I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife, Maria M. Meredith, her executors, administrators and assigns ... my negro man Jim or Jim Sanders, as he calls himself, now hired to James Kelly, Esquire, of Kilmarnock, Virginia, also, all and entire of my furniture....
This is almost certainly the slave Jim referred to in Meredith's papers at the Maryland Historical Society as having been leased to James Kelly in 1840 for $40 per year. I have not found an 1840 census record for Meredith, but his papers and city directories indicate he lived in the city of Baltimore at the time. In 1850 he and his wife are enumerated in Baltimore, but he does not appear as a slave owner in the 1850 Slave Census. Jim Sanders may have been listed in Virginia as owned by James Kelly. Kelly lists 36 slaves in the census. Ten are men aged 24 to 54, old enough to have been leased to Kelly in 1840.
I suspect that Jim Sanders was born and spent his entire life to 1853 near Kilmarnock, Virginia. Meredith was born nearby and much of his family remained there. Meredith himself lived his entire adult life in Baltimore working as a merchant and banker and living at the Eutaw House hotel for at least 20 years. His will makes mention of the hotel staff that served him. The only slaves he owned appear to have been bequests from his family. Sanders was the only slave Meredith owned at his death and all evidence suggests he was leased for income rather than used as a personal servant.
1850 U.S. census, Baltimore County, MD, population schedule, Baltimore Ward 14, p. 469A, dwelling 973, family 1141, Thomas Meredith; digital image, Ancestry.com (www. Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 285.
1850 U.S. census, Northumberland County, VA, slave schedule, District 7, James Kelly; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432.
James Kelly (Kilmarnock, VA) to Thomas Meredith, Letter, 10 Oct 1840; privately held by Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, MD.The letter is part of the Thomas Meredith Papers (MHS1795) and is found in Box 2, Folder 1.
"Maryland Probate Records", digital images, FamilySearch, (www.familysearch.org: accessed 9 May 2011), Thomas Meredith will dated 16 Aug 1853, Baltimore Will books, Nov 1853 to Nov 1883, Liber N.H. 26, pp 57-61.