Tag Archives: Connecticut History

Browne Plantation

 

In my first blog, I wrote about Godfrey Malbone who, owning a 3000 acres farm in Pomfret, Ct with 27 slaves, was long thought to be the largest slave owner in Connecticut. However, during my research, I found out about an even larger plantation located in Salem, CT (“in what was then Lyme” CT). This plantation was 13,000 acres, had 60 slave families, and was owned by a wealthy Salem, Mass., merchant, Col. Samuel Browne.  Browne never lived on the land, but he hired overseers. He rented out large tracts but retained about 4,000 acres for himself that passed to his son and then his grandson.

slavery

Picture of Gerald Sawyer

 

The site of Browne’s plantation is being explored by archeologists from Central Connecticut State University, and the lead researcher is Gerald Sawyer.

 

“For perspective on the Salem plantation, Sawyer refers to new research done by anthropologist Robert Fitts in southern Rhode Island, an area better known for having had slave plantations. Combing Colonial records, Fitts found that most Rhode Island plantations had fewer than a dozen slaves, numbers similar to those in Virginia’s famed Tidewater region and that only three had as many as 19 slaves.

Sawyer’s excavations of the Salem plantation have unearthed artifacts believed to be from “known African-American ritual practice” and burial customs.

Sources:

Lang, Joel. “Chapter One: The Plantation Next Door.” Courant.com. N.p., 12 July 2008. Web. 28 Apr. 2017. <http://www.courant.com/news/special-reports/hc-plantation.artsep29-story.html&gt;.

Schwartz, Sydney. “Yankee Slavery.” Archaeology Archive. Volume 54, Number 5, September/October 2001.  

Photo Credit:  http://archive.archaeology.org/image.php?page=0109/

Battle of Bunker Hill and Col. Thomas Grosvenor (1744-1835)

In my research on 1774 and Pomfret, CT, I discovered a specific soldier that fought in the Revolutionary War and who also happens to be from Pomfret, Connecticut. Thomas Grosvenor was the sixth child of John and Hannah Grosvenor. He served in the military, and one of the famous battles he participated in was Bunker Hill. He joined the 1st Co. 3rd Connecticut Regiment, which was commanded by Israel Putnam in the battle of Bunker Hill. He killed 9 British soldiers, and he was also wounded in his right hand, which he bound with a white cravat during battle. (Yale University Library)

FoE_Trumbull_Lieutenant Thomas Grosvenor_0

Lieutenant Thomas Grosvenor and His Negro Servant

The portrait, Lieutenant Thomas Grosvenor and His Negro Servant, is a detail oil sketch from the picture of the Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill by John Trumbull, which was painted 10 years after he painted the original. This repaint was requested by a French portraitist. In the picture, Grosvenor is standing with his “faithful servant.” Both of them are looking to their right anxiously. According to the Yale Center for British Art, they were considering whether to retreat or go help General Warren.

The African-American person standing behind Thomas Grosvenor often has been falsely identified as Peter Salem. However, recent research shows that he might be a slave of the Grosvenor family named Asaba, who is recorded as a free servant in later records. Asaba is noted in Connecticut’s Black Soldiers 1775-1783 by David O. White. Asaba is also listed in National Mall Liberty Fund D.C.’s The Hometowns of Connecticut’s African American Revolutionary War Soldiers, Sailors and Patriots.

The Rectory School’s East part of the Main building was built by Col. Thomas Grosvenor in 1792; it was known as the Mansion House. “The house was always open to the chance visitor and for many years was a refuge for the remnants of Indian tribes that still lingered in Connecticut…” It is said that a young Mohican Indian danced upon the ridgepole as part of the celebration.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Grosvenor

White, David. Connecticut’s Black Soldiers 1775-1783, Pequot Press, 1973.

www.libertyfunddc.org

Clement, Peter. “The Rectory School – Main House – Grosvenor Text.” Rectory School Archives, 2002.

Image:

http://interactive.britishart.yale.edu/slavery-and-portraiture/299/lieutenant-thomas-grosvenor-1744-1825-and-his-negro-servant

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.

Sources:

https://caisctpbl.wordpress.com/page/2/

www.nndb.com/people/066/000049916/

https://archive.org/stream/publicrecordsofc014conn#page/492/mode/2u