Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A freeholder, as opposed to a villein.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    This word has had various meanings at different stages of history. In the Roman law, it denoted one who was either born free or emancipated, and was the opposite of "slave." In feudal law, it designated an allodial proprietor, as distinguished from a vassal or feudal tenant. (And so in Pennsylvania colonial law. Fry's Election Case, 71 Pa. 308, 10 Am. Rep. 698.) In old English law, the word described a freeholder or tenant by free services; one who was not a villein. In modern legal phraseology, it is the appellation of a member of a city or borough having the right of suffrage or a member of any municipal corporation invested with full civic rights. A person in the possession and enjoyment of all the civil and political rights accorded to the pcople under a free government.
    —Freeman's roll. A list of persons admitted as burgesses or freemen for the purposes of the rights reserved by the municipal corporation act, (5 & 6 Wm. IV. c. 76.) Distinguished from the Burgess Roll. 3 Steph. Comm. 197. The term was used, in early colonial history, in some of the American colonies.