Transcript of Certificate in behalf of James Oronoque Dexter, 1787
Transcript of Certificate on behalf of James Oronoque Dexter
Pennsylvania Abolition Society MS Collection, Vol. 1, 1748-1789, P. 69
James Oronoque Dexter a Black Freeman, when young and in Slavery was hired by his master to the Keeper of a Tavern in this City, and being of an obliging behavior gained the good will of those who frequented the house so that by presents he Renewed from them in the space of four years he had saved to the amount of fifty Pounds; his master dying in debt, he became the property of his Creditors, who being acquainted with his good Character for sobriety & honesty, & his desire of freedom, agreed he should be put into possession of it on payment of one hundred Pounds within two years which he engaged to do in the space of nine months, and with punctuality performed. After which being desirous of settling in life, and inclining to marry he fixed on a young woman of reputation, and obtained the Consent of her possessor who held her in so high estimation that he rated the price of her redemption from Slavery at so great a rate that Oronoque could not comply with the terms, and therefore for some time declined further proceeding until at length through the interposition, and influence of a friend he was prevailed upon to take fifty Pounds for her freedom, which was paid to her possessor by Oronoque having by his industry gained thirty pounds of the money, and the other part was lent by two of his friends, whom he carefully repaid declining to marry until he had done it; after which he settled and they lived together many years with reputation being Industrious and worthy of Confidence, and Since the decease of his wife he has Conducted with Sobriety, & Steadiness; having known him more than ten years I have had much opportunity of observing his behaviour, and proceedings, & do not know a labouring man whom I should prefer to employ, or who in more to be confided in, his humanity in assisting and Relieving those of his own Colour and difficulty is also conspicuous as far as is in his powers which with his conscientious principles render him a Truly worthy Character
Philadelphia 16th 8 month 1787
Being well acquainted with the above named James Oronoque Dexter, I can freely testify my concurrence with the character given of him in the foregoing narrative, and as he has lived in the family of my brother John Pemberton several years at annual wages, frequent opportunities have occurred to my observation of his steady prudent conduct, diligence in business, & faithful attention to the Interest of his master Since, as before his late long absence from home.
Philadelp 16 8 mno 1787
Last Updated: 05-May-2004