I wrote about Hope Allen a couple of weeks ago and when this week’s challenge was presented, I thought of his will. The challenge is “Unusual”, with the suggestion of sharing the most unusual record you have found doing your family research. When I was researching Hope Allen, I found an item in his will that I thought was fascinating.
Hope Allen wrote his will in Boston in May of 1677, and he died shortly after that. This is the item in the will that I find so unusual:
“Item My Will is that my Two Negroes namely Dege and hagar Shall Serve my wife Hannah Allen for the Tearme of foure yeares next after my decease and that then they Shall have their freedom, they then paying unto my Said wife the Summe of Thirty pounds in money which Said Summe I hereby give unto my Said wife for the educating and bringing up of my Children that I now have or hereafter may have borne by her. And in Case my Said Negroes Shall not purchase their freedom as aforesaid that then they Shall be Sold or otherwise Improved by my Said wife for the uses above mentioned.”
I have seen or read of many wills granting slaves their freedom in the mid 1800’s, but this was almost two hundred years before that! And while his will does not “grant” their freedom, they are afforded the opportunity to purchase their freedom. I found that amazing and it gave me a different perspective on Hope Allen.