Perhaps no situation presented more uncertainty to the already uncertain lives of slaves than the deaths of thier owners. As you know, slaves were legally like any type of property: slaves could
be bought, sold, rented, and given to others. But at the same
time, slaves were people, and slaveowners did not always think of them
the same way they thought about their livestock, tools, or books.
In this activity, you will read the wills of some slaveowners to
see for yourself how slaves were treated both as property and as
people by their owners.
As you read these wills, try to imagine what the slaveowners'
feelings were about their slaves. Then try to imagine what the
slaves might have thought when they heard that their owners had
If you are working at a computer, you should be logged
on to the address your teacher has posted. Click on the names you
have been assigned to to go their wills. Read the wills carefully
and fill out the attached chart.
Will and Testament of Mary M. Burton (http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/personal/wills/will2.html)
and Testament of Mary G. Calhoon (http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/personal/wills/will4.html)
and Testament of Henry Kenneday (http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/personal/wills/will5.html)
and Testament of Robert Christian (http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/personal/wills/will9.html)
If you are not working at a computer, your teacher will
have given you a print out of one or more of these wills.
As you read the will(s), fill out the attached chart.