When she was fourteen her family decided to move to Philadelphia because Virginia had finally changed the law and let men free their slaves. It took one year to get everything done and ready. Mr. Payne freed all of his slaves except one who didn't want to leave; he told her that her if she wanted to stay that he would pay her. She stayed with the family and moved with them. At the age of fifteen, Dolley stopped her schooling.
When she was a young adult and had known a man named John Todd for three years, he asked her to marry him. He was also a Quaker, but she told him that she didn't want to marry yet, not to anyone. John answered, "Then I'll wait, but I'll always be here for you. I will continue to hope that someday you'll say yes."