Letter agreeing to hire three enslaved workers
Stephen Austin rents enslaved labor from fellow colonist
In this obligation to Jared Groce, Stephen Austin states that he has hired three enslaved workers, Sally, Jack, and Kelly, from Groce for $38 a month. "The said negros are to be well treated by me, and the said Groce is to clothe them. Should they run away or die the loss is to be Groces — sickness to be my loss."
Jared Groce was an early settler in Austin's Colony, arriving in 1822 with 90 enslaved men, women, and children to build a plantation on the Brazos River. As one of the only colonists in the area with laborers enough to spare, Groce rented out his enslaved workers to other settlers, including to the empresario of the colony, Stephen Austin. A census taken by Austin in 1826 shows that Groce had 58 more enslaved laborers than anyone else in the colony, making him the largest slave owner in Tejas.
Courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Time Period: 1821 - 1834
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