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Redemption SongsSuing for Freedom before Dred Scott$
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Lea VanderVelde

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199927296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199927296.001.0001

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David Shipman

David Shipman

(p.90) Chapter 7 David Shipman
Redemption Songs

Lea VanderVelde

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the story of David Shipman, a Revolutionary War soldier and former master who freed his slaves. Little is known about David Shipman’s adult life but in 1826, his financial fortunes had declined to the point that he owed roughly $1,800 to merchants and other creditors in the town of Shelbyville, Kentucky. Creditors had already seized and sold two of his slaves to pay some of his debts. Despite being weak, and often unable to ride, sixty-year-old David managed to ride fast enough to save the rest of his slaves from his creditors. Always intending that they be free, he decided to flee to free territory in order to manumit his remaining slaves, and save them from possible foreclosure. Accompanied by his seven slaves, David crossed the Ohio River, and once he reached Jefferson County, Indiana, he signed final manumission papers for them.

Keywords:   masters, freedom suits, slaves, Revolutionary War soldier, manumission

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