On this date in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. However, before that, the Manumission Act was enacted in Virginia in 1782 allowing slaveholders to set slaves free in their wills.
My 1st cousin, 8x removed did just that.
Timothy Tynes was one of the richest men in the county of Isle of Wight, Virginia. His father, Robert Tynes, had accumulated a fortune in lands and business transactions. He built a plantation home in 1750 that still stands today. When Robert died in 1794, he left “all my whole Estate both real and Personal” to Timothy, his sole surviving son.
Timothy never married; he lived with some of his many slaves in the house that his father had built, just outside the town of Smithfield, from where he managed his many inherited plantations. His parents and his brothers and sisters pre-deceased him. When he died, his nieces and nephews expected Robert’s great wealth to be distributed among them.
Timothy, however, had other ideas. Upon his death in 1802, his will freed every one of his 81 slaves by name and gave most of the land to them. A niece, Sarah Tynes Purdie, received one plantation, and a cousin’s son was left some land; the rest of Robert’s descendants got nothing at all.
Photo taken by Hope Stanley (whose husband Charles is a descendant of Robert and Mary Tynes) in February 2000, at a time when the home was for sale and visitors allowed.
Timothy Tynes’s will gives special treatment to a slave named Beck (Rebecca) and her children, suggesting that these may have been Timothy’s own offspring. Beck’s son John inherits an entire river plantation. Timothy also singles out slaves named Sukey, Prince, Tim, Sam, Dick Unge, and Little Charles, for bequests of land or money. The rest of the freed slaves are to share a large tract of land of which Dick Unge has been given 100 acres.
These families flourished, building homesteads, farming, and working the water in the community. Today, there are many descendants of the Tynes families in Isle of Wight County.
You can view pictures of the Tynes Plantation at https://tinyurl.com/TynesPlantation.
A lot of my information comes from
Copyright © 1998-2007 T. Mark James. All rights reserved.
Permission is granted to make and distribute
copies of this work, provided that:
(1) such copying and distribution are performed completely
free of charge or other consideration, and that
(2) the copyright statement appears on all copies, and that
(3) this Permission Notice appears on all copies.
Also see, https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/046-0002/
One thought on “Timothy Tynes Frees 81 Slaves”
Timothy, however, had other ideas. Upon his death in 1802, his will freed every one of his 81 slaves by name and gave most of the land to them. That went a bit of the way to right a tragic wrong, good on him.