This document is from a collection of financial papers related to the plantation operations of several generations of the Rouzee Family in Essex County, Virginia. The papers date from the 1790s through 1860.
A one page legal document drafted by hand in ink by Richard Rouzee, Justice of the Peace for Essex County, Virginia, granting payment to Silas Goulding of Essex County for apprehending the enslaved man "Braxton," believed to be the property of Edward Rouzee. Braxton was found on the plantation of Robert P. Waring. At the bottom left of the document is the calculation that $5.00 be paid to Goulding for apprehension and an additional $0.60 for the distance of six miles between the place of apprehension and the plantation of Edward Rouzee. At the bottom right is the elaborate signature of Richard Rouzee. The document is dated September 16, 1825.
To Visit Your Husband: Harriet Lawson’s Pass, 1832
Harriet Lawson carried this pass to visit her husband, Caleb, at work in a nearby town. As free blacks, the Lawsons could legally marry, but Maryland placed limits on their liberty. If they traveled without a pass, they could be fined $20 or sold into slavery.
The Back of Lawson’s Pass
If stopped, Lawson would face the humiliation of being physically inspected. This pass described her as: “Black, 29 yrs of age five feet high has a mole on the right side of her right eye no other perceptible mark.”
Source: Nancy Bercaw, Curator, Slavery and Freedom
A free woman's pass for a free African American woman, Harriet Lawson, to visit her husband Caleb Lawson, signed in Frederick County, Maryland, on May 21, 1832. Davis Richardson is listed as the witness. The pass is on a single sheet of paper. There is handwriting in ink on both recto and verso, handwriting in pencil on verso only. The proper right side has discoloration and abrasions with loss of paper along the edge but no apparent loss of text. The ink writing from the verso side is visible faintly through to the recto side. Creases remain from the pass having been folded twice, once lengthwise and once widthwise.