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Julia Sun-Joo Lee

slave, shoemaker, and pastor, was born in Madison County, Virginia, to John and Jane Davis, slaves belonging to Robert Patten, a wealthy merchant and mill owner. Both of Davis's parents were devout Baptists who instilled in Davis a strong relationship to the church.

By Davis's account, Patten was a comparatively fair master who valued his slaves and who accorded John Davis many privileges, among them the ability to raise livestock and to keep his children with him until they were old enough to go into trade. John Davis was the head miller at Patten's merchant mill located on Crooked Run, a stream between Madison and Culpeper County. He was able to read and figure, but he could not write.

When Noah Davis was about twelve Patten sold his mill and emancipated Davis s mother and father Davis s family moved to one of Patten ...

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Theresa Vara-Dannen

former slave and shoemaker, was born in Concord, Massachusetts, to unknown parents. Concord church records record his birth as “Jack, Negro” and the earliest records indicate he was owned by Benjamin Barron, a farmer and shoemaker, who taught Jack the shoemaking trade; when Barron died on 13 July 1754, Jack was included as part of his estate and was valued at £120, along with “one Negro maid Vilot, being of no value.” Barron's widow, Elizabeth, agreed to allow Jack to purchase his freedom with his earnings from his shoemaking. By 1761 he had saved enough to pay the £120 and buy four acres of land from Barron s estate and more property from a neighbor He would eventually own about eight and a half acres near Merriam s Corner in Concord Since the record of his birth indicates a single name Jack as was common in the ...

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David E. Paterson

shoe- and harness-maker, businessman, and community leader, was born in Georgia to parents whose names and occupations are unknown. Called simply “Guilford,” he was enslaved to Benajah Birdsong in Jasper County, Georgia. Birdsong died in 1824, and his widow inherited Guilford before she married James Spier, an Upson County merchant-farmer, in 1827. Guilford came to live and work in Thomaston, the legal and commercial center of Upson County.

Guilford married his first wife, Ellen, after she arrived in Thomaston from Columbia County about 1830. Their child, Susan, was born about 1831. Ellen and Susan were both slaves of George Cary, a onetime Georgia congressman, and, after his death, of his son John J. Cary. The younger Cary's chronic financial distress was a long-standing threat to Guilford and Ellen's family.

Spier moved Guilford to his farm Hurricane Place about ...