Slavery in Dutchess County

New York's "Gradual Emancipation Act" of 1799 laid out plans for the abolition of slavery in the state in 1827. This page provides some statistics and a few samples from DCHS Collections related to enslaved individuals from that period.

DCHS Slavery

The "Gradual Emancipation Act" of 1799 laid out a protracted route to freedom as 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820 Census records show below:

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"For sale" and "Runaway" ads reveal an unfathomable kind of "matter of fact" public practice of human ownership

From DCHS Collections: Bills of Sale

Isaac Smith of Pine Plains

Isaac Smith, a lawyer, and Lewis Graham, from the wealth Graham family of the Manor of Morrissania, were both the earliest of settlers of what is now Pine Plains, arriving in the 1760's. They ran an ad in the Hartford Courant in 1782, calling for the return of Peter, a so-called "runaway."

The 1826 document shows that upon his death, Smith manumitted "Dinah." To ensure no financial burden would fall to towns or the county, the Overseers of the Poor had to endorse the manumission of a slave saying they felt they were capable of sustaining themselves. This is such a document.

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