This is mostly an FYI, something curious I came across, but I"m not done, so there's a couple things I could use help on.
I've been working on slavery in CT. I'm really just working on Fairfield County, and starting with the US Census. So far, mostly working on the slave owners first. I noticed an 87-year-old man, Onesimus Comstock, listed on the 1850 Census as "voluntary slave." I next found mention in a Comstock compilation (the one by Cyrus Comstock.) That gave me enough info to match with the various owners through 7 consecutive Censuses.
I've now got him through 3 owners, and every US Census from 1790 to 1850. Onesimus has a FindAGrave memorial, complete with a picture of his stone. The text there quotes something I've never heard of, called the 1773 Visitation Journal, which reports that two old maid sisters, Sarah & Phebe Comstock, purchased him from Jonathan Husted of Brookhaven, Long Island on the 9th of August 1773. (Both of their parents died in 1766.)
Husted was born in New Canaan, CT. He was a loyalist who left this area of Connecticut, a hotbed of American revolutionary fervor. It also gives a birth date, and posits that Husted's female slave, Candace, was Onesimus's mother.
I have two candidates for Onesimus's birth owner, which I'm looking into now. It's pulling me away from working off the US Census for Connecticut. I wouldn't mind help sorting it out. But mostly it's an FYI, since I'd never imagined "voluntary slave." Here's the two candidates I'm starting to look into.
- Jonathan Husted (c. 1720-)
- Jonathan Husted (1747-1835)
Tracking slaves is a challenge. I feel a small rush of triumph whenever I find enough information about one to create a profile.