Free? Yes. Clothes? No.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
State of North Carolina, Edgecombe County } August Term 1783
Personally appeared before me Col’o James Armstrong and being duly sworn deposeth and saith That on or about the first day of August In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty one this deponent being at Martinborough in Pitt County and State aforesaid being appointed to Superintend the receiving of draughts deserters and Substitutes for the Continental service from the districts of Halifax and Newbern a certain William Kitchen who was then a deserter from the Continental Service having brought a certain Ned Griffin a molattoe or Mustee to this deponent as a Substitute in the room of the said Kitchen to serve for the term of Eighteen Months in the Continental Service the said Kitchen upon his delivering the said Griffin to this deponent (who ever mindful of his duty and determined strictly to adhere to the laws of the State particularly to the directions there enjoined respecting the receptions of Draught Substitutes &c) objected to the said Griffin upon this principle that he was not perfectly satisfied of his being a free man and the said Kitchen thereupon with the strongest of assurances declared that he the said Griffin was a free-man and as such delivered him to the deponent declaring and positively affirming at the same time that he had purchased the services of the said Griffin and upon his serving the said tour faithfully he the said Kitchen manumitted and totally discharged him from every species of further services whatsoever. That upon those terms and solemn assurances of Kitchen only he this deponent received and enrolled him the said Griffin in the Continental service accordingly. And farther this deponent saith that some time after the enrollment he met with William Griffin the person from whom Kitchen had purchased the services of the said Griffin he this deponent addressed himself to the said William Griffin in these words “So says this deponent Kitchen has purchased of you a certain Ned Griffin (meaning the said Ned Griffin that he had received as a free man of Kitchen) for a substitute for him the said Kitchen upon which the said William Griffin answered yes this deponent then demanded of him Clothing for the said Ned Griffin upon which he the said William Griffin replied that he made no contract with Kitchen when he disposed of the services of the said Ned Griffin to the said Kitchen therefore was no obligation to comply with his requisition. /s/ James Armstrong Sworn to before me this 6th August 1783 in open Court J Sessums
Slave Records, Edgecombe County Records, North Carolina State Archives.