Colonial Tithables (Research Notes Number 17)
In March 1657–8, an act passed in the House of Burgesses declared that all African Americans and Indians (both male and female) over sixteen years of age were to be placed on the tithable lists. Between the first and last of June, masters were required to return a list of all tithables to the clerk of the county court to be recorded (Hening, 1:454–455.)
According to an act passed in the House of Burgesses on 14 March 1661–2, the commissioners, who were appointed by the court, were to post a notice on the door of the church notifying the public when the tithables would be received before the June deadline. At August court, the commissioners delivered an account of the tithables to the county court clerk, who then returned a list to the clerk of the House of Burgesses (Hening, 2:83–84.) By an act passed in December 1662, all female servants who worked a crop were to be considered tithable and levies were paid for them (Hening, 2:170.)
An act to discover concealed tithables was passed in the House of Burgesses session of September 1663. Every year, masters were to give an exact account of tithables (with names) by 10 June to the magistrate appointed to receive the list. Masters concealing tithables forfeited a servant to the informer. If the concealed person was a freeman or a servant with less than a year to serve, one thousand pounds of tobacco was forfeited for each person concealed. Women servants were exempted from this act (Hening, 2:187.)
In its continuing efforts to discover concealed tithables, the colonial government passed an act in October 1670 requiring tithable lists to be made public. At the court held after the June deadline, justices delivered the tithables to the county clerk, who made a copy and put it on the courthouse door where it remained all day. This procedure allowed persons living near those who were concealing tithes to discover and report the fraud. Penalties for fraud were the same as those passed in the act of 1663 (Hening, 2:280.)
In the House of Burgesses session of September 1672, an act was passed “concerning tythables borne in the country.” Those persons appointed by the court to take tithables were also charged with taking an account of all negro, mulatto, and Indian children. The masters or owners of these children attested to their age. This act also required the masters or owners of African American children and slaves born in Virginia to register their births within twelve months in the parish register. Those who failed to register children paid a levy on them that year and every year until the child was registered. All African American women born in Virginia were accounted tithable at age sixteen (Hening, 2:296.)
An act for “assertaining the time when Negro Children shall be tythable” was passed in the House of Burgesses session of June 1680. This act required that all negro children imported within three months of the act were to be brought into court and their ages adjudged by the justices and recorded. Negro children were not considered tithable until twelve years of age. Christian servants imported into Virginia were not tithable until age fourteen (Hening, 2:479–480.) In the House of Burgesses session of November 1682, an act declared that all Indian women were tithable and charged with the same taxes as African American women brought into Virginia (Hening, 2:497.)
A more complete law concerning tithables was passed in the House of Burgesses session of October 1705. All male persons sixteen years of age and over, as well as all negro, mulatto, and Indian woman sixteen years and over, [NOT FREE] were declared tithable. The age of all children imported was adjudged by the county court and entered into the records of the court.
In 1723, the House of Burgesses passed two acts expanding the definition of a tithable. As a result, those subject to the tax included all free negroes, mulattos, and Indians (except tributary Indians) above age sixteen and their wives (Hening, 4:133.) In addition to their tithable lists, all masters were required to list the names of every person between the ages of ten and sixteen “for whom any benefit of tending Tobacco is allowed by this Act.” In tithable lists, masters were required to distinguish which persons were primarily employed in the cultivation of tobacco. Those who violated the law were fined. Justices appointed to take the tithable lists compiled a separate list of persons between the ages of ten and sixteen, and returned these lists with the tithables (Waverley K. Winfree, ed., The Laws of Virginia; Being A Supplement To Hening’s The Statutes At Large, 1700–1750 , 251.) Source; http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/rn17_tithables.htmFree or Not free -- both include INDIAN WOMEN. So when Heinegg uses the following paragraph to prove these families were "Free African Americans" is it a reasonable assumption?
"The Collins and Bunch families were taxable "Molatas" in Orange County, North Carolina, in 1755 [T&C, box 1]. They were also associated with the Gibson family......They probably came to Orange County from Louisa County, Virginia. George Gibson, Thomas Gibson, William Hall, Thomas Collins, Samuel Collins, William Collins, William Donathan, Benjamin Branham, and Samuel Bunch were living in Louisa County on 28 May 1745 when they were presented by the court for failing to list a tithable (probably their wives) "