|The Tennessee Manumission Society|
The Tennessee Manumission Society
From Goodspeed's History of Greene County, published 1887
"While some of these friends [Quakers] were slave-holders the great majority was opposed to the institution of slavery, and it was among those earnest, simple and God-fearing people, that the first society for the abolition of negro slavery in America originated.
"The first branch of the Tennessee Manumission Society was organized at Lost Creek Meeting-house in Jefferson County on February 25, 1815. On that day eight persons met for the purpose of forming themselves into a society, under the style of the Tennessee Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves. These persons were Charles Osborne, John Canady, John Swan, John Underwood, Jesse Willis, David Maulsby, Elihu Swan and Thomas Morgan. The constitution for this society was as follows:
"Each member is to have an advertisement in the most conspicious part of his house, in the following words, viz.: "Freedom is the natural right of all men. I therefore acknowledge myself a member of the Tennessee Society for promoting the manumission of slaves."
"That no member vote for a governor or legislator unless he believes him to be in favor of emancipation.
"That we convene twelve times at Lost Creek Meeting-house. The first on the 11th of the third month next ****** shall proceed to appoint a president, clerk and treasurer, who shall continue in office twelve months.
"The required qualification of our members are true Republican principles **** and in form of ***** and that no immoral character be admitted into the society as a member.
"Soon after societies were formed in Greene, Sullivan, Washington and Cocke Counties and in Knoxville, and on the 21st of November, 115, the first general convention was held at Lick Creek Meeting-house of Friends, in Greene County. The second annual convention was held on the 19th and 20th of November, 1816, at Greeneville. Unfortunately the first minutes of this society have been lost, and but little is known of the original members of other branch societies. The first secretary was John Marshall. How long this society existed could not be ascertained, but the following facts are learned from the minutes of the eighth annual convention, held at the Friends' Meeting-house at Lick Creek, in Jefferson County, on August 12 and 13, 1822.
"The delegates present were as follows:
"Beaver Creek, Sullivan, Powell's Valley, Knoxville and Newport Branches were not represented. James Jones was chosen president; Thomas Doan, clerk, and Asa Gray, treasurer. The whole number of members in the various branches was reported at 474. Robert M. Anderson and Jesse Lockhart were appointed to draw up a memorial to Congress, and Stephen Brooks, Thomas Doan, Wesley Earnest, Abraham Marshall and James Jones were appointed the committee of inspection for the ensuing year. As had been the custom at each preceding convention an address advocating the abolition of slavery, to be distributed to the various branch societies, was prepared. Since it inaugurated the anti-slavery agitation, which culminated in the civil war, the organization of this society must be regarded as one of the most important events in the history of the country."
Manumission Society Information On-Line
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