Joyceann’s Corner – Revelations through Research

An interesting but heartbreaking case. Please note that President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863,

The case of Andrew Hatter, Petition For Re-Enslavement, Albemarle County
May of 1863

Anderson Hatter sometimes called Andrew Hatter a free person of color,
supposed to be some thirty two or thirty three years of age, personally appeared in court and made application to the court to select Benjamin F Abell of the County of Albemarle, as his master, and to become a slave of the said Abell: and the court having examined the said Hatter, and the said Abell separately, and such other testimony as was introduced before it, in the presence of the attorney for the Commonwealth,
and being satisfied upon said examination, that no injustice was
done to the applicant, the said Hatter; that there has been no fraud or collusion between the parties, and that there is no good reason to the contrary, and that the said Benjamin F Abell is a person of good character, doth grant the application of the said Hatter, and doth hereby order and direct that the property in the said Anderson or Andrew Hatter shall, from this day, vest in the said Benjamin F. Abell, and that the rights and liabilities and condition of the said Hatter shall henceforth in all respects be the same as though said Hatter had been a slave.

Know all men to these presents that we Benjamin F. Abell and
John Burch are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth
of Virginia in the just and full sum of Two Thousand Dollars
to the payment whereof well and truly to be made we bind ourselves jointly
and severally, our joint and several heirs, executors and administrators firmly by these presents. Sealed with our seals and dated this twelfth
day of May in the year, 1863.
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas Anderson
Hatter alias Andrew Hatter a free man of color has this
day made application to the Circuit Court of Albemarle county to select a
master and become a slave: And whereas the said Anderson alias Andrew
Hatter has chosen the said Benjamin F. Abell as his master, and the said
Court has satisfied and approved said selection: Now therefore if the said Anderson alias Andrew Hatter shall not hereafter become chargeable to any county or corporation in this Commonwealth, and the said Benjamin F. Abell shall pay the debts and liabilities of said Anderson alias Andrew Hatter existing prior to this date, then the above obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

Sealed and signed by Benja [Benjamin] F Abell and
John Burch,
Witness, Ira Garrett

Two issues here; First, What were the conditions that caused Hatter to give up his freedom ( most likely family was enslaved and in order to remain with them this was the only option).- Second, Did the slave owner and the court know about the proclamation beforehand? (Most likely)

Reference: Hatter, Andrew: Petition For Re-Enslavement, Albemarle County 1863 American Narrative Digital Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va.

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