East New Market

Notable People and Families

Sarah Young

See also the children of Sarah Young:
Clement Young, George Young, and Rosette Dodson

And other enslaved persons associated with Henry Nicols:
Clem, Sarah, Samuel Green, Maria, Others


Sarah Young (ca.1793- ca.1845) is the founder of the Depot area community of East New Market, Maryland.  She was the first African-American to own land in the town.  In 1844 she deeded a small part of her land to the Trustees for the Colored People's Methodist Episcopal Church.  Many African Americans who have family in East New Market are descended from Sarah Young.

Henry Nicols Will

When Henry Nicols (ca.1778-1832) died in 1832, aside from the property left to his wife, Margaret, and his niece, Emily Green, the primary person he left property to was Sarah who he described as "his negro woman".  Sarah later came to be known as Sarah Young.  Henry Nicols bequeathed a considerable amount of his estate to her.  In Henry Nicols' Last Will and Testament, he freed Sarah and set dates for her son's Clem and George to gain their freedom as well.  He bequeathed to Sarah $100 and two properties consisting of 7 acres (near the school) and 35 acres (in the depot area).  He also freed Rosette and gave her survivor rights to the property left to Sarah.  An 1844 record states that Rosette is a child of Sarah, but the wording of the 1832 will was not as clear about the relationship. 

The value of the property that Henry Nicols left to Sarah Young leads one to explore their relationship.  One would suspect that for Henry Nicols to leave so much to Sarah in his will, he must have known her for a considerable amount of time or had a special relationship with her.

An Earlier Record

The earliest record found to date that potentially mentions Sarah Young is a deed recorded on 17 December 1819, when Henry Nicols sold Sarah along with her 5 month old son, Abraham, to John Thompson of Davidson County, Tennessee. 

There is some debate about whether the Sarah sold in the 1819 record is the same Sarah who was freed in 1832.  To be the same Sarah, either the 1819 transaction would have later been nullified, or Henry Nicols would have regained possession of Sarah sometime between 1820 and 1830.  The first step necessary to determine if both Sarah's are one in the same would be to compare the age of Sarah in the 1819 record versus the 1832 will.  The Sarah in the December 1819 record was 25 years of age and thus she was born around 1793.  The 1832 Will of Henry Nicols establishes that Sarah had sons Clem and George.  An 1844 deed states that Rosette, Clem, and George are three of Sarah's children.  Childbearing started as early as age thirteen for enslaved people during this era and usually continued until age forty.  Census records reveal Rosette was born between 1806 and 1810; Clem was born around 1816; and George was born around 1830.  This would place this Sarah's birth year in the early 1790s.  Thus it is possible the Sarah in the 1819 record is the same Sarah who appears in later records. 

Either Henry Nicols owned two slaves named Sarah who were born around the same year or the Sarah in the 1819 record is the same Sarah in the 1832 Will.  The 1819 sale to John Thompson may have been to a family friend.  Thompson may have been related to Septimus Thompson who married Sarah L. Green, a niece of Henry Nicols.  John Thompson may have also been related to James Thompson who owned property in East New Market near Henry Nicols in the 1820s and 1830s.  There are numerous men named Thompson in Dorchester County, Maryland and Davidson County, Tennessee in the 1820 and later Census records.   In the 1820 Census a John P. Thompson is listed in Davidson County, Tennessee, but he did not own slaves.  There are four John Thompson's living in Dorchester County, Maryland in 1820 and one owned slaves.  Further research and additional records are needed to determine if the Sarah in the 1819 deed is the same Sarah in the 1832 will and later records.

Sarah's Children and their Parentage

Existing records for Sarah, Rosette, Clem, and George always list their race as 'black' or 'negro'.  None is ever referred to as 'mulatto' or another race.  Sarah is referred to as a 'negro' in the 1832 Will, 1838 tax assessment record, and in deeds recorded in 1845, 1847, and 1848.  Rosette is referred to as a 'negro' in the 1832 Will, an 1845 deed, and as 'black' in the 1850 and 1860 Census.  Clem is referred to as a 'negro' in the 1832 Will, an 1845 deed, an 1852 tax record, and as 'black' in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 Census.  George is referred to as a 'negro' in the 1832 Will, an 1845 deed, and as 'black' in the 1850 Census.

Abraham is only mentioned in the 1819 record, unless he is the same Abraham (age 21-45) in the 1852 tax record of Thomas K. Smith.  In the 1819 deed, while Sarah is described as having a 'dark complexion', her son Abraham is described as having a 'light complexion'. 

Henry Nicols was born in 1778.  He would have been around age 15 when Sarah Young was born, around age 30 when Rosette was born, around age 38 when Clem was born, around age 40 when Abraham was born, and around age 52 when George was born.  Could Henry Nicols have been the father of any of the above individuals?  If he was the father of any of the children, the most likely child would have been Abraham.  It is still possible Rosette, Clem or George were fathered by Henry Nicols, but they have always been described as "negro" or "black".  Current descendants of Sarah Young through her son Clem, describe one of her grandchildren as being light-skinned.  It is not clear if the light-skinned appearance was from Sarah Young or another branch of the family. 

Henry Nicols also owned another slave named Clem.  He was born around 1797 as evidenced by an 1822 Chattel record from Talbot County, Maryland.  "Henry Nicols of Dorchester County sells negro man Clem, age 25, black complexion to James Armitage of New Orleans, Louisiana for $380."   Since Sarah birthed a son named Clem in 1818, it is very possible that Clem (b. 1818) is the son of Clem (b. 1797).  If the younger Clem is not the son of the elder Clem, he was likely named after him.  Is there a reason why Henry Nicols took Clem (b. 1797) to Talbot County to sell him?  Maybe he did not want the other enslaved people to know. 

Dorchester County marriage records show three marriages for Henry Nicols.  Although men named Henry Nicols were also in adjoining counties, it appears the three marriage records recorded in Dorchester County are for our subject.  The first Dorchester County marriage lists Henry Nicols as marrying Rebecca Whealton in 1807 when he was age 27.  The second marriage took place in 1814 when he married Celia Pritchard when he was age 34.  The third marriage was recorded in 1831 when he married Margaret Ann Adelaide Green when he was age 51.  Margaret was the widow of Hambleton Bell.

In the 1819 record, a Sarah had a son Abraham (b. 1819) who had a 'light complexion'.  If Henry Nicols was the father of Abraham, this may have led to the sale of Sarah and Abraham in December 1819.  This was five years after Henry Nicols married Celia Pritchard.  Perhaps Celia did not approve of Sarah and the new baby and forced Henry Nicols to sell them.

Assuming that the Sarah mentioned in the 1832 will is the same Sarah who was sold in 1819,  she may have never left the East New Market area or she may have returned to the area after Celia Nicols died.  Around 1829, a son named George was born to Sarah Young.  George was described as negro or black in records.  There were many African American males both free and enslaved living in the area who could have fathered George. 

A Different Kind of  Relationship?

It is also possible that Henry Nicols' relationship with Sarah was more of a business relationship.  Sarah Young may have been a dependable hard working enslaved person who purchased or gained her freedom prior to the 1832 will.  Perhaps the will merely made her freedom and her property ownership official.  The lands Henry Nicols left to Sarah in the will may have been lands she had previously purchased from Nicols or he could have made the original purchase for her.  It would not have been easy for a free African-American woman to purchase land in the 1820s. 

Evidence has not be found that indicates Henry Nicols fathered children by any of the three women he married (marriages in 1807, 1814, and 1831).  This is presented as it may be evidence that Henry Nicols was unable to have children.  If this is true, he likely would not have been able to have children with Sarah Young.

It is also possible that Henry Nicols' had one or more children who did not survive to adulthood and did not appear in records.  The marriage to his first wife, Rebecca Whealton in 1807, did not last long.  Henry Nicols remarried in 1814.  Death during childbirth was common during this time period.  We do not know how Rebecca Whealton died, but there is a possibility it was during childbirth.  Henry Nicols was married to Celia Pritchard for about 16 years (1814 to about 1830).  There is no evidence that Henry and Celia had any children.  It is possible Celia Pritchard and/or Rebecca Whealton were unable to have children.  We do know that Margaret Green Nicols had at least two children by a husband she married after Henry Nicols died.  She was married to Henry Nicols for eleven months and he was about age 51 or 52 at the time.

Regardless of Henry Nicols' ability to have children, his relationship with Sarah Young could have been an intimate relationship, a business relationship, or a friendly relationship.  With Henry Nicols being the 'owner' of Sarah Young, the relationship would certainly have been complicated and not necessarily mutual. 

A Younger Sarah

Henry Nicols became at least part owner of a younger negro girl named Sarah in 1828 after the death of Roger Hooper.  However, this younger Sarah did not appear in Henry Nicols' 1832 will.  It is likely that the children of Roger Hooper retained ownership of the younger Sarah.  It is unknown what this Sarah's last name may have been or where she was located by the time she may have started appearing in Census records.

Census Records

The 1840 Census for the New Market district of Dorchester County, has an entry for Sarah Young listed as the head of a household.

1840 Census - Dorchester County, Maryland - New Market District
Sarah Young - 1 free colored male 10-24
                    1 free colored female 36-55
                    1 male slave 24-35
                    1 female slave under 10, 1 female slave 24-35

The 1830 Census in Dorchester County has an entry for Sally Young, a free negro, heading a household in District 2 near familiar local family names, but this is likely not our subject.

1830 Census - Dorchester County, Maryland
Sally Young - 2 free colored males under 10,
                  2 free colored females under 10, 1 free colored female 24-36

If the Sarah Young in the 1830 Census record was 36 years of age (born around 1793), the record could be a match for our Sarah Young.  However, there was another Sarah Young (negro) in the area at the time.  The other Sarah Young is mentioned in an 1844 entry in the certificates of freedom for Dorchester County.  If the 1830 Census record is for our Sarah Young, this Census record would indicate she was free before the 1832 Will.  Likely, the 1830 record is not for our subject.  With the 1830 Census record being called into question, it is unclear whether the 1840 record is for our subject or for the other Sarah Young.

The composition of the household of Henry Nicols in 1830 appears to match what we would expect for our Sarah Young.  She could be the female slave age 36-54; the 2 male slaves age 10-23 could be her sons, Clem and Abraham; and the male slave age 0-9 could be her son, George.  Her daughter, Rosette could be the female slave age 10-23.  Sarah Young would have been about 37 years old in 1830.

1830 Census - Henry Nicols - 1 male 15-19, 1 male 30-39, 1 male 50-59,
   1 female 20-29, 1 male slave 0-9, 2 male slaves 10-23, 2 male slaves 24-35,
   1 male slave 36-54, 1 female slave 0-9, 1 female slave 10-23, 1 female slave 36-54

The 1820 Census record for Henry Nicols is below.  The ages of the slaves match for Sarah Young (26-45), her daughter Rosette (under 14), and her son Clem or Abraham (under 14).  However, since there is only one male slave under age 14, it is not likely that both Clem and Abraham were part of this household.  It also has not been clearly determined if Sarah Young was indeed part of this household.  She may have been, but the 1819 record and current lack of other records does not provide us with an answer.

1820 Census - Henry Nicols - 1 male 26-45, 1 female 10-16, 1 female 26-45,
   1 male slave under 14, 1 male slave 14-26, 1 male slave 26-45,
   2 female slaves under 14, 1 female slave 26-45, 1 free colored male 14-26

Sarah Young likely died in late 1844 or early 1845.  However, I searched the 1850 and 1860 Census records for all States for further confirmation or to dispute the assertion.  The only two black or mulatto women named Sarah Young who were born in Maryland in the 1790s in either Census are listed below.  These records are possibly for the Sarah Young who was mentioned in the Dorchester County certificates of freedom in 1844.  Or the records could be for yet another Sarah Young.  There is a much smaller possibility they could be our subject.

1850 Census, 13th Ward, Baltimore City, pg 383, 20 Sep 1850
Mary P. Emack  age 62, white,          born in Maryland
William Emack  age 37, white, grocer,  born in Maryland
Margaret Emack age 25, white,          born in Maryland
William Emack  age  1, white,          born in Maryland
Mary E. Emack  age 30, white,          born in Maryland
Sarah Young    age 56, mulatto,        born in Maryland  
1860 Census, Dist. 11, Dorchester Co., pg 130, 5 July 1860, 
Drawbridge Alms House
Sarah Young age 66, black, born in Maryland, blind pauper

Both the 1850 and 1860 Census records for this Sarah Young indicate a birth year of around 1793.  This is the approximate year of birth for our subject.  It is also the approximate birth year for the Sarah Young who was listed in the certificates of freedom in 1844. 

Sarah Young's Land

The 35 acre lot that Sarah Young inherited from Henry Nicols is located southwest of Route 392 at the intersection with Route 14 in East New Market.  In 1844 Sarah Young and her children, Rossette Dodson & her husband Peter Dodson, Clem Young & his wife Rossette Young, and George Young sold a small part of the lot to become the location of the first Colored People's Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 1845 George Young sold his right to the 35 acre lot to his brother-in-law, Peter Dodson.  By 1847 Clement and Rosette Young had obtained half of the 35 acre tract and Peter and Rosette Dodson had obtained the other half.  In 1847 & 1848 Clement Young and Peter Dodson exchanged land.   In 1849, Peter & Rossette Dodson sold their 17 1/2 acres to John Webster.  In 1859 Clement & Rossette Young sold their 17 1/2 acres to William V.M. Edmonson.

Since Sarah Young is not a party to the deeds in 1845, 1847, 1848, or 1849, but is a party to the 1844 deed, she likely died between August 1844 and November 1845.  Per Henry Nicols will, at Sarah Young's death her land was to pass to Rossette, who married Peter Dodson, with survivors rights to Clement Young and George Young. 

Sarah Young's 7 acre lot is located behind and to the west of the East New Market High School Senior Apartments.  The school parking lots and baseball fields were Sarah Young's land.  The land also extended to the other side of Creamery Road.  In 1845 George Young sold his right to the land to Peter Dodson.  In 1848 Clement Young sold his right to the land to Peter Dodson.  At the time the small house on the property was occupied by Elisha Hollyday.  Dodson continued to own the land until 1866.


Sarah Young was born around 1793 and died around 1845 in East New Market  She is the ancestor of many who still live in the area.  The land she owned became the site of a thriving community and a church that still serves the area.

I have presented all the information that I could find about Sarah Young.  A more extensive search of court records may reveal more.  The reader will need to draw his or her own conclusion about the relationship of Henry Nicols to Sarah Young.