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Apprentice Bonds 1814 - 1872
Campbell County

Apprentice -  From Webster's dictionary apprentice is defined as a: one bound by indenture to serve another for a prescribed period with a view to learning an art or trade b : one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling

The apprenticeship laws of North Carolina were inherited by Tennessee upon statehood in 1796.  These laws, existing from 1762, applied to orphans primarily as follows:

  • Each year the names of all orphans who had no guardian or who were not previously bound were to be reported to the Orphan's Court
  • Where states were of insufficient means to support said orphans or illegitimate children, these children were bound as apprentices.  These apprentices lasted until age 21 for the males and until age 16 for the females. 
  • Masters of these apprentices were required to provide food, clothes, and housing and were required to ensure the apprentice be taught to read and write
  • At the conclusion of the indenture the master was required to pay the apprentice a sum either specified in law or in the apprenticeship bond
  • An apprenticeship could be cancelled if the apprentice was not taught as required or was mistreated.  The apprentice could at that time be rebound to another master at the discretion of the court.  Ill treated apprentices could prosecute and recover damages.
  • Copies of the apprentice bond were recorded and kept in the court clerk's office
  • Orphans were deemed to be any fatherless child.  Tennessee law stipulated in 1825 that an child could also be deemed an orphan if the father abandoned the child or refused to support the child.   Illegitmate children could be bound out without their mother's consent if the mother "disregarded their moral and mental culture and that she (i.e, the mother) kept a house of ill repute or lived in one". 

Apprenticeship records can be found at the Tennessee State Archives for Campbell County These records are generally found in the court minutes.  Varying portions of the bonds were recorded in the minutes, ranging from the complete order binding the apprentice to a simple recording of the fact of the binding.  When looking for these bonds, please consult the records for several years before and after the actual event to search for further information on the person (parentage is sometimes recorded).  If you find an apprenticeship record for your ancestor, please consider donating a transcription and/or scan to this site to assist others in their research by emailing it to the Campbell County Genweb Coordinator. 

Index to Campbell County Apprenticeship Bonds


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