Nelly is listed on a bill of sale, but ultimately remains enslaved by the Jesuits and is sent to St. Mary’s Church in Alexandria, VA to be a housekeeper for Rev. Stephen Dubuisson, S.J. She is listed in his household on the 1840 census. Nelly’s siblings—Anna, Robert, and Bibiana—are sold to Louisiana, while her sister Louisa remains at St. Inigoes.
(about 1843): Nelly, still enslaved by the Jesuits, is sent to Newtown to work as a cook, housekeeper, and sacristan, making the bread used for the Eucharist during Mass. After being separated from her family and moved frequently around the region, Nelly voices strong opinions. She is described by Rev. Francis Dzierozynski, S.J. as “an excellent cook and industrious servant and house keeper and sacristan…her only fault, is too long tongue; for the rest, the best servant.”
(1843-50) Nelly lives in a small enslaved community at Newtown. Two men, a woman, and a girl are enslaved there in 1840. In 1850, Nelly is 51 and lives with Len, Robert Thomas, a woman, a man, and a boy. They serve a household of five Jesuits, who are criticized for living above their means. Nelly and the other enslaved persons probably live in small wooden houses near the manor house and church, like the one pictured in an 1882 photo and identified archaeologically in 2022.
Nelly is the housekeeper at Newtown, making many decisions about running the household. Rev. Nicholas Steinbacher, S.J. notes that “a colored woman has ruled and partly rules this house but she will not rule me.”
Nelly is sold or leased by the Jesuits to Mrs. Combs. As a result, Nelly tries to claim her freedom, seeking assistance from a Jesuit priest, probably Rev. Michael Dougherty. Dougherty writes her a pass to escape, but Nelly’s fate remains unknown.