Manumission Record of Jacob Fain, Granville County

20 August 2007

You might be wondering what happened to the Carter family of Craven County. Sorry, I am still working on that.

I want to talk a bit about manumission. This is how I started on this project was writing a paper on the manumission practices of antebellum North Carolina. I believe I explained in a previous post about the word choice "manumission" vs. "emancipation". To my understanding, the terms are interchangeable. If you look them up in a dictionary, you're most likely going to come up with the same definition. In records, manumission was usually used during the 1700s and early 1800s. Around 1820 or so, records are generally called emancipation records. My person preference, in referring to the freeing of slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation is to use the term manumission. I like to have consistency in the things I do and it causes too much confusion to go back and forth between the terms, so my own personal definitions are as follows:

  • Manumission: The voluntary freeing of ones slaves
  • Emancipation: The forced (or involuntary) freeing of ones slaves

So, here we go with some transcriptions for you (as always, wording and spelling is preserved). I do have to apologize for the lack of call number (archival call numbers, I guess you could say). When I copied these manumission records, I was new to this and neglected to record them, but I'll put what I can under "Source:" in case anyone wants to view the originals for themselves.

To the Honb the Court of Granville

We your petitioners (who are the only proprietors) do here humbly state to the Court that Jacob Fain, This his Honest industry has procured Money suficient to our Satisfaction to purchase his freedom, which together with his faithfulness as a servant, induces us to petition your Worships that he may have his freedom and to humbly desire that the worshipfull Court of Granville would emancipate the said Jacob and your petitioning will ever be in duty bound to pray[?] bu[rest is faded]

[faded]th May 1805

Elizabeth Bullock
Frances Boyd
William Boyd
James Marlin*
Eliza Marlin*
Wm Bullock

[on the reverse]
Worshipful County of Granville

*= not sure if that is an "r" or a "c", it's either Marlin or Maclin

Source: Granville County. Misc. Slaves [box name]. "Emancipation of Jacob Fain" [folder name].


Submit comments Please note that all comments are moderated.

Note: In blogger, there were 3 seperate identical post each with their own comments. I'm not sure what happen, but put all the comments into this post in chronological order

Anonymous said on December 22, 2007 at 6:56

Thank you for your work here. I've come across an ancestor of mine who purchased her own freedom, according to a military document, and I am wondering under what terminology I should search for her documents. I wonder if purchased freedom falls under the same category as a sale, or if it would be called a manumission? Many thanks

(details: Martha Givens Porter Artson, mother of James Ward Porter born near Charleston, SC; She was born in 1803, SC), p.s. I wonder if you could email your reply to catalan_athens (at) since I am using this evening to do a bit of searching before getting back to work, and may not be able to find your site and check for your reply, please.

Many Thanks and Happy Holidays,
Shira D. (UnivHealthCareCantaora)

Anonymous said on August 25, 2008 at 8:13 PM

i'm researching my geneology of relatives from north carolina and i'm related to possibly Elizabeth Bullock in this post. do you have any information about her--was she white/black? My grandmother from north carolina who is now deceased looked ethnic like part indian or something so i'm trying to uncover what possibly her relatives background were. - reneeacts (at) thanks for any info!

ShiraDestinieUniversalHealthCareCantaora said on March 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM
My email address is now shira.djones (at), rather than catalan_athens.

Many thanks,
Shira Dest.

"Ike" said on June 2, 2015 at 5:27 PM
Erin! Thank you! This man is my ancestor. My family has traced our lineage back to Sally Fain in North Carolina, and now I know more about her husband. I had no idea before today that her husband had purchased her freedom. It's an awesome story. Thank you!!!