In March 1780, Pennsylvania passed “An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery.” The act itself did not immediately free a single enslaved person. In fact, the law specifically mandated all enslaved people born in Pennsylvania before 1780 were to remain enslaved for life. The act provided that thereafter no child born in Pennsylvania should be enslaved. However, if the child was born to an enslaved mother, that child would be enslaved until the age of 28. The act also prohibited further importation of enslaved people into Pennsylvania. To confirm no additional enslaved persons were imported into the commonwealth, all counties were required to submit a registry of enslaved persons residing in their county. In Chester County, this was recorded with the Clerk of Courts.
By Slave Name
By Slave Owner
Our Thanks to Dave Hawk for creating this index.