Receipt to James Neilson for the purchase of Elizabeth



Receipt to James Neilson for the purchase of Elizabeth


Receipt issued to James Neilson (1784-1862) for a purchase of an enslaved woman named Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was previously enslaved by John Powers. The receipt indicates that Elizabeth was sold because John Powers was in debt to Staats Van Deursen (Queen's College alumnus 1791 and Treasurer 1813-1823). Staats Van Deursen sued John Powers to collect the debt, and as a result of this suit, Middlesex County Sheriff Abraham Van Arsdalen sold Elizabeth by a Writ of Execution on January 3, 1815. James Neilson purchased Elizabeth for $250. This receipt was issued on January 23, 1815, when Sheriff Van Arsdalen collected the full payment and delivered Elizabeth to James Neilson.





Text (Transcript)

Rec'd New Brunswick 23d January 1815 from Mr. James Neilson two hundred & fifty Dollars in full payment of a certain Negro Woman named Elizabeth, belonging to the personal estate of John Powers, sold by me on the 3d day of January Inst by Writ of an Execution at the suit of Staats Van Deursen which negro I do hereby deliver to his possession.


Abrm Van Arsdalen


Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

Archival collection

Neilson Family Papers, 1768-1908 (MC 933)

Archival location

Box 4, Folder 45: J & J Neilson - Papers relating to purchase of slaves


Van Arsdalen, Abraham, “Receipt to James Neilson for the purchase of Elizabeth,” Scarlet and Black Digital Archive, Rutgers University, accessed November 28, 2022,