Absalom Jones's marriage to Mary
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The Register of St. Peter's Anglican Church records that on January 4, 1770. "Absalom (negro slave to Mr. Wynkoop) and Mary (Do. to S. King)" were married by Mr. Duché. The Wynkoops and the Kings were neighbors in Philadelphia, and both families worshipped at St. Peter's.
Soon after the wedding, Absalom composed and circulated an appeal calling for donations and loans to buy his wife's freedom. He reasoned that under Pennsylvania law, any children of their marriage would then be freeborn, based on the mother's condition (though a 1725 statute did require that all freeborn children be bound to service until they reached maturity). During the Revolutionary War, he "made it [his] business to work until twelve or one o'clock at night, to assist [his] wife in obtaining a livelihood, and to pay the money that was borrowed to purchase her freedom." The debt was paid by 1778, and the couple bought a house and lot in the southern part of the city, though another seven years passed before Wynkoop allowed Absalom to purchase his own freedom.
Image Credit: St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia.
Portrait of Absalom Jones
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