Charles was a ditcher who worked at the Mansion House and was married to Fanny. George Washington once noted that Charles was "often laid up with a lameness" in 1794. Washington wrote to his farm manager to care for people who were sick but suspected that "they will lay by when no more ails them, than ails those who stick to their business." It is certainly possible that Charles was legitimately ill in these instances. In addition, slaves throughout the United States often feigned illness as a less noticeable means to resist their status as forced laborers.1

Notes
1.
 "George Washington to William Pearce, 18 May 1794." The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 33, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1931).

 

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