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Eliza Rone Freedom bond
The back (envelope) of Eliza's Freedom Bond
Eliza Rone Freedom bond envelope

Every week we make some discovery about the house or the people who lived and worked here, and last week was no exception. In the fall of 2010, we learned that Robert emancipated a slave named Eliza in 1857.  Last week we found a copy of her Freedom Bond that lists her last name: Rone.

Freedom Bonds were a pledge of money (in this case, $500) given by a person of good character (Robert Campbell) who would promise the person obtaining the license would be gainfully employed and would not become a nuisance to the city. You may notice the Freedom Bond is dated 1861, when she had been emancipated four ears earlier; the lag was not unusual. To learn more about African-American life in St. Louis, click here.

1882 Campbell ledger page

Eliza was clearly a beloved servant in the Campbell household, as evidenced by this ledger page we found at the Mercantile Library. After Mrs. Campbell died in 1882, her estate left money to a few people who worked in the house. You’ll notice on the seventh line of the page, $100 was left to Eliza. In modern currency, that is equivalent to $11,000.

(On a tangent, the family was very well-read: there are bills paid to not only the Post-Dispatch, but the Globe-Democrat AND the Missouri Republican! Cash was sent to “Jimmie” in New Haven….this refers to James Campbell — the youngest surviving son — who was in his senior year at Yale University.)

Now to learn more about Eliza Rone….


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