Testators, beneficiaries, and bondservants
Wilson, Charles Hooper
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines over 400 wills written by testators who lived in Georgia from 1733 to 1790. These rich sources reveal much about their authors, including their occupations, family composition, and property holdings. Because they span Georgia’s entire colonial history and issue from colonists from all walks of life, what the wills reveal is representative of colonial Georgia generally. In particular, examining the wills informs analysis of the history of slavery in the colony. Georgia was unusual in that its founders initially forbade slavery. However, officials later reversed this policy. The extent to which colonists subsequently came to hold slaves is unsettled. This thesis argues that slave ownership concentrated in the hands of a few colonial Georgians instead of becoming widespread; that few slaves worked in cities or at non-agricultural jobs in the colony; that the sex ratio of slaves in the colony was roughly even; and that slaves in the colony of Georgia powerfully resisted their enslaved condition.