Fairfax County, Virginia
Genealogy and History

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Diary of Michael Shiner

This is the June 1833 account from the Diary of Michael Shiner describing the abduction
of his wife and children by Alexandria Virginia slave dealers.

This information contributed by John Sharp.

Slave market
Slave Market, Alexandria, VA

African American Michael Shiner (1805-1880) kept a diary, covering the years 1813 1869. His Diary provides us with considerable information about early working conditions at the Washington Navy Yard where he worked for over fifty. Most importantly however Shiner' s diary gives us a rare glimpse of the District of Columbia social and political scene, from a Black man' s perspective. Here within its pages we find his struggles as a slave, freeman and his successful journey to rescue his wife Phillis and the couple 's three young children who were abducted and to be sold at Alexandria Virginia, by the nation's most notorious slave dealers, Armfield and Franklin. This series of terrible events began for the Shiner family with Phillis's master, James Phumphrey s, death, in March 1832. The Shiner Diary extracts below reflect the family's harrowing experience.  The spelling, capitalization and punctuation are those of the original.

The Diary of Michael Shiner Relating to the History of the Washington Navy Yard 1813-1869 are now transcribed with introduction and notes at the
Naval Historical Center.
John G. Sharp
Stockton Ca.
April 21, 2009


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