Francis Drake, a slave barber, was the first black to gain his freedom in post-Revolutionary War Norfolk after a 1782 Act of the Virginia General Assembly authorized "any person...to emancipate and set free, his or her slaves." Drake was emancipated by Mayor Thomas Newton, Jr. on 23 May 1791, probably after he paid for his freedom. His deed of manumission cites "divers good causes" as the reason for manumission. By 1795, Drake had saved enough money to purchase his daughter Catherine and son Francis, Jr. from bondage. Working alone or in concert with other free blacks, he served as an intermediary in helping other slaves acquire their freedom. As a free black, Drake accumulated considerable wealth. He was the proprietor of a barbershop at 20 Main Street in 1801. By 1803 he owned four city lots, the largest holdings of Norfolk's free black landowners. In 1806 Francis Drake employed and trained several apprentice barbers at his shop, then at 22 Water Street. His residence was near here at 6 Freemason Street.