1854 August 25
A $600 bond posted for George Washington, 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 George Washington 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 George Wash
ington a free Negro[sic] as principal and Peter
Halderman and Green R Jones and JH Oldham
as his securities are held and firmly bound unto the
State of Arkansas for the use of the county of Lawrence
or any person that may be damnified[sic] by the said George
Washington aforesaid in the sum of six hundred
dollars for the payment of which will
and truly be made we bind ourselves and legal re
presentatives. Signed and sealed this 25th day of
The above obligation is on the condition that if
the said George Washington free negro [sic] as aforesaid
shall behave and demean himself well, and the
above named- obligers shall pay for the support of
the said George Washington in case he shall at any
time hereafter become unable to support him
self and become charge able to any counts in
this state, and shall pay and make good to
any person in this state, any injury or loss which
they may sustain eitherin their person, money
or property of every description by the wrongful
acts of misconduct of the saidGeorge Washing
ton free Negro[sic] as aforesaid then the oblige
tions to be void else to
remain in full force and effect.
Green R. Jones
Document, 8" x 14"
Bonds; Law; Legislation; Men; Civil rights; Minorities; Freedmen
Lawrence County Circuit Clerk
Lawrence County (Ark.)
MSNE.0018, Box 1, Folder 49
Lawrence County (Ark.) bonds, MSNE.0018
Arkansas State Archives
Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives
Document, George Washington Free Black bond, Lawrence County (Ark.) bonds, Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, Powhatan, Arkansas.
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