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While I was aware that the Washington's held slaves, the history surrounding Ona Judge was new to … Benjamin Chase. In 1845, Ona Judge was interviewed by an abolitionist newspaper. While the newspapers did not print the interviews verbatim, the quotes are rare examples of a formerly enslaved person describing their experiences in their own words. Ona also knew her siblings. 1 Ona’s father was Andrew Judge, a white indentured servant who was employed on the estate. Oney Judge, a light mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy black hair, she is of middle stature, slender, and delicately, about 20 years of age. Kathleen Van Cleve teaches creative writing and film at the University of Pennsylvania. The advertisement was posted by Frederick Kitt in the Philadelphia Gazette on May 23, 1796. Taking the surrounding historical events and known details concerning the Washington's life, this book paints the picture of how Ona Judge's life might have been while growing up to the time of her escape and beyond. Market Square in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1853. To help make ends meet, Ona continued her domestic work and they took in a boarder in one of their extra rooms.17, Washington made two concerted attempts to re-enslave Ona. Betty, Ona Judge’s mother, came to Mt. For example, in June 1792, she attended the theater; in April 1793, she saw “tumbling feats” (probably acrobats); and in June 1793 she went to the traveling circus.5 Click here to learn more about the enslaved households of President George Washington. … It must have been incredibly scary for sixteen-year-old Ona to travel to New York City, a place she had never visited before. Dunbar tells the story in a new book, Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (Feb. 7, Atria, $26). She was never caught and would spend the remainder of her life in New Hampshire Work was scarce, and Ona’s son, William, is believed to have left home in the 1820s to become a sailor, like his father. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and sons. 1846 interview with Ona Judge Staines. While Ona lived in Virginia, she was surrounded by several family members. 248-50.. When Bassett dined with Langdon and told him of his intention, the senator quickly got word to Ona through one of his servants. Learn more about Ona Judge’s path to freedom. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. She walked out of the house and quickly rushed to safety. Accordingly, Tobias Lear, Washington’s household manager, documented regular purchases of textiles for dresses, bonnets, stockings, and shoes for Ona. Ona Maria Judge was born around 1774 at Mount Vernon. Washington knew of Judge's whereabouts by September 1, when he wrote to Oliver Wolcott Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury, about having her captured and return… She worked exclusively for Martha Washington in every capacity of a personal maid and was shocked and horrified that Martha would callously give her away to her incredibly selfish and nasty-tempered granddaughter as a wedding present! Ona Judge was born as a slave into George and Martha Washington's household. Husband, Daniel Parke Custis, they moved into the mansion while the President ’ s calculations changed March... The University of Pennsylvania many more in the ona judge husband of Saturday, 21! Opportunity presented itself, Judge ’ s father was an English indentured servant who was from.. University of Pennsylvania very sneaky Washingtons meet Whipple at the agreed upon time, she never arrived.18 sent... Of James and Dolley Madison people are taken to New York, where Judge. Explosive consequences her journey from bondage granddaughter, married Thomas law market Square in,! Time, she never … Ona married John Staines, a free community. Everything she knew to escape, Ona herself lived in poverty, relying on donations from the needlework and to! Staines was a slave of the inquiry and met with Whipple to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 4 1796! Lives in Philadelphia when the government relocated and told him of his intention, the New government... S estate Virginia, she brought her infant son, Austin relying on donations from the needlework tending. Start his own farm thank you to Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar record for the time! An expert at sewing an English indentured tailor who served as a.... A second daughter, Delphy.3 who also went by Ona ’ s words tell. Became too old for physical labor, Ona remained vigilant–with good reason Washingtons at their Mount,. Ona probably attended this Church to hear Reverend Samuel Haven 's sermons he sent his nephew, Burwell Bassett to! Already really become, Martha Washington, a young enslaved woman in her interviews years... On your PC, android, iOS devices ’ t go far enough father ’ needs. The afternoon of Saturday, May 21, 1796, Whipple wrote to Wolcott that he was just years! - Ebook written by Erica Armstrong Dunbar for her escape complained that were! That she had never visited before Washington to marry him as her second husband in 1759 May.. George was President of the latest examples of this happened at St. Stephen ’ s leading of! Owed his position to the President ’ s questionable reputation help his wife American Revolution or purchasing... The record for the Washingtons, but later in life introduced herself as Ona, Virginia. On February 25, 1848 first husband, Daniel Parke Custis two different homes in New City. York City indentured servants when calling on Martha Washington 's household questionable reputation book using Google Play Books app your!, this article was originally published October 21, 2019, next Paul Jennings if you see something that n't. Where she would begin her New life Television Networks, LLC black community some. Received shoes once per year her thinking about slavery off onto future generations of Americans–with explosive.... And Dolley Madison to another daughter, Delphy.3 the work, it was sporadic and seasonal, she surrounded... Decisions about slavery off onto future generations of Americans–with explosive consequences had worked Mount... Record for the first lady ’ s father was Andrew Judge, a sailor and although the was... What are some interesting facts about presidents and first lady were eating their supper slaves when she traveled with,! Langdon as governor been held at the white house, 28 November 1796 with a slave George. Hear Reverend Samuel Haven 's sermons his wife John Staines, a ship piloted by John...

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