From the Will of James Savage,
Germantown, Kentucky, 1854
In the name of God, Amen, I, James Savage, of the town of Germantown, county of Mason, and state of Kentucky…
I own several Negroes, who are, by the laws of the country, slaves for life; some I have purchased with my money and some have been born in my house. They will be found registered in a small square book, which is entitled on the front page, JAMES SAVAGE’S MEMORANDUM BOOK, dated December 29, 1827
My professions and opinions as a Christian minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and my sense of justice as a man, are opposed to slavery as an abstract principal.
I, however, do not consider it inconsistent with either to hold or own slaves so long as it is tolerated by the laws of the country, for slaves in the possession of a just and humane master, are in no worse condition than servants in other countries or in the non-slave holding states.
I, therefore, direct and it is my will and desire, that all my Negroes or slaves, which I may own at the time of my death, shall be free on the first day of January in the years following: Perry in 1854, George in 1855, Nellie in 1856, Mary in 1857, Caroline in 1866, Sarah Jane in 1871, and Frank in 1874.
The names of all of my slaves that are to be thus liberated together with their cost and the date of purchase will be found in the Memorandum Book.
The slaves hereafter born in my house, shall be free at the age of 29 years.
It is my will and desire, that a house together with 1/8 acre of ground, situate on the Turnpike near Germantown, be appropriated to the use of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, so long as they conduct themselves in an orderly and Christian manner, as a place of worship, but with the express understanding that no part thereof shall ever be used as a place of Sepulture or Burying Ground.
I desire further than in case my woman, Mary and her husband, should desire to go to Liberia or Ohio or Canada, that they shall be suffered to go and furnished all necessary papers, and that they shall have the privilege of taking such of their children with them as belong to me and they wish to take with them.
I desire and wish that my executors shall proceed to have the church, I have commenced finished in the same manner it has been commenced, and that all expenses incurred by them in finishing said church shall be paid out of my estate.
I will and bequeath one hundred dollars to the Colonization Society to be paid by my executors, and one hundred dollars to the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, if the Kentucky conference of said church holds its next annual session in Germantown.
Given under my hand, this 3rd May, 1854.
Witness: J. B. Harris and W. S. Wooster
Information provided by the August tourism Office, at 606-756-2183, or on the web at www.augustakentucky.com.