Harry enslaved by the Adams brothers sold to Henry Ten Eyck

William Adams
Date: November 25, 1777
Author: William Adams
Recipient: Hendrick Ten Eyck
Purpose: Bill of sale, indenture, for an enslaved man named Harry
Materials: ink on paper

Wax seal and signature


N.B. ~ this document contains harmful language
Transcription and Interpretation
by Tricia Barbagallo  – 2022 January
Albany Institute of History and Art
Collection: Slave Documents
Catalog No.: MS-2368 #6, (Old No. EV-749)
Title: Indenture or Sale of Harry to Henry Ten Eyck
Date: 1777 Nov 25

Know all Men by these presents that I William Adams
of the City of Albany Cooper and held and firmly bound unto
Henry Ten Eyck Esq of the same Place in the penal Sum of
Two Hundred and seventy Pounds current Money of New
York; to be paid unto the said Henry Ten Eyck[1] his certain
Attorney executors Administrators or Assigns, For which
Payment well and truly to be made and done, I do bind
myself my Heirs Executors and Administrators firmly by
These Present sealed with my Seal dated this twenty fifth
Day of November in the year of our Lord One thousand
seven hundred and seventy seven ~

Whereas the said Henry Ten Eyck hath lately made purchase
from the said William Adams of a certain negro Man Slave
named Harry, for the Sum of One hundred and thirty five Pounds
and it appears that the said Negro Man is the joint Property of
the said William Adams and his Brother Lambertus Adams who
has enlisted in the Service of the American States and it is not
known whether his is living or dead, and whereas by the
Contract of the said Purchase it was agreed that the said
Henry Ten Eyck his Executors Administrators and
Assigns should hold the said negro-Man, free from all,
Incumbrances, Claims & Demands whatsoever,
the Condition therefore of the above Obligation

is such that if the said William Adams his Heirs Executors, Ad-
ministrators shall from Time to Time will and truly save and
help harmless and indemnified as well him the said Henry
Ten Eyck as his Executors and Administrators of and from all
charges, Claims, Demands and Incumbrances whatsoever
relative to the said negro Man and especially from the claim
and Demand of the said Lambartus Adams his Executors Admi-
nistrators or Assigns, then the above Obligation shall be said &
of no Effect otherwise to remain in full force and Virtus.

William Adams[2] - signature / wax seal

Sealed and delivered in the presence of
Rbt Bleecker
G.G. Marselis

[1] Henry Ten Eyck was the sheriff of Albany County, therefore, he was a British official. This document was produced in November 1777, seven months after the New York State constitution was ratified; a year and four months after the Declaration of Independence was ratified; and within two months of the Battles of Saratoga.

[2] In 1790, a man named William Adams was enumerated in Schenectady and owned three slaves. In 1820, there were two William Adams families living in Albany, but they did not own enslaved persons. In 1820, a man named William Adams was living in Schenectady and he owned two slaves. This document is important since it shows how enslaved person were bought and sold, and this document is evidence that slaves were often co-owned by family members, friends,public officials, and business partners.

Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art - Library
Digital Data Number: DI 1296
Catalogue Number: ms-2368 no. 6

Witnesses to the sale,  Robert Bleecker and G.G. Marselis