The Vass Slaves: County Courts, State Laws, and Slavery in Virginia, 1831-1861

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Loren L. Schweninger, Emeritus Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: In the name of God Amen, Philip E. Vass of Halifax County, Virginia, wrote on 8 August 1831, being of sound mind and disposing Memory, Calling to reflection the Mortality of my body & being desirous to dispose of My Earthly possessions; do ordain this to be my Last Will and Testament. Historians have analyzed many aspects of slavery and the law, including manumissions at various times in different locations, the attitudes of southern appellate judges toward slaves as people as well as property, the statutory protections of slaves' "rights" in criminal cases, and even the ability of slaves to manipulate the legal system for their own benefit and to enlist the assistance of whites.5 But less has been done to investigate these questions at the county court level, especially concerning a single group of blacks over an extended period of time.

Additional Information

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 114 (Winter 2006), 464-97.
Language: English
Date: 2006
Slaves, Laws, Virginia

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