Slaves are Free
Mount Vernon, Virginia, U.S.
A year after George Washington's death, on January 1, 1801, Martha Washington signed an order freeing his slaves. Many of them, having never strayed far from Mount Vernon, were naturally reluctant to try their luck elsewhere; others refused to abandon spouses or children still held as dower slaves (the Custis estate) and also stayed with or near Martha. Following George Washington's instructions in his will, funds were used to feed and clothe the young, aged, and sickly slaves until the early 1830s.