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Lot 4: LEAVING A PORTION OF HIS ESTATE TO HIS SLAVE

Swann Auction Galleries

February 26, 2004, 12:00 AM EST
New York, NY, US
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Description: Manuscript court copy of the last will and testament of Dennis Griffin, of Amitt County Mississippi. 3 pages, folio; some dampstaining along the right edges; docketed on verso. Mississippi, 1843
Notes: An extraordinary document wherein Dennis Griffin instructs his executor to set aside $2500 from his estate for his "servant woman named Nancy, a bright mulatto and her three children to wit Mary Jane, Frank & Mary Ellen, also any other child or children she may have before my death..." He further instructs that Nancy and her children be freed and taken to a free state and that 160 acres of land be purchased for them so that they may make a living for themselves. If that sum is insufficient, he instructs that additional sums be added to the bequest. He concludes by writing his sister Eliza out of his will. It seems clear that Mr. Griffin fathered Nancy's children and that he had every intention of looking after them in the event of his death.
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