Category Archives: 1774 Freedom & Slavery RS HOT Log1

Pomfret, Connecticut’s Aid To Boston.

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Reverend Hunt’s Discourse

What happened in 1774 in Pomfret, Connecticut?  Did the town side with the patriots or were there loyalist sympathies?  In my research, I discovered a discourse delivered on Thanksgiving Day in 1841 at the First Congregational Church of Pomfret by its minister, Reverend Daniel Hunt. This sermon has been recorded in a book form, and in this 40-page book, Rev. Hunt talks about the history of Pomfret. The book is a wealth of knowledge about who was in Pomfret at this time in the 1770s, and it firmly states that there were many patriots in Pomfret. In the sermon, Hunt mentions a letter sent to Pomfret from Boston. The letter thanks Pomfret for sending provisions to Boston when it was under siege by the British in 1774. It is interesting that this letter also describes the conditions in Boston.

This is the letter. “GENTLEMEN:—By the hand of Mr. Elias Wells we received your generous and kind benefaction for the poor of this distressed town. We cannot enough express our gratitude for this instance of your bounty, in which you have liberally contributed to the relief of many. What you have thus lent to the Lord, we trust and pray that he will pay you again. It gives us great consolation amidst our complicated and unparalleled sufferings, that our brethren in the other colonies show [sic] such christian [sic] sympathy and true benevolence towards us. That we are greatly distressed, needs no comment. Our harbor blockaded by a fleet of ships; our foreign trade actually annihilated; thousands of poor reduced to extreme want; troops continually pouring in upon us, to insult us in this our distress, is a consideration that must excite pity in the most obdurate. However, although we thus suffer, we are willing to suffer still more, rather than give up our birthright privileges. With great regard, we are your brethren and most humble servants.” JOHN SEELEY, TIMOTHY NEWELL, SAMUEL AUSTIN, JOHN PITTS.

The letter tells you that there were a lot of patriots in Pomfret since they agreed to send aid to the people of Boston, who were under siege by the British at the time. In the book, History of Windham County Connecticut by Ellen D. Larned, I found out that one hundred and five sheep were sent to Boston as a gift.

Sources: Larned, Ellen. History of Windham County Connecticut 1760-1880. Self-contained book, Swordsmith Productions, September 2000, Pomfret, CT 06258.

Hunt, Daniel. History of Pomfret: A Discourse Delivered on the Day of Annual Thanksgiving, In the First Church in Pomfret, November 19th, 1840. Hartford: J. Holbrook, Printer. 1841.

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The Great Slave Trade

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Moses Brown (September 23, 1738 – September 6, 1836)

For northern colonies, the ports of Boston and Newport were major hubs in the slave trading industry. In the late 1700’s, Newport controlled between 60 and 90 percent of the country’s trade in slaves. Between 1709 to 1807, merchants sponsored over 900 slave ships, and over 100,000 slaves into the new worlds. The Browns, one of the great families of colonial America, were Rhode Island slave traders and were one of the richest and biggest merchants in America.  “At least five of the family members, James, Nicholas, John, Joseph, and Moses, ran one of the biggest slave-trading businesses in New England, and for more than half a century the family reaped huge profits from the slave trade,” based on James Brown first traveled to Africa in 1736, which launched the foundation of the Brown family’s fortune. From that year until 1790, the Browns played a major role in the New England slave trade. The Brown family also donated a huge amount of profits to Rhode Island College, and it was so generous that the name was changed to Brown University. Brown University has a huge amount of varieties of primary and secondary information about slave trades in Newport and the Brown family.

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Sally the Slave Voyage

In 1764, Sally embarked from Providence, Rhode Island, to West Africa on a slaving voyage. The ship was owned by Nicholas Brown and Company. The Sally’s voyage was one of the deadliest trips. Of the 196 Africans captured by the ship’s master, Esek Hopkins, at least 109 were dead, some in a failed insurrection, others by suicide, starvation, and disease. The Brown family also owned many other Slave Voyages. For the slaves, the condition in the ship was unhumanitarian; African slaves were placed on the shelves like cargo. That same day, Hopkins recorded the death of a woman slave who “hanged herself between Decks.“ She was the second African to die on the ship. By August 20, Sally’s last day on the coast, the death toll had risen to nineteen. A twentieth captive, a “woman all Most dead” was left behind when the ship sailed.” Quoted from the Brown University Steering Committee on slavery & Justice, it describes the deadly conditions on the ship.


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An Arduous Life of Godfrey Malbone, Jr


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An established estate of Godfrey Malbone

The life of Godfrey Malbone Jr. was delineated in his familial relationships, personal businesses, early life in Newport and his following achievements to his society. A complete description of his autobiographical experiences provides an intricate sketch of his temperament, which also reflects the historical background of America around that period. As I comprehend deeper and analyze through Malbone’s experiences during the American Revolutionary War, his personality was thoroughly ingrained and understood in that painstaking era.

Godfrey Malbone Jr. was born on September 3, 1724, in Newport, Rhode Island, who was the descendant of Peter Malbone of Virginia. His father, Godfrey Malbone Sr., purchased 3000 acres of lands in the towns of Pomfret and Brooklyn, Connecticut, while he gradually became the wealthiest man in Newport through his involvement in privateering and the triangle trade. During the American Revolutionary War, his father’s mortgaged land was impounded by the state of Connecticut, for the reason of his inclinations to the loyalists. In his later life, he accomplished the feat of the construction of Trinity Church with the establishment of an original Malbone Estate. The construction materials utilized the deposits of brown sandstone from his land holdings, which are durable and easier to laminate than slate or granite. Eventually, he died on November 12, 1785, and is buried in his old Trinity Cemetery.

All in all, Godfrey Malbone’s personal experiences and the in-depth historical backgrounds behind his life reflect both a zeitgeist and a painstaking “conception” of an individual’s life. For my next research, I will delve into the specifics of the Malbone Estate, to understand more historical backgrounds of him that are related to his entrepreneurship.


  5. Photo Credit:  By Ssaco – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Godfrey Malbone Jr Loyalist

My English language skills class is researching freedom and slavery around 1774 in our local area, Pomfret, Connecticut.  Can we find out who were patriots and who had loyalist sympathies?  We started by trying to identify patriots and loyalists in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

My topic is Godfrey Malbone Jr, who lived in Pomfret/Brooklyn, CT from 1766 to 1785 when he died. He is buried there in the church, Old Trinity Episcopal, which he built in 1770-1771. In my research, I found that his father, Godfrey Malbone Sr. (1695-1768), was born in Virginia and relocated to Newport RI around 1700 when Godfrey Jr would have been about 5 years old.  Godfrey Malbone Sr owned merchant ships and was famous for being a part of triangle trades and for slaver trading, which made him the wealthiest man in Newport, Rhode Island.  He built the Malbone Hall in Newport, which was “considered the most splendid edifice,” but it burned in 1766, which is one of the reasons why Godfrey Malbone Jr moved to Pomfret, CT.  Another reason is that as a loyalist, he “suffered greatly from Newport mobs” and privateers, so he escaped to the “forest and meadow land” of Pomfret, CT.


One of Malbone’s homes in  Brooklyn

With his wealth, Godfrey Malbone Sr had bought land in Pomfret/Brooklyn, Connecticut in 1739. The land was transferred to his son, Godfrey Malbone Jr, in 1764. The deed shows that the farm had 3000 acres, “80 cows, 45 oxen, 30 steers, 59 young cattle, six horses, 600 sheep, 180 goats, 150 hogs and 27 Negroes, in that order.” Until recently, researchers thought Godfrey Malbone Jr was the largest slave owner in CT at the time.  However, archeologist Gerald Sawyer from Central Connecticut State University has found a plantation with slaves owned by Samuel Browne in Salem, CT, which operated from 1718 until about 1780. Samuel Browne had 4000 acres and 60 slave families. My next research step is to find out more about Samuel Browne and the plantation in Salem, CT.


Griggs, Susan J. Early Homesteads of Pomfret and Hampton. Abington, CT., 1950.

Lang, Joel.  “Chapter One: The Plantation Next Door.” Hartford Courant 29 September 2002. Web 6 April 2017.

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Changing in Laws about Slavery in Connecticut.

This image is about the law passed by the Connecticut Government on in 1784, which declares that the children of enslaved African Americans born after March 1, 1784 were to be granted freedom upon reaching the age of 25. On the right side, it was the law that states the abolition of slavery.


My class is investigating the topics of freedom and slavery in Connecticut around the year 1774.  My first research is on the laws on slavery that were passed in Connecticut. As we knew laws are made by the state government and the government is elected by citizens of the state. Through the changing in the laws, we could see the changing of ideas of the citizens toward slavery. The ideas of slavery have been studied in people’s minds since a long time ago, however, the ideas changed during the Revolutionary War. I want to do research about the effect on slaves in these years, and what are the events that led to the changing in laws. Here is a timeline of what happened with the laws in the years around the Revolutionary War.


A comprehensive act “concerning Indian, Mulatto and Negro Servants, and Slaves” is passed. It restates several earlier laws: travel beyond town boundaries is prohibited without a pass for free and enslaved Negroes; violating the 9 p.m. curfew is punishable with a whipping; the last owner of a freed slave and the last employer of a servant are financially responsible for that person for life; the importation of Indians into Connecticut is banned.


The census records enumerate 3,019 African Americans and 617 Native Americans living in Connecticut; it does not distinguish between free and enslaved. There were about 15 native American slaves and about 100 African slaves in Pomfret.


The colony estimates a population of approximately 4,590 African Americans and 930 Native Americans.


The importation of “Indian, Negro or Mulatto Slaves” to Connecticut is banned.

The total number of African Americans in Connecticut is 5,085. The colony’s census did not distinguish free from enslaved. There were 334 African Americans and 825 Native Americans in Pomfret.

Roughly half of all ministers, lawyers, and public officials in Connecticut own slaves, and a third of all doctors.


The “Gradual Emancipation Act” declares that the children of enslaved African Americans born after March 1, 1784, were to be granted freedom upon reaching the age of 25.


State legislation outlaws the slave trade in Connecticut, prohibiting the import of Africans and the export of African Americans for sale, and requires every slave owner to register the births of every child born into slavery in their household with their town clerks.

According to my research, I think Connecticut’s lawmakers were cautious moving against slavery. Black people were more numerous in the state than in the rest of New England combined, and racial anxieties were correspondingly acuter. This pattern was well-observed from the South: “the more blacks lived in a Northern state, the more reluctantly that state approached the topic of emancipation.”

I’m going to do my following research on what are the events lead to the changes in the laws. I think the idea of slavery was deep in people’s mind so, I will there must be something happened changed people’s mind.


Slavery in Connecticut.  Reverends For Or Against Slavery?




Israel Putnam: His Near-Death Experience


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Israel Putnam (1718~1790)

My class is studying what it was like in Pomfret, CT in 1774, and my own topic is about a major Revolutionary War hero, Israel Putnam. Also known as Old Put, he had his home in Pomfret at the time, having moved there in 1740.  He participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill and became second in command to General George Washington.  However, before the Battle of Bunker Hill, Putnam was involved in another famous battle, the Battle of Havana, held during the Seven Years’ War. British forces besieged and captured the city of Havana, which at the time was an important Spanish naval base in the Caribbean, and dealt a serious blow to the Spanish navy. Israel Putnam had gone through a lot of hardships during his life, such as the French and Indian War, Pontiac’s War, and experiencing shipwreck. Overall, the shipwreck was the most challenging one to him compared to the others. This is how he described the weather right before the shipwreck. “The weather was so tempestuous and the surf, which

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Cannonballs on top of the Shipwreck

ran mountain-high, dashed with such violence against the ship that the most experienced seaman expected it would soon part asunder.”  The entire force of 107 members of Putnam’s company was shipwrecked off Cuba, and only 20, including Putnam, made it back to Connecticut alive. My next step is to find about the role of Israel Putnam in the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the most famous battles he participated in.

Book Source: McCain, Diana Ross. It Happened in Connecticut. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2008. Print.
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Connecticut Population Census

Our class topic is trying to figure out what happened in Pomfret around 1774. My own topic is about the information of slaves or African-Americans in Pomfret, Connecticut at that time period. This is a big topic, and I am first mostly focusing on the statistics of the population census and comparing the numbers as the time goes on. Screenshot 2017-04-05 at 1.53.28 PM

After a few hours of researching, I found out that the number of slaves began to increase at the beginning of 1640, which is when slavery began to start. After the year of 1780, the law began to restrict slavery inside different towns in Connecticut, so the number started to decrease. In the year of 1830, there was only 95 slaves in Connecticut compared to over 7000 slaves during 1774. Slavery completely stopped at the year of 1848 in Connecticut. As I looked more closely on the 1774 census for the county of Windham, I observed that Pomfret had a total number of 65 blacks and 2241 whites. More than half of the blacks are between twenty and seventy. My next step is to look for information on a specific slave or slave owner at that time in Pomfret, Connecticut and research on him/her.