In 1816, 14-year-old Lucy is indentured to Hanson Catlett to serve until she is 28 years old. Hanson has granted her conditional freedom. While he legally has set her free from slavery “from motives of benevolence and humanity,” he in effect has kept her as his slave, because she only is set free if she “faithfully bind herself to serve” him through this indenture. 

Partial Transcription

This Indenture made and concluded at the City of Pittsburgh
this 22d day of October A. D. one thousand eight hundred and sixteen Between
Hanson Catlet his heirs and assigns of the one part an_ Lucy a manumitted
Negro Girl of the age of fourteen years of the other part Witnesseth that the
said Lucy in consideration of her deed of manumission this day executed,
as well as her covenants herein contained doth covenant and agree by
these presents to serve well and truly & faithfully in the capacity of an
house want, and obediently to do and perform all kind of labor within
her ability appertaining to the art and mystery of cooking & housekeeping
him the said Hanson Catlett for and during the term of fourteen years
or till she shall arrive at the full age of twenty-eight years, computing
from this date. The said Hanson Catlett doth covenant for himself his heirs
and assigns to and with the Lucy that he will provide her with all nec=
essary clothing meet drink and Physic and cause her to be instructed in
the art and mystery of housekeeping, and humanely treat her the said Lucy
during the term of fourteen years aforesaid or till she shall attain the full
age of twenty eight years.  In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our
hands and seals at Pittsburgh the year and day first within written.

Sealed and Delivered
in presence of
E. Denny _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ Lucy’s Mark (Seal)
_ _ _ _ Hanson Catlett (Seal)

Allegheny County Ss.

Know all men by these presents that I Hanson Catlett
of the City of Pittsburgh in the County of Allegheny and Com=
monwealth of Pennsylvania from motives of benevolence and
humanity have manumitted and hereby Do manumit and set
free from slavery my Negro Girl Lucy, aged fourteen years, on
conditions however that she do faithfully bind herself by _ _ _
Indenture to serve me, my executors, Administrators or assigns
until she shall attain the age of twenty eight years, and I
do hereby give grant and release unto the said Lucy all my
right title and claim of in and to her person labor and services &
of in and to the estate and proper which may hereafter acquire
or obtain excepting only her service in manner and during the
term above mentioned.



Thomas Enochs (Seal)
Mags M. Murray (Seal)


Recorded 5th Novr  1816