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Charles was enslaved at George Washington's Mount Vernon where he worked as a ditcher at the Mansion House and was married to Fanny. 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. However, enslaved people throughout the United States often feigned illness as a less noticeable means to resist slavery.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).