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Slaves held by Henry B. Rittenhouse, Slave Owner

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Albemarle, Virginia, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Slavery Black_Heritage
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Henry B. Rittenhouse owned a 600 acre farm/plantation in Albemarle County, Virginia, and nearly 400 acres in another location, and he utilized slave labor. He held slaves for many years, as documented in census records, recorded slave births, and slave purchases.

In 1820, Henry Rittenhouse was recorded holding 4 slaves on the US federal census.[1]

1820 US Federal Census--St Annes, Albemarle County, Virginia
Name of Head of Family: Henry Rittenhouse
Slave InformationNumber Held
Slaves, males, 14 thru 251
Slaves, females, 14 thru 253
Total Slaves4

In 1830, Henry Rittenhouse was recorded holding 9 slaves on the US federal census.[2]

1830 US Federal Census--Albemarle County, Virginia
Name of Head of Family: Henry Rittenhouse
Slave InformationNumber Held
Slaves, males, under 102
Slaves, males, 10 thru 232
Slaves, females, under 102
Slaves, females, 10 thru 231
Slaves, females, 24 thru 352
Total Slaves9

Henry Rittenhouse was listed holding 13 slaves in the 1840 US Federal census.[3]

1840 US Federal Census--St Annes, Albemarle County, Virginia
Name of Head of Family: Henry Rittenhouse
Slave InformationNumber Held
Slaves, males, under 101
Slaves, males, 10 thru 231
Slaves, males, 24 thru 351
Slaves, males, 55 thru 991
Slaves, females, under 104
Slaves, females, 10 thru 233
Slaves, females, 36 thru 542
Total Slaves13

Henry Rittenhouse was listed with 17 slaves in the 1850 US Federal Census Slave Schedules, the final census taken before his death in 1857.[4]

1850 U.S. Federal Census -- Slave SchedulesAlbemarle County, Virginia
Name of Slave OwnerNumber of SlavesAgeSexColor
Henry Rittenhouse136FB
157FB
149MB
124MB
124FB
122MB
120MB
114FB
113FB
111FB
19FB
17FB
15FB
14FB
14MB
13MB
11MB
Total Slaves17

Two of the slaves that Henry Rittenhouse owned were Milly and Sarah, who were both registered in the Virginia Slave Birth Index when they gave birth. Milly gave birth to an unnamed son on 4 Sep 1853, and Sarah gave birth to Tom on 9 Oct 1853, and to Mary in Oct of 1855.

Henry's will directed that his entire estate, including property of every kind, be sold as soon as possible after his death. He did not name any enslaved individuals in his will nor make any bequests of them in it. His widow, Martha "Patsy" (Turner) Rittenhouse would have been entitled to the use of one third of the estate, including slaves, for her lifetime, so may have retained some of the slaves to farm her portion of the land and keep house. This may account for the smaller number of slaves (12) seen in the final inventory of Henry's estate, as opposed to the larger number (17) enumerated on the slave schedule in 1850, in addition to known slave births after that date.

Sources

  1. "United States Census, 1820," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHLC-MQF : accessed 6 November 2022), Henry Rittenhous, St. Anne's Parish, Albemarle, Virginia, United States; citing p. , NARA microfilm publication , (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll ; FHL microfilm .
  2. "United States Census, 1830," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH5N-XWY : 20 February 2021), Henry Wittenhouse, Albemarle, Virginia, United States; citing 295, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 197; FHL microfilm 29,676.
  3. "United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHBM-4MB : 10 June 2022), Henry Rittenhouse, St. Anne's Parish, Albemarle, Virginia, United States; citing p. 156, NARA microfilm publication , (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll ; FHL microfilm .
  4. "United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1850 ", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:HRWJ-JZZM : 15 February 2020), Henry Rittenhouse in entry for MM9.1.1/MV8K-7XS:, 1850.
  • "Virginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:W8B9-28N2 : 4 February 2020), Tom, 9 Oct 1853; citing Birth, Albemarle, Virginia, United States, Virgina State Library and Archives, Richmond; FHL microfilm 008249760.
  • "Virginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:W8B9-2DW2 : 4 February 2020), Mary, Oct 1855; citing Birth, Albemarle, Virginia, United States, Virgina State Library and Archives, Richmond; FHL microfilm 008249760.
  • "Virginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:W8PN-17N2 : 4 February 2020), Male, 4 Sep 1853; citing Birth, Albemarle, Virginia, United States, Virgina State Library and Archives, Richmond; FHL microfilm 008249760.




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