Free Negro Certificate
This numbered certificate ("No. 16") confirms that a former slave named James registered with the Henrico County court as a free black on September 7, 1797. James is described as being about thirty-two years old and about five-feet nine-inches tall. Robert Pleasants, James's former owner, had manumitted, or freed him, and that act had been "duly recorded in the County Court."
In 1793 and 1803, the General Assembly passed acts that required all free blacks and mulattoes to be registered in books kept by the clerks of the county courts.