John Goulding (Goulden) of Franklin County, Pennsylvania served in Revolutionary War service in 1777, 1779 and from 1781-1782. He was married, although we do not know his wife’s name.
His wife appears to be alive in 1801 (see below) but John dies in 1806 intestate. A three page probate inventory (16 Dec 1806) of his possessions are available. The inventory was done by Isaiah McCullagh. His residence at the time was Franklin TWP, Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Peculiar by modern standards, but among John Goulding’s possessions was “one bound boy named George Hunt” worth $100.
George Hunt was probably an indentured servant and $100 was what it would cost for him to leave his indenturehood before the end of seven years — the maximum allowed by law. Since indentures were contracts then there may be some legal document within the Franklin County archives that describes the nature of George Hunt’s indenturehood. Pennsylvania does not appear to keep such records in its state archives.
While not slavery, indentures were treated like property. “Bound Boy” was someone who was often taken from an orphanage to become an “indentured servant.” If a young child, the child was often exempted from the seven year rule — often being bound to their master until the age of 21. This arrangement usually required the master to agree to provide something specific during their life: training in a skill, taught to read, “a good Christian education”, etc., as well as provision of room and board. This was a common arrangement at the county or parish level across much of America until 1791 to take care of the poor and orphaned.
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