1854 August 25
A $600 bond posted for Polly Ann, a free black living in Lawrence County.
Antebellum Arkansas was increasingly hostile to free blacks in the years leading up to the Civil War. Many laws were passed by the state legislature, including the prohibition of free blacks from entering the state unless they posted a $600 bond. Adjusted for inflation, an 1854 $600 bond would be equivalent to over $12,000 today. Due to the laws and prevailing attitudes, the free black population of Arkansas significantly declined from 1850 to 1860. Interestingly enough, the people who co-signed the bond for Polly Ann were all white land-owning men. Peter Halderman, in particular, is an enigma as he was a former slave-owner turned sponsor for free blacks.
Know all men by these present that we Polly Ann
a free mulatto[sic] as principal and Peter Hal
derman and GR Jones and JH Oldham
as her securitiesare held and firmly bound unto the
State of Arkansas for the use of Lawrence County
or any person that may be damnified[sic] by the said
Polly Ann aforesaid in the sum of six hundred
dollars for the payment of which will and truly
be made we bind ourselves and - - - repre
sentatives. Signed and sealed this 25th day of
The above obligation is upon the condition that
if the said Polly Ann shall behave and
demean herself well, and the above named
- obligers shall pay for the support of the said Polly
Ann in case she shall at any time hereafter be
come unable to support herself and become - - -
able to any county in this state, and shall pay
and make good to any person in this state, any
injury or loss which they may sustain either
in their person, money or property of every des
cription by the wrongful acts of misconduct
of the said Polly Ann free Mulatto[sic] as afore
said then the obligations to be void else to
remain in full force and effect.
Green R. Jones
Document, 8" x 14"
Bonds; Law; Legislation; Civil rights; Minorities; Women
Lawrence County Circuit Clerk
Lawrence County (Ark.)
MSNE.0018, Box 1, Folder 48
Lawrence County (Ark.) bonds, MSNE.0018
Arkansas State Archives
Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives
Document, Polly Ann Free Black bond, Lawrence County (Ark.) bonds, Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, Powhatan, Arkansas.
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