No matter how many I see, I still get the chills when reading and handling a bill of sale for a person.  We recently acquired just such a document.  Benjamin Payne of Hartford sold a Negro Woman named Minnah to Samuel Forbes of Canaan for fifty-two pounds, ten shillings.  This particular bill of sale caught our attention because Samuel Forbes, of the iron manufacturing firm Forbes & Adam, freed his slaves sometime around the Revolution, and his account books (which was recently acquired) are filled with customers he identified as “Negro”, individuals who were obviously freemen.  One cannot help but wonder why Forbes had such a dramatic change of heart about owning human beings in an apparently short span of time.

2 thoughts on “Minnah

  1. Ms. Hahn,
    I came across this site my accident and read about your recent purchase of a bill of sale of Minnah. I am well acquainted with the descendants of Samuel Forbes.
    Atty. Sam Adam (aka. Samuel Forbes Adam) lives and practices criminal law in Chicago. Sam attended Hotchkiss Preparatory Boarding School in Lakeville, CT., graduated from New York Military Academy, Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. and received his MS at University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Sam was raised in the Adam Home, built by Samuel Forbes in East Canaan, CT. Chicago has been his home since 1958 and he is a veteran criminal lawyer and still practicing.
    June Conner

    Criminal Law .

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