4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 19, 2021 12:28 PM by Rebecca Brown

    Seeking resources for free blacks in Pennsylvania/Delaware around 1800


      I need to move beyond what is online and indexed for an ancestor in the Philadelphia area and Delaware from about late 1790s to 1850. In the absence of specific records I would be pleased with more historical context about the time, place, and ways of life.


      I have found Jesse Mode (both a Sr. and Jr.) in Philadelphia city directories in 1797, 1807, and 1811 so far.


      We also have census records in Philadelphia (1810, 1820) and Delaware County PA (1830) and Delaware (1840) for one or both Jesse Mode.


      We also have 1798 tax records possibly for either Sr. and Jr. in Delaware County PA.


      Jesse Mode Jr. dies in 1850 in Wilmington DE, there's no records yet about Jesse Mode Sr. after a land sale in 1815 (living in Delaware County, selling land in Philadelphia). Jesse Mode, by then in his 70s, is mentioned in an anecdote in 1978 as being a black sea captain working on the Delaware River. No records yet to confirm this story, though it's been repeated a few times under the topic of abolitionism in Wilmington and Delaware, including a reference to Thomas Garrett.

      It doesn't have everything, but a good overview is a biography of Jesse Mode Jr.'s daughter at https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/hofheintz-sarah-ann-mode.


      I am interested in finding out where to research next. Other than this individual my ancestors are generally white European immigrant farmers so I'm a bit out of depth both for cities and African American history. Thanks in advance for any help!