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Notable Manumissions

Notable Manumissions

It is estimated that five thousand manumissions were recorded across Virginia between 1782 and 1865, leading to the freedom of over 20,000 individuals. Many manumission documents detail individual slaves being freed by Virginians whose names are lost to history. However, there were also very notable historical figures who freed their slaves, some in large numbers, through wills or through deeds, sometimes making financial provision for the formerly enslaved peoples. These examples show that the manumission movement was not limited to a specific class, religious persuasion, or geographic area in Virginia.

George Washington (Fairfax Co.) - freed 123 individuals through his will

Robert Carter III (Westmoreland Co.) - freed over 450 individuals through deed

Thomas Jefferson (Albemarle Co.) - freed three individuals by deed and five through his will

Richard Randolph (Prince Edward Co.) - freed 90 individuals through his will

John Randolph of Roanoke (Charlotte Co.) - freed 383 individuals through his will

John Pleasants (Henrico Co.) - freed 400 individuals through his will following famous court battle

Robert Pleasants (Henrico Co.) - freed 80 individuals through deed

Samuel Gist (Hanover Co.) - freed over 350 individuals through his will

John Ward Sr. (Pittsylvania Co.) - freed 134 individuals through his will

Col. Charles Lynch (Campbell Co.) - freed five individuals through several deeds

John Lynch (Campbell Co.) - freed 22 individuals through several deeds

Abner Early (Bedford Co.) - freed 18 individuals through deed

Timothy Rogers (Bedford Co.) - freed 32 individuals though his will

Charles Lambert (Bedford Co.) - freed 36 individuals through his will

Nicholas Davies (Bedford Co.) - freed 51 individuals through deeds

George Custis (Robert E. Lee executor) (Richmond, VA) - freed 196 individuals through his will

John Warwick (Amherst County) - freed 78 individuals through his will

John White (Albemarle County) - freed 43 individuals through his will

Hugh Adams (Rockbridge County) - freed 19 individuals through a deed and his will

Polly Bell (Augusta County) - freed 22 individuals by deed

Edward Mitchell (Botetourt County) - freed 15 individuals by deed