Phil - hired out by John B. Minor
    by Zach Dolack

John B. Minor (P22874) was a prominent legal professor at the University of Virginia for fifty years.  In addition to this position, Minor also had numerous enslaved individuals listed as a part of his estate as late as 1865.  With the decline of plantation agriculture in many parts of Virginia during the mid-nineteenth century, the practice of hiring out enslaved individuals became more common.  

In late 1862 Minor hired out his enslaved individual Phil (P48456) to the Superintendent and Administrator of the Quarter Masters Office in Staunton, Randolph Turk (P48313). After six months of labor, Phil chose to run away. Turk expressed in his March 4th, 1863 letter that he knew “of no reason for his leaving.”  However, according to Catherine S. Neale, Phil ran away as a form of protest against the Confederacy as he was working in direct aid of the war effort.  

It seems that Turk may even have known this motivation at the time as he theorized that Phil was running back to Charlottesville rather than towards freedom beyond the Northern lines. This idea seems to be reinforced by the fact that Phil stowed away on a train heading towards Charlottesville, but his car was detached at Mechums River.  Phil was eventually returned to Minor in Charlottesville, but he was never returned to Turk in Staunton. Rather, another of Minor’s slaves named Henry took Phil’s place, as Turk and Minor were worried that he would simply run away again if returned to Turk in Staunton.