Accomac Roots

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Tax Lists

Accomac Free Black Tax Lists

The files on this portion of the website are this researcher's personal working copies, used as aids in constructing the family trees of Chincoteague free black families. Each record contains the names of heads of black households with the details of the tax assessment.

The following summarizes the tax law (1881) in effect at the end of the 1700's:
"An act for establishing permanent revenue provides that there be a tax of one pound for every hundred pounds of the valuation of lands and lots, ten shillings on every free male person above twenty-one years, and also on slaves to be paid by their owners, except those exempt by age or infirmity, two shilliings for every horse, three pence for cattle, five shillings per wheel on coaches, also fifty pounds for billiard tables, five pounds for every ordinary license."(1) Women, previously taxable, were exempted in 1769(2).

The 1788 and 1799 Tax Lists for Accomac County, Accomac Parish are particularly useful for research. They record a number of black heads of households in the "firstname by surname" format, which translates to "a slave by the firstname who was freed by owner surname." In Accomac County, most of the freed slaves kept (or were assigned) the surname of their former owner and thus can be found later in the census with that surname. In addition, the names of a number of freed blacks in the 1799 Tax List carry the notation (black man).

At the end of the list of free blacks, we have appended a list of whites whose names carry a notation that identifies them as living on Chincoteague/Assateague, i.e., Isl'd). This list has been included for those who are interested in establishing the early white residents of the Islands.

1788 Tax List Accomac Parish Free Blacks and Island Whites

1799 Tax List Accomac Parish Free Blacks and Island Whites


(1) Guild, June Purcell, Black Laws of Virginia, p 135, Afro-American Historical Assn., 1996.
(2) ibid. p 134


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Copyright © Richard H. Smith, Jr.,, 2006