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Lunsford Lane, b. 1803
The Narrative of Lunsford Lane, Formerly of Raleigh, N.C. Embracing an Account of His Early Life, the Redemption by Purchase of Himself and Family from Slavery, and His Banishment from the Place of His Birth for the Crime of Wearing a Colored Skin. Published by Himself
Boston: J.G. Torrey, Printer, 1842


The following annotations to The Narrative of Lunsford Lane, Formerly of Raleigh, N.C. Embracing an Account of His Early Life, the Redemption by Purchase of Himself and Family from Slavery, and His Banishment from the Place of His Birth for the Crime of Wearing a Colored Skin. Published by Himself were compiled in the fall 2000 by Robin Hunter and Brooke Lee, first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a class project in Professor William L. Andrews's First-Year Seminar on Slavery and Freedom in African American Literature and Film. We welcome any corrections, additions, or suggested revisions of these annotations. Send feedback to

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Mr. Sherwood HaywoodSherwood Haywood (1762 - 1829) served as clerk of the North Carolina State Senate from January 4, 1786 to December 24, 1798. He worked as an agent for Bank of Newburn in Raleigh.

my fatherLunsford Lane's father Edward belonged to one of Sherwood Haywood's brothers.

rodOne rod equals 16.5 feet, or 5.029 meters.

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FayettevilleFayetteville is located in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

Mr. BennahanRichard Bennehan (1743 - 1825) was a merchant, planter, and builder in 1799 of a house that became Stagville plantation, which covered over 4,000 acres in 1800.

Orange CountyIn the central Piedmont area of North Carolina.

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sold them at fifteen centsA North Carolina statute passed in 1788 required that a slave possess written permission from his master for each act of trading. This was due to the concern that trading would encourage slaves to steal from their masters in order to trade. In 1826, the legislature created a specific list of articles that a slave could not sell without written permission. These included cotton, tobacco, corn, pork, farming utensils, meal, and liquor.

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tobacconistA tobacconist is a dealer in tobacco, especially in retail.

Thomas Devereaux Esq.Thomas Pollock Devereux (1793 - 1869), owner of several large plantations in North Carolina, served as U.S. attorney for the District of North Carolina as well as a justice of the peace and presiding justice of the Halifax, North Carolina, County Court.

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piazzaAn arcaded and roofed gallery, veranda, or porch.

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widowEleanor Hawkins Haywood.

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SalisburySalisbury is in Rowan County, in central North Carolina.

Chapel HillChapel Hill is in Orange County, North Carolina.

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lawsA North Carolina statute passed in 1715 permitted a master to liberate a slave as a reward for faithful service. In 1830 the state established a new procedure for freeing slaves, requiring a master to submit a petition including the slave's name, sex, and age to the superior courts of the state. In addition to giving notice to the county courthouse and the State Gazette six weeks in advance, a master was also obliged to post a bond of $1,000 that would be forfeited if the slave did not behave "honestly and correctly" while he remained in the state. In 1741, the state legislature allowed a master to legally emancipate a slave in North Carolina, but required him or her to prove to the county court that the slave had performed "meritorious services."

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hieto hasten.

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"Servants be obedient to your masters."Ephesians 6:5.

"He that knoweth his master's will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes."Luke 12:48.

"This is hard saying, who can bear it?"John 6:60.

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Law of the StateThis act was passed in 1715.

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Governor of the StateEdward Bishop Dudley (1789 -1855), a leader in the formation of the Whig party in North Carolina and a two-term governor of the state from 1836 to 1840.

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G. W. Haywood, Esq.George Washington Haywood (1802-1890) was a lawyer in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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shewsEnglish variant of "shows."

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Charles ManlyGovernor of North Carolina from 1849-1851.

Wm. HillNorth Carolina Secretary of State in 1812.

Wm. PeaceDirector of the Bank of North Carolina and one of the founders of what is now Peace College in Raleigh.

Jos. PeaceBrother and business partner of William Peace.

Wm. M'PheetersMinister of the First Presbyterian Church in Raleigh and principal of the Raleigh Academy.

Wm. BoylanJournalist, planter, and president of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad.

Fabius J. HaywoodA Raleigh physician and surgeon.

D.W. StoneA North Carolina governor and congressman.

T. MeredithMinister and editor, Thomas Meredith was one of the fourteen founders of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention in 1830. Meredith College in Raleigh was named after him.

A.J. BattleAmos Johnston Battle, pastor of the Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Drury LacyPresbyterian minister in Raleigh.

Will. PeckPresident of the Raleigh Society around 1840.

Hugh M'QueenPolitician and Attorney General of North Carolina from 1840-1842.

C.L. HintonCharles Lewis Hinton, planter, legislator, and state treasurer.

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Issac HunterA planter who maintained extensive landholdings in Wake County near Crabtree Creek.

Judge BadgerGeorge Edmund Badger, a superior court judge and a U.S. senator from North Carolina.

Mr. HarrisonWilliam Henry Harrison (1773-1841) was elected President of the United States in 1840 and died after one month in office.

President TylerHarrison's Vice-President, John Tyler (1790-1852) succeeded William Henry Harrison as president of the United States in 1841.

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Weston R. GalesWeston Raleigh Gales, editor and publisher of the Raleigh Register.

C. DeweyCharles Dewey, banker and eventual president of the Raleigh National Bank

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the GovernorJohn Motley Morehead, two-term governor of the state from 1840 to 1844.

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guarantyan agreement by which a person assumes the responsibility of paying or fulfilling another person's debts or obligations.

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mobocratic"mobocracy"- a condition in which the lower classes of a nation control public affairs without respect to law, precedents, or vested rights.

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Commontract of land belonging to or used by a community as a whole.