George Freeman

George Freeman

There is some confusion regarding the freed mulatto slave, George Freeman. First, the census records indicated there were two George Freemans living in Clay County during this period: one white and one black. Secondly, Manual Spencer, the author of a book on the Spencers, claims that the mulatto, George Freeman who descended from the Spencers, is not the one who lived with Clarissa Centers. As of this date, I don't know why Mr. Spencer is so certain of that fact but I accept his opinion until the evidence proves otherwise.

George Freeman was born in North Carolina in 1790. He was a mulatto whose father was white and whose mother was a slave. The laws of that time stated that the free or slave status of the child would be that of the mother. Thus George Freeman was born into slavery.

George Freeman appears on the 1820 Clay County census, page 122, along with six female slaves. In 1830, he appears as a slave owner. Then, in 1840, he is listed with 4 free colored males and 6 free colored females. That same year, he began living with a white woman, Clarissa Centers, and in 1841 their first child, Elizabeth was born.

The 1850 census finds George and Clarissa on his Clay County farm and lists all of their ten children plus the white child, Franklin, that Clarissa had with a Jesse Brown.

Marriage between blacks and whites in Kentucky would not be legal for another hundred years. It appears that the state made at least one attempt to harass George and Clarissa. The following entry is in the Clay County Court Records: April 12, 1852:

"Commonwealth V. George Freeman for Fornicators. This day came the atty for the Commonwealth and the defendant tho called came not but made default and the process having been executed. It is considered by the court that the defendant make good therefore to the Commonwealth by the payment of sixteen dollars and sixty-six cents and that the Commonwealth recover her costs."

Apparently, George was not cowered for in 1853 the tenth and last child, Antony Senters, was born.

On the 5 June 1860 census, family No. 171 is "Clarica Centers", head of household. Therefore, George Freeman must have died between 1853 and 1860, being anywhere from 63 to 70 years old..

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Last Updated September 5, 2000 by jude