winchester, 4 leaves, printed (photocopy)

20th Century - Civil Rights -- Freedom Riders Program – Handley High School, Winchester, VA, January 6, 2011, 5 leaves, printed (photocopy)

21st Century – African American Heritage – a self - guided driving tour of Winchester, Virginia printed as a brochure, 1 item, printed, 2010

21st Century – Black Lives Matter Movement – News Articles, unnumbered items, printed (photocopy)

21st Century -- Legends Ball, 2010 – unnumbered leaves and pages, printed

Rockingham County, VA -- African-American Heritage: Stories of People and Places in Harrisonburg and Rockingham, Virginia, tour guide published by Harrisonburg Tourism and visitor Services, 2007, 35 pages, printed 

Warren County, VA—Freedom Road: Warren County’s Black History, 1836-1988, by Betty Kilby Fisher, published by author, 73 pages, printed

BOX 5 - People

1870 Census—Winchester, VA; unnumbered leaves, printed

St. Paul A.M.E.—1 leaf, printed (typescript)

Tanner, Mrs. Benjamin Tucker – one leaf, manuscript

BOX 6 - News Articles

Black History – Individuals

Black History – Va - Newsclippings



Certificate of membership in Provident Relief Association of Washington D. C., for Lutie Wright, November 23, 1914