This is a photograph of William Jasper. He was probably born in 1808 as a slave on the plantation of William Hayward Foote. According to his will, Foote decided to free his slaves on or soon after his death in 1846. At this time Jasper, in his thirties, was valued by appraisers to be worth $350. Foote’s will also freed Jasper’s wife Sara, in her mid-twenties, and their two daughters who were six and four. They were actually freed in the early 1850’s. It is important to note that the Jaspers were free blacks in Virginia before the Civil War. But even as free blacks they faced numerous obstacles. The Jaspers wanted to stay in Virginia near friends and family, so in 1853 and 1858 they chose to register as free blacks in Fairfax County to prove that they were free. This meant they could travel and gain employment. In 1860 William Jasper purchased 13 acres of land near the Hayfield Plantation. It is likely that he put together the $200 to pay a white farmer and slave owner for the land from his work as a farmer.