Primary Resource

The Case of John Graweere (March 31, 1641)

In this case, heard before the General Court on March 31, 1641, John Graweere, a "negro servent" of William Evans, petitions to purchase his enslaved son from the owner of the boy's enslaved mother.

Transcription from Original

Whereas it appeareth to the court that John Graweere being a negro servent unto William Evans was permitted by his said matter to keep hogs and make the best benefit thereof to himself provided that the said Evans might have half the increase which was accordingly rendered unto him by the said negro and the other half reserved for his own benefit: And whereas the said negro having a young child of a negro woman belonging to Lieut. Robert Sheppard which he desired should be made a Christian and be taught and exercised in the church of England, by reason whereof he the said negro did for this said child purchase its freedom of Lieut. Sheppard with the good liking and consent of Tho: Gooman's overseer as by the deposition of the said Sheppard and Evans appeareth, the court hath therefore ordered that the child shall be free from the said Evans or his assigns and to be and remain at the disposing and education of the said Graweere and the child's godfather who undertaketh to see it brought up in the Christian religion aforesaid.

Mr. George Menifye Esqr this day presented in the court an indian boy of the county of Tappahannak christened and for the time of ten years brought up amongst the English by Captain William Perry deceased and Mr George Menifye: the indian was examined and found to have been well instructed in the principles of religion, taught to read, instructed to writing: and whereas there hath formerly been given by will, a stock o three hundred pounds sterling by Nicholas farrar late of London, merchant, deceased, by the Indians, whereof 24 pounds sterling was yearly to be paid any persons that should bring up three of the indian children, the said Mr Menifye for his better supportation in the education of the said indian boy desires certificate from the court of the bringing him up and instructing him in Christian religion as is said: the governor and council approving and commending the care that hath been used towards this youth, have condescended to the request of the said Mr Menifye and have thought good to recommend hereby his suit for the allowance of 8 pounds per annum percent of the said 24 pounds towards the maintenance of the said youth and to that purpose in testimony of the premises have thought good to cause the seal of the colony to be hereunto affixed. Given at James city the tenth day of June anno domini 1640.