The Virginia Gazette was the first newspaper published in Virginia and the first to be published in the area south of the Potomac River in the colonial period of the United States. Issues have the following subtitle: “Containing the freshest advices, foreign and domestick.” It was published weekly from 1736 through 1780.
This resource is quite valuable to anyone researching the internal slave trade within the colonies. Most issues start with news and letters from abroad, but the bulk of the paper was often commercial listings that in some way relate to slavery. This can include estate sales that include human slaves as part of the property or slave auction announcements or offers of payment for the return of runaway slaves.
These examples are all from The Virginia Gazette issue from January 10, 1771:
To be SOLD, to the highest bidder, byvirtue of a decree of Hanover Court, atthe court-house, on Wednesday the 23dof this instant (January)
THIRTEEN LIKELY VIRGINIA BORN SLAVES, consisting of men, women and children of the estate of James Blackwell, (Junior). to satisfy his creditors. Three years credit will be allowed for the greatest part of the money and 12 months for the remainder, giving bond and good security.
At the same time and place will likewise be exposed to public sale, about TWENTY valuable Virginia born SLAVES. men. women, and boys, for ready money,taken by virtue of executions by the sheriff of Hanover.
On Friday the 9th of February, at Mecklenburg court-house, TWENTY-FIVE likely VIRGINIA born NEGROES; among which are several young wenches that have tended in a house; the others are men women and children. They will be sold for ready money, or good merchants notes payable the ensuing April General Court. The title indisputable and will be made so to the purchasers on the day of sale. –FRANCIS WILLS.
PORTSMOUTH, January 2, 1771 — FIFTY choice Virginia born SLAVES will be sold at on Monday the 4th of February next, the time of payment for which will be made convenient to purchasers, and an undoubted title made to the SLAVES, by HUGH M’MEKIN.
To be SOLD pursuant to the last will and testament of Benjamin Du Val, deceased,on the premises, in Henrico County,
ALL the estate of the said Benjamin of a valuable tract of land on creek, containing 386 acres, and 25 bushels of Also a good dwelling house, with all convenient out houses: there are about 80 acres of fine meadow land, some of which will bring good tobacco. Likewise all the stock of horses, cattle, hops, sheep, corn, wheat, fodder, and a very good still that holds 50 gallons, a parcel of carpenter’s tools, a good set of surveyor’s instruments, 6 choice wheat fans with two paddles in each, that work both together, 18 choice slaves, mostly Virginia born; among them a good pair of sawyers, a carpenter and cooper; 4 valuable house wenches and cooks, all the plantation utensils, many other articles to mention. Two years credit will be given for the land and 12 months for all sums above 25 s. to bear interest from the date; but if the money is paid on the day it becomes due the interest will abated.The purchasers must give bond with approved security.
All persons that have any demands against. the said estate,are desired to make them known by the day of sale,and those indebted, to pay off their accounts. The sale begins of Thursday, the 17th of January 1771. ROBERT DU VAL, Executor. (more…)