Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D, discovered that his ancestor, James Hambleton, had been a slave in Westmoreland County, Virginia, for 15 years, and then he began a systematic search for the names of other white children who were acknowledged as slaves. The names of more than 5,000 such kidnapped children have been documented in Court Order books in Maryland and Virginia — and now they are recorded for all to see.
Phillips’ new book, “Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records (Maryland and Virginia)” provides a heartbreaking look at a portion of American history that has not been addressed.
Many emigrants who came to the American colonies came as “indentured,” agreeing to work for a master for a specified number of years in exchange for passage. However, many white children were kidnapped and brought to the colonies without such an indenture.
Extant Court Order books have been examined for the Maryland counties of Anne Arundel, Somerset, Talbot, Queen Anne, Kent, Cecil, Dorchester, Baltimore, Prince George, and Charles.
Virginia Court Order books have been examined for the counties of Northampton, Accomack, Stafford, Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster, Old Rappahannock, Richmond, Essex, Middlesex, York, Charles City, Henrico, Surry, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, and Princess Anne.
The book’s index includes the names of each child in these counties, the date he or she appeared in court, the age assigned by the judge, and the name of the owner. The indexes to “Gentleman Justices and Worshippfull Commissioners” (often the judges of the courts) include the names of the white slave children they owned. There is also an index to ship captains (each with name of ship, county, and year/s of arrival) and an index to ship arrivals (with name of each ship accompanied by county and year/s). The Appendix, Jacobite Rebels, includes the names of the 281 Jacobite rebels (“not all Scottish”) who were shipped without indentures to Maryland and Virginia. The Notes provide specific sources, including many websites.