Alley Anthony apprenticeship indenture with Thomas McDorman, 1799 April 2.

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Alley Anthony apprenticeship indenture with Thomas McDorman, 1799 April 2.



Apprenticeship indenture for Alley Anthony a free African American woman of Norfolk, Virginia. The indenture was arranged by Robert Brough at the request of the court. Anthony, who was 18 at the time, was indentured to Thomas McDorman for a term of 3 years to learn the trade of a seamstress. Robert Brough as Chamberlain of Norfolk was responsible for binding out orphans in accordance with an ordinance of 1791. Chamberlain was the term Norfolk used for its treasurer.


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Page 1

This Indenture WITNESSETH, That, ROBERT
BROUGH, Esquire, Chamberlain of the Borough of Norfolk, pursuant to an Order
of Court, bearing date the 28th. and 29th. day of February
last – – hath, and by these Presents, doth put forth and bind
Alley Anthony, a free black Girl orphan of – –
– – an Apprentice to Thomas McDorman
— — — — — — – — — — – — — — –
to learn the Art, Trade, or Occupation of a Semstress
— — — — — — — – — — — — –
– – and after the manner of a good and faithful Apprentice,
to serve from this day until he arrives at age of Twenty-One Years, which is three
years from the date above : from the date hereof: During all
which time the said Apprentice his said Master faithfully shall serve, his lawful com-
mands every where readily obey, and in all things behave himself as a faithful Appren-
tice ought to do, during the said term. And the said Master shall use his utmost en-
deavors to Teach, or cause to be Taught or Instructed, the said Apprentice, in the
Trade or Occupation of a Semstress — — — — — — — — — – — — – –
— — — — — – — — — — — – – – — and procure and provide
for him sufficient Meat, Drink, Apparel, Lodging, and Washing, fitting for an Appren-
tice, during the said term, and moreover shall cause him to be instructed in Reading,
Writing, & Arithmetic.

AND for the faithful performance of all and singular the Covenants and
Agreements aforesaid, the said parties bind themselves each unto the other firmly by these

IN WITNESS whereof, the said Parties have interchangeably set their
Hands and Seals, the Second — — — — – — — — – day of April
in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-nine, and in
the Twenty third Year of the Independence of the United States of America.

Sealed and Delivered in
the Presence of
Sally Wilson
James Paul

Alley X Anthony's Seal
Thos. – + McDorman's Seal
Robt. Brough Cham Seal

Original Format

Ink on paper


“Alley Anthony apprenticeship indenture with Thomas McDorman, 1799 April 2.,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed February 9, 2023,

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