Bill of Sale for two slave children (a boy named Limus and a girl named Sue) to Lewis O'Bryan, Jr., of Colleton District, June 1835

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Document Description:

The Bill of Sale above documents the purchase of two African American slave children by Lewis O'Bryan, a rice planter in Colleton County, South Carolina, in June 1835. During the antebellum period in the southern United States, children were born into bondage in great numbers and were considered a valuable commodity by slaveowners. Family separations were routine, as members of slave families could be bought and sold from one area of the country to another at any time, including children. The significance of African American slave children to the southern economic system is illustrated by their numbers; between 1820 and 1860 more than two-fifths of those enslaved were younger than fifteen, and one-third were less than ten years old (Marie Jenkins Schwartz. (2000) Born in Bondage, p5).


Bill of Sale, 13 June 1835. Murphy and O'Bryan Family Papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina's role in these events.

Indicator 3-4.1 Compare the conditions of daily life for various classes of people in South Carolina, including the elite, the middle class, the lower class, the independent farmers, and the free and the enslaved African Americans.

Standard 3 4.2 Summarize the institution of slavery prior to the Civil War, including reference to conditions in South Carolina, the invention of the cotton gin, subsequent expansion of slavery and the economic dependency on slavery.



Bill of Sale

Printed and Sold by W. Riley, 110 Church-st.}

State of South Carolina

           Know all Men by these Presents, That

      J. William S. Price of the State aforesaid

            for and in consideration of the sum of  Five hundred and

            fifty dollars

            to  me  in hand paid, at and before the sealing and delivery of these

            presents,  by Lewis O’Bryan Junior of Colleton District

            and State aforesaid.

            (the receipt whereof  I  do hereby acknowledge)  have bargained and sold,

            and by these presents do bargain, sell and deliver to the said     Lewis

            O’Bryan        Two Negro Slaves.          (namely, a Boy

            named Limus    aged about twelve years &

            a girl named Sue      aged Ten years

To have and to hold the said  Lewis O’Bryan    the said two

 Negro slaves together with the future issue &

 increase of the female

Unto the said Lewis O’Bryan Jr.   his    to______________________________


Executors, Administrators and Assigns:  to  him  and  his   only proper use and

behoof forever.  And   I   the said  William J Price---- my

Executors and Administrators, the said bargained premises, unto the said  Lewis

O’Bryan Jr  his

Executors, Administrators, and Assigns, from and against all persons, shall and will

Warrant  and forever  Defend by these presents.


        In witness whereof,  I  have hereunto set  my  hand and seal      Dated

                at Walterborough  on the thirteenth  day of June

                in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and  thirtyfour—

                and in the fortyninth  year of the Independence of the United States

                of America.




Daniel Moorer                                            [?]

L O’Bryan  

Lessons Using This Document: 

They're Only Children--3rd grade


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