Northern Slave Owners

Comparatively little is written about the 200-year history of Northern slavery.  While we have about 700 families in our tree,  I found 25 ancestors or their children who were slave owners.

This isn’t a pleasant listing, but I didn’t know about it and history needs to be remembered.  Here are the slave owners from our family tree ordered chronologically by birth.

Almost all our ancestors are from the North, but we do have one group of Northern Irish Presbyterian Seceder ancestors who immigrated to Abbeville and Ninety-six South Carolina in the late 1700’s.  Our branch followed their minister Alex. Porter to Preble County, Ohio in the early 1800’s. He led a congregation north to Ohio to avoid contact with the institution of slavery and formed a congregation in Israel township in Preble Co., Ohio.    However some who stayed and maybe even one who moved did own slaves.

William McCAW Sr.’s son John McCaw (1758 County Antrim, Northern Ireland – 1825 Virginia)

“Will of John McCaw, of [Yorkville], York District, South Carolina

I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Mary McCaw if she should survive me, the use, during her life of the property of which I may died possessed.

To my three sons Robert, William and John I give and bequeath one Dollar to each.

I give and bequeath to Mary Byers wife of David Byers a negro woman Rose and her increase, to her and her heirs ans assigns forever-

I give and bequeath to An Smith wife of Robert Smith my Negroes Peggy, Will and Melitia with her increase to her and her heirs ans assignes forever-

I give and bequeath to Robert McCaw and John McCaw Jr., for the use of Elizabeth Meek, Pamela Gunning and Sarah Sims all the money which shall remain at my death, or the death of Mary McCaw aforesaid, to be equally divided between them.

I hereby nominate and appoint Robert McCaw and Robt Smith John McCaw Jr my Executors.

In testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 10th day of March 1821

John McCaw Sr. (LS)
Alemeth Byers
Samuel McCullough
James Smith Jr.

Probated November 17, 1825

John’s son William Henry McCaw (1785-1832) The Abbeville County census of 1830 records three free and 49 slave members of his household.

John’s grandson Robert Gadsden McCaw (b. 1821) was the only planter in the 1860 census in York County who had more than 100 slaves. He was  the last Confederate era Lt. Governor of South Carolina (Dec 18, 1864 to May 25, 1865).

Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son Josiah Patterson (1774
Abbeville, SC – 1846 in Abbeville District, SC) In the Census of 1790 for Abbeville, SC Josiah Patterson is listed as owning 2 slaves. In the 1820 Census there is a Josiah Patterson Sr. listed as owning 21 slaves.

Samuel PATTERSON Jr. (1765 in NewryCounty Down, Northern Ireland – 1833 in Preble Co, OH)   In the 1800 SC Heads of Families census listed in Abbeville Dist.: (Column Headings: Males <10, 10-16, 16-26, 26-45, >45, Females <10, 10-16, 16-26, 26-45, >45 , free persons, slaves) Paterson, Samuel _ p. 32 _ 31010-10010-01 This matches Samuels family exactly; William age 8, Samuel age 7, John < age 1, Samuel Jr age 35, Mary age 5, and Agnes age unknown.  It is interesting to see that Samuel had one slave in his household.  It’s not proven that this was our Samuel Patterson, but it somewhat dispels the theory that the Pattersons and other families who moved from South Carolina to Ohio did so over slavery

Slaves were more common among the New York Dutch than their English New England neighbors, though it’s ironic that several Rhode Island Quaker ancestors were also slave owners.

Table Credit

State Mass. NH NY CT RI Pa. N.J. Vt.
European settlement 1620 1623 1624 1633 1636 1638 1620 1666
First record of slavery 1629? 1645 1626 1639 1652 1639 1626? c.1760?
Official end of slavery 1783 1783 1799 1784 1784 1780 1804 1777
Actual end of slavery 1783 c.1845? 1827 1848 1842 c.1845? 1865 1777?
Percent black 1790 1.4% 0.6% 7.6% 2.3% 6.3% 2.4% 7.7% 0.3%
Percent black 1860 0.78% 0.15% 1.26% 1.87% 2.26% 1.95% 3.76% 0.22%


Lt. William CLARKE (1610 – 1690)  William’s Northampton homestead is now the Northern half of Smith College.  His dwelling house was burned in 1681, having been set on fire by a Negro, as he averred in search of food.

Genealogical and Family History of State of CT-Vol II,  1911 pg  652

He was granted 12 acres on the West side of what is now Elm Street, bordering on Mill river, and comprising today the North half of the campus of Smith College. He built a log house where he lived until 1681, when it was burned, being set on fire by a negro, Jack, a servant of Samuel Wolcott, who took a brand of fire from the hearth and swung it up and down to “find victuals”. The new house built in its place remained standing until 1826.

History of Northampton Massachusetts From Its Settlement in 1654 (James Russell Trumbull – Printed in Northampton in 1898),

“The house of Lieut. William Clarke, situated very nearly on the ground now occupied by the main Smith College building, was burned on the night of July 14, 1681. It was built of logs, and Clarke and his wife were living in it at the time. A Negro, named Jack, set the house on fire. He confessed the deed and pretended that it was done accidentally, while he was searching for food, swinging a burning brand to light his way. Jack did not belong in town; he was a servant to Samuel Wolcott of Wethersfield;  and had already been before the courts for other misdemeanors.  His object undoubtedly, was robbery, and it is not probable that he went about the house searching for food even, with a lighted pine torch in his hands. Very likely after stealing whatever he could lay his hands upon, he set the house on fire to conceal the robbery, or from spite against William Clarke, who was at this time 72 years of age.

Jack was arrested in Brookfield or Springfield, and was brought before the court in Boston, where he plead not guilty. When his confession was read to him, however, he acknowledged it, and the jury brought in a verdict of guilty. The court believed his confession as to setting the house on fire, but did not credit his statement that it was done carelessly. He was sentenced to be “hanged by the neck till he be dead and then taken down and burnt to ashes in the fire with Maria, the Negro”. Maria was under sentence of death for burning the houses of Thomas Swan, and of her master, Joshua Lamb, in Roxbury. She was burned alive. Both of these Negroes were slaves. Why the body of Jack was burned is not known.

note 1: Many slaves were burned alive in New York and New Jersey, and in the southern colonies, but few in Massachusetts.

note 2: Tradition has handed down the following items concerning the burning of Clarke’s house: The Negro fastened the door on the outside so that no one could escape, and set the fire on the outside. William Clarke injured his hands considerably (pounded them, it is said) in his endeavor to escape, and his wife was somewhat burned. John Clarke, grandson of William, a little more than a year old, was brought out of the house and laid beside the fence. There was powder in one of the chambers, and when it exploded the ridge pole was blown across the road, and one end forced into the ground. The Negro had taken offense at something William Clarke had done in his official capacity, and set the fire in a spirit of revenge. He was discovered either at Brookfield, Springfield, or near New Haven, and identified by means of a jack-knife in his possession that belonged to the Clarke’s.”

Francis WYMAN (1619 Westmill, Hertfordshire, England – 1699 Woburn, Mass. )

Francis Wyman’s name survives in a portion of Route 62 in Burlington west of Cambridge Street known as the Francis Wyman Road and Francis Wyman School , Burlington, MA. It also lives on in the ancient Francis Wyman House, a colonial landmark on Francis Wyman Road. Furthermore, it survives in the name of the Francis Wyman Association, created about 1900 to restore the house and preserve the early family history of all American Wymans.

1699 – Francis Wyman left “a Negro girl named Jebyna” to his wife in his will. Nearly a century later, four Wyman households in Woburn had one “servant for life” each. [Source: SLAVERY WAS PART OF WINCHESTER HISTORY By ELLEN KNIGHT © This article was first written for Black History Month, 2000, and published in the Daily Times Chronicle, Winchester Edition, on Feb. 24, 2000.]


Peter TALLMAN (1623 Hamburg, Germany – 1708 Portsmouth, Rhode Island).

Peter was Solicitor General of Rhode Island in 1662 and records indicate he was volatile, stubborn, prone to dispute and lawsuits and had the first divorce in family history.

He emigrated to Barbados in 1647 where he soon married Anne HILL on 2 Jan 1649 in Church Christ, Barbados.

Barbados Map

Peter signed a contract 2 Jun 1648 with Nathaniel Maverick who was Captain of the Golden Dolphin to ship cargo and carry passengers. Peter agree to ship at least 10 tons of cargo and to pay £3/ton for rum, 5 fatherings/pound for cotton, and 1 penny/pound for tobacco. Peter Tallman agree further to provide the necessary provisions for the voyage, to have and English bondsman and 3 slaves aboard, and to travel himself and his wife and his mother-in-law widow Ann Hill and his brother-in-law Robert Hill. They sailed in September 1649 and settled in Newport, Rhode Island.

On 18 Nov 1650 Peter is described as an apothecary (practiced the art of healing, “no cure, no pay”). He was also a merchant trader and he sold Barbadian imports such as rum and tobacco and cotton in Newport for grain and livestock that he could sell in Barbados and he also made sales trips to New Netherlands to sell these wares and wine and brandy and clothing. He also often acted as an interpreter between the English and the Dutch.

Peter divorced Anne in May 1665 in Portsmouth, RI. because her most recent “child was none of his begetting, and that it was begotten by another man”. All evidence all points to it being Tom Durfee’s eldest son Robert, whose birth date is given as 10 Mar 1665. Peter married Joan Briggs in 1665 in Taunton, RI. He married a third time to Esther [__?__] in 1686 in Rhode Island.


Rev. John  LATHROP’s son Capt. Joseph Lathrop (1624 in Eastwell, Kent, England – 1702 Barnstable, Mass)

Joseph settled and lived in Barnstable.  He was a deputy for the town in the general court of the State for fifteen years, and for twenty-one years served as one of the selectmen of the town. On the organization of the county he was appointed the register of the probate court, and recorded in 1666 the first deed put on record in the county. The court had appointed him in 1653 to keep the ordinary of the town. He was admitted freeman, June 8, 1655. In 1664 we find him an acting constable, and in 1667 a receiver of excise.

That he was also in the military line is shown in the titles of lieutenant and captain which successively mark his name. Mr. Freeman, in his history of Cape Cod County, speaks of him, as a “conspicuous member of the Council of War in 1676.” He also reports Lieut. Joseph Laythorpe and his brother Barnabas Laythorpe as commissioned to hold select courts in Barnstable in 1679: and names both of these brothers among the agents for the settlement of Sippecan.

Mr. Lothrop probably had no collegiate education, yet he must have been a well educated man-probably with a legal education. In the inventory of his estate are reported 27 volumes of law books, and 43 volumes of classics and sermon books, the inventory amounting to £8,216. One other item of the inventory-” three negroes, “-shows that it belonged to an age past now beyond recall.


Robert WILLIAMS’ wife Sarah WASHBORNE (1626 in Bengeworth, Worcestershire, England – 1693 in Hempstead, Long Island, New York)

Sarah Washborne outlived her husband and, as the “widdow Williams” did a great deal of real estate business. Robert Williams’ land is so loosely described that the later generations require a great deal of arbitration to settle their boundaries. The most capable and prominent citizens from as far as Flushing and Huntington were called on to ride the bounds and settle the differences. It was one of their outstanding qualities that they chose this method instead of law suits, and there were many such “arbitrations” in a little haircloth trunk in the garret of the Ketcham house at Jericho where some trusted “squire” must have lived in each generation and had the neighborhood papers for safekeeping.

Sarah Washborn Williams Will

1692 The Wills of the Washborne sisters and inventories are of interest, showing in the case of Sarah Williams the very primitive household furnishings “my great brass kettle” is of first importance. There is much pewter, flagons, and basins, brass ladles and bell-metal skellet, all precious because irreplaceable in the wilderness.

It is interesting to note her treatment of her slave. She leaves to a daughter “my Neger man for the term of six years.” Then “sd Neger man shall have free liberty to choose his Master with whom it shall please him best for to Live with.” To a son Hope (Hope WILLEMZE) “all my horses wherever he can find them.”


John BURBEEN (1628 Saint Thomas, Scotland – 1714 Woburn, Mass.)

John was a proprietor of the township, possessed some property, was a tailor by occupation, and seems to have been a devout man. He owned three slaves.

John Burbeen Home


Edward WANTON (1632 England – 1716 Scituate, Mass) .

Edward  was a prominent Boston shipbuilder who converted to Quakerism and moved to Scituate in 1661. The Wanton family, known as the Fighting Quakers was among the most prominent and public minded of colonial families, and includes numerous governors and public officials.

Edward Wanton like many well-to-do citizens of his day kept slaves and in following the history of Wanton, them is found one slave that gave him much trouble, by continually running away. First, in an old paper there appears the following: “ Ran away from his master Edward Wanton of Scituate ship carpenter the 2nd of this inst. September. A mulatto man Servant named Daniel Servant 19 years of age pretty tall, speaks good English, thick curled Hair, with bush behind, if not. lately cut off’, Black hat, cotton and linen shirt.  He had with him two coals onu a homespun dyed coat, thu other a great, coat dy’d and muddy color, striped homespun jacket Kersey Breeches, gray stockings, French fall shoes. Who so ever shall take up said Runaway servant and him safely convey to his above said Master at Scituate or give any true intelligence of him so as his Master shall have him again, shall have satisfaction to Content beside all necessary charges paid.”—Boston News Letter, Sept. 22. 1712.

From the following, it appears that he ran away two years later from Edward Wanton’s son-in-law, John SCOTT Jr. Ran away from his Master, John Scott, the 17th of this instant August. A mulatto man named Daniel formerly belonging to Edward Wanton of Scituate ; he is indifferent, tall and slender, by trade a shipwright but ’tis thought designs for Sea. Who so over shall stop, take etc., and bring him or give notice of him to his master at Newport, R. I. shall bo well rewarded and reasonable charges paid.”— Boston News Letter, August 23rd, 1714.


Capt. John HAWES (c. 1635 Duxbury, Mass. – 1701 Yarmouth, Barnstable, MA, on 11 Nov 1701 after having his leg amputated or cut off.  The reason for the amputation is not known.)

John performed many of the civic duties that his father had done: juryman, constable, receiver of excise, surveyor of highways, and so on. “In 1680 he was one of four men who for four or five pounds a whale (according to circumstances), to be paid in blubber or oil, were ‘to look out for and secure the town all such whales as by God’s providence shall be cast up in their several bounds,’ his territory being the western part of the town.”

He was appointed ensign of Yarmouth’s military Company and by 1700 was Captain. John was the Barnstable town treasurer from 1695 to 1698. After the merger of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, he was chosen a representative in the Legislature at Boston in 1697 and 1698.

The will of John Hawes dated 15 Oct and proved 19 Nov 1701 reflected his large family. He mentions his sons John, Joseph, Ebenezer, Isaac and Benjamin and his daughters Elizabeth Dogget, Mary Bacon, Desire and Experience Hawes. His sons Joseph and Issaac were executors. His ‘brothers” Major John Goreham and John Thacher Esqr. were overseers. The inventory of his estate, after deducting debts, was 574 pounds and 11 pence, including 300 pounds for real estate, 41 pounds for “2 negro girls,” and 5 pounds for an “Indian boy.” Sons Joseph and Isaac were appointed executors. Witnesses were John, Peter and Josiah Thacher. The inventory, taken Nov 25, 1701 amounted to £629-8-4. A typical estate of the time of an independent farmer was about 150 pounds, so John was a comparatively rich man.  Major John GORHAM and John Thacher, Esq., were named overseers of the will.


Robert TITUS ‘s  son Content Titus (1643 Weymouth, Norfolk, MA – 1730 Huntington, Suffolk, New York Colony)

It is interesting to note that Content’s brother Edmond was a Quaker who moved to Huntington first. Edmund was living in Hempstead as early as 1658 and took up a 200 acre tract of land on the north of Hempstead Plains where he lived until his death. He is said to have suffered from being a Quaker   His last words, “I have put away all my filthyness and superfluity of Haughtness. I have received the meekness ye engrafted word that is able to save the Soul.”

Content’s estate was probated on 31 Jan 1730

In the name of God, Amen. This 24th day of February, 1727/8. I Content Titus, of Newtown, in Queens County, on Nassau Island, being old and crazy, but of sound mind. I leave to my son Robert, all my real estate in Newtown, he paying out the legacies, and allowing grass and hay for 2 cows for Hannah. And all my wearing apparel, and all my tools for building, turning, and husbandry. Also 3 horses, 4 cows, and a Negro man Jack. I leave to my sons, Silas, John, and Timothy, 5 shillings each.

I leave to my daughter Hannah, the use and whole command of my newest house, during her single state, and then to my son Robert. Also 2 Negro girls, and all household furniture, belonging to the Great room, in the new house, and the rest of the movable estate. And she is to have 1/3 of the crop of every sort, and grass and hay for her cows, and if she dies unmarried, then to my daughters, Phebe and Abigail.

I leave my daughters Phebe and Abigail, each a Negro girl and boy and 20 pounds, having heretofore dealt out household goods to them. I make my son Robert, and my daughter Hannah, executors. Witness, Moore Woodard, Charles Wright, Samuel Pumroy. Proved Jan 31, 1729/30.


Capt. Stephen CROSS (1646 Newbury,  Mass. – 1704)  was a mariner, owned and lived on Cross Island (an island, just off the Massachusetts coast from Ipswich).

Stephen purchased the twenty ton sloop Adventure in 1672

1672 – Stephen purchased the sloop Adventure.  Samuel Cogswell of Ipswich owning a share, and was supposedly made fit to go to sea by Moses Chadwell of Lynn, who did a slow and poor job and lost in the resulting suit in 1676. His business as the captain of a coasting vessel, the sloop Adventure of twenty tons, took him as far afield as Wethersfield in Connecticut and the towns on the Exeter and Piscataqua rivers, the voyages frequently resulting in lawsuits for payment of freight which Cross usually won.
Later John Lee owned a share in the sloop. The business was apparently prosperous and Capt. Cross became a personage entitled to the title “Mr.” in the records.

1682 – Stephen had a negro slave in his crew who was “very well known a wicked person.”


Jonathan HALLETT  (1647 Yarmouth, Plymouth Colony – 1717 Yarmouth, Barnstable, Mass.)

5 Mar 1686/87 – Jonathan, Hallett, for £20 in current money, bought of his brother-in-law, John Dexter, of Sandwich, a negro slave called Harry, aged 29 years. The bill of sale, yet preserved [1888], is drawn up with much formality — signed, sealed and witnessed.

Genealogical notes of Barnstable families  Being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers originally published in the Barnstable Patriot in 1861; Revised by Charles  F. Swift Largely made from notes made by the author (1888)   The biographical sketches of Jonathan Hallet and his family are the least flattering of any genealogical reports I have seen. I wonder if there was some personal grudge.

“The men of the third generation had very slender means of acquiring an education, generally their piety had degenerated into lifeless, unmeaning formalities ; they were church members ; but not of the noble, self-sacrificing race by whom the country was settled. Jonathan Hallett loved money better than he loved the church ; he was industrious, and gathered up riches which his children put to a better use than he did.”


Aert JACOBSEN (Van Wagenen)’s  son Gerrit Aertsen (1648 Albany, NY – 1723 Ulster Co., NY) Gerrit’s wife Clara Pels (sister of Sara Pels) was baptized 10 Sep 1651 New Amsterdam.  Her parents were Evart PELS  and Jannetje SYMONDS .

Gerrit owned a slave named “Jack”

On 8 Jun 1686 Gerrit purchased about 1600 acres of land from the Indians in Dutchess County at what is now Rhinebeck. On 20 Feb 1688, the trustees of Kingston conveyed “to Gerrit Aertse, a tract South of the Esopus Kill, to the west and North of Tjerck Claes Dewitt, and East of Grietje Elmendorf, containing about 26 acres.”


John DAVIS’s son Moses Davis (1657 Dover, NH – Killed by Indians 1724, Dover, NH)

Like his brothers, Moses was another Indian attack victim. He escaped the massacre of 1694 and accompanied his brother James in some of the expeditions to Maine and Port Royal. He lived in a clearing of the forest about a mile from Oyster river falls, where, 10 Jun 1724, he and his son Moses Jr. were killed by a party of Indians, who lay in ambush to attack the settlement. He was then sixty-seven years of age. A negro slave of his avenged their murder by pursuing the Indians and shooting one of the leaders.

Love Davis, daughter of Moses, in view of the fidelity of this slave, gave orders that at his death he should be buried at her feet. This was done, and their graves are still pointed out at a short distance from Durham village.

The Indian thus slain by the servant of Moses Davis is now generally supposed to have been a son of the Baron de St. Castin, who had married the daughter of an Indian sagamore of Maine. Dr. Belknap, whose account of the affair was derived from the Rev. Hugh Adams  —a man of extreme malevolence— His equipment, moreover, proves that he held the rank of a chief. Dr. Belknap thus describes him :

” The slain Indian was a person of distinction, and wore a kind of coronet of scarlet-dyed fur, with an appendage of four small bells, by the sound of which the others might follow him through the thickets. His hair was remarkably soft and fine, and he had about him a devotional book and a muster-roll of one hundred and eighty Indians.”

The scalp of this young chief was presented to the New Hampshire General Assembly at Portsmouth June 12, 1724, by Robert Burnham, son of Jeremiah before-mentioned, and a bounty of one hundred pounds was ordered to be paid to the slayer.

A few weeks later Father Rale himself, the deliverer of Moses’ niece Mary Anne Davis from the Indians, was slain at the foot of his mission-cross in the attack on Norridgewock by the Massachusetts forces, August 12, 1724, and his chapel pillaged and burnt to the ground.

Mary Anne,  became a nun at the Hotel Dieu, Quebec, in 1710, under the name of Sister St. Cecilia. She was taken to Canada by the Rev. Father Vincent Bigot, S.J., who had ransomed her from the Indians at St. Francis. She is mentioned as leading ” a holy life ” for more than fifty years in the religious state. She died in 1761, at the age of seventy-three.

Love Davis may be considered an important link in the chain of  Davis  traditions, for she did not die till 1805, when she was about one hundred years of age.


John SCOTT Jr. (1664 Providence, Rhode Island. – 1725 Newport, Rhode Island)

See slave escape story above under John’s father-in-law Edward WANTON.  Ironic give that both John and Edward were early Quakers.


Jan Juriaensen BECKER’s daughter Martina Becker Hogan  (1670 Fort Orange (Albany, NY) – 1736 Albany, NY)

Martina’s husband William Hogan was born in  Birr, King County (now County Offaly) Ireland about 1670. He emigrated to America before 1700. He was the patriarch of the Hogan family of early Albany.

William Hogan probably came to Albany as a soldier and served in the garrison at the Albany fort. Following his marriage, he became an innkeeper – possibly in partnership with his father-in-law. He set down permanent roots in Albany. Over the next decades, he was a prominent Albany personage – serving as juror, firemaster, assessor, constable, and high constable. He also found work as a surveyor. Assessment rolls for the early 1700s show him to be a quite wealthy resident who owned additional buildings in the first ward. He belonged to the Albany militia and several times joined with his neighbors in pledging allegiance to the Protestant King of England.

However, in 1699 and again in 1701, he was identified as one of those cited trading without possessing the freedom of the city.

Hogan was an innkeeper and civil servant who utilized his wife’s property to become quite wealthy. The advantaged Martina appears to have been his active partner. Their first ward home was an early Albany landmark.

Albany, NY in 1686, Ink on mylar by L. F. Tantillo (1985).

In September 1732, she filed a joint will with her husband. It declared that they both were in good bodily health and that they both were godfearing people. The will provided for their surviving children and grandchildren. It named seven surviving children, six grandchildren, and a number of slaves who were bequeathed to their now adult children.   Martina Becker Hogan died in July 1736 and was buried in the Dutch church cemetery. He died sometime before April 4, 1739 when the will passed probate.

John CHIPMAN’s son-in-law Hon. Melatiah  Bourne (1673 – 1742), oldest son of Shearjashub Bourne, Esq., inherited his father’s lands in Falmouth, but he settled in Sandwich. He was a distinguished man, held many responsible offices, and during the last years of his life was Judge of Probate for the County of Barnstable. In his will he orders his negro man Nero to be manumitted.

Hendrick Gerritse Van WIE’s son Gerrit Hendricksz Van Wie (1676 Albany, NY – 1746 Albany)

Painting of Van Wie’s Point

Hendrick the immigrant built a house in 1679 on the Town Road at Van Wie’s Point. This area is now part of the town of Bethlehem, New York. This early house was replaced in 1732 with the “Van Wie House” which was built by Hendrick Van Wie, grandson of above mentioned Hendrick. His parents were Gerrit and Annatje (Conyn) Van Wie. The new house located on Town Road near William Gibson Road at Van Wie’s Point has housed six generations of the Van Wie family.

Van Wie Home- This view of the northeast corner shows a connection to a brick addition at right. Wall anchors indicating a timber frame in the bricks are visible here and in other locations.

The main portion of this house faces east and stands on ground that slopes from north to south. The slope of the ground occasioned a basement and also high steps up to the front door. Built of brick, the main structure has portholes and a granary door in the north gable. In both gables are iron beam-anchors in the shape of a fleur-de-lis. A wing of the stone house at the rear may have been the original dwelling, antedating the house of 1732. Neighborhood tradition tells of a stone building for slaves’ quarters, which formerly stood near by.


Alexander BALCOM Sr.’s  son John Balcom (1678 Providence, Rhode Island – 1739 Smithfield, RI)

John kept a public house (tavern) in Smithfield, on the road from Providence to Woonsocket. It was licensed August 25, 1735. The business was discontinued after his death. The tavern stood on the estate owned in 1901 by Dwight Hammond.  John and his wife Sarah Bartlett did not have any children.

Will of John Balcom, interesting for giving his negro servant £100, more than three times as much as his wife received  and setting him free.

Item — To wife Sarah 30 pounds in money, to be paid to her out of my moveable estate, and the one half part of all the rest of my personal estate, together with one-fourth part of my lands, and the westerly end of the house.

Item–To negro servant man, Toney, 100 pounds and sets him free.

Item–To Brother Joseph Balckom’s three sons, viz. Joseph, Samuel and Elijah, 5 shillings money apiece.

Item–To my cousin (Nephew) Alexander Balkcom one-fifth part of all the rest of my moveable estate.

Item–To my four cousins,viz. Aaron, Noah, Daniel & David Arnold, the other one-fifth part of my personal estate.

Item–To my five cousins, viz. Deborah Corray, Martha and Phebe Comstock, Sarah and Mary Balkcom, the other one-fifth part of my personal estate.

Item–To my four cousins, viz. Sarah, John, Deborah and Daniel Hayward, the other one-fifth part of my personal estate.

Item–To my five cousins, viz. Elihu, Tabitha, Esebell, Mary and Levi Hix, the other one-fifth part of my personal estate.

Item–I order my executor to lease out the other one-half part of my land, with the other end of my house which I have not given to my said wife for and during the term of her natural life, and the rest given in the following manner, viz. one-fifth part to my cousin, Alexander Balkcom, one-fifth to my 4 cousins, Aaron, Noah, Daniel and David Arnold, and the other one-fifth to be divided among my aforesaid cousins, in a manner as aforesaid, viz. To my said brother Joseph Balkcom’s daughters (not his sons), and the before-mentioned children of my two sisters, Hannah and Lydia. And after my wife’s death, my executor shall sell all my lands and buildings, and shall bestow the money unto my before-mentioned cousins, (excepting my said brother Joseph Balkcom’s sons) to be divided as follows, one-fifth part to cousin Alexander, and the other four-fifths to be equally divided between my before-mentioned cousins, except my second brother Joseph’s sons.)



Jabez SNOW’s son-in-law  Edward Kendrick was born about 1680 in Yorkshire, England.   For reasons now unknown, he became very close to the local Cape Cod Indians.  At his death he owned 3 men and 3 women, valued at £98 in the inventory of his personal property.

By 1704 he was in Harwich, and early in 1705 he was prospecting for land suitable for a farm in the part now South Orleans, between the head of Arey’s Pond (then Potonumocot Saltwater Pond) and the fresh Baker’s Pond (then Poponessett).

He chose 9 acres on the west side of the old line between Eastham and Harwich established in 1682. It adjoined the line and stretched up from John Yates’ land to Baker’s Pond. It was owned by the Indian landholder John Sipson, who lived at Potonumecot within the limits of the old town of Harwich. On 27 Jun it was conveyed to Mr. Kenwrick by Sipson “out of ye love” for “Mr Edward Kindwrick, weaver” and for “other valuable consierations”, with the “liberty” of grazing and cutting timber and firewood on the land “within ye township of Harwich”. It appears to have been his first land purchase.

He built his house on a small parcel of adjoinging land that he bought from John Paine. Edward seems to have been good friends with the Indians for reasons now unknown, and on many occasions purchased upland from them. Among the Indian grantors who sold to him were John Laurence, Jacob Jacob, Stephen Jacob, Amos Quason, Rebecca Quason, Lusty Tom, Amos Larrance, Samuel Quot, Joseph George, Thomas Boreman, and Matthia Quansit. Their deeds refer to Edward as a “dealer”, meaning shopkeeper, or trader.

From Peepen and Joshua Ralph, also Indians, he bought large tracts in Harwich between Muddy Cove River and Round Cove. He had meadow at the Great beach that he bought from Judah Hopkins, meadow in Gregory’s Neck at Matchapoxit, and meadow at Chequeset near Pleasant Bay. When he died he owned 20 acres in Truro that he had bought from Experience Turner.

After 1725  he built on a lot in  South Orleans that belonged to “Mr. Tom”, the “Indian minister”, who had died and left the land to sons Lusty Tom, Abel Tom and John Tom. The sons sold the land to Edward.

At the time the property was inside the old town of Harwich. It was a large house, 2 stories in front and 1 in back, and he continued in business there as a “dealer”. He had slaves, to help in and out of his house. At his death he owned 3 men and 3 women, valued at £98 in the inventory of his personal property. Some of them lived in cabins on his land. On the east side of the main road northeasterly, about 200 rods from Edward’s new house, on the westerly slope of a triangular piece of land that Eastham had set apart for an Indian meeting house, and north of the way leading to the Saltwater Pond, was the Indian burial place which until about 1830 had grave mounds made invisible by the plow. Edward may occasionally have attended worship services at the Indian meeting house, and may have given them financial aid.

Will: 30 Nov 1742
Proved 18 Feb 1742/43; names wife Deborah, children Solomon, Thomas, Susanah Wing, and Jonathan; executor son Jonathan; Jonathan inherited the homestead at his mother’s death; 6 slaves went 1 (Phillip) to son Solomon, 1 (Zilpha) to daughter Susanah, and 4 (Cuffee, Barbara, Joseph, and “Luce”) to wife Deborah; grandson Edward Kenwrick, aged 7, son of Thomas, got 25 acres of land in Truro previously bought from Experience Turner.

John CORSER ‘s son John Corser (1681 Plymouth, Mass – 1756 Boston, Mass)

John was a ship-joiner in Boston.

John died intestate about 1756. His estate, consisting of house and land  on Bennett  and Love Streets, appraised £240, and negro Peter, appraised £6 i3s 4d., was divided between his three surviving daughters and Timothy Cutler, sole heir of Anna, deceased. Date of warrant for division of property, Aug. 12, 1757 ; Nathaniel Breed  administrator. Mr. Breed purchased the shares of Mary and Timothy Cutler.


Enoch HUTCHIN’s son Samuel Hutchins (1682 Kittery Mainbe, The Kittery Premium Outlets factory stores are  less than a mile away from the family homestead. – 1742 Arundel, Maine)

Samuel was captured by Indians on 9 May 1698 and taken to Canada. He was returned 24 Jan 1699. On 6 Feb 1703 Samuel received 29 pairs of snowshoes, 20 of which were to go to the soldiers at Piscataqua.    In 1720 he was a field officer in Kittery, Maine his house being made into a garrison.    He was from Salisbury in 1724 when he sold his house in Kittery. He had moved to Arundel before 30 June 1729.  Samuel was made a proprietor of Arundel in 1731.  Samuel was also a slave owner.

Capt William CLARKE’s son Thomas Clarke (1690 – 1764 ) was  one of the first slave owners in Waterbury, Connecticut.

According to The History of Waterbury, Connecticut, published in 1858, The Congregational Church’s Deacon Thomas Clark  was adopted as a young child by his uncle, Timothy Stanley, one of Waterbury’s first settlers, who had no children of his own.  The timing seems off as Thomas’ father Capt. William Clark lived until 1725 when Thomas was 35 years old.  On the other hand, William remarried when Thomas was five, married Mary Smith on 31 Jan 1694/95.

Clark learned his uncle’s trade as a cloth weaver and managed the family farm. He was also a storekeeper and served as Town Clerk and Treasurer. He inherited his uncle’s home on the south side of the Green, and occasionally took in boarders and fed soldiers passing through town. Clark’s store sold items such as pepper, salt, wine, almanacs, cloth, rum and tobacco. He bought supplies for his store from Derby and New Haven.

 Clark may have been Waterbury’s first slave owner. He brought a boy named Mingo to Waterbury sometime around 1730. Mingo helped work Clark’s farm and was at times hired out to other Waterbury residents. Clark’s three sons and four daughters were also hired out to work in other households.

Following Deacon Clark’s death in 1767, Mingo had chosen to remain in the family home, but when it became a tavern, he moved to the Town Plot section of Waterbury, to live with the Deacon’s other son, Timothy. By the time the 1790 census was taken, Mingo was a free man living in the Clark household. He may have been given his freedom after Deacon Clark died. Mingo was a member of the First Congregational church in 1795 and died in 1800.

John SCOTT Jr. ‘s son-in-law Col. Godfrey Malbone (1694 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island – 1768 in Newport)

Malbone Castle and Estate Malbone, a Gothic-style castle and National Historic Place originally built in 1741 (although the current house dates largely from 1848). The estate is one of the oldest privately owned estates in Newport, Rhode Island. The estate once served as the country residence of Colonel Godfrey Malbone (1695–1768) of Virginia and Connecticut. Colonel Malbone made his fortune as a shipping merchant and became one of the wealthiest men in Newport during the 1740s through privateering and the triangle trade.

Malbone Estate

Colonel Malbone was a man of varied experience and accomplishments. He was educated at King’s College, Oxford, had traveled much and moved in the first circles of Europe and America. Inheriting a large estate from his father, he had lived in a style of princely luxury and magnificence. His country-house, a mile from Newport state-house, was called “the most splendid edifice in all the Colonies.” Completed at great cost after long delay, it was destroyed by fire in the midst of housewarming festivities. Colonel Malbone’s financial affairs had become seriously embarrassed. His commercial enterprises had been thwarted by the insubordination of the Colonies. His ships had been taken by privateers, and his property destroyed by Newport mobs, and now that his elegant edifice was consumed, he refused to battle longer with fate and opposing elements, and, early in 1766, buried himself in the wilds of Pomfret. Some three thousand acres of land, bought from Belcher, Williams and others, had been made over to him at the decease of his father, well stocked with cows, horses, sheep, swine, goats and negroes. These slaves according to common report were a part of a cargo brought from Holland who helped repel a piratical assault, and were retained for life and comfortably supported. Amid such rude, uncongenial surroundings, Malbone made his home, exchanging his palatial residence for a common tenant-house, and renouncing all business interests but the cultivation of his land and the utilization of his negro forces.


Jacob Cornelisse BRINK (1696 Saugerties, Ulster, NY – 1757 Kingston, NY)

Jacob [was listed as a soldier in the foot company of the Militia of the Corporation of Kingston in 1738. He is listed in 1755 as owning three slaves: Dick, Charles, and Peg.


Isaac ESTEY II’s son Aaron Estey (1698 Topsfield – 1783 Topsfield, Mass.)

Topsfield town records show that on December 6, 1749, Ceesar, a Negro servant who belonged to Aaron Estey died.


Jacob AERTSEN (Van Wagenen)’s son Abraham Van Wagenen (1699 Kingston, NY – 1787 New York)

Abraham’s stone house in Wagendal (Rosendale) still stands and is designated a NY State Historical Landmark (Ulster County #55). He signed the Articles of Association from the Town of Hurley. He was the master of two slaves named “Mingo” and “Nane” in 1755.


Thomas COLEMAN’s grandson Lt. Dudley Tyler (1700 Rowley, Mass – 1790  Rowley) kept the Tyler Tavern in Georgetown, Mass., and moved to Haverhill in 1769, where he was a slave-owner as late as 1776, which is the last date in which negroes are entered in the town valuation lists.  His widowMary’s will was probated April 7, 1794, , her stepson, Joseph Tyler being residuary legatee.   Her will provided : ” In case Caesar, the negro man who lives with me, should live to be past his labour, then if what my former husband left for him is not enough to support him, that he have his support out of what I give to the said Joseph Tyler.”


Jonas DeLANGE’s son Arie DeLong (1719 Kingston, NY – 1798 Beekman, Dutchess, NY)

Arie was listed in Beekman in the 1790 census at 4-2-6 and 5 slaves and was between Herman Rozelle and Peter Sickler Sr.

Arie was very active in the local Beekman givernment and the town meetings were held at his house almost every other year until the mid 1780s. He was a constable and security for the collector in 1750 and in 1752 he was a constable and a collector. He was also appointed to attend May court that year to represent the precinct. The Colonial Legislature passed an act 7 December 1754 requiring that all elections for overseers of the poor in Beekman Precinct were to be held at the house of Arie Jonas DeLong.

His mark was recorded 1751 as a hollow crop on the right ear and his brand was AL. An action was filed against him in the May court 1756 by Lewis Hunt. DeLong was accused of taking a ‘brown cow, one red cow and one red eyed bull.’ Hunt was suing for damages of 20 pounds. … He was one of the men involved in collecting fines from the Quakers for refusal to bear arms ca. 1757. … Arie DeLong kept an active account at the Sleight store in Beekman and his unnamed son and his Negro were on the account from 1767-1771.


Deacon Benjamin COLEMAN (1720 – 1797) Newbury, Mass.

Benjamin Coleman – Portrait

Deacon Benjamin Coleman, of Newbury, Massachusetts, fought against his slave-owning minister on the slavery issue. “Deacon Benjamin Colman” under Rev. Moses Parsons, was suspended from his church in 1780 over slavery. He was re-instated 26 Oct 1785 after the death of Rev. Parsons. “A thorough-going abolitionist in advance of his time, brought serious charges against (Rev. Parsons) for violating the divine law and holding men and women in bondage of slavery.”

From Reminiscenses of a Nonagenarian  by Benjamin’s great-daughter-in-law Sarah Ann Smith (b. 1787 – d. 1879)

In 1702 the parish, afterwards called Byfield, was incorporated. This was taken from the towns of Rowley and Newbury, and at first was designated Rowlbury. Two years later it was named Byfield in honor of Judge Nathaniel Byfield. The first pastor of the new parish was the Rev. Moses Hale ; he was succeeded by the Rev. Moses Parsons, who died in 1783. The Rev. Elijah Parish was ordained in 1787.

The pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Parsons was memorable for a contest between the clergyman and one of the church officers, Deacon Benjamin Colman, on the subject of slavery. At that time nearly every family owned one or more negro slaves. My great-grandfather Noyes had a man named Primus, of whom the grandchildren were especially fond. He was a church member and very much respected. As Deacon Noyes’ favorite servant, Primus considered himself somewhat of an important personage, and always comported himself with suitable dignity.

My great-grandfather Smith owned a black maid ; great-grand sir Little a man ; this couple were married. The husband usually came to great-grandfather Smith’s to sleep, but on very pleasant evenings the wife would go over to great-grand- sir Little’s to visit her husband. The agreement at their marriage, between their owners, had been, if there were children to divide them. Two or three were born, but they were swept away with those of their masters, by the throat distemper, the year it made such ravage in New England.

As Violet, the Rev. Mr. Parsons’s woman, like most head servants in a large family, literally “ruled the roast,” being a perfect autocrat in the kitchen, and a presiding genius in every department of the household, holding an affectionate but unquestioned sway over the bevy of bright, roguish boys that were reared in the parsonage, the zealous deacon could not have founded his complaint upon any but conscientious scruples. The principle of slavery was the sin against which he contended, thus unwittingly becoming pioneer in a cause which has produced such momentous results. Church meeting after church meeting was held.

The deacon was suspended for indecorous language respecting his pastor, and the discussion continued until after the clergyman’s decease, when at a church meeting on the 26th of October, 1785, Deacon Colman, after having acknowldged, “that in his treatment of the Rev. Moses Parsons, the late worthy pastor of the church, he urged his arguments against the slavery of the Africans with vehemence and asperity, without showing a due concern for his character and usefulness as an elder, or the peace and edicfiation of the church,” he was restored to the church and the deaconship.

April 27, 1778, the inhabitants of Byfield were startled by a phenomenon usually termed the ” Flying Giant.”

The following description is from the diary of Deacon Daniel Chute :

“Yesterday, being the Lord’s day, the first Sunday after Easter, about five of the clock in the p. m., a most terrible, and as most men do conceive supernatural thing took place. A form as of a giant, I suppose rather under than over twenty feet high, walked through the air from somewhere nigh the Governor’s school, where it was first spied by some boys, till it past the meeting-house, where Mr. Whittain, who was driving home his cows, saw it, as well as the cows also, which ran violently bellowing. Sundry on the whole road from the meeting-house to Deacon Scarles’ house, saw and heard it, till it vanished from sight nigh Hunslow’s hill, as Deacon Searles saw. It strode so fast as a good horse might gallop, and two or three feet above the ground, and what more than all we admired, it went through walls and fences as one goes through water, yet were they not broken or overthrown. It was black, as it might be dressed in cloth indeed, yet were we so terrified that none observed what manner if at all it was habited. It made continually a tending scream, ‘ hoo, hoo,’ so that some women fainted.”

The majority of the people, the Rev. Moses Parsons included, believed this spectre to be the devil taking a walk to oversee his mundane affairs.

Deacon Benjamin Colman published an account of this occurrence in the Essex Journal and New Hampshire Packet. This was in the midst of his controversy with Mr. Parsons on the slavery question, and he attributed the diabolical visitation to the heinous sin of slave-holding by the pastor of the parish, followed by quaint theological speculations, in the deacon’s strong and fearless style.


Francis BROWN II’s son Capt. Thomas Brown (1745  Newbury, Mass – 1803, Essex, Mass.)

Thomas was first a private in Capt. Moses Little’s company of minute-men who marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 to Cambridge – Service 5 days.

Next he was an ensign in Capt. Jacob Gerrish’s Company, Col. Moses Little’s Essex County Regiment. This regiment reach Cambridge the morning of battle of Bunker Hill 17 Jun 1775 and although not yet mustered into service, it volunteered to go into action. Most of the Regiment including Gerrish’s Company crossed the Charlestown Neck under the fire of British ships on marched into the entrenchments on Bunker Hill. Gerrish’s Company was with their townsman Little in the redoubt.

Thomas was an ensign (today’s 2nd Lt) when his company crossed the Charlestown Neck under the fire of British ships and marched into the entrenchments on Bunker Hill.   His wife Hannah with her slave Titus followed the regiment to Cambridge.

Thomas’ great grandson Frederick William Todd (b. 1842 ) wrote the following in his American Revolution Membership Application

Mrs. Brown (Hannah Merrill) with her slave Titus followed the regiment to Cambridge. The night after the battle, she filled a pillow case with provisions (mostly doughnuts made by herself) and placed it on Titus’ back and went with him to Winter Hill to which point most of the continental troops had retreated. After his freedom had been given him, Titus remained a faithful servant of the family until his death.  His grave is suitably marked in the cemetery (near Fry Pond) in Newburyport.

Item 1738: Ezekiel Chase sells and delivers to John Merrill [Hannah’s father] for forty pounds “my negro boy named Titus about one and a half years old, during his natural life.”

Thomas later became First Lieutenant under Capt. Barnard of the same regiment and then Captain of the Newbury Company under Col Aaron Willard’s Regimennt. As Captain, he marched to Fort Ticonderoga and thence to Fort Edwards to join forces against Burgoyne

Deacon Benjamin COLMAN’s son Moses Colman (1755 – 1837)

Moses Colman (1755 – 1837) was a butcher in Newbury, Mass.

From Reminiscenses of a Nonagenarian 1879 by Moses’ daughter-in-law Sarah Ann Smith (b. 1787 – d. 1879)

In the autumn of 1810 Mrs. Moses Colman was taken ill of a slow fever. As she would have no one but Sallie to nurse her, I remained in Byfield several weeks. During this time the household were troubled by a series of mysterious and untoward events. Mr. Colman missed a ten dollar bill from his desk drawer in a remarkable manner, the hens quitted laying, a cask of choice cider that had never been tapped was found empty, and Jerry’s fine parade horse which was at pasture on the farm, presented a low and jaded condition.

Jeremiah Colman and David Emery had been for some time officers in the troop. At that time Jerry was captain and David first lieutenant of one of the companies forming the regiment of cavalry. “What could have happened to Jerry’s horse !” His father said “he looked sorry” At this juncture, Charles Field, the colored boy brought up in the family, now a youth of twenty, evinced great religious concern. His state was such that Dr. Parish was requested to visit him.

The keen witted clergyman, after conversing with Charles, avowed lack of faith in his professions. “He had seen his mother in such states. It was his opinion that this show of piety was to cover some rascality. He had said as much to the fellow, and bade him ease his soul b}- confession, and b}’ making every restitution possible.” The next day to my surprise, I discovered the missing “bank note in Mrs. Column’s cap box.

It was immediately ascertained that Charles had for weeks been riding the parade horse to Newburyport, a series of dances having been held in Guinea which he had attended. Having hidden his Sunday suit in the hay mow, after the family had retired he stole out, dressing himself in the barn, saddled and bridled the horse, which had been stealthily brought up from pasture in the evening, using the military equipments, then dashed down to Guinea in grand style, exciting the envy of his brother beaux, and the great admiration of the sable belles.

The ten dollar bill was taken to exhibit his grandeur and that of the family. On moving the cider cask, preparatory to its being refilled the straws with which its contents had been sucked from the bung were found with a heap of egg shells, which explained the former scarcity of eggs. Charles was brought to confess his misdeeds, with many professions of sorrow and promises of amendment. Such was the affection felt for him reared in the family from infancy, that he found a ready forgiveness.


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6 Responses to Northern Slave Owners

  1. David Pettee says:

    I appreciate your willingness to be truthful about your Northern slave-owning heritage. I have found 46 Northern slave-owners in my family history. We also share a common ancestor, Francis Wyman, whose gravestone still stands in Woburn, MA.

  2. Jim McNeill says:

    Well done on acknowledgement of the slave ownership by your ancestors. Just one point which may help you understand the beliefs and actions of your 17th & 18th century ancestors. You should not be too surprised at the ownership of slaves by early Quaker settlers. Slave labour was vital to the economies and survival of the early American colonies and Quakers, as active business people, were not only involved in slave ownership but also the trans-Atlantic slave trade and trade in slaves from Caribbean islands to the American mainland.
    Good luck with your family research.

  3. markeminer says:

    Added the story of Deacon Benjamin COLEMAN’s fight against his slave-owning minister on the slavery issue. “Deacon Benjamin Colman” under Rev. Moses Parsons, was suspended from his church in 1780 over slavery. He was re-instated 26 Oct 1785 after the death of Rev. Parsons. “A thorough-going abolitionist in advance of his time, brought serious charges against (Rev. Parsons) for violating the divine law and holding men and women in bondage of slavery.”

  4. Pingback: Favorite Posts 2012 | Miner Descent

  5. Pingback: Favorite Posts 2013 | Miner Descent

  6. Sarah Elmendorf says:

    I am a direct descendent of Kingston NY area Elmendorph family. I am interested in my family’s colonial slave ownership, plus any, hopefully, abolitionist practices later on. I would like very much to find out who were the Elmendorph slaves and what happened to them. What are their stories?

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