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Monday, December 08, 2008

Marital Property

Betsy Greer's husband was also her slave.

Greer composed her will in 1851. Less than a year later she died and her husband passed through probate to her heirs.

"In the name of God, Amen, I, Betsy Greer, a free Negro woman of Greenville District, do make and publish this my last will and testament," the preamble reads. "In the first place, I give and bequeath my husband Abram whom I bought from Col. J.W. Duckett of Newberry District to our son George for and during his life and after his death to such of his sons as the said Abram may choose..."

"I wish him my slave as he is but at the same time the natural and proper head of the family to have the management and control" of the property, Greer's will states, "as long as he may live." [Link]
Such arrangements could lead to awkward situations.
Dilsey Pope of Columbus, Georgia, a free woman of color, owned her husband. After they quarreled, she sold him to a white slaveowner; he refused to sell him back once the couple had reconciled. [Link]

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