Excerpt from 1816 manumission document

The establishment of The Hills as a community of free blacks predates the law of 1817. Records of the Friends Meeting House in Purchase show that between 1773 and 1783 the Quakers freed their slaves and settled them near Silver Lake (The Hills) in Harrison, on land donated by Frederick Stephens.

However, it is quite possible that members of other denominations such as Methodist-Episcopalians also freed their slaves at this time, for similar reasons of religious doctrine proscribing slavery. Many of the manumission documents found in the Eastchester Book of the Colored People are from the early 1800's. One example, dated October 27, 1816, shows Thomas Lawrence applying to free a woman named Lill.

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