National Expansion & Reform Slavery Increasing Legal Action

Increasing Legal Action

Increasingly, failure to control enslaved persons attracted legal attention. In October 1856, Staffordian John W. D. Ford was cited for “permitting slaves under his control to go at large.” Especially during tense times – such as during the Chatham Slave Revolt in 1804-1805, the Nat Turner Revolt in Southampton County in 1831, and the John Brown Raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859 – increased efforts were made to control enslaved persons and to strengthen militia forces.  Falmouth’s Trustees in 1860 declared no enslaved, free black or mulatto “not belonging to the Town should be allowed to visit or loiter about the Town on Sunday…this ordinance does not prohibit those negroes having wives in Town from visiting them provided they have a pass.”