Here is a document that will be featured in our new exhibit, Local Voices, National Stories: A History of Frederick County. The exhibit opens April 5.
This document is a manumission, which emancipated the person described from slavery.
“On this 30th day of April 1828 personally appear George Rice before the ?abricut a justice of the peace in and for said County, and made Oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty God that James Tooley the Negro man now in my presence is the same that manumitted and let free by Phillip Winebrenner. Sworn before George Rohm”
Through research we learned that Phillip Winebrenner released James Tooley many years before he died. The Winebrenners settled in Walkersville after moving from Mercersburg, PA, where he started a farm that stayed in the family into the 20th century. In 1820 Phillip owned four slaves, a male and female over the age of 26 and two males under 14. It can be presumed that James Tooley was the adult male slave from the census record. According to the 1830 census, James was living as a head of household with a free colored female in the Walkersville district. By 1840, James was no longer in the Maryland census, but Betsey Tooly, a free colored female, lived alone in Walkersville. Further research is underway to determine if Betsey was also a slave of Phillip Winebrenner.
A year ago the Frederick Magazine “Timepiece” featured a fraktur New Year’s greeting from the collection:
“Happy New Year” is the standard greeting for the first holiday of the year. But John Hummel received a different tiding in 1779. “May the New Year bring you blessing, peace and happiness. May the Lord grant my prayer and mercifully guard you and wish the New Years tide bring back peace unto you,” read the first lines of a fraktur Hummel received while serving in the Revolutionary War. Hummel, who resided in Frederick by 1765, was married with children by the time of his service in the war. Frakturs are a type of highly decorated and elaborately crafted German folk art on paper. This one is written in German. Made from the eighteenth century into the nineteenth century, frakturs were created for a variety of events worthy of note, most commonly marriages, births and religious events. Frakturs often carry an inscription listing the celebratory information and significant dates. Designs and patterns illuminate the paper in ink, watercolor, or both. The designs and patterns are typical German styles, including distelfinks and, hearts, tulips and scalloped edges. Frakturs take their name from the German script that had a broken or “fractured” look to it. Usually, a local teacher wrought these beautiful creations. Teachers taught writing, and what better way to put those skills to use?
This fraktur is a little different. After the thoughtful New Year wishes, the author continues by beseeching the recipient, Hummel, to come home from the war as soon as possible. The author asks for the war’s end so “that every man again enjoy in peace his bread in his own home.” The author pleads for Hummel to “consider this and do not live thus in riot so that God may avert this present devastation and present us with the Gift of his Spirit that we may show our gratitude to Him and praise His name.” Thus the fraktur, in its beautiful illumination, conveys the author’s feelings regarding Hummel, the war and its associated “riot.”
by Carrie Blough, Jan. 2013