Indenture Contract for William Bean
Dated 18 Sept. 1804
(His 12th Birthday)
With much being said today (and every day) about those who have ancestors who were slaves, I would like to propose that the often overlooked indentured servant was nothing more than a person who was placed for a precise amount of time into slavery.
An indentured servant was someone who legally had no rights during their time of indenture. In the case of my gr-gr-grandfather, he was placed in indenture at the age of 12, actually on his 12th birthday, until he reached legal age of 21.
The following is the transcript of this document:
"This indenture made this 18th of Sept 1804 one thousand eight hundred and four between Jas. Christy owen Neal Robt Johnston and henry McDaniel of the one part overseers of the poor for monroe County and henry Smith of the other part witnesseth that the so overssers doth bind an orphan boy named William Bean aged twelfth years to the said henry Smith of the county aforesaid and State of virginia to Serve the said henry Smith until he arrives at the age of twenty one years, during all which time the Said William Bean Shall faithfully Serve his Master and all his lawful Commands obay he Sall not suffer any Damage to be done to his Said Masters goods without giving him notice thereof he Shall not frequent Still houses or taverns he shall not play at Cards dice or any unlawful game or at any time abscond himself from his masters business without his Masters leave he Shall not commit fornication nor Contract matrimony during said term but as a true and faithful servant shall truely and diligently Serve his Said Master until he arrives at the age aforesaid and the henry Smith in Consideration thereof doth Covenant and agree to have the so William Bean taught the art trade or Mastery of a Black Smith and provide for him a sufficiency of everyt thing thats requiset for an aprentice during the term of his aprenticeship likewise he is to have him taught to read the holy Scriptures planely to write a plane hand and arithmatic through te rule of three which Education he is to be thoroughly acquainted with at the Expiration of his time and also to give him Such freedom dues as the law direct taking Care to have Said aprentice instructed in the Principals and duties of the Christian religion as far as Said Master is Capable In writing whereof the partys have interchangeably set their hands inscribed this day and year above writen Signed Sealed ad delivered in the presents of - John Hinchman - Owen Neal - Henry Smith - Jas. Christy"
The above document's transcription is verbatim, spelling and grammatical errors intact.