KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS that I Edgar A. Poe agent for Maria Clemm of Baltimore City and County and State of Maryland, for and in consideration of the sum of forty dollars in hand paid by Henry Ridgway of Baltimore City at or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have granted, bargained and sold and by these presents do grant bargain and sell unto the said Henry Ridgway his executors administrators and assigns a negro man named Edwin aged twenty one years on the first day of March next to serve until he shall arrive to the age of thirty years no longer. To HAVE AND TO HOLD all and singular the said negro man above bargained and sold or mentioned or intended so to be to the said Henry Ridgway his executors, administrators and assigns, and I the said Edgar A. Poe agent for M. Clemm for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators all and singular the said negro man unto the said Henry Ridgway his executors and administrators and assigns against me the said Edward [sic] A. Poe my executors and adminsitrators and against all and every other person or persons whatsoever shall and will warrant and forever defend by these presents. IN WITNESS WHEREOF We have hereunto set our hands and seals this 10th day of December eighteen hundred and twenty nine.
Signed Sealed and delivered in the presence of Henry W Gray
EDGAR A. POE (SEAL)Baltimore City SS Be It Remembered that on this tenth day of December 1829 before the subscriber a Justice of the Peace for said City appears Edgar Poe agent for Maria Clemm and Henry Ridgway and acknowledges the above instrument of writing to be their act and deed according to the true intent and meaning thereof.
for Maria Clemm
HENRY X RIDGWAY (SEAL)
Acknowledged before Henry W Gray. Received to be recorded the 29th day of December 1829 at Three O'clock P M Same Day recorded and examined
[This document, a testament to nearly unintelligible legalistic writing, was first published in an article by May Garrettson Evans, "Item For Biographers: When Edgar Allan Poe Sold a Slave," The Sun (Baltimore), April 6, 1940. Examining Baltimore City Directories for the period, Ms. Evans notes two entries that might be for the Henry Ridgway of this document: "Ridgaway Henry, a huckster, Guilford's al N side E of Charles st (1827)" and "Ridgeway H. labourer, Guilford al. near Charles at (1829)." Though spelled differently (and these directories contain numerous spelling errors), both entries appear to be for the same man, and both are noted as "person of colour." The document now resides in the collection of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Only Poe's signature is in his hand.]