To evade a gradual abolition law that took effect in Pennsylvania in 1780, the Washingtons made sure to transport their enslaved workers in and out of the state every six months to avoid them establishing legal residency. She walked out of the house and quickly rushed to safety. There are no records of how she was introduced to this community or who helped her, and Ona kept this information secret to protect everyone’s safety. She was never caught and would spend the remainder of her life in New Hampshire Whenever possible, this article uses Ona’s words to tell her remarkable story. October 21, 2019, Next The Massive, Overlooked Role of Female Slave Owners. A few years later, Ona gave birth to a second daughter, Nancy, and then a son. He complained that they were unreliable and lazy, yet George seemed to like and trust Andrew. Ona Judge Plots Her Escape. The 38-year old shared … Betty, Ona Judge’s mother, came to Mt. They believed they had treated her like a daughter and felt betrayed by her departure. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and sons. 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. George Washington to Joseph Whipple, 28 November 1796. After she became too old for physical labor, Ona herself lived in poverty, relying on donations from the community. He was one of George Washington’s preferred tailors, eventually creating the blue uniform George wore when he was named commander in chief of the American forces in 1775. Ona, more commonly known as Oney, moved into the mansion house when she was just 9 years old. It tells about a very determined Ona Judge and very sneaky Washingtons. (Credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images). Whipple owed his position to the Washington administration, so he reluctantly agreed to help send Ona back to Mount Vernon. Though marriage gave her some additional legal protection, Ona remained vigilant–with good reason. Dunbar, of Wyncote, a professor of black studies and history at the University of Delaware, has spent nearly eight years coaxing Judge out of the shadows. Betty, Ona Judge’s mother, came to Mt. Andrew Judge’s indentured servitude ended in 1776, but he worked for Washington until 1781. Judge holds attorney husband of RHOBH star Erika Jayne and his law firm in contempt after he misappropriated $2M in funds meant for the families of victims of the 2018 Lion Air crash. Because of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 which Washington signed into law in Philadelphia (probably in his private office barely a dozen feet from where Oney slept), she lived the rest of her life as a fugitive. There are no records of Andrew Judge’s departure from Mount Vernon, or whether his relationship with Betty was consensual. When Martha brought Ona to the President’s House, Ona left her family for the first time. Her two daughters, Eliza and Nancy, were sadly forced into indentured servitude; both died before their mother. PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - Stepping off a boat in a New Hampshire port in 1796, 22-year-old Ona Judge was on the run from the family of President George Washington.. Judge… Betty was lucky to be able to keep her son Austin with her with the move to Mt. She has written several books, including the award-winning middle grade novel Drizzle. While she was likely grateful for the work, it was a change from the needlework and tending to Martha’s needs. Vernon as a slave, when Martha accepted the hand of George Washington to marry him as her second husband in 1759. The couple went on to have three children: Eliza, Will, and Nancy. Explore the Timeline. Martha also left one enslaved man, Elish (or Elijah), whom she could have legally freed, to her grandson in an addendum to her will. Stunned by Ona’s lack of cooperation, he returned to Langdon’s house to regroup. Video courtesy of Making History Productions. Ona Judge would look over her shoulder for the rest of her life. Eventually, Judge’s husband, a sailor, passed away. Learn more about Ona Judge’s path to freedom. Upon arriving in Portsmouth, Bassett made himself comfortable at Senator John Langdon’s home.21 Bassett then went to the Staines’s house and knocked on the door. Additionally, if women’s shoes wore out more quickly than men’s shoes, Ona may have needed more pairs than the enslaved coachmen or postilions. Ona Maria Judge Staines is the protagonist of Erica Armstrong Dunbar ’s Never Caught.Born into slavery at George and Martha Washington ’s Mount Vernon estate in 1773, Ona was, as a teenager, assigned to a position in the Washingtons’ home, where she worked as Martha’s seamstress and personal “go-to girl.” When George Washington ascended to the presidency, bringing Martha along … Either way, she quickly discovered his purpose for traveling to Portsmouth. In August 1799, Washington asked his nephew, Burwell Bassett Jr., to try and seize Judge and any children she may have had on his upcoming business trip to New Hampshire. Though the gesture was far from meaningless, it didn’t go far enough. Ona Judge was the daughter of Andrew Judge who was from England. 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 probably did the laundry, cooked meals, scrubbed floors, and cleaned the home—all physically demanding labor.16 In January 1797, she married a free man named Jack Staines and they moved into their own home. Frustrated, Washington wrote directly to Whipple asking him to return Ona by force.19 A quiet abolitionist, Whipple was deeply uncomfortable with this sort of violence. Her mother, Betty, was recognized as the finest seamstress on the plantation and was a “dower slave,” technically still owned by the estate of Martha Washington’s first husband, Daniel Peake Custis. 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… Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Over a month after the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member filed for divorce from the famed attorney, a […] Ona learned of the inquiry and met with Whipple to discuss the position. While the records of her son’s life are inconclusive, it’s possible his name was William and he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a sailor. First Lady Julia Dent Grant, wife... Born to an affluent family in 1790, John Tyler spent most of his life in Charles City County, Virginia. When Bassett dined with Langdon and told him of his intention, the senator quickly got word to Ona through one of his servants. Usually George Washington did not prefer white indentured servants. Bassett insisted Ona return to Virginia and “used all the persuasion he could” but Ona “utterly refused to go with him.”22 He even promised that the Washingtons would free her once she returned to Virginia, to which she replied “I am free now, and choose to remain so.”23, As an elite white southerner, Bassett was accustomed to African Americans obeying his every command. Martha announced that she planned to give Ona to Eliza as a wedding present, separating Ona from her family and the life she knew in Philadelphia and at Mount Vernon. Market Square in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1853. There are seven enslaved people that go, only two women, and Ona’s one of them. How many weddings have been held at the White House? Washington had given him “orders to take her by force, and carry her back” if necessary and he shared these plans with Langdon.24 Langdon’s family had a long history of slave ownership, so Bassett assumed the senator would support his mission. Many slave mothers were less fortunate as the birth of their children added value property for their owners who could sell the child or the mother separately. Ona’s father was an English indentured servant who had worked at Mount Vernon. This book is the story of her to run . Oney "Ona" Judge (c.1773—February 25, 1848) – known as Oney Judge Staines after marriage, was an enslaved African-American servant on George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia. It would have made her a fugitive in the eyes of the law and she likely would never be able to see her family again. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. A family member was perfect for this unsavory task that Washington wished to keep under the radar. 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! Thousands of Images covering the History of the White House, Official White House Ornaments, Books & More, https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/slavery/slavery-database/, https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Correspondent%3A%22Washington%2C%20George%22%20Correspondent%3A%22Whipple%2C%20Joseph%22&s=1111311111&r=2. Kathleen Van Cleve teaches creative writing and film at the University of Pennsylvania. (Credit: Martin Falbisoner/Creative Commons). 248-50.. Ona also accompanied Martha on her social visits and attended to the first lady’s needs at home. Judge was secretly placed aboard the Nancy, a ship piloted by Captain John Bowles and bound for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 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