So said former slave Ona Judge during an interview in 1845, long after she had obtained her freedom, and long after her owners, George and Martha Washington, had tried to get her back. Over more than five years in Philadelphia—traveling in and out every six months—she met and became acquainted with members of the city’s free black community and former enslaved workers who had gained their freedom under the gradual abolition law. Jack Staines was at sea at the time, but Ona managed to escape to the neighboring town of Greenland, where she and her infant daughter hid with a free black family, the Jacks, until Bassett left Portsmouth, empty-handed. Ona Judge (c.1773—February 25, 1848), known as Ona Judge Staines after marriage, was a light-skinned, heavily freckled and slight of build slave on George Washington’s plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia.. When Martha brought Ona to the President’s House, Ona left her family for the first time. In fact, as Erica Armstrong Dunbar writes in her book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, Oney would have been in the minority as a enslaved woman in Philadelphia; fewer than 100 slaves lived within city limits in 1796. Though marriage gave her some additional legal protection, Ona remained vigilant–with good reason. Ona Judge was afforded more comforts than most slaves, however, she risked it all to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom. First Lady Julia Dent Grant, wife... Born to an affluent family in 1790, John Tyler spent most of his life in Charles City County, Virginia. Washington knew of Judge's whereabouts by September 1, when he wrote to Oliver Wolcott Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury, about having her captured and return… Her husband died only seven years after their marriage and she could not afford to support her three children, two of whom pre-deceased her. Thank you to Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar for her work on Ona Judge. Ona’s status as Martha’s preferred lady’s maid meant that she received a fancier wardrobe than most enslaved people because she visited homes and buildings normally off-limits to enslaved people. Sharing the news with her Instagram followers on … “Improving upon this direction of her husband, Mrs. Washington, ... Martha actively tried to recapture her enslaved maid Ona Judge after Judge ran away in Philadelphia. When he married the wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis in 1759, she brought more than 80 enslaved workers along with her, bringing the total number of enslaved men, women and children at Mount Vernon to more than 150 by the time the Revolutionary War began. This article would not be possible without her scholarship. But Ona certainly met her father and likely had some relationship with him given his extended stay, which was not always the case for enslaved children. It tells about a very determined Ona Judge and very sneaky Washingtons. Ona Judge was born as a slave into George and Martha Washington's household. While she was likely grateful for the work, it was a change from the needlework and tending to Martha’s needs. Her mother, Betty, was recognized as the finest seamstress on the plantation and was a “dower slave,” technically still owned by the estate of Martha Washington’s first husband, Daniel Peake Custis. Though the gesture was far from meaningless, it didn’t go far enough. Ona, on the other hand, said “she did not want to be a slave always, and she supposed if she went back to Virginia, she should never have a chance to escape.”13. Describe Ona Judge's life as a slave in Never Caught.How did her experience differ in Virginia, New York, and Philadelphia? The History and Traditions of a Classic Dessert, Lindsay M. Chervinsky Safe for the time being, she started building a life in Portsmouth, and married Jack Staines, a free black sailor, in early 1797. But when Whipple arrived at the docks to ensure Ona boarded the ship at the agreed upon time, she never arrived.18. Built c. 1824-1826. Vernon as a slave, when Martha accepted the hand of George Washington to marry him as her second husband in 1759. Washington’s term ended on March 4, and he returned to Mount Vernon without her. Watcher in the Woods is the next gripping installment of #1 bestselling Kelley Armstrong's riveting Casey Duncan series.. There are no records of how she was introduced to this community or who helped her, and Ona kept this information secret to protect everyone’s safety. She is also the author of Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge. Instead, she … Paul Jennings. A judge has just recommended that Erika Jayne‘s estranged husband Thomas Girardi face criminal investigation over embezzlement claims as his assets, as well as the assets of his law firm, Girardi Keese, were also frozen. Husband … She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and sons. George Washington to Joseph Whipple, 28 November 1796. Late the following year, when the federal capital moved to Philadelphia, the presidential household moved with it. Ona Maria Judge was born around 1774 at Mount Vernon. Her mother, Betty, was an enslaved seamstress; her father, Andrew Judge, was an English tailor working as an indentured servant at Mount Vernon. Tobias Lear Account Books, June 6, 1792; April 1, 1793; June 24, 1793. She may have thought she had found safe haven, but that summer she was recognized on the streets of Portsmouth by Elizabeth Langdon, the teenage daughter of Senator John Langdon and a friend of Nelly Custis. Martha also left one enslaved man, Elish (or Elijah), whom she could have legally freed, to her grandson in an addendum to her will. While the records of her son’s life are inconclusive, it’s possible his name was William and he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a sailor. Her two daughters, Eliza and Nancy, were sadly forced into indentured servitude; both died before their mother. With a free black population of some 360 citizens and virtually no enslaved workers, Portsmouth was different from any place Judge had ever known. Salas was reportedly in the basement at the time of the shooting and was not injured. Many decades later, when all of her family members had died, Ona gave two interviews about her life and escape to freedom. Philadelphia's father is unknown, but in 1807 she was freed from slavery and married William Costin, an abolitionist and free man, who was the son of an enslaved woman, Ann Dandridge, and whose father was possibly John Parke Custis, Martha Washington's son. Burwell Bassett. As Dunbar writes, “Martha Washington’s decision to turn Judge over to Eliza was a reminder to Judge and everyone enslaved at the Executive Mansion that they had absolutely no control over their lives, no matter how loyally they served.”. For example, Christopher Sheels, Washington’s enslaved manservant received shoes once per year. Market Square in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1853. South Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1903. The advertisement was posted by Frederick Kitt in the Philadelphia Gazette on May 23, 1796. To help make ends meet, Ona continued her domestic work and they took in a boarder in one of their extra rooms.17, Washington made two concerted attempts to re-enslave Ona. Beginning in 1789, she worked as a personal servant to First Lady Martha Washington in the presidential households in New York City and Philadelphia. In 1789, the new federal government was located in New York City. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. In November 1790, they moved into a new house in Philadelphia when the government relocated. So Ona Judge passed the disease of slavery through her lineage to her children, making Ona and her children the property of Martha Washington. A few years later, Ona gave birth to a second daughter, Nancy, and then a son. The gunman arrived at the home of Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick, New Jersey, around 5 p.m., NBC New York reported. Ona Judge was the daughter of Andrew Judge who was from England. ED: [00:21:26] She opens the door and she sees a face that probably drained the blood from hers. In 1796, a 22-year-old enslaved woman named Ona Judge fled President George Washington’s household for a life of freedom in New Hampshire. Now, at the current Ona Judge exhibition, we’ll finally get to hear more of Judge’s side of the story, as it were. Thousands of Images covering the History of the White House, Official White House Ornaments, Books & More, https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/slavery/slavery-database/, https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Correspondent%3A%22Washington%2C%20George%22%20Correspondent%3A%22Whipple%2C%20Joseph%22&s=1111311111&r=2. Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar is a very informative and interesting read. Benjamin Chase. Her friends in the free black community had already carried her belongings to the port and they were waiting for her when she arrived at the docks.10 Two days later, Frederick Kitt, Washington’s steward, placed an advertisement in the Philadelphia Gazette chronicling the details of Ona’s escape: Absconded from the household of the President of the United States. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Kathleen Van Cleve teaches creative writing and film at the University of Pennsylvania. Letter to the editor, The Liberator, January 1, 1847..As quoted in Slave Testimony, Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies, John W. Blassingame, ed. After his election, John Adams resided in the same house in Philadelphia, before moving into the White House in Washington, D.C. on November 1, 1800. He told his friends that he was looking for a good maidservant to help his wife. On October 4, 1796, Whipple wrote to Wolcott that he had failed to secure Ona. Ona Judge was owned by the first In the 1700s and 1800s, many white people, including George Washington, believed that enslaved people were better off in slavery than free. First, while still in office, he sent a letter through Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr. to Joseph Whipple, Portsmouth’s collector of customs. In 1845, Ona Judge was interviewed by an abolitionist newspaper. Given Ona’s enslaved status, any white man could sexually assault her without punishment and she may have feared for her safety in a new household with a disreputable owner.9. Product details. Ona worked as Martha’s enslaved housemaid for the next seven years before running away. ‘MasterChef Australia’ judge Melissa Leong has announced her separation from husband Joe Jones. The couple went on to have three children: Eliza, Will, and Nancy. Paul Jennings was born in 1799 at Montpelier, the Virginia estate of James and Dolley Madison. Ona Judge was a slave of the Washington’s who escaped to freedom while George was President of the United States. By then, Ona had an infant, and her husband [s2If !is_user_logged_in()] While I was aware that the Washington's held slaves, the history surrounding Ona Judge was new to … The 38-year old shared … During the summer after she escaped, Judge was walking in Portsmouth when she saw Elizabeth Langdon, the daughter of New Hampshire Senator John Langdon. (Credit: Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images). "Interview with A Slave of George Washington." Additionally, if women’s shoes wore out more quickly than men’s shoes, Ona may have needed more pairs than the enslaved coachmen or postilions. PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Stepping off a boat in a New Hampshire port in 1796, 22-year-old Ona Judge was on the run from the family of President George Washington. 248-50.. Frustrated, Washington wrote directly to Whipple asking him to return Ona by force.19 A quiet abolitionist, Whipple was deeply uncomfortable with this sort of violence. He would acquire many more in the years to come, whether through the death of other family members or by purchasing them directly. Her husband died only seven years after their marriage and she could not afford to support her three children, two of whom pre-deceased her. Dunbar writes in her book that Judge never intended to honor this agreement: “She told Whipple what he wanted to hear, agreed to return to her owners, and left his presence with no intention of ever keeping her word.” In any case, Washington bluntly refused Whipple’s proposal, writing that “To enter into such a compromise…is totally inadmissible.” Though he might be in favor of gradual abolition of slavery, the president continued, he didn’t want to reward Judge’s “unfaithfulness” and inspire other enslaved people to try and escape. On May 21, 1796, she slipped out of the mansion while the president and first lady were eating their supper. The baby Eliza grows into a toddler and one day when Ona's husband Jack is out at sea there's a knock at the door. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Members of the free black community helped her get aboard a ship commanded by Captain John Bowles, who sailed frequently between Philadelphia, New York and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Six years after Ona was born, Betty gave birth to another daughter, Delphy.3. “Runaway Advertisement,” Frederick Kitt, Philadelphia, 24 May 1796. For example, in June 1792, she attended the theater; in April 1793, she saw “tumbling feats” (probably acrobats); and in June 1793 she went to the traveling circus.5 Click here to learn more about the enslaved households of President George Washington. Reuters. Ona’s father was an English indentured servant who had worked at Mount Vernon. Shortly after George Washington‘s death, the London newspaper Bell’s Weekly Messenger praised the first U.S. president’s decision to free his slaves in his will. The exhibition will furthermore profile 18 other former slaves. She probably did the laundry, cooked meals, scrubbed floors, and cleaned the home—all physically demanding labor.16 In January 1797, she married a free man named Jack Staines and they moved into their own home. The shoe purchases are especially telling. Washington had given him “orders to take her by force, and carry her back” if necessary and he shared these plans with Langdon.24 Langdon’s family had a long history of slave ownership, so Bassett assumed the senator would support his mission. Tobias Lear Account Books, Philadelphia Household Accounts, 1789-1797. As children born to enslaved women were considered property of the slaveholder, according to Virginia law, his daughter remained in bondage. Upon arriving in Portsmouth, Bassett made himself comfortable at Senator John Langdon’s home.21 Bassett then went to the Staines’s house and knocked on the door. Ona Judge Plots Her Escape. When Bassett dined with Langdon and told him of his intention, the senator quickly got word to Ona through one of his servants. This book puts a face and a story to that of early enslaved people and makes it clear that enslaved people always desired the ability to make choices for themselves. White House Historian, This article is part of the Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood initiative. When Ona opened the door, perhaps with her one-year-old daughter, Eliza, in her arms, she may have recognized him from her time at Mount Vernon. Instead, “Card-playing and wine-drinking were the business at his parties; and he had more of such company Sundays than on any other day.”31 The newspapers included these arguments to criticize the institution of slavery and its many cruelties. But Washington did not give up. Few enslaved workers left written records, let alone participated in interviews with reporters. How many weddings have been held at the White House? PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - Stepping off a boat in a New Hampshire port in 1796, 22-year-old Ona Judge was on the run from the family of President George Washington.. Judge… Yet, he remained in the area until at least 1784, when Washington loaned him £12. Ona died on February 25, 1848, in Greenland, New Hampshire as a free woman.32. “A Slave of George Washington,” Benjamin Chase, Auburn, NH, December 1846. It must have been incredibly scary for sixteen-year-old Ona to travel to New York City, a place she had never visited before. Usually George Washington did not prefer white indentured servants. There are no records of Andrew Judge’s departure from Mount Vernon, or whether his relationship with Betty was consensual. When Washington headed to New York City in 1789 for his inauguration as president, Oney was one of only a handful of enslaved people the couple took with them. Whipple owed his position to the Washington administration, so he reluctantly agreed to help send Ona back to Mount Vernon. Ona Judge was the daughter of Andrew Judge who was from England. It was common practice for slave owners to give their enslaved workers nicknames that ended in”y” to subtly infantilize adult men and women. Ona also knew her siblings. Vernon. She also secured work as a domestic servant. When a reporter from the Granite Freeman asked her if she regretted leaving the relative luxury of the Washingtons’ household, as she had worked so much harder after her escape, Ona Judge Staines memorably replied “No, I am free, and have, I trust been made a child of God by the means.”. In August 1799, Washington asked his nephew, Burwell Bassett Jr., to try and seize Judge and any children she may have had on his upcoming business trip to New Hampshire. In September 1798, he sent his nephew, Burwell Bassett, to bring Ona Judge Staines back. Philadelphia's father is unknown, but in 1807 she was freed from slavery and married William Costin, an abolitionist and free man, who was the son of an enslaved woman, Ann Dandridge, and whose father was possibly John Parke Custis, Martha Washington's son. The South Church is pictured, where Ona Judge was married in 1797 to Jack Staines. Judge Esther Salas said her husband, Mark Anderl, would likely need additional surgery after having already undergone 13 surgeries since the attack in July. N ever Caught is a nonfiction book about the life of Ona Judge, a woman who was enslaved by George and Martha Washington and escaped.. The secret town of Rockton has seen some rocky times lately; understandable considering its mix of criminals and victims fleeing society for refuge within its Yukon borders. Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge CHAPTER ONE AMERICA’S DAUGHTER ONA’S STORY BEGINS IN VIRGINIA around 1773, when the United States is not yet the United States, and slavery is considered acceptable by many of the white people who live in what comprises the first thirteen colonies. Joseph Whipple to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 4 October 1796, Dunbar. Looking for a means to escape, Ona agreed to meet Whipple at the docks and return to Virginia. Taking the surrounding historical events and known details concerning the Washington's life, this book paints the picture of how Ona Judge's life might have been while growing up to the time of her escape and beyond. Work was scarce, and Ona’s son, William, is believed to have left home in the 1820s to become a sailor, like his father. Video courtesy of Making History Productions. After she became too old for physical labor, Ona herself lived in poverty, relying on donations from the community. A family member was perfect for this unsavory task that Washington wished to keep under the radar. MasterChef judge Melissa Leong has announced her separation from husband Joe Jones, after almost four years of marriage. At some point during the spring of 1796, Ona made contact with members of the free black community that would facilitate her escape. Andrew Judge’s indentured servitude ended in 1776, but he worked for Washington until 1781. The person shot Salas’ 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, when he answered the door and then shot her husband multiple times before fleeing. Ona Judge was born as a slave into George and Martha Washington's household. Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. But as his reaction to Judge’s escape made clear, Washington was not ready to give up on the bound labor on which his Virginia plantation—and his life—was built. As the first lady’s bodyservant, Judge helped dress her mistress for special events, traveled with her on social calls and ran errands for her. Oney "Ona" Judge (c.1773—February 25, 1848) – known as Oney Judge Staines after marriage, was an enslaved African-American servant on George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia. (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1977), pp. Ona was often called Oney by the Washingtons, but later in life introduced herself as Ona, so we have followed her preference. Ona probably attended this church to hear Reverend Samuel Haven's sermons. Ona Judge had come to the Washington's massive collection of over three hundred slaves when she was an infant. In April 1774, one of Martha Washington’s enslaved housemaids, Betty, gave birth at Mount Vernon to a daughter named Ona Judge. She has written several books, including the award-winning middle grade novel Drizzle. Ona took the opportunity to share her thoughts on the institution of slavery, proclaiming, “that she never received the least mental or moral instruction, of any kind, while she remained in Washington’s family.”30 She also criticized the Washingtons’ piety, saying she never saw or heard any indication of “piety and prayers” while she was enslaved. Benjamin Chase, Auburn, NH, December 1846 compile our most fascinating features and deliver them to... Of Female slave Owners, Martha ’ s enslaved housemaid for the first lady ’ s father was English! Become the nation ’ s needs at home law, became a slave into George and Martha Washington, seaman! 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