Manumission of a Slave by Deed * December 11, 1793
. . . that according to an Act passed in May 1782 . . . I Laurence Stephens of Wythe County . . . being fully persuaded that freedom is the natural Right of all mankind that God of one Blood Created all nations Africa not Excepted I look upon it therefore My Duty to do unto all men as I would they should unto me and having under my Care Negroes whom I have hitherto held as Slaves Viz Swan born Anno Dom 1771; Tom born Anno Dom 1777; Lewis born Anno Dom 1790 Thereby Emancipate and set free all and every one of the above mentioned slaves . . . and having also now in my possession Tom and Lewis in their minority Both of whom I also Emancipate and set free yet believe it to be my Duty to act as Guardian over them till they arrive to the age of 21 years . . . and their posterity to enjoy that full freedom without interruption from me or any person.