Bill of sale with two transactions for an enslaved man named Joe or Joseph

About the Project

The history of enslaved persons is often difficult to uncover. Printed material provides us with clues about individuals and their history. This bill of sale is for an enslaved man identified as “Joseph or Joe." The document records two separate transactions for the man, one on the front and one on the back. The front of the document concerns a transaction that occurred On July 16, 1844. Henry P. Goldsmith of Chambers County, Alabama, purchased Joe for $465 from Joseph L. Lock and Charles Davis in Savannah, Georgia. The back of the document contains the second transaction, dated August 26, 1844. In this sale, Joe is transferred from Goldsmith to James Akins of Chambers County, Alabama for “value received.” This piece in extremely rare for the dual sale of one enslaved man and shows the movement of people during the domestic slave trade and perhaps hints at a smaller forwarding operation wherein slaves were moved from the Upper to Deep South. Help us transcribe this bill of sale and shed light on the stories of not just the institution of slavery, but the individual men, women, and children who helped shape America.

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(4 out of 5)

Level 1 --- BEGINNER

Content: all typed
Language: English
Format: letters, diaries, flyers, pamphlets, and one-page documents
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required

Level 2

Content: mostly typed, handwritten in print, or otherwise very clearly written/readable
Language: English
Format: memorabilia, advertisements, image captions, telegrams, diaries, letters, notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required


Content: typed and handwritten materials in cursive or print
Language: English
Format: newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, letters/diaries/notes that may include annotations or margin notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: experience reading cursive writing may be useful

Level 4

Content: handwritten materials, primarily in cursive or somewhat difficult to read (predominantly from the 19th and 20th centuries) , audio recordings that are relatively easy to hear/decipher, and scientific materials
Language: English and/or other languages that use Roman script but may require the use of diacritics (French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.)
Format: audio recordings, letters, diaries, notes and other written materials, projects with templated fields and special instructions
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: some knowledge of non-English Roman-character/script languages and diacritics may be useful, as well as experience reading cursive handwriting. A general knowledge or familiarity with scientific terminology.

Level 5 --- ADVANCED

Content: handwritten materials in cursive (from the 19th century or earlier) or in a non-Roman script language, audio recordings that are difficult to hear or are not in English, specialty materials/projects such as numismatics projects and the Project Phaedra notebooks 
Language: foreign languages that use non-Roman characters (Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Greek/Cyrillic, Native American and Indigenous languages, etc.) and English 
Format: audio recordings, columned data/tables, manuscripts, letters, diaries, notes, currency sheets, coins
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: knowledge of a specific language and access to a keyboard with the characters in that language may be required for certain projects. Experience reading cursive handwriting and familiarity with 19th century (or prior) handwriting and conventions/abbreviations may be useful, as well as knowledge of scientific terminology, astrophysics data, or linguistics.

Project Progress (details)
2pages completed





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