The 1812 Emancipation Document for Three Slaves of the Gay Family

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The members of Suffield Academy’s American Studies class (2012-13) transcribed this document.  Please “comment” below the post if you have a suggestion for a word or phrase in our transcription.  We also invite your insights or reflections about this document.
We the subscribers, civil authority of the town of Suffield, on the application of the Rev. Ebenezer Gay and William Gay both of said town, owners of Ginny Dinah and Titus black Persons and born slaves to their late Father, the Rev. Ebenezer Gay deceased, have [emancipated] said slaves and find each of them to be in health, under the age of forty five years, and over the age of twenty five years and that they are desirous of being made free and hereby [satisfied] our approbation of their being manumitted by their said owner. Dated at Suffield the 11th Day of May
Asahel Hatheway

Thaddeus Leavitt

We the subscribers, owner of Ginny Dinah and Titus who were born slaves to our late father Ebenezer Gay deceased, having received a certificate from Thaddeus Leavitt and Asahel Hatheway [both] of Suffield Justice of the Peace for Hartford County approbating the same have [emancipated] and set at Liberty said Ginny Dinah and Titus- I hereby discharge them and each of them from any claim we may have to their Persons, in services, in [writing] we have [demonstrated] our hand. The 11th Day of May Anno Domini (AD) 1812

Ebenezer Gay Jr.

WM Gay


4 thoughts on “The 1812 Emancipation Document for Three Slaves of the Gay Family

  1. It’s not easy for me to translate the manuscript from the screen or my printout, but here are some comments.

    Some punctuation in the orihinal seems to be missing in the transcription, e.g. the commafter Ginny in letter one.
    The date in letter one is 1812, just like letter two; it’s an odd way to write an 8!
    In letter one, the word is examined, not emancipated.
    Take the brackets off of emancipated in letter two.
    In letter two, the Hatheway is Esqrs, not both.
    In the antepenultimate and penultimate lines of the second letter the words are . . . any claim we may have to their Persons or services in witness we have hereunto [subscribed] our hands …
    I added the subscribed, which they seemed to have forgotten.

  2. Here are some suggestions from another Historical Society Member that we need to examine:

    Re your students’ transcription in the glass case, I offer the following suggestions:
    examined, not emancipated
    certify, not satisfied
    AD 1812, not 10112
    witness, not writing
    hereunto, not demonstrated
    Hands, not hand
    Genny, not Ginny

  3. Riding the Coat Tails, A bad thing? | Mr. Sullivan's Digital Classroom

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