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Image: Bill of sale transferring ownership of Paul Jennings, 1846.
Image: Signed agreement between Paul Jennings and Daniel Webster, 1847.
Bill of sale transferring ownership of Paul Jennings, 1846.

Paul Jennings was born a slave on James Madison’s estate at Montpelier in 1799 and later served as the president’s "body servant" until Madison died in 1836. Pollard Webb, an insurance and real estate agent, purchased Jennings from Dolley Madison in September 1846, and sold him to U.S. Senator Daniel Webster for $120 six months later.

Collection of Michael R. Winston


Signed agreement between Paul Jennings and Daniel Webster, 1847.

This agreement spells out the ways in which Jennings will repay Daniel Webster for having purchased Jennings’ freedom from Pollard Webb. After meeting the terms of this agreement, Jennings became a free man and found work at the Department of the Interior.

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University



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