Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chapter One

BORN TO RUN: The Slave Family in Early New York, 1626 to 1827

Dr. Vivienne L. Kruger. MA., M. Phil., Ph.D.

The following text is an exact transcription of a Ph.D. thesis completed at Columbia University, History Department, New York, New York in 1985 by Dr. Vivienne Kruger, Ph. D. My dissertation sponsor was Professor Alden Vaughan, and the chairman of my dissertation committee was Professor Eric Foner, both of the History Department. This thesis was given the highest possible grade of pass on the day of the dissertation defense and was accepted as is for immediate deposit in the Dean’s Office. It was originally typed in Wordstar program , and subsequently changed into a Microsoft Word format. As a result, many of the tables and appendices are out of proper column alignment and many are missing. All chapters, text, and footnotes are in their original condition. The bibliographical essay and bibliography are completely intact. Only the secondary sources section is incomplete: it stops at the alphabetical letter “h” and entries from h to z are missing. Interested scholars and readers can order a copy of the full complete, original doctoral dissertation (Publication number 8523186) from Proquest (formerly University Microfilms) at Telephone: 1800-521-0600. The original Ph.D. thesis is also available for reading in a hard copy paper format permanently on file in Butler Library, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA. telephone: 212-854-2271.
This Ph.D. thesis has not yet been published as a book, and inquiries from mainstream or academic university publishers are welcome.
The author, Dr. Vivienne Kruger, can be contacted at

BORN TO RUN: the slave family in early new york, 1626 to 1827
Dr. Vivienne L. kruger. Ma. M. Phil., Ph.D.
C 1985




























Dr. Vivienne L. Kruger, Ph.D.
This study of slave families in the southern six counties of New York covers an early era in which many blacks were African immigrants or first or second generation Afro‑Americans. The central feature of New York and northern slavery was that most slaveholdings were small and contained only from one to five slaves. Because of the small size of the holdings, slave family members were usually owned by separate masters and forced to live apart. Slavery created artificial black demographic conditions in New York: a small overall black population, low black population density, unbalanced adult sex ratios, and a random rather than familial distribution of slaves into white households. A distinctive Afro‑American life cycle developed under these circumstances of enslavement. New York slaves experienced childhood, marriage, parenthood, and old age in ways that were radically different from free blacks or whites. In contrast to sudden, total emancipation in the South, New York slaves were freed voluntarily and gradually between 1785 and 1848. Separate ownership guaranteed separate manumission of relatives and severe family disruption as husbands, wives, and children were freed individually, often many years apart.
This study breaks new ground in the location and use of manuscript and primary sources appropriate to the study of slavery and the slave family in small northern holdings. Hard, mass quantitative data on thousands of slaves was compiled from censuses, church records, wills, estate inventories, bills of sale, runaway slave advertisements, laws, town records, manumission documents, registers of the births of slave children, overseer of the poor rolls and state comptroller's records for the support of abandoned slave infants, and ship registers of blacks evacuated with the British in 1783. As a social historian, I utilized and unearthed new manuscript, archival, printed primary, and secondary sources to reconstitute and explore a previously unstudied population group. To complete this original, large-scale, demographic research project, I collected, interpreted, arranged, catalogued, and ranked thousands of pieces of information. This study developed groundbreaking methodologies never before used to study the slave family in a small Northern slaveholding setting: it traced the slave life cycle and family phases and explored the impact of revolution, manumission, and gradual emancipation on family cohesion. This dissertation has a wide focus by virtue of its topic: it necessarily encompasses the multi-faceted social, familial, cultural, economic, demographic, and legislative aspects of slavery in New York from 1626 to 1827.

Scholarly research on slavery has traditionally focused on the profitability of the institution, master treatment of bondsmen, such forms of slave resistance as running away and large‑scale rebellion, and the legal framework of the slave system. The slave was a passive object in this historical inquiry; he was described as either a fortunate student in a beneficent white acculturation university1 or an infantilized inmate in a closed institution.2 Slaves were fed, clothed, cured, worked, punished, whipped, sold, and Christianized at the discretion of a host of master types and in a plethora of plantation settings. Most historians saw the slave as an independent actor only when he ran away or resisted in a mass uprising. The "social history" of the slave population consisted of sentimental anecdotes about favored house slaves, tales of exploitive miscegenation, or heartrending descriptions of families sundered at the auction block.
The slave family was studied in 1939 by E. Franklin Frazier, whose interpretation remained the standard until the revisionist works of the 1970s. Frazier insisted that the African's societal patterns had been totally destroyed in his transition to American slavery. Culturally set adrift, the slave family on plantations was a temporary phenomenon characterized by loose sexual mating illegitimacy, parental indifference, absent fathers, and disruption by sale. Only the large group of partially white mulattoes and the small group of favored slaves who lived in close contact with, and under the supervision of white masters on small farms adhered to and emerged from slavery with stable white‑imposed family patterns and values. Another small group of hardworking antebellum freed blacks also was able to maintain familial integrity. For the vast majority, however, slavery had meant plantation life in quarters far removed from the elevating moral influence of constant owner supervision. At emancipation blacks had an anarchic matriarchal family system; fathers were without a role or authority, and affectional bonds between spouses and between parent and child were weak. Frazier asked: "What authority was there to take the place of the master's in regulating sex relations and maintaining the permanency of marital ties?"3 Once again, the slave was seen as a victim of his circumstances‑‑either fortunate enough to absorb white values or left to flounder in a morass of irregular black behaviors.
Kenneth Stampp devoted nine pages to the slave family, carrying forward some of Frazier's interpretations. Stampp continued the master‑dominated perspective on slave family relations. Marital and familial patterns were either scrupulously set and enforced on some plantations or slaves were left to their own questionable practices on others. The slave family was neither protected in law nor was it a functioning economic unit under the head of a male. Fathers were unable to provide for or protect their charges, and parental authority was subjugated to the ultimate power of the master. The family was unstable due to the constant threat of separation by sale. This all resulted in casual attitudes toward marriage, lack of deep affection between spouses, parental indifference toward children, promiscuity, and a matriarchal organization of black society. Stampp admitted that some slaves did manage to develop familial attachments: witness grief at forced separations. But in general Stampp's family was a frail entity, determined by the actions and attitudes of individual masters and by the phenomenon of enslavement itself.4
The new social history of the late 1960s reflected the political and social values of historians and the deeply changing society around them. Historical concerns shifted away from political institutions, military events, and elite classes toward the study of broad, hitherto ignored population groups. Fresh techniques in demographic research, computer technology, and newly rediscovered source materials encouraged historians of slavery literally to stampede into the virgin territory of the black family in the 1970s. With history being rewritten from the bottom up, the slave was no longer a mere reactor to stimuli from above; black familial patterns and an autonomous slave culture were "discovered" for the first time. The resulting reinterpretations of the slave experience stressed the black side of slavery, with a diminution of the master's input. The new research revealed the retention of African customs among slaves. It was seen that black religion and music nourished a separate slave culture and that black community and family life seemingly survived without the direction or even knowledge of white masters.
Several important articles appeared. Russell Menard assessed the possibilities of family life in terms of sex ratios, dispersed ownership patterns, and the relative abilities of fresh African and acculturated creole women to reproduce naturally the black population. Allan Kulikoff analyzed African importations, slave household formation, size, and composition, black population density, and kinship ties and structures in the eighteenth century Chesapeake. Herbert Klein and Stanley Engerman examined the rates of natural increase of slaves on mainland North America and in the West Indies. Lower slave fertility in the islands was explained in terms of malnutrition, overwork, owner behavior, epidemiology, or retention of the African custom of prolonged breastfeeding of infants which delays conception.5
Three major works dominated the debate on the slave family. Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman advanced a model of the plantation as a rational business enterprise based on the assembly line, complete with efficient workers ad enlightened managers. The interests of master and slave often converged. Slaves accepted the capitalist work ethic, spurred on by such incentives as job mobility from field hand to artisan to slave driver and material rewards equivalent to wages. The family was the basic unit of social organization under slavery. The economic interests of planters encouraged them to feed, clothe, and house slaves well, and to preserve the stability of their "workers'" families. In Fogel and Engerman's version of the slave family, males played the dominant role, with the division of labor within the family based on gender. Slaves abandoned the African family form as dysfunctional in the new setting and adopted a nuclear structure. Not only did slaves adopt their masters' family forms, but they incorporated their prudish Victorian sexual morals as well. Childspacing patterns, breastfeeding schedules, and the average age at birth of the first surviving child all suggested white rather than black patterns of sexual behavior.6
Fogel and Engerman's findings on the slave family ran counter to the research conclusions of the main body of slave historians. Eugene Genovese provided a more convincing interpretation of slave society. Instead of a capitalist collaboration, Genovese presented a precapitalist seigneurial society based on a mutual recognition of customary rights and privileges between master and slave. This paternalistic compromise entailed concessions on both sides and gave the slave quarters enough breathing space to form its own thriving cultural and familial system. A strong, cohesive slave community existed; slaves asserted their rights within the system and enjoyed folk culture, religion, and mores. Genovese described a black culture with strong African carryovers. Family ties and values were paramount, with distinct black sexual practices regarding premarital sex, marital fidelity, and divorce. Slaves valued two‑parent, male‑centered households, even if this was often difficult to realize.7
Herbert Gutman's work provided a fresh and compelling model of the process of slave family formation. Blacks adapted to slavery by developing distinctive domestic arrangements and complex kin networks which coalesced into a new Afro‑American culture during early contact between Africans and Anglo‑Americans in the period 1725 to 1775. This uniform Afro‑American culture was spread over the entire South by the migration of upper South slaves to the lower South. Based on African patterns of kin obligation, slave familial customs included exogamy, intensive naming for blood kin, and fictive kin relationships when real kin were missing. Slave children were socialized by the black slave community, passing on preferences for two‑parent households, a low voluntary divorce rate, and a toleration of premarital sex and pregnancy but not of adultery.8
Fogel and Engerman, Genovese, and Gutman all use plantation slavery as the focus of their studies. Large plantations may have been either capitalist factories, seigneurial manors, or the setting of complex kin networks and communities, but the experience of slaves who lived on small units was ignored in these models. The 1790 census indicates that four out of five United States slaves lived in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina, where "one in three was owned in units of less than ten and another three in ten in units ranging in size from ten to nineteen."9 In South Carolina one out of three slaves lived in units of fewer than twenty blacks. Overall, 63.3 percent of the slaves in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina, and 33.3 percent of the slaves in South Carolina lived in units containing less than twenty slaves. The proportion of slaves who lived in very small units was even larger in the earlier years of the eighteenth century. The familial organization of the slaves who lived in units of less than ten slaves is particularly intriguing. They were a minority of southern slaves, albeit a weighty one‑‑a third or more of the black population in the colonial period. Gutman contended that although the familial arrangements of slaves who lived in small holdings on farms and in towns and cities is largely unknown they also enjoyed opportunities for long marriages and expanded kin networks. His only evidence was that "the percentage of North Carolina ex‑slaves reporting long slave marriages in 1866 was the same in farm and urban settings as in plantation settings."10
Historians of slavery in general and of the slave family in particular have concentrated on the large southern plantation environment in the nineteenth century. While some recent studies help correct the gap in colonial slave history,11 the experience of the urban or small farm slave remains largely uninvestigated. Two works deal with the urban slave in the South but only marginally with the slave family. Thad W. Tate's study of eighteenth‑century Williamsburg found that in the 1780s the average slaveholding per white family was five or six blacks. They were housed in small outbuildings, second‑floor rooms above the kitchen, or on the floor somewhere in the master's house, affording less familial privacy than on larger plantations with specific slave quarters. While plantation owners preferred and could enforce their wish that slaves marry other slaves on the plantation, in cities large numbers of slaves who belonged to different owners lived in close proximity to each other, facilitating black social life, meetings, and marriages. The small size of the average urban holding almost insured that most marriages would involve separately owned spouses, increasing the chance of marital rupture through sale or a master's relocation and also the incidence of runaways.12
Richard Wade concluded that southern urban slave attachments were impermanent, that promiscuity was rampant, and that miscegenation was common. Marriages often involved separately owned partners, leading to difficulties in visitation and separately domiciled family units. Local ordinances tried to accommodate visiting spouses: Louisville's watch was ordered to "arrest all slaves found away from home without a pass or a good excuse (except a slave found at his wife's home)."13 Individual masters, though, could prevent their married slaves from seeing their spouses and children, as in the case of one slave who was "never allowed to see them; he would be beaten within an ace of his life if he ventured to go to the corner of the street."14 Urban slaves enjoyed less privacy than plantation slaves because of the constant presence of and observation by the master's household.
Wade and Tate described the probable effect of urban slavery on the slave family; small holdings meant separately owned families, weak family ties, and increased risks of permanent separation and alienation. Fathers could neither provide nor protect, and mothers invested little emotion in their children‑‑the institution of the family was swallowed up by the institution of slavery. Urban slaves were denied the social and physical breathing space which enabled black culture to flourish in the slave quarters of large plantations as well as the opportunity to live on a big plantation over long enough periods of time to develop either nuclear or complex kin networks. To be sure, slave social life, contacts, and entertainments abounded illegally in cities for slaves who were able to slip away from their masters' premises. Men and women loved each other, marriages took place, and children were born, but no study to date has adequately investigated the chances for sustained family and community life for slaves in small holdings, both urban and rural.
As a slavery laboratory, the northern version of the institution illuminates the experience of the small holding; most northern slaveowners possessed fewer than five slaves. Slavery in the northern colonies and states has received sparse historical attention compared to the massive research efforts expended on the South. Part of the reason is numerical: out of 694,207 slaves listed in the 1790 federal census, 40,086, or only 5.8 percent, lived in the nine northern states.15 Slavery was either abolished or gradually phased out in the North by 1827; it was thereafter a uniquely southern institution except for New Jersey. But if the number of slaves in the North was relatively small, and the institution ended earlier, slavery did exist in the North for approximately 230 years, from the 1620s through 1860.
The black slave and free population of the northern states has never been fully studied. The best work on New England slavery remains the 1942 study by Lorenzo Greene. Greene's chapter on the slave family emphasized the influence of Puritan thought on slave marriage in Massachusetts. The Puritan concept of the well‑ordered family under a patriarchal head insured that owners would enforce a uniform morality upon their wives, children, servants, and slaves. Wedding banns had to be published for slaves as well as for freemen. Owners enforced proscriptions against non-marital sex and adultery. Slave marriages were lawful as early as the 1650s.16 As of May 30, 1705, masters were legally prohibited from denying their slaves the right to marriage with another negro.17 While Greene's study stressed Puritan control over slave marriage and morality, he also conceded that slave marriages were disrupted severely by sale and noted the undermining of parental rights, separate ownership of families, and the giving away of unwanted slave children who were considered burdensome to small slaveholders.18 In another northern study, Gary Nash found that slave reproductive rates in pre‑revolutionary colonial Philadelphia were suppressed by unbalanced sex ratios and by the small size of slaveholdings. About twenty percent of Philadelphians held slaves in 1767 and 1775 enumerations; most owned only one or two adult slaves. "Sexually mature male and female slaves infrequently lived together under the same roof," inhibiting regular contact and negating the possibility of sustained family life for slaves.19
New York was the largest slaveholding colony and state in the North; it provides a fresh demographic context within which the slave family's existence can be analyzed. Both as the Dutch colony of New Netherland and later as an English colony and a new state, New York was heavily involved in slaveholding. In 1640 and 1650, New York had the largest number of blacks of any colony, but by 1660 it was surpassed in numbers by Maryland and Virginia. Between 1700 and 1730 New York had the fourth largest number of blacks among the mainland American colonies, after Virginia, South Carolina, and Maryland. New York remained the fifth largest slaveholding colony from 1740 through 1780, behind Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, and North Carolina.20 By the first federal census in 1790, New York State's black population was the sixth largest in the United States in both the number of blacks and the number of slaves‑‑exceeded by Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.
In terms of the proportion of the total population that was black, Maryland in 1704 (12.8 percent) and Virginia in 1699 to 1703 (13 percent) were comparable to the figure for New York in 1698 (12 percent). New York was soon eclipsed; by 1710, Maryland's population was 18.6 percent black, with New York at 13 percent in 1712 to 1714. All of the other southern colonies had much higher proportions of blacks. By 1750, from 33.3 to 60 percent of the populations of the southern colonies were black.21 In 1790 New York had the ninth largest proportion of blacks in its total population‑‑exceeded by South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware, Kentucky, and slightly by New Jersey.22 Although New York generally had fewer blacks and a smaller proportion of blacks in its population than the southern states, it had the largest number of both blacks and slaves of any northern colony or state from 1630 through 1790. It was the main repository of the institution of slavery outside the South.23 In 1790 New York alone had 25,875 blacks while the New England states combined had 16,822 blacks: Rhode Island (4,442), Connecticut (5,419), Massachusetts (5,369),New Hampshire (787), Vermont (269), and Maine, which was part of the state of Massachusetts (536). New York still had 21,193 slaves compared to New England's 3,763 slaves. New Jersey (14,185 blacks, 11,423 slaves) and Pennsylvania (10,238 blacks, 3,707 slaves) had the next largest numbers of both blacks and slaves in the North after New York.
The black family was either ignored or interpreted as non‑existent in New York slavery scholarship; the available primary source materials were hardly used. Edwin Olson's traditional institutional study regarded slavery as a patriarchal system in which negroes were seen as inferior members of the white owner's family. He devoted two pages to the slave family: "Among themselves, slaves had 'heathen marriages' which were loosely regarded, because when a 'married couple' were separated‑‑geographically speaking‑‑by sale, both parties often 'married' again. . . ."24 Samuel McKee's 1935 study, Labor in Colonial New York,1664‑1776, concerned New York's varied labor force and only incidentally mentioned the slave family. He asserted that "it may seem like an extreme analogy, and yet it is probably true, that the owners viewed the unions and subsequent reproduction of slaves as they did similar activities among livestock. The idea of family life among the slaves rarely appears. . . . It is difficult to conceive of the casual mating which resulted from their being together in a household as marriage. . . ."25
Edgar McManus's work is the only major published body of research on New York slavery. In his thesis, McManus argued that urban slave marriages lacked permanence. Artisans and tradesmen needed skilled slave labor, not the service of entire families. Blacks had difficulty maintaining marriages; most marital relations were "necessarily transient and polygamous."26 His published study primarily dealt with the economic profitability of slavery, the slave trade, slave controls, revolts, runaways, and the antislavery and gradual emancipation movements. He spent four pages on the slave family, relying on the interpretations of Frazier and Stampp and on a small body of evidence‑‑newspaper runaway slave ads, a missionary tract by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, a town record, and a small number of abstracted wills. He argued the following:27
For most of the slaves family attachments were casual and impermanent. The slave system was simply not structured to support slave families and no amount of good will could surmount this fact or mitigate its effects. Slave families that were somehow kept together inevitably burdened slaveholders with costly and unmanageable numbers of slave children. Another difficulty was that the typical slave family was divided among several owners. . . . Since it was economically unfeasible for slaveholders as a class to subordinate their buying and selling to the stability of the slave family, it was inevitable that families should disintegrate. . . . Such conditions created a bad climate of sexual morality. Most slaves regarded monogamy as an aberration when they regarded it at all, for spouses who might be separated at any time by sale were not likely to develop deep emotional loyalties to one another.
Later research by McManus continued to stress that "slaveholding was so widely diffused on a petty scale that most bondsmen had to form their friendships and family attachments outside the premises of their masters."28 The most recent lengthy work on New York slavery is Thomas Davis's 1974 Columbia University dissertation on "Slavery in Colonial New York City," which focused on the problems of maintaining order and social control over the slave population. Davis's brief treatment of the family concluded that even though members lived apart and marriages were unstable, the slave family definitely existed as a system of meaningful relationships between people. Arthur Zilversmit's excellent and important study of the abolition process in the northern states covered the philosophical, political, and legislative maneuvers in each state which resulted in freedom for the enslaved population. He incidentally mentioned that the slave family "was a precarious institution subject to the needs and wishes of the master. .. Although [some] individual masters tried to preserve family ties, the slave family was unprotected by law, weakened by insecurity, and easily destroyed. The weakness of the family encouraged casual sexual relationships rather than permanent bonds."29
This study explores the difficulties the slave family faced in the small holdings of urban and rural New York. The persuasive models of black community and family life advanced by historians of southern plantation slavery do not fully work when transplanted to New York. The separate black culture, religion, and social life enjoyed in the slave quarters of large plantations was denied to New York slaves who were segregated from other blacks in small households in close daily proximity to their masters. Slaves in the big plantation counties of the South lived in areas of dense black population; they could often live with or near immediate and extended kin for long periods of time. Where real relatives had been sold away, members of the large resident black community could serve as surrogate family. In contrast, New York blacks ordinarily lived apart from both close family members and distant kin and with from only none to one or two other blacks; the thin concentration of the black population further increased the isolation experienced by slaves in their individual households.
* * * * *
This study analyzes the slave and free black population of the southern six counties of New York: Kings, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, New York, and Westchester.30 As table 1 shows, the black population in the southern six counties of the state represents a large proportion of all blacks in New York‑‑from 90.9 percent of them in 1698 down to 52.9 percent by 1830. The slow relative loss of black population in the southern six counties to the northern counties was caused by white population movement in the eighteenth century up the Hudson and away from the early centers of population in New York City and Long Island.31 This original area of white and black settlement, however, continued to include a high proportion of the state's blacks, enabling this study to cover comprehensively both enslavement and freedom in New York. During the important 1785 to 1827 transitional period of widespread voluntary manumission, gradual emancipation, and the end of legal slavery in New York State, the six‑county sample illustrates the freedom process for a weighty 50 percent of the state's blacks. INSERT TABLE ONE HERE.
This study of the New York slave family breaks new ground in the field of slave scholarship in several ways. Slavery in New York was unique in that it was the only mainland American slave system that evolved out of two colonial powers‑‑Dutch and English. The short tenure of the Dutch left little imprint on the legal structure of slavery instituted by the British, but the Dutch left behind a small free black community which stood in contrast to almost universal black slavery under the new, rigid, British slave system; almost no manumissions took place for the next hundred years. The multicultural origins of New York were also reflected in the sharply different slaveholding patterns and attitudes toward slavery of Dutch and English whites for over 150 years after New Netherland became New York. Much as the Dutch‑descended Afrikaners in South Africa became diehard proponents of racial oppression and apartheid, so the Dutch in New York became vehement supporters of slavery to the very end.
Unlike most southern plantation studies, this work concerns an earlier time period during which slave importations were legal and much of the population under investigation were immigrants or first or second generation Afro‑Americans. New York's slaves came either directly from Africa or indirectly via the Caribbean from points along the 4,000 mile‑long African coastline from the Senegal River in the north to the southern limit of Angola as well as the island of Madagascar. Traces of recently‑arrived African culture can be seen in slaves' names, tribal body marks, African language, black religious rites and beliefs, songs, the forms followed at public festivities, and in customs surrounding childbirth.
This study provides a rare look at urban slavery in both New York City and in the nearby rural counties which existed in the city's urban orbit. It can serve as a new model for American slavery in both the urban and the small slaveholding setting. The main feature that differentiates slavery in the North from the South is the preponderance of small slaveholdings. Except for some modestly sized (by southern standards) plantations in the Narragansett region of Rhode Island, most northern slaveowners possessed only between one and five slaves. Whereas historians of southern slavery rely on the records kept by large plantation owners and Union Army data on ex‑slaves as source material for the study of the slave family, historians of northern slavery must mine different manuscript and primary sources left behind by small households. Sources for the study of slaves in small holdings in New York are abundant and voluminous and have never before been used to study this particular historical population: censuses, church records, wills, estate inventories, bills of sale, runaway slave advertisements, laws, town records, manumission documents, registers of the births of slave children, overseer of the poor rolls for the support of abandoned slave infants, state comptroller's records for the support of abandoned slave infants and superannuated freedmen, and ship registers of blacks evacuated with the British in 1783.
Historians of southern urban and northern slavery have previously noted the destructive effect of small holdings on the slave family based only on small numbers of examples, court cases, legal statutes and pass laws, and runaway slave advertisements. This study, for the first time, uses large data bases32 to prove conclusively that most slave families were unable to live together in the small slaveholdings of New York. Slaves were randomly distributed rather than familially grouped into white households. Historians are not mathematicians; while the use of sophisticated statistical techniques must not be allowed to overshadow the human quality of our past, judiciously used hard, mass, quantitative data‑‑the analysis of thousands of slaves bequeathed in wills or thousands of slaves manumitted by their owners rather than only a few cases‑‑enables historians to make more soundly based arguments about the past than ever before. These large data bases provide concrete information on such widely diverse questions as the size, age, and sex composition of slaveholdings, what happened to individual slaves and the slave family at the death of owners, the care afforded to elderly slaves, whether slaves were freed singly or at different times from other family members, how far away in miles slaves were sold, how often slave women gave birth to children, and whether ex‑New York slaves were evacuated alone or in family groups by the British at the end of the Revolution.
The slave family in New York existed within a cohesive slave system whose laws, controls, and labor distribution methods were designed to fulfill local white need for bound black workers. The New York institution of slavery functioned profitably for whites while dealing as well as it could with the dependent and deviant groups of slaves present in all slave systems: young children, pregnant women, the elderly, runaways, arsonists, thieves, and insurrectionists. Aside from occasional private violence by slaves against masters, New York experienced relatively few mass uprisings: a 1712 conspiracy and a 1741 alleged plot in New York City, a 1753 plot by twelve blacks in Dutchess County, a 1761 plan by thirteen slaves to fire the town of Schenectady, and a 1775 escape attempt in Ulster County.
The black family and its needs were not taken into consideration in the planning of the slave system. Slaves in the urban households of New York City and the small family farms of the rural counties lived under artificial demographic conditions created as a by‑product of slavery: small overall black population, low black population density, unbalanced adult sex ratios, and the random rather than familial distribution of slaves through sale and purchase into white households. A distinctive New York Afro‑American life cycle developed under these circumstances of enslavement. New York slaves experienced childhood, marriage, parenthood, and old age radically differently than did freed blacks or whites.
The Afro‑American life cycle of New York slaves included a childhood during which a premium was placed on labor value rather than on personal development. Children grew up apart from their fathers and older siblings. They often only remained with their mothers until the age of six when their growing labor value increased the likelihood of separation by sale. Courtship and marriage were subordinated to the private and public control requirements of a slave system which restricted slave travel and communication with other blacks. White labor needs dictated that spouses could be sold at will and domiciled separately from each other with the ever‑present danger that one partner would be removed beyond visiting distance by sale. Parenthood, instead of completing the nuclear family unit, meant piecemeal separation from children and inability to direct their well‑being. Fathers rarely lived with their children, and mothers functioned as short‑term single parents until children were sold away; neither parent could expect to raise personally their offspring to adulthood or invest in their futures. The slave family could not support its elderly; once past useful labor to whites, slaves relied on their owners' good will for care in old age. Elderly slaves were burdensome to their owners; some received decent food, clothing, shelter, and medical care while others were abused or abandoned. In the lifelong absence of real parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, and children, slaves in the same household must have often served as de facto kin, providing whatever love, comfort, companionship, friendship, and support they could for each other.
The slave family was unable to live together, jointly plan a future for all of is members, act as an economic unit, share each other's daily lives, or provide love, care, protection, and help on a continual basis. Traditional family roles and legal privileges between spouses and between parents and children were undermined by the slave's primary status as property. Property relations were protected in law at the expense of black family relations. In spite of all of these obstacles, the ideals of family love and obligation often survived within the black community.
Historians of New York slavery‑‑Olson, McKee, McManus, Davis, and Zilversmit‑‑all noted that small holdings meant that slave family members were divided among several owners. They incorrectly assumed, however, that this separation led blacks to value their families less deeply. To be sure, separate ownership, distance, and sales sundered ties that were already transitory or weak; serial relationships and marriages were undoubtedly common. Polygamy, adultery, and divorce must also have been more prevalent in the slave than in the free black or white population as a result of the involuntary physical separation of men and women. Relationships with siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and relatives through marriage, except where maintained through spontaneous affection or proximity, may have also been weakened by lack of contact. Such relatives were involuntarily kept apart for years or even for entire lifetimes.
For many slaves, however, separation over both distance and time did not end the love they felt for remembered parents, spouses, and children. We have forgotten that slaves were human beings with the same emotional and psychological characteristics that cause free men and women to love each other and their children. We ought not to assume that victims of tragic historical circumstances‑‑enslavement, war, internment in concentration camps, famine‑‑lose either their humanity or their connection to loved ones; difficult circumstances may in fact inflate love and longing to heroic proportions. It can be argued that victims of war or persecution may suffer only temporary forced isolation from family but that their socialization from childhood led them to expect family cohabitation and continuity as norms for childhood, marriage, and parenthood. Although slaves learned as children to expect that separation from family would be a way of life, separation may indeed have made the heart grow fonder.
Hard numerical data prove that the black family was physically separated by slavery but the black family was not demolished by the daunting New York slave system. Love and the frequency of family survival cannot be quantified but evidence of the persistent strong bonds between husbands and wives and between parents and children abounds in massive anecdotal case histories of thousands of slaves. It can be seen in the efforts of some owners to keep slave families together or permit visitations‑‑or sometimes to keep them apart‑‑because they knew of the deep attachments their bondsmen felt for each other. Slave autobiographies reveal the pain suffered at separation from loved ones and the endurance of such memories. Parents were frequently present at the baptisms of their children; they also passed on family given names and surnames to their children which would stay with them for life, wherever they went. Husbands and wives risked capture and severe punishment when they ran away to be together or slipped out of their masters' premises at night for covert reunions. Free husbands sought to purchase the freedom of their enslaved wives and children. Parents desperately tried to arrange for the liberty of their children; some hoped that baptism would entitle their offspring to freedom, while others tried to bargain with masters for their future manumission. After the American Revolution former slave women who were evacuated with the British widely claimed that they had been born free or had been freed prior to the war in an attempt to guarantee this status for their children.
The staggered period of voluntary manumission and gradual emancipation, 1785 to 1848, placed the slave family under great stress as its members were freed individually, often many years apart. As opposed to the South, where the slave population was suddenly freed en masse by the Emancipation Proclamation, the advancing union armies, and the thirteenth amendment, freedom for slaves in most of the northern states came gradually in the years after the Revolution. Separate ownership guaranteed separate manumission and family disruption as the black population slowly emerged from slavery. Much comparative research needs to be done on the effects of sudden versus gradual emancipation on the black family and on the black population in the immediate post‑slavery periods.
Many newly freed New York blacks continued to live as dependent workers in white households after manumission‑‑still separated from their families. The expectation born under slavery that black families would live apart survived among the first generation of freedmen. While many freedmen found it difficult to support themselves and either lived with whites, relied on their old owners for help, or became paupers, others successfully established their own households and reunited their families. As slaves blacks had been able to perform every kind of skilled and unskilled labor in agriculture, artisanry, commerce, and household service. A population that had functioned well throughout society found sudden unemployment and job discrimination once free. It would take 150 years after slavery ended in New York for blacks to begin to regain entry into a broad spectrum of trades and professions, a participation they had ironically once enjoyed as slaves. The freedom process still continues.
1Ulrich B. Phillips, Life_and_Labor_in_the_Old_South (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1929; reprint ed. 1951), pp. 198‑201.
2Stanley M. Elkins, Slavery: A_Problem_in_AmericanInstitutional_and_Intellectual_Life, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968).
3E. Franklin Frazier, The_Negro_Family_in_the_United States, rev. abridged ed., with a Foreword by Nathan Glazer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), pp. viii, 73, 360.
4Kenneth M. Stampp, The_Peculiar_Institution:_Slavery_in the_Ante‑Bellum_South (New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1956), pp.340‑49.
5Russell Menard, "The Maryland Slave Population, 1658 to 1730: A Demographic Profile of Blacks in Four Counties," William_and_Mary_Quarterly 32 (January 1975): 29‑54; Allan Kulikoff, "The Beginnings of the Afro‑American Family in Maryland," in Aubrey Land, Lois Carr, and Edward Papenfuse, eds. Law,_Society_and_Politics_in_Early_Maryland, Studies in Maryland History and Culture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977), pp. 171‑96; Allan Kulikoff, "Tobacco and Slaves: Population, Economy, and Society in Eighteenth Century Prince George's County, Maryland," (Ph.D. dissertation, Brandeis University, 1976); Herbert S. Klein and Stanley L. Engerman, "Fertility Differentials between Slaves in the United States and the British West Indies: A Note on Lactation Practices and Their Possible Implications," William_and_Mary_Quarterly, 35, no. 2 (April 1978): 357‑74.
6Robert William Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman, Time_on_the Cross:_the_Economics_of_American_Negro_Slavery (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1974).
7Eugene D. Genovese, Roll,_Jordan,_Roll:_The_World_The Slaves_Made (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972).
8Herbert G. Gutman, The_Black_Family_in_Slavery_and_Freedom, 1750‑1925 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1976).
9Ibid., p. 338.
10Ibid., p. 102.
11Gerald W. Mullin, Flight_and_Rebellion:__Slave_Resistance in_Eighteenth‑Century_Virginia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972; reprint ed., New York: Oxford University Press, paperback, 1975); Peter H. Wood, Black_Majority: Negroes_in_Colonial_South_Carolina_from_1670_through_the Stono_Rebellion (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1974).
12Thad W. Tate, The_Negro_in_Eighteenth‑Century_Williamsburg (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1965; reprint ed., 1972), pp. 29, 60‑62.
13Richard C. Wade, Slavery_in_the_Cities:__The_South_1820‑1860 (New York: Oxford University Press paperback, 1972), p. 118. Also see pp. 114, 117‑24.
14Ibid., p. 118.
15Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census, A Century of Population Growth: From the First Census of the United States to the Twelfth 1790‑1900, History of American Economy: Studies and Materials for Study (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1909; reprint ed., New York: Johnson Reprint Corp., 1966), table 105, pp. 201‑7.
16Lorenzo Johnston Greene, The_Negro_in_Colonial_New England, with a Preface by Benjamin Quarles, Studies in American Negro Life, August Meier, ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942; reprint ed., New York: Atheneum, 1974), pp. 191‑93, 195.
17Ibid., p. 209. This was to prevent the occurrence of racially mixed marriages. Greene incorrectly gives the date of this law as December 1705/1706.
18Ibid., pp. 213, 216‑17.
19Gary B. Nash, "Slaves and Slaveowners in Colonial Philadelphia," William_and_Mary_Quarterly 30 (1973): 239.
20These figures, 1640 to 1780, are in U.S. Bureau of the Census, Social Science Research Council, Historical Statistics of the United States‑ Colonial Times to 1957: A Statistical Abstract Supplement (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1960), Series Z 1‑19, p. 756. These figures are based on projected population estimates for each year; they are useful in comparing the black populations generally of each colony over time.
21Robert V. Wells, The_Population_of_the_British_Colonies_in America_before_1776:__A_Survey_of_Census_Data (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975), p. 266. Wells's figures for South Carolina were incorrect; it was 60 percent black by 1750.
22In 1790 New Jersey's population was 7.7 percent black while New York's was 7.6 percent black. The two states had equal proportions of slaves in the population‑‑6.2 percent. In terms of sheer numbers, however, New York had almost double the number of either blacks or slaves as New Jersey.
23Tables comparing the numbers of blacks and slaves in each colony and the proportions of blacks and slaves in their total populations are in app. 2.
24Edwin Olson, "Negro Slavery in New York, 1626‑1827" (Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1938), pp. 135, 176.
25Samuel McKee, Labor_in_Colonial_New_York,_1664‑1776, Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law No. 410 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935; reprint ed., Port Washington, N.Y.: Ira J. Friedman, Inc., 1963), p. 125.
26Edgar McManus, "Negro Slavery in New York" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1959), pp. 118‑19.
27Edgar McManus, A_History_of_Negro_Slavery_in_New_York (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1966), pp. 65‑66.
28Edgar McManus, Black_Bondage_in_the_North (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1973), p. 87.
29Arthur Zilversmit, The_First_Emancipation:__The_Abolition of_Slavery_in_the_North (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), pp. 10‑11.
30Between 1698 and 1771, there were ten counties in New York, of which my sample covers six. Between 1784 and 1789, five new counties emerged from lands ceded by Albany‑‑Montgomery, Washington, Columbia, Clinton and Ontario counties.
31Wells, Population_in_America_Before_1776, p. 114.
32See app. 19 on the size of data bases used in this study.


Chapter Two


The [Dutch West India] Company will endeavor to supply the colonists with as many blacks as it possibly can, on the conditions hereafter to be made, without however being bound to do so to a greater extent or for a longer time than it shall see fit.
Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions (June 7, 1629)
The Dutch arrived on the African coast in 1592. In 1612 they built Fort Nassau at Mouri on the Gold Coast. Five years later, they purchased the island of Goree from local natives, built two forts on it, and established a trading center (factory) at Rio Fresco on the nearby mainland. These two endeavors gave the Dutch early access to both the Gambia River and Gold Coast regions. When the Dutch West India Company was chartered in 1621, it received a monopoly on all African trade and the right to develop Dutch possessions in the New World.
The Dutch West India Company established settlements in Pernambuco, Brazil, in 1624; in New Netherland in 1624; and on the New World islands of Curacao, St. Eustatius, and Tobago in the 1630s. The great demand for slaves in their Brazilian and Caribbean possessions spurred the Dutch to expand their activities in the slave trade. The Dutch West India Company also found it lucrative to ship slaves from West Africa to Curacao and then smuggle them into the Spanish colonies. Emboldened by the prospect of increasing trade and profits, the Dutch broke the Portuguese stranglehold on the West African coast between 1637 and 1642. They took over the Portuguese forts at Elmina, Axim (Fort St. Anthony) and Shama (near the mouth of the Pra River) and temporarily occupied Angola in 1641. These conquests made the Dutch the dominant European power in the Gold Coast region.1
The Dutch diverted only a small stream of their African slaves to their colony at New Netherland before the 1650s. Most of the slaves brought between 1626 and 1652 were captured Spanish or Portuguese prizes or blacks carried under foreign flags rather than slaves supplied directly by the Dutch West India Company. The first blacks to arrive in New Amsterdam were Paul d' Angola, Simon Congo, Anthony Portuguese, John Francisco, and seven other males in 1626. Their names indicate that they may have been slaves on Portuguese or Spanish ships captured at sea. Three women were brought in from Angola in 1628. The Reverend Jonas Michaelius, first minister of the Dutch Reformed Church of New Netherland, gave his opinion of their value as maid‑servants: "the Angola slaves are thievish, lazy and useless trash." These fourteen blacks formed 5.2 percent of the 270‑person population of New Amsterdam in 1628. The next three blacks to enter New Amsterdam were purchased by the Director of the Dutch West India Company from a Providence Island ship captain in 1636. A French privateer, La Garce, arrived with slaves in 1642, and Tamandare put into port from Brazil in 1646 with a cargo of slaves. A Spanish slaver, St. Anthoni, captured in 1652 by a Dutch privateer, provided New Amsterdam with forty‑four confiscated slaves: twenty men, ten women, two adults of unknown sex, and twelve children. Some were sold to the Dutch West India Company while others were vended to private residents.2
In the 1650s the Dutch West India Company began to supply New Amsterdam directly with slaves. In 1652 it also gave the inhabitants of New Amsterdam permission to sail to the coast of Angola and bring back slaves. They were forbidden, however, to trade anywhere along the entire west coast of Africa from Cape Verd to Cape Lopes de Gonsalve since these areas were the preserves of the Dutch West India Company. The Dutch West India Company's slaver Witte Paert brought slaves directly from the Bight of Guinea in 1655; most of this shipment of slaves, however, was re‑sold to other colonies. In December 1659 Sphera Mundi transported slaves from Curacao to New Amsterdam for the use of Director Peter Stuyvesant and Commissary Van Brugge. The four males and one female (one died before arrival) had only landed in Curacao from Africa in August. The Eyckenboom brought slaves in 1660, as did New Netherland Indian on each of its two trips in 1661 (one cargo contained thirty‑six slaves from Curacao). The slaves from both ships were sold at public auction to private buyers by the Dutch West India Company.3
A large number of slaves arrived in New Amsterdam in the last months before the colony fell to the English. The slave cargo of Sparrow (Musch) which arrived in May 1664 consisted of forty blacks; the Dutch West India Company kept six males and five females for its own use and sold twenty‑nine slaves to private buyers (eighteen males, ten females, and one child). On August 14, 1664, Gideon delivered 290 slaves to New Amsterdam from Guinea and Angola via Curacao. Some of the blacks on Gideon had been brought directly from Africa, although most were seasoned slaves who had spent a period of time in Curacao. Seventy‑two of the blacks were sent to the Company's Delaware colony while 218 (115 men, 103 women) were sold to the inhabitants of New Amsterdam before the arrival of the British on September 8, 1664.4
The Africans who were brought to New Amsterdam between 1626 and 1664 came from various regions in Western and Western Central Africa. The African origins of New Amsterdam slaves are suggested by their last names listed at baptism or marriage in the records of the Dutch Reformed Church of New Amsterdam from 1639 to 1664: Angola, Cape Verde, Loango (northern Congo), Congo, and the Cape of Good Hope. The majority of slaves who reached New Netherland during these years were probably from Angola. The first Angolan blacks to reach New Amsterdam were captured cargo taken from Portuguese and Spanish slavers. Although Portugal monopolized the Congo and Angola slave trade throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,5 beginning in the 1650s the Dutch West India Company sent its own ships to Angola and permitted New Amsterdam vessels to sail directly to Angola to obtain slaves.
Although Dutch slave trading forts were concentrated in the Gambia River and Gold Coast regions, by the 1650s and 1660s Dutch West India Company ships procured slaves along the entire African coastline from Cape Verd to Cape Lopes de Gonsalve in addition to Angola. In 1659 Eyckenboom was chartered to sail from Holland to Cape Verd, then proceed all along the coast to the Dutch factory at Elmina on the Gold Coast, on to the Bight of Guinea, and deliver its slave cargo to the islands of Curacao, Bonaire, and Aruba; it was then to stop at New Netherland before returning home to Amsterdam. In 1659 the slaver St. Jan purchased 219 slaves destined for Curacao at Bonny, a village near the mouth of the New Calabar River in the Bight of Biafra. In 1663 Gideon was chartered in Amsterdam to make a stop at Elmina and then to take on a full complement of 275 slaves at Loango (Congo) and stations in Angola which was to be disposed of at Cayenne (French Guiana), Curacao, and New Netherland.6
Blacks who were sold to or stolen by European slave traders at these coastal depots came from a wide variety of ethnic groups and spoke many different African tongues. Slaves brought to New Amsterdam from the Senegambia region (including Cape Verd and the Dutch fort at Goree) belonged to Pular‑speaking or Malinke‑speaking (Mandingo) groups, Bambara (from the interior), or were Wolofs, Fulbe, or Fulani. Slaves gathered along the Gold Coast were Akan‑speaking peoples and Ashanti from the inland rain forests. Dutch factors in this area obtained slaves through trade with the African Kings of Wydah, Benin, Futton, Fantyn, Aguina, Cabessaland, Lay, Fetu, Ardra, Akim, and Aquaffo. Wydah traders went as far as 200 miles inland to capture or trade for slaves to sell to the Dutch. Blacks from the New Calabar region were Ibo or Ijo. The many blacks taken from Western Central Africa (the Congo and Angola) belonged to Bantu‑speaking nations.7
Some blacks were shipped directly from Africa to New Amsterdam, either by private traders or the Dutch West India Company. Some Africans who were packed into the holds of Portuguese or Spanish slave ships destined for Iberian colonies in the New World arrived in New Netherland when such ships were seized en route by Dutch or French privateers and were diverted to New Amsterdam. Many other Africans, however, were "seasoned" to the labor routines of slavery on such island depots as Curacao, St. Thomas, and St. Domingo8 before being shipped to New Amsterdam by the Dutch West India Company. Seasoned Spanish slaves who were being transported from one Spanish Caribbean island to another often fell prey to piracy and were also sold in New Netherland.9
Seasoned slaves were preferred in New Amsterdam over blacks freshly imported from Africa. Most of the seasoned slaves who were brought into New Netherland by the Dutch West India Company came from Curacao. The pride of new slaves from Africa reduced their market value in comparison to "Negroes who had been 12 or 13 years in the West Indies and who for a year or two had always lived here with Dutch people" and were therefore deemed "a better sort of Negroes."10 In a 1660 letter to Vice‑Director Beck at Curacao, Peter Stuyvesant stated in his request for slaves for New Amsterdam that "an important service would be conferred on the company, on us and the country if there were among the sold negroes, some of experience who have resided a certain time at Curacao."11
* * * * *
The Africans of many nations brought together in New Amsterdam provided much‑needed labor both for the Dutch West India Company and private slaveholders. Since New Netherland was unable to attract a sufficient number of permanent agricultural settlers, slaves fulfilled the colony's pressing need for workers.12 The Company amassed a large labor force for its own use. In the 1630s the Company's slaves helped to build Fort Amsterdam; they were used in "cutting building timber and firewood for the Large House as well as the guardhouse, splitting palisades, clearing land, burning lime and helping to bring in the grain in harvest time, together with many other labors. . . . "13
In the 1650s and 1660s Company slaves continued to be used for agricultural, public, and military works. In 1651 they faced the outside of the fort with flat sods, and in 1658 they worked on the construction of a wagon road from New Amsterdam to the outlying village of Harlem. In 1660 Director Peter Stuyvesant requested that additional slaves be sent to New Amsterdam from Curacao for Company use: "They ought to be stout and strong fellows, fit for immediate employment on this fortress and other works; also, if required, in war against the wild barbarians, either to pursue them when retreating, or else to carry some of the soldiers' baggage. . . . " In 1664 Stuyvesant wrote that a recent shipment of slaves would be used "to procure provisions and all sorts of timber work, fix ox carts and a new rosmill."14
The desperate need for labor in the new colony rendered the Dutch system of slavery pragmatic--the Dutch regarded slavery as an economic expedient to furnish the settlement with workers. They either did not intend to, or were not in power long enough to make slavery into a form of social organization or race control; they developed no rigid slave system or formal slave code. (The English colonies also did not pass legislation controlling blacks before the 1660s.) Freed negroes were not legally discriminated against--no racial legislation existed to restrict their freedom to own property, intermarry with whites, or own white indentured servants.15 The Dutch attitude toward miscegenation, however, was expressed in a 1638 ordinance: "Each and everyone must refrain from fighting, adulterous intercourse with heathens, blacks, or other persons, mutiny, theft, false swearing, and other immoralities. . . . "16 While not as legally prohibitive as slavery would later become under the English, by 1664 the use of slave labor in New Netherland had achieved local importance and acceptance and was deeply entrenched.17
* * * * *
The elasticity of the slave system in New Netherland allowed family life to be recreated among the Africans who almost always arrived in the colony without either kinsmen or mates. While many of the slaves were able to marry and establish families, a high sex ratio (excess of males over females) among imported blacks prevented some men from finding wives. Males were preferred as laborers and were therefore overrepresented on each of the ships which deposited slave cargoes in New Amsterdam. The sex of adult blacks imported into New Amsterdam between 1626 and 1664 is known for 306 slaves: 174 were male and 132 were female. This preponderance of males yields a sex ratio of 131 (131 males per 100 females in the population). Black adult sex ratios in the colony probably improved in the early 1660s as the generation of black children born in New Amsterdam in the 1630s reached maturity.
At least some black marriages took place in the Dutch Reformed Church of New Amsterdam. As the established church of the colony from 1628 to 1664, the Dutch Reformed Church was dominant throughout the Dutch period and was the only religious body in New Netherland until Presbyterians formed a congregation in 1642. Dutch religious leaders in the Netherlands offered little criticism of the institution of slavery and called only for kind treatment and Christianization of the slaves. Ministers in New Amsterdam did not criticize slavery either--they were responsible to the Dutch West India Company and to officials such as Peter Stuyvesant18 who paid their salaries and profited greatly from slavery and the slave trade.19
Marriage records for the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam survive for the years 1639 to 1866.20 The first recorded black marriages occurred on May 5, 1641, when two couples were married: Anthony Van Angola with Catalina Van Angola, and Lucie D'Angola with Laurens Van Angola. Altogether twenty‑six black marriages took place between 1641 and 1664 in the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam.21 Twenty‑five of the twenty‑six couples were of unknown legal status, which reflected either their free status or the secondary importance attached to their condition of slavery by Dutch church officials. The one couple identified as slaves were owned together and were married on October 4, 1659: Franciscus Neger and Catharina Negrinne, "Slaven Van Corn. de Potter."
All of the fifty‑two spouses had last names. Thirty‑one of their names reflected countries of origin prior to arrival at New Amsterdam. Twenty‑eight names were variations of Angola (De Angola, Van Angola, D'Angool, or plain Angola) while three names indicated either other African locations or African ports of embarkation (Van Loange [Loango, northern Congo], de Chongo [Congo], and Van CapoVerde [Cape Verd or the Cape Verde islands]). Seven names reflected the racial and color characteristic of the person--Neger, Negrinne, Crioell, or Criolyo. Both types of names were probably assigned to incoming blacks by the Dutch to describe the geographical and racial characteristics of their new labor force.22 The remaining fourteen last names were individualized and were often of Dutch form and construction (Pieterszen, Emanuels, Jans, and Mattheuszen),23 reflecting either (or both) the newly acquired Dutch language patterns of the Africans and the attempts of the clergy to translate African or unfamiliar names into Dutch usages.
Five of the spouses also had a reference to their place of origin recorded with their marriage: Sebastiaen de Britto, Van St. Domingo, or Christoffel Crioell, Van St. Thomas. During Christoffel's lifetime his last name changed in a succession of records: Christoffel Crioell, Van St. Thomas (1656) later became Christoffel Santomme (1671).24 This fluidity probably reflected a gradual evolution of family names due partially to phonetic spelling in records and to white carelessness or confusion as to the true last names of their slaves and freed blacks. To be sure, however, the first generation of slaves in New Amsterdam had family surnames, a fact recognized by the white community.
The exact date of the birth of the first black child in New Amsterdam is unknown. It is also unknown what proportion of immigrant black women ever bore children, how many they delivered here during their lifetimes (they ranged in age from puberty to age forty [and sometimes older] upon arrival), and how many of their offspring survived to adulthood. It is therefore uncertain when New Netherland's black population first maintained its numbers through natural reproduction.25
Black children were born as early as the 1630s in New Amsterdam; they began to be baptized in 1639 in the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam. In this early period, only children of confessing members were allowed to be baptized, indicating that several adult negroes were full members of the Church. The Dutch Reformed Church, however, had little overall success in attracting blacks. In order to become full communicants, blacks had to demonstrate a good understanding of the basic beliefs of the Dutch Reformed Church. A difficult process of catechetical study was required which, coupled with sophisticated, unemotional sermons, discouraged black enthusiasm and participation.26
Ministers were also reluctant to baptize negroes because whites feared that Christianity necessitated emancipation. The reaction of white colonists to the retention in slavery of children of half‑freed Christian negroes (explained below) in 1649 indicated the potential power of this equation between Christianity and freedom. Domine Henricus Selyns, on June 9, 1664, wrote to the Classis of Amsterdam that "the negroes request baptism for their children‑‑we have refused due to their lack of knowledge and faith, and because of their worldly aims. The parents wanted nothing else than to deliver their children from bodily slavery, without striving for Christian virtues."27
In spite of these obstacles the Church was interested in catechizing negroes, and the records indicate that baptisms of confessing black members and their children took place as early as 1639.28 Fifty‑one blacks were baptized from 1639 to 1655 in the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam:29 one male adult, one female adult, twenty‑nine male children, and twenty female children. All of the forty‑nine children who appeared in the baptismal register were listed as the children of their parent or parents rather than as the servants of owners. None of the baptized children or their listed parents had a specific recorded legal status, indicating that they were either already free or that their position as slaves was not the overwhelming, fixed badge that it would later become. Whether really slave or free, the primary identification of the child in the church records was to its parents rather than to owners.
The Dutch accorded black fathers the primary parental role at baptism. The father alone was generally listed (46 fathers only, 3 mothers only);30 it was rare for mothers to be listed at all. The black fathers may have been accorded a predominant religious place either because they were free or half‑free or because the Dutch acknowledged slave men to be the heads of their families. All but one of the parents bore last names, a further indication of white recognition of the black family.
Baptismal witnesses were usually black, revealing family, social, and community ties among black New Netherlanders. All but two of the fifty‑one baptisms had witnesses: in twenty‑eight cases the witnesses were other blacks of unknown relationship to the family. Another seventeen baptisms had black witnesses, but whites were also present. In four baptisms only whites (possible owners, friends, or neighbors) attended the ceremony as witnesses.31 Baptism, as a familial event, was shared with other members, possibly relatives, of the black community in forty‑five out of fifty‑one cases (88.2 percent).
Many of the slaves in early New Amsterdam married and raised families. The favorable response of the Dutch West India Company on February 25, 1644, to a plea for emancipation made by several male slaves revealed that the blacks had formed nuclear families and were supporting their wives and children:32
We, William Kieft and Council of New Netherland having considered the petition of the Negroes named Paulo Angola, Big Manuel, Little Manuel, Manuel de Gerrit de Reus, Simon Congo, Anthony Portugis, Gracia, Peter Santomee, Jan Francisco, Little Anthony, Jan Fort Orange, who have served the Company 18 or 19 years, to be liberated from their servitude . . . also that they are burthened with many children so that it is impossible for them to support their wives and children, as they have been accustomed to do, if they must continue in the Company's service . . . do release, for the term of their natural lives, the above named and their Wives from Slavery.
The eleven petitioners had arrived in 1625 or 1626‑‑eighteen or nineteen years before their petition--and must have been the first eleven blacks imported into New Amsterdam. They had presumably married women imported between 1628 and 1644, including, perhaps the three Angola women or slaves from the La Garce shipment.
The Dutch West India Company released these slaves on a "half‑freedom" plan which gave the Company the produce and periodic labor that it required without the responsibility of superintending and maintaining the slaves. It may have devised the "half‑freedom" arrangement as a form of semi‑retirement for slaves who had already served almost twenty years by 1644.33 The Company was mainly interested in the labor provided by black people, not in locking them into legal, perpetual slavery. By freeing older slaves, they received a tribute of food supplies and escaped the burden of supporting aging slaves. The blacks who were freed would be able "to earn their livelihood by Agriculture, on the land shewn and granted to them, on condition that they . . . shall be bound to pay for the freedom they receive . . . annually . . . to the [Dutch] West India Company . . . thirty skepels of Maize or Wheat, Pease or Beans, and one Fat hog, valued at twenty guilders."34 If the tribute were not paid, their freedom was forfeited. They were also obligated to work for the Company for wages whenever their services were required. One further condition was set: "that their children at present born or yet to be born, shall be bound and obligated to serve the Honorable West India Company as Slaves."35
A major controversy developed around this last stipulation. In a "Remonstrance of the People of New Netherland" to the Lords States General of the United Netherlands on July 28, 1649, the white residents complained that the children of freed Christian slaves were still enslaved contrary to law that anyone born of a free Christian mother should be free.36 The Dutch West India Company's answer came six months later. Although it reiterated that it had freed the adult blacks on the condition that their children should serve the company whenever it pleased, it moderated its claim on the service of these children from slavery to occasional labor. The Company explained that of all the children, no more than three were in service‑‑one with Stuyvesant on the Company's bouwerie, one at the house of Hope in Hartford, Connecticut, and one with Martin Krigier, who had reared her from a little child at his own expense.37 Christianity in New Netherland was therefore a potential route out of slavery for blacks.
The original slaves in New Amsterdam were often able to create kinship and friendship networks in addition to families. The first generation of New York slaves displayed African cultural norms of familial obligation: real or fictive kin cared for dependent members of the group.38 The black community, or perhaps black relatives, fulfilled familial obligations by taking in orphaned children and assuring the welfare of‑‑and trying to gain freedom for‑‑enslaved black children.
Three cases illustrate the black community's concern for black children. The court session of March 15, 1655, heard the case of Anthony Matysen, a negro, v. Egberts Van Borsum. Van Borsum had given Matysen and his wife one of his negro's children to nurse and rear,39 and Matysen claimed not to have been paid for this as promised. Matysen requested that the child be declared free and that he and his wife would rear it at their own expense. As the defendant wanted his slave back, the court ordered that the child be returned to him, and required Van Borsum to pay Matysen the sum contracted for the child's temporary care.40 On March 21, 1661, Emanuel Pieterszen and his wife Dorothy Angola petitioned for a certificate of freedom for a lad named Anthony Angola, whom they had adopted when an infant and had since educated and reared. The petition was granted.41 A similar petition was filed on December 6, 1663, by Domingo Angola, a free negro, praying for the manumission of eighteen‑year‑old Christina, a baptized orphan daughter of deceased black parents Anthonya and Manuel Trumpeter. The court freed her upon furnishing the Company with another negro in her place or upon paying 300 guilders.42
* * * * *
Many slaves were freed between 1644 and 1664, both by the Dutch West India Company and by individual owners. Paul d'Angola and Clara Crioole were privately freed by their master Capt. Jan De Vries.43 On September 27, 1646, Jan Francisco the Younger was freed for long and faithful service on condition that "he pay to the Company during his life 10 skepels of wheat or its value yearly, in return for his freedom."44 In an act of private manumission on February 17, 1648, Philip Jansen Ringo freed Manuel the [black] Spaniard for the sum of 300 guilders. On December 28, 1662, three negro women petitioned the Dutch West India Company for their freedom and were granted it on the condition that one of the three do the director general's housework each week. On April 19, 1663, Mayken, an old and sickly black woman, was granted her freedom outright by the Dutch West India Company, "she having served as a slave since the year 1628." She must have been one of the three original women from Angola to reach New Amsterdam. Domingo Angola and his wife Maykie were freed outright by the Dutch West India Company on April 17, 1664. Moreover, some of the slaves released earlier on the half‑freedom plan were later totally manumitted. On September 4, 1664, eight half‑slaves (Ascento Angola, Christopher Santome, Peter Petersen Criolie, Anthony Criolie, Lewis Guinea, Jan Guinea, Solomon Petersen Criolie, and Basje Pietersen) prayed to the Dutch West India Company to be made entirely free, a request that was granted three months later.45
Dutch slaves who were either fully manumitted or released on the half‑freedom plan by the Dutch West India Company were often given land or were able to rent or buy it so that they could adequately support their wives and children and pay the annual crop tribute to the Company. Between July 13, 1643, and April 8, 1647, for example, land patents were granted to freed negroes Domingo Antony, Catelina (widow of Jochim Antony), Anthony Portuguese, Big Manuel, Anna (widow of Andries d'Angola), Francisco, Antony Congo, Bastien, Jan, and Peter Van Campen. Typical of these grants was the one given to Anthony Portuguese on September 5, 1645, of six morgens and 425 rods of land on Manhattan island.46 All of the lands were contiguous on the public road near a pond known as the Fresh Water on the outskirts of town. The area became known as the "Negroes Land."47 Private citizens also gave lands to free blacks. In 1674 Judith Stuyvesant, widow of Peter Stuyvesant, gave a considerable amount of land to free black Francisco Bastiaenz on the condition that he keep its fences in repair.48 Land ownership by blacks prevented much of the pauperism and dependency which haunted slaves who were later freed in British New York.
Some of the early freed negroes moved to Long Island and other neighboring areas where they joined whites in the founding of new towns. The Dutch spread out over Long Island to settle five towns in Kings County between 1636 and 1661: Breuckelen (Brooklyn), Amersfoort (Flatlands), Midwout (Flatbush), Boswyck (Bushwick), and New Utrecht.49 In 1641 they founded Oude Dorp, the first white settlement on Staten Island.50 Francisco the Negro, one of the eleven slaves manumitted in 1644, became one of the twenty‑three original patentees of Boswyck in 1660. He appeared again on a 1663 "Muster Roll of Officers and Soldiers" in Boswyck along with Anton, another negro.51 In 1681 the original ten patentees of Tappan in Rockland County included five men from the Bowery in Manhattan. Three were white and two were black‑‑Claes Emanuels and John DeVries II. Before removing to Tappan, Emanuels and DeVries had been yeoman farmers in the outward of Manhattan and were close neighbors to several white members of the original patent group.52
Anthony Jansen Van Salee was a mulatto who had been born in the Moroccan seaport of Salee to a Dutch father and a Moorish mother. After his arrival in New Amsterdam (prior to 1638) he obtained a farm and married a white woman of colorful reputation named Grietse Reyniers. After a long series of court cases and disputes with his neighbors, Jansen and his wife were banished from New Netherland on April 7, 1639, for their quarrelsome and scandalous conduct. Prior to his departure in August Jansen successfully petitioned Director Kieft for 200 acres of land at uninhabited Gravesend, for which Jansen would pay the Dutch West India Company one hundred guilders a year over a ten‑year period. Jansen thereby became the first and one of the most prominent landowners in Gravesend, which was subsequently settled by the English in the 1640s.53
The career of Solomon Peters also illustrates the process of freedom and life afterward for some Dutch slaves. Solomon Petersen Criolie was one of the eight half‑slaves who petitioned successfully for their freedom in 1664.54 Salomon Pieterszen and his wife Maria Anthony later appeared in the baptismal registers of the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam at the baptisms of their children Jacob (July 15, 1668), Mary (January 28, 1671), Celitie (January 16, 1674), and Abraham (October 14, 1676). After achieving full freedom in 1664, Solomon Peters lived with his wife in a settled marriage for the next thirty years, fathered and raised eight children in all, and acquired a home, lands, and property. In his will written on November 30, 1694, at the Bowery, New York City,55 he left his wife, Maria Antonis Portugues, all his lands, house, and household goods either during her widowhood or for life. He left to his four sons all the iron tools, implements of husbandry, guns, swords, and pistols. His eldest son was to receive four pounds while the other three sons were to receive eighteen shillings each.
* * * *
Slavery was a loose institution under the Dutch. It left enough room for slave family life to persist: some slave husbands could contribute to the support of their families, parents and the black community were able to participate in the baptisms of black children, kin and friends were sometimes able to care for other blacks, and black adults were regularly accorded the dignity of bearing a surname. Many Dutch slaves were also able to achieve freedom, and with freedom often came the opportunity to own land and establish a considerable measure of economic independence. Much would change with the advent of British colonial rule in 1664.
1Elizabeth Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America, 4 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication no. 409, 1932; reprint ed., New York: Octagon Books, 1969), 1:74‑76; James Pope‑Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers: A Study of the Atlantic Slave Traders 1441‑1807 (New York: Capricorn Books, 1969), pp. 68‑69, 74‑75. Also see Henry A. Gemery and Jan S. Hogendorn, eds., The Uncommon Market: Essays in the Economic History of the Atlantic Slave Trade (New York: Academic Press, 1979), chap. 14, on the Dutch slave trade.
2Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3:405, 410‑11, 416‑17; Joyce D. Goodfriend, "Burghers and Blacks: The Evolution of a Slave Society at New Amsterdam," New York History, 59, no.2 (April 1978):128‑29, 132; James Johnson, Black Manhattan (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1930; reprint ed., New York: Arno Press, 1968), p. 5; Edmund O'Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, 15 vols. (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co., 1853‑1887), 2:768; Henry C. Murphy, "The First Minister of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in North America: Letter of Domine Jonas Michaelius to Domine Adrianus Smoutius, Dated at Manhattan, 11 August, 1628," Collections of the New‑York Historical Society, vol. 13 (1880):383; Ira Rosenwaike, Population History of New York City (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1972), p. 2.
3Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3:411‑13, 415, 417‑19, 420‑21; Goodfriend, "Burghers and Blacks," pp. 138, 141; McManus, Negro Slavery, p. 5.
4Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3:422, 427‑29, 430, 431, 433‑34; E. B. O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, 1630‑1664: Dutch Manuscripts (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co. for New York State, 1865), pp. 268, 333; Goodfriend, "Burghers and Blacks," p. 139.
5Pope‑Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, p. 183.
6Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 1:141‑45, 152; 3:417‑19, 422, 426.
7Philip D. Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), pp. 184‑90, 246; Pope‑Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, pp. 58‑59, 75‑83, 88, 169, 171, 187, 206; Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 1:90.
8The last names and other information on blacks baptized and married in the Dutch Reformed Church of New Amsterdam often reflected either their countries of origin or places of prior residence. See the February 5, 1645 baptism of Mathias, whose father was Pieter St. Thome and the October 28, 1646 marriage of Sebastiaen de Britto, Van St. Domingo.
9The commonness of Spanish first names and the surname "Portugies" among blacks baptized and married in the Dutch Reformed Church of New Amsterdam between 1639 and 1664 indicates that these blacks had come to New Amsterdam from Portuguese or Spanish ships or colonies.
10A. J. F. Van Laer, ed. and trans., Correspondence of Jeremias Van Rensselaer 1651‑1674 (Albany: University of the State of New York, 1932), p. 167. Note Van Rensselaer's comment on the pride of his African slave Andries.
11Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3: 421.
12McManus, Negro Slavery, pp. 2‑4.
13Goodfriend, "Burghers and Blacks," pp. 129‑30.
14Goodfriend, "Burghers and Blacks," pp. 130‑31; Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3: 421, 429.
15McManus, Negro Slavery, pp. 11‑12.
16Ordinance, April 15, 1638, New York Colonial Manuscripts, IV, 2, in Edmund B. O'Callaghan, ed., Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, 1638‑1674 (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Company, 1868), p. 12.
17Goodfriend, "Burghers and Blacks," pp. 125‑44.
18Peter Stuyvesant exploited his Curacao connections to obtain forty slaves for his own use--the largest slave force in New Netherland. McManus, Negro Slavery, p. 10. In 1660, Peter Stuyvesant erected a Chapel of Trinity Church on his bowery for his family and slaves. Domine Henricus Selyns, who served congregations on Long Island and at Stuyvesant's Bowery from 1660 to 1664, wrote to the Classis of Amsterdam in 1660 that "there is preaching in the morning at Breuckelen, but towards the conclusion of the catechismal exercises of New Amsterdam, at the Bowery . . . where people also come from the city to Evening Service. In addition to the household [families] there are over 40 negroes [from the region of the Negro coast] whose location is the Negro quarter." Edmund B O'Callaghan, ed., The Documentary History of New York State, 4 vols. (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co., 1849‑1851), 3:72; Gerald Francis De Jong, "The Dutch Reformed Church and Negro Slavery in Colonial America," Church History, 40, no. 4 (December 1971):429. Services stopped after Stuyvesant's death in 1672. "Records of St. Marks Church in the Bowery," NYGBR 71 (October 1940):334. Five black couples who were married at the Dutch Reformed Church of New Amsterdam between 1672 and 1691 lived together on Stuyvesant's Bowery; they were probably Peter Stuyvesant's former slaves or their descendants. Four of the five were of unknown status--only one was specified as free.
19De Jong, "The Dutch Reformed Church, " pp. 425‑26.
20Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Marriages from 1639 to 1801 in the Reformed Dutch Church of New York (New York: By the Society, 1890; reprint ed., New York: By the Society, 1940).
21A marriage which took place on November 11, 1663, was also listed again on December 23, 1663, at the Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn. Jan the negro was married to Annetie Abrahams, with a certificate from the Manhattans. "First Book of Records of the Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn, New York," Year Book of the Holland Society of New York (1897): 133‑94.
22This African or racial surname pattern had declined by the 1666 to 1697 period. Nineteen black marriages took place in the Dutch Reformed Church of New Amsterdam during these years. Only seventeen of the thirty‑eight spouses had African/racial last names (44.7 percent) compared to 73.1 percent of spouses married between 1641 and 1664. Blacks within the Dutch community increasingly began to bear individualized family names.
23The two most common Dutch last name modes were "Van" followed by a place name--Van Cortlant or Van Angola--and "son of one's father's first name" as in Franciscus Bastiaenszen, meaning Franciscus, son of Bastiaen. Rosalie Fellows Bailey, "Dutch Systems in Family Naming," National Genealogical Society Special Publication No. 12 (May 1954): 1‑21.
24On September 9, 1656, Christoffel Crioell, Van St. Thomas and Maria Angola were married. According to Berthold Fernow, ed., The Records of New Amsterdam, 1653‑1674, 7 vols. (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, pub. under authority of New York City, 1897; reprint ed., Baltimore: Genealogical Publication Co., 1976), 6:335, on April 16, 1671, Manuel Sanders, widower of Mary Sanders, married Maria Angola, widow of Christoffel Santomme--a remarriage for both partners.
25Birthrates in New Amsterdam were likely to improve when the first generation of American‑born black children reached sexual maturity. Although extra male slaves would continue to be imported into the colony, the sex balance was probably equal among the new generation itself. American‑born women could be expected to bear more children than African‑born women because they were spared the high morbidity and mortality common among immigrant women and because they spent their entire reproductive lives in the colony.
26De Jong, "The Dutch Reformed Church," pp. 429, 432‑33.
27Edward Corwin, ed., Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York, 7 vols. (Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1901‑1916), 1:548.
28Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Reformed Dutch Church, N.Y., Baptisms 1639‑1800, 2 vols. (New York: Printed for the Society, 1901; reprint ed., Upper Saddle River, N.J.: The Gregg Press, 1968). The baptismal records of the Reformed Dutch Church at New Amsterdam begin in 1639--negroes were baptized from this first opening date.
29Black baptisms continued to take place in this church between 1665 and 1679 (eighteen children). Two black children were baptized, in 1681 and 1684, at the Dutch Reformed Church of Flatbush. Records of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush 1677‑1872, 5 vols., Frost Collection, NYGBS. These seventy‑one baptisms represent all black baptisms located prior to 1706.
30Between 1665 and 1684 Dutch Reformed church records of black child baptisms regularly listed both parents (18 both parents listed, 1 single parent--sex unknown, 1 no parents listed). The one child for whom no parents were listed was described as the servant of her owner: "April 20, 1684. Margrita--aged about eleven years--purchased slave at ten years without parents. Witness--Grietje Jans, wife of Teunis Pelt, purchaser." Records of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush, Baptisms 1677‑1872, vol. 1, p. 43, NYGBS.
31The criteria for labelling a witness as black, apart from a specific listing as negro, was an analysis of last names--names like Swartinne, Van Angola, Negro, and Portugies were peculiar to blacks. The names of blacks who appeared in the early marriage records of the Dutch Reformed Church of New Amsterdam were also cross‑checked to identify the race of witnesses at black baptisms. Anthony Backers witnessed the baptism of Daniel in 1669; he is known to be black because he is listed as "Anthony Backers, Neger" at his marriage in 1672. Witnesses were classified as white on the basis of naming or use of the title Mr.; they could be overcounted. Although several of the baptismal witnesses had the same last name as the child's parents, they could not be positively identified as relatives due to the commonness of surnames such as Van Angola and Neger in the black community. Some of the female black witnesses could have been mothers in the many baptisms where only fathers are officially listed as the parent.
32O'Callaghan, ed., Laws and Ordinances, N.Y. Colonial Manuscripts IV, 183, pp. 36‑37.
33Thomas Davis, "Slavery in Colonial New York City" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1974), p. 54.
34O'Callaghan, ed., Laws and Ordinances, N.Y. Colonial Manuscripts IV, 183, pp. 36‑37.
36O'Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative, New York State, 1:302.
38Gutman, Black Family, p. 352, commented that the early date of the 1644 petition for freedom for several slave men and their wives "is presumptive evidence that its expressions of family obligation had their roots in Old World African cultures." This first generation of slaves had had no time either to incorporate Dutch behavior patterns fully or to form new adaptations to enslavement--their behavior reflected the values they brought with them.
39The child's mother could have been dead, or Van Borsum may not have needed the young child's labor at that particular time.
40Fernow, ed., Records of New Amsterdam, 1:298.
41O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, p. 222. Emanuel Pieterszen and Dorothy Angola were free at the time of their 1661 petition but could have been slaves when they first adopted Anthony. They were married on February 2, 1653, at the Dutch Reformed Church, legal status unknown. Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Marriages in the Reformed Dutch Church of New York.
42O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, p. 256. Christina had been baptized on February 18, 1645, in the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam, and was then listed as the child of her father Emanuel Trompetter. Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Reformed Dutch Church, N.Y., Baptisms 1639‑1800.
43Roi Ottley and William Weatherby, eds., The Negro in New York: An Informal Social History (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications for the New York Public Library, 1967), p. 11; O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, pp. 368‑74.
44O'Callaghan, ed., Laws and Ordinances, p. 60; O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, p. 105.
45O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, pp. 45, 242, 246, 264, 269.
46Ibid., pp. 368‑74.
47David Cohen, The Ramapo Mountain People (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1974), p. 26.
48Ottley and Weatherby, eds., The Negro in New York, p. 17.
49Bertus Harry Wabeke, Dutch Emigration to North America 1624‑1860, Booklets of the Netherlands Information Bureau, No. 10 (New York: Netherlands Information Bureau, 1944), pp. 49‑52; Rosenwaike, Population History of N.Y.C., pp. 6, 12.
50Ira K. Morris, Memorial History of Staten Island, 2 vols. (New York: The Winthrop Press, 1900), 1:32.
51Bushwick Town Records--History, Deeds, Births of Slaves 1660‑1825, pp. 7,69, St. Francis.
52Cohen, Ramapo Mountain People, pp. 25‑42.
53Harold Connolly, A Ghetto Grows in Brooklyn (New York: New York University Press, 1977), pp. 3‑4; Leo Hershkowitz, "The Troublesome Turk: An Illustration of Judicial Process in New Amsterdam," New York History, 46, no. 4 (1965): 299‑310; Hazel Van Dyke Roberts, "Anthony Jansen Van Salee 1607‑1676," NYGBR 103 (1972): 16‑28; Henri and Barbara Van Der Zee, A Sweet and Alien Land (New York: The Viking Press, 1978), p. 76.
54O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, p. 269.
55Collections of the New‑York Historical Society, Abstracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office New York City, 1665‑1800, Publication Fund Series, 15 vols. (New York: Printed for the Society, 1892‑1906), 2:293 (hereafter cited as Coll.NYHS, Abstracts of Wills).

Chapter Three

Just imported from the River Gambia in the Schooner Sally . . . to be sold . . . a parcel of likely Men and Women Slaves, with some Boys and Girls of different Ages. . . . It is generally allowed that the Gambia Slaves are much more robust and tractable than any other slaves from the Coast of Guinea, and more Capable of undergoing the Severity of the Winter Seasons in the North-American Colonies, which occasions their being Vastly more esteemed and coveted in this Province and those to the Northward, than any other Slaves whatsoever.
Philadelphia Journal (May 27, 1762)
When New Netherland surrendered to an English fleet in 1664 it had a population of 8,000 persons, of whom approximately 700 to 850 were black,1 both free and slave. Because the August 27, 1664, Articles of Capitulation2 specified that current property and status relations in New Amsterdam would be maintained and honored by the British, free blacks were not deprived of their liberty with the transition in administration. The continuing presence of freed former Dutch slaves in British New York is revealed in a March 7, 1670/71 session of the New York Mayor's Court:3
Domingo and Manuel Angola, free negroes, being sent for to Court are informed, that divers complaints were made to the W [--] Court, that the free negroes were from time to time entertaining sundry of the servants and negroes belonging to the Burghers and inhabitants of this City to the great damage of the owners: thereupon they are strictly charged by the W: Court not to entertain from now henceforth any servants or helps, whether Christians or negroes [longer than 24 hours] on pain of forfeiting their freedom . . . which they were likewise ordered to communicate to the other remaining free negroes.
Along with a free black population the British inherited an informal, still‑immature slave system from the Dutch. The legitimacy of Dutch slave titles was implicitly guaranteed in the general recognition of existing property relations contained in the Articles of Capitulation. John De Decker, a Dutch West India Company official, had received twenty slaves from a cargo of two hundred blacks which was landed shortly before the British takeover of New Amsterdam. Ten were kept locally and ten were transferred to Fort Orange to be sold. British authorities seized the ten blacks in New Amsterdam as property belonging to the Dutch West India Company. This decision was appealed by De Decker on the basis that they were personal slave property, which was to remain intact according to the surrender treaty.4
The Duke of York's Laws, passed on March 1, 1665, were the first laws promulgated by the British in New York. Compiled from the statutes of other English colonies in America, they recognized both the institutions of limited‑term indentured servitude and of lifetime servitude (no race specified).5 The Duke's Laws, however, did not become effective throughout the province until after the short‑lived re‑occupation of New York by the Dutch from August 9, 1673, to November 10, 1674. Dutch laws had probably continued to be in partial force until this time.6 During this prolonged transition between Dutch and British rule, negro slavery existed in New York without expressed legal sanction. It was a racially‑based labor system that resembled lifetime indentured servitude more than chattel slavery.7
Not until 1682 did colonial authorities pass statutes which specifically mentioned black and Indian slavery. Laws enacted between 1682 and 1708 prohibited black and Indian slaves from leaving their masters' properties without written permission and from congregating in groups of more than three persons. Whites were forbidden to harbor or entertain slaves or to trade with them without their owners' permission. Slaves could be privately punished by owners or whipped or executed by public authorities for insolence to whites, drinking, swearing, or killing their masters. Slaves could no longer testify in court against whites. The law established a uterine descent for slavery.8
British New York did not intend to rely on Indians as slave labor and did not consider Indians in general as an enslaved people‑‑only individual members who fell into that condition. However, many persons of partial Indian ancestry were born as slaves from miscegenation between blacks and Indians;9 slave mothers created slave children. As a result many full‑blood or partial‑blood Indians served as bound servants or slaves from the 1660s through the first half of the eighteenth century.10 On September 11, 1665, for example, John Kirtland of Easthampton bound his six‑year‑old Indian servant Hopewell to Thomas James of Easthampton for nineteen years. Kirtland had purchased the orphaned Hopewell from his guardians at age one.11 In 1673 James Loper, also of Easthampton, made over to his father‑in‑law, Arthur Howell, in trust for his wife and heirs, a captive Indian girl called Beck about age fourteen. Loper had recently purchased Beck "for her natural life" from a Connecticut man.12
Although the Governor and Council of New York passed an act on December 5, 1679, which stated that "all Indians here were free and not slaves, nor could be forced to be servants, except such as were brought from Campechio and other foreign parts; and for the future even these were to be free,"13 subsequent colonial legislation indicated that Indians often served as slaves. Acts passed in 1682, 1706, 1708, 1712, and 1717 referred variably to "Negro, Indian, Mulatto, Mestee, or other slaves."14 Black and Indian slave mothers passed slavery on to their offspring. Black and Indian slaves were equally subject to laws which restricted their movement and assembly, their right to trade with whites, and their ability to testify in courts. New York laws also established punishments for a variety of offenses that pertained to both races.
Evidence that Indians were often enslaved in early New York appears in bills of sale, wills (where they were bequeathed as property), and in other documents. On July 30, 1687, Thomas Hawarden of Hempstead sold to Christopher Dene, butcher, an Indian boy named Will, for life. Five days later, Dene sold the boy to Nathaniel Pine.15 Four male Indian slaves were accused of participation in the 1712 slave uprising in New York City but were later pardoned.16 Some of the early censuses listed Indians as slaves along with blacks, while others listed them as a separate group within the population with no stated legal status. The 1698 censuses for Southold, Southampton, and Hempstead, counted Indians but did not classify them as slaves. Westchester's tabulation referred to them in the category of "negroes and Indians." Among the twenty‑eight "negro" slaves listed at Morrisania in 1698 were an Indian woman and girl.17 Both Oysterbay and Hempstead had a column for "negroes and other slaves" in their 1722 enumerations. Suffolk County in 1731 listed 715 Indians as a separate population group; they formed 8.5 percent of the population. The 1755 slave census for Hempstead, in one of its three separate returns, specified that it included negro, Indian, and mulatto slaves, as did the Mamaroneck and Scarsdale combined return.18
The missionary efforts of the Dutch Reformed Church were superceded by the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (the missionary arm of the Anglican church) with the transition from Dutch to British rule. Although both the Dutch Reformed Church and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPGFP) were interested in Christianizing blacks, neither group achieved much success.19 The major religious denominations in early New York‑‑Dutch Reformed, Anglican (Protestant Episcopal), Presbyterian, and Methodist‑‑all faced a set of similar impediments to conversion of slaves: master opposition, widely scattered parishes, necessity to catechize in evening hours due to the slaves' working schedules, and black indifference.
The SPGFP took the position that Christianization was not emancipation but that religious liberty and education could be offered to slaves.20 From their arrival in New York in 1705 until their work ended with the American Revolution, SPGFP missionaries spread out from New York City to Staten Island, Jamaica (the parish included Newtown and Flushing), Hempstead (including Oysterbay), Brookhaven (1729), Southampton, Huntington (1761), Philipsburg, New Rochelle (1708), Rye (including White Plains), Westchester, and Salem (1767). Missionaries from these towns reported on local conditions and efforts at slave baptisms; success varied according to the attitude and zeal of both individual pastors and individual slaveowners. Elias Neau, appointed catechist to the blacks in New York City's Trinity Parish in 1705, wrote to the SPGFP on November 15, 1705, that "there is more than a thousand Negroes that are actually there, great and small, men and women. . . ."21 In May 1711, Neau's letter to the SPGFP lamented the fact that of the large number of slaves in the city, "not one in ten comes to the catechism." He blamed the poor attendance on masters' opposition, indifference, and bad example rather than on negro failings.22
The Reverend Robert Jenney at Rye noted in 1725 that there were very few slaves in the parish, and among them only two were baptized: "In those that have negroes, I find little or no disposition to have them baptized, but on the contrary, an aversion to it, in some, and in most an indifference."23 Two years later Rev. James Wetmore found one hundred blacks in Rye's parish. Those who belonged to Quaker masters were allowed no instruction. Some Presbyterians permitted their servants to be taught but not to be baptized. Those of his own denomination were "not much better, so that there is but one negro in the parish baptized."24
Masters, particularly before the middle of the eighteenth century,25 feared that slave baptism would lead to claims to freedom,26 intractable behavior, or insurrections. Even after the New York provincial government enacted a law on October 21, 1706, which stated that "the baptizing of any Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave shall not be any cause or reason for the setting them or any of them at Liberty,"27 masters remained opposed. The extent of missionary complaints about owner opposition to slave baptism in reports to the SPGFP indicated that owners were able to prevent and control to a large degree the Christianization of their slaves. Owners made the process more difficult, often forcing slave baptisms and attendance at catechism classes to proceed covertly.
In order not to alienate the white community and jeopardize its entire missionary effort among the colonists over the issue of slave baptism the SPGFP had to proceed cautiously with black Christianization. The Dutch Reformed Church faced the same problem when it debated slave membership in 1783 and ruled "that the Scriptures did not require that the permission of the master had to be obtained before a slave was admitted, but it resolved that care should be taken 'for the promotion and establishment of peace in households.'"28
In some parishes the masters' permissions were required, in others slaves were baptized in spite of masters' refusals, and in several places clergymen did not concern themselves with masters' attitudes other than to regret their indifference. In 1713 Rev. John Sharpe noted that a slave accused in the 1712 New York City uprising had attended catechism classes and "had made some proficience but was not admitted to baptism through the reluctancy of his master [Hendrick Hooghlandt], whom he had often solicited for it [for two years]."29 Elias Neau wrote to the SPGFP on August 24, 1708, that some slaves dared not to come to catechism at all because "upon desiring the approbation of their masters to be baptized, they are either threatened to be sold to Virginia or else to be sent into the Country if they come any more to school."30
Rev. William Vesey in New York City was willing to baptize slaves over the opposition of their owners. Neau informed the SPGFP in 1706 that Vesey had baptized some negroes "against the will and without the knowledge of their masters, because [the masters] fear lest by baptism they should become temporally free." Again, in 1711, Neau wrote that Vesey had recently baptized ten negroes, and "those who were baptized had it done to them without consent of their masters and there are .. . [some] who wish me ill and many negroes come to catechism unknown to their masters."31
More commonly, SPGFP missionaries capitulated to owners and required masters' consent for baptisms. The Reverend Thomas Barclay in Albany "publicly declared that [he] will admit none of them into the Church by baptism till [he has] obtained their masters' consent. Yea, I send them home without instruction who cannot have their masters' allowance to come, for some masters are so ignorant and averse that by no entreaties can their consent be had. . . . ."32 Some masters cooperated with the work of the SPGFP at the same time enhancing their powers of observation and control over their slaves' lives. Rev. John Ogilvie, a missionary at Albany, wrote in 1752 that he had "baptized . . . four black children who had passed through a regular course of catechetical instruction, and brought a certificate of their good behavior from their masters."33
Between 1705 and 1780 SPGFP missionaries baptized at least 1,407 blacks in the southern six counties of New York.34 The organization's schoolmasters worked with missionaries in processing students to the point of baptism: approximately 1,174 catechumens were taught during this same period.35 If the SPGFP baptized 1,407 blacks in seventy‑five years, it averaged only 18.8 baptisms per year in a six‑county population which ranged from 2,050 blacks in 1703 to 12,021 by 1771. Baptism and church participation, for children or adults, was an experience which touched probably only a minority of enslaved blacks in New York.
* * * * *
After the surrender of the Dutch, slaves continued to be imported into the British colony of New York. The principal slavetraders and shipping routes changed with the shift from Dutch to British rule as did the African origins of the slaves who reached New York. The Company of Royal Adventurers of England Trading to Africa (created in 1663) and its successor the Royal African Company (chartered in 1672 with a monopoly of the English slave trade) replaced the Dutch West India Company as the government‑authorized supplier of slaves to the colony. The British islands of Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, and Antigua replaced the Dutch island of Curacao as the main source of seasoned slaves and as trading stations for slave ships en route from Africa to the North American mainland colonies. British New York received slaves at first from Madagascar and then from the main east‑west Guinea Coast from Cape Mount to the Cameroons rather than primarily from Angola.36
Many of the slaves who reached New York from the 1670s through the 1690s were from Madagascar. New York colonial slave merchants evaded the monopoly of the Royal African Company by trading directly with pirates operating out of Madagascar for slaves.37 Frederick Philipse, owner of Philipsburgh Manor in Westchester County, derived both profit and slaves for his own use from the trade with Madagascar pirates. In about 1684 Frederick Philipse sent his son Adolphus in the sloop Frederick to Delaware Bay to intercept New York Marchand, a vessel carrying both slaves and East India goods from Madagascar. Adophus transferred the trade goods from New York Marchand to Frederick and then ordered Frederick to sail to Hamburgh to sell its cargo. He returned to New York in New York Marchand, which now carried only slaves (private trade for slaves in Madagascar was not yet prohibited). Frederick Philipse continued to deal in slaves as late as 1698. The Charles acquired 140 blacks in Angola; it deposited 117 of them in Barbados and then set sail for New York with 23 sick blacks who had remained unsold. Of this group, "but Nine Remained Alive who were brought into the Sound and Eight of them Put Ashore with the Long boat neer About Rye and Delivered to Mr. Frederick Philips his Sonne and the Other being A Negro boy was Sent to this Citty."38
As table 1 shows, at least 6,800 blacks were imported into New York between 1700 and 1774. Approximately 2,800 (41.2 percent) arrived directly from Africa, with another 4,000 from American sources. Blacks brought into New York served the local market. New York exported relatively few slaves‑‑the known total reached only 268 blacks.39 Between 1701 and 1717 more than half of the slaves imported into New York came directly from Africa. Early eighteenth‑century New York customs duties promoted direct African importations by placing higher duties on slaves imported from indirect sources.40 Since the Gold Coast and Bight of Benin supplied two‑thirds of the slaves exported from Africa by the British between 1701 and 1730,41 most of the slaves who reached New York during these years were probably from these


Years Africa West Indies and Coastal

1701‑1715 209 278

1715‑1764 1,127 3,074 197

1768‑1772 59 171

190a ...

1,215b 280c

Total 2,800 4,000

SOURCE: James G. Lydon, "New York and the Slave Trade, 1700 to 1774," William and Mary Quarterly, 35, no. 2 (April 1978):337, 382‑83, 387.
aThis figure represents known smuggling. Lydon did well to estimate a large amount of smuggling. Thomas Davis, "Slavery in Colonial New York City," p. 188, pointed out that most blacks arrived in small, easily concealable parcels which formed a minor part of a ship's cargo. Captain Johan Vanburgh's voyage to the West Indies in 1720 was typical of this process--he brought back only four blacks for sale. Only occasionally would a slaver arrive with a large black cargo. See Helen Wortis, "From First Settlement to Manumission: Black Inhabitants of Shelter Island", Long Island Forum, 36, no. 8 (August 1973): 148‑49 on the smuggling of slaves on the eastern coast of Long Island. See John Watts, to Gedney Clarke, March 30, 1762, Collections of the New‑York Historical Society, Letter Book of John Watts, 1762‑1765, vol. 61 (New York: Printed for the Society, 1928), p. 32 for his suggestion that since New Jersey had no import duty on slaves, the master of the ship "might lay a mile or two below the Town & send up word" in order to avoid New York customs inspectors.
bLydon estimated that an additional 1,215 Africans were brought in. The figure of 1,585 recorded African imports is based on data available for only 32 of the 60 vessels known to have entered New York between 1701 and 1774. Of the remaining 28 vessels, at least 15 carried slaves--guesswork places total importation directly from Africa at around 2,800.
cAn estimate of slaves imported from American sources.
areas. The English forts of Dixcove, Commenda, Cape Coast Castle, Anamabu, Winneba, and Fort James (Accra) on the Gold Coast42 shipped Akan or Ashanti peoples (commonly miscalled "Coromanti" after the Dutch fort at Koromantin). From the Bight of Benin came blacks from such linguistic and ethnic groups as Ardra (from southern Dahomey), Yoruba, Adja, Fon, Popo (from the coastal regions of the Slave Coast near Wydah [Dahomey and Togo]), Gur‑speaking (from the region north of Ashanti), Tem, Bargu, and Nupe (from Nigeria).43
The presence of Coromanti and Popo tribesmen in New York is verified by their participation in the 1712 slave uprising in New York City. Coromanti slaves were known throughout the mainland colonies and the West Indian islands for their bravery, strength, efficiency, pride, fierceness, fearlessness, and independence; they also had a reputation for rebelliousness.44 On June 23, 1712, Rev. John Sharpe of New York informed the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts in London about the recent revolt:45
Some Negro Slaves here of the Nations of Carmantee & Pappa plotted to destroy all the White[s] in order to obtain their freedom and kept their Conspiracy [so] Secret that there was not the least Suspicion of it, (as formerly there had often been) till it come to the Execution. It was agreed to on New Years Day the Conspirators tying themselves to Secrecy by Sucking the blood of each Others hands, and to make them invulnerable as they believed a free negroe who pretends Sorcery gave them a powder to rub on their Cloths which made them so confident that on Sunday night Apr. 1 about 2 a Clock about the going down of the Moon they Set fire to a house. . . .
The free black who administered the powder was an African conjurer, undoubtedly well‑learned in the art of obeah. As James Pope‑Hennessy notes, "the haphazard methods of stocking up slave ships on the Guinea Coast or down in the Congo or in Angola meant that witch‑doctors of both sexes were often transported in a parcel of fresh slaves."46 A Jamaican insurrection in 1760 bore a resemblance to the New York City revolt of 1712: it had also "been instigated by an old Coromantee oracle, who had administered the fetish oath to the conspirators, and handed them out a `magical preparation which was to render them invulnerable.'"47 Judging from such names as Amba, Bonny, Cuffee, Kitto, Mingo, Quaco (4), Quashi, and Quasi, several of the slaves who were accused in the 1712 New York uprising were African‑born.48 As Africans, they had probably believed in the African conjurer's power and in the protective power of his fetish charms.49
* * * * *
Between 1718 and 1741 the majority of slaves who entered New York had been seasoned in the West Indies or had been shipped to New York from American coastal sources, especially South Carolina.50 Before 1742, 70 percent of all blacks imported into New York were from these indirect Caribbean or American sources; after 1742, the ratio was almost exactly reversed.51 A number of underlying circumstances contributed to this sharp rise in the direct importation of slaves from Africa. The slave plot of 1741 in New York City caused residents to be concerned over the importation of malcontents and incorrigibles from the islands and other colonies. Lower import duties for blacks fresh from Africa reflected the New York preference for African rather than West Indian slaves. In 1762 merchant John Watts wrote that "Our Duty is four pound a head from the West Indies [and] forty shillings from Africa."52 Total New York demand for slaves also dropped after the 1741 uprising; slave imports, which had averaged 150 blacks per year between 1715 and 1741, declined to an average of 60 blacks per year between 1742 and 1764.53
The end of the Asiento also contributed to the flood of African slaves into New York. In 1713 England had won the coveted Spanish Asiento which entitled her British South Sea Company to transport five thousand slaves per year to Spain's New World colonies for thirty years. The African coastal forts of the Royal African Company supplied slaves to Jamaica and other West Indian islands; the British South Sea Company then sold and sent these seasoned slaves to Spain's colonies. The Anglo‑Spanish war of 1739‑1748 interrupted the Asiento contract; it was briefly resumed between 1748 and 1750 when it was relinquished by the British.54 With the Spanish market for slaves largely closed to English traders after 1739, a glut of slaves soon developed at the slave stations along the African coast. The English colonies, including New York, were inundated with slaves at reduced prices.55
Ships began to arrive directly from Africa to sell slaves on the wharves of New York City. On May 13, 1751, the New York Gazette advertized that "a number of likely Negro Slaves, lately imported in the Sloop Wolf directly from Africa" would be "Sold at Publick Vendue, on Friday the 17th Instant, at 10 o'clock in the Morning, at the Meal Market." On August 19, 1751 the New York Gazette again publicized a slave sale: "Likely Negroes Men and Women, imported from the Coast of Africa" in the Warren. In 1762 the sloop Rebecca and Joseph arrived from Anambo [Anamabu], Guinea. "A parcel of likely young slaves--men, women, and boys" were placed on sale at Cruger's Wharf when the ship reached New York City.56 This influx of Africans ceased only in the early 1770s when the supply began to diminish and slave prices rose beyond the demand of the New York market and when the imperial crisis interrupted trade.57
The Africans who were brought to New York from 1740 through the early 1770s were of different ethnic origins than earlier forced immigrants from Africa. In the 1740s and 1750s half of the slaves exported by the British from Africa came from either the Bight of Biafra or the Gold Coast areas. In the 1760s and 1770s, 46.4 percent of British‑shipped slaves came from the Bight of Biafra while another 23.9 percent came from the Windward (Ivory) Coast.58 Akan peoples continued to come in from the Gold Coast, while Akwa, Mbato, Kissi, and Bobo peoples from the Windward (Ivory) Coast increasingly found their way to the New World. The bulk of slaves, however, were from the Bight of Biafra; they were Moko (a diverse group of cultures shipped from the lower Cross River), Ibo and Ijo (New Calabar), and Efik and Ibibio (Old Calabar) peoples.59
* * * * *
An immigrant mixture of black Africans from many groups and white Europeans from several countries gave colonial New York an international flavor. British New York received a sustained infusion of unacculturated African newcomers from the 1670s through the mid‑1770s. African notions of kinship obligation and social ritual were continuously imported with each successive wave. The African segment of the slave population helped to disseminate and preserve the use of African languages, religious beliefs, names, and marital and familial values in New York's black community. The heavy importation of Africans in the decades before the American Revolution helped to sustain African customs and cultural patterns in New York's black population into the early nineteenth century.
The language abilities and often‑mentioned national origins of New York slaves underscore the recent immigrant nature of the New York slave community in the eighteenth century. A sample of newspaper ads for runaway slaves between 1726 and 1814 listed linguistic capabilities for 40 out of 194 voluntary black runaways.60 Of the forty, fourteen spoke English well and five spoke it only poorly, probably reflecting their recent arrival in New York. Another six slaves knew no English at all: they spoke Dutch, French, or an African language,61 reflecting both their owners' national cultures and their own recent Caribbean or African origins. The remaining fifteen slaves were bilingual: eleven spoke a combination of Dutch and English while the others spoke a blend of English/Welsh, French/English, and Spanish/English. The eleven who spoke both Dutch and English reflected the two major ethnic groups in New York and the sale of slave labor between the two communities.62 This suggests the instability of slave placement; repeated sale meant an added burden of cultural/linguistic readjustment by the slave.
Eleven of the runaway slaves were born outside the mainland colonies. Their masters sought to describe their missing slave property by mentioning their countries of origin: Africa, Madagascar, Guinea, Jamaica, and Barbados. In 1748 Robert Dickenson of Northcastle described his twenty‑two‑year‑old runaway slave as "very black with his own country marks plain to be seen on both his temples." When Yarrow ran away in 1781 he was listed as a "new Negro fellow" who spoke English badly and had his teeth filed sharp. In 1797 Samuel Carman advertized that his twenty‑eight‑year‑old runaway was "a Guinea negro and marked on his cheek."63
Slaves born in Africa spoke languages which were of little practical use in New York. Since blacks were taken to the New World from many different linguistic groups they were unable to communicate with each other in their native tongues. They were forced to learn the languages of their new owners. English, Dutch, French, and Spanish were haltingly mastered and were pronounced with African accents. Augustus Griffin of Oysterponds, Long Island commented in 1799 on the speech of two elderly Africans: "John Tatoo, another Affrican, about Jack's age, and died about the same time, was honest faithful and trusty and a good upright man--He talked much plainer english than Jack, [brought from Africa fifty‑five years ago] whose pronounciation was much broken."64
Evidence of the presence of native Africans in New York permeates the historical records in which slaves appear.65 In spite of widespread rendering of African names into English and Dutch equivalents and the renaming of newly arrived blacks by masters, African names appear in New York censuses from 1698 through 1820. Names such as Coraneni, Cuffie, Bango, Coffe, Mingo, Sambo, Shantee [Ashanti?], Abashe, Abee, and Mando appear in the 1698 censuses for Kings, Queens, Suffolk, and Westchester counties. Slaves named Cofi, Cessemin, Mishe, Carmente [Coromanti?], Finno, and Keshe lived on Staten Island in 1706. The slave census of 1755 recorded several African names, including Ambo, Zibia, Kea, Roos, Kouba, Febe, Ando, Ocumah, Yaff, Quam, Commenie, and Bendo. Free blacks still bore African names between 1800 and 1820. Free black Quaquo Minnefee lived in the Sixth Ward of New York City in 1800. Congo Clark, Anthony Eto, Oby Cuffe, Quam Brown, and George Hotentot were listed in the 1810 and 1820 censuses.66
African names and references are scattered throughout the church records of baptisms, marriages, and deaths in the southern six counties of New York. In 1778 a slave named Yarrobu [Yoruba?] died in the town of Southold. Thomas Wilson, a native of Guinea, was baptized in New York City in 1797; he was approximately fifty years old. A black woman named Binah died in Easthampton in 1802. Between 1802 and 1815, Ming Pritchard, Eber Brown, Comene Nicols, and Commany Tickers were members of the Sands Street Methodist Episcopal Church of Brooklyn.67
African traces are found in a variety of other sources. Several blacks with African names participated in the 1741 slave plot in New York City: Cuffee (3), Cuba, Cajoe alias Africa, Cajoe, Quack (3), Quamino, and Quash (2).68 Two of the fourteen slaves owned by Nicoll Havens of Shelter Island in 1776 were from Guinea (Africa and Judith).69 In 1812 seventy‑year‑old Richard [Conrency] certified that he had been freed in 1798; he had been born in Africa and had come to this country forty‑five years earlier.70 The way in which New York slaves celebrated the week‑long Dutch holiday of Pinkster every Spring reflected their African roots. The African tradition of communal rather than private festivities led to mass gatherings where slaves beat drums, danced, and sang African songs. They also showed their respect for African customs and leadership by electing as festival heads native Africans, some of whom were descended from royalty. Sojourner Truth described Prince Gerald, the leader of Pinkster in Ulster County in the early eighteenth century, as the grandson of an African king. An eighty‑five‑year‑old African from Guinea named King Charlie headed the celebrations in Albany.71
* * * * *
Africans imported into New York found a ready market. The ownership of slaves was widespread in early New York: of the forty‑eight heads of household in Flushing in 1675, ten (20.8 percent) held slaves. In 1683 five (13.2 percent) of the thirty‑eight householders in Flatlands owned slaves. In 1686 Southold's 114 families included 12 (10.5 percent) who owned slaves. In New Utrecht in 1693 ten of the forty‑three household heads (23.3 percent) were slaveowners. Kings County (predominantly Dutch) had an even larger black population: 40.7 percent of white households contained slaves (129 out of 317 households) in 1698.72 The proportion of slaveowners among white household heads in the towns of Westchester (11.3 percent), Fordham (21.7 percent), New Rochelle (24.1 percent), Mamaroneck (26.7 percent), Newtown (26.1 percent), and Flushing (44.1 percent) in 1698 indicates that slavery was common in these areas too.73
By 1703 there were 818 white households in New York City; 339 of them (41.4 percent) possessed slaves. In Kings County in 1731, 58.8 percent of white households contained slaves.74 New Rochelle in 1771 had one hundred households, of which 51 percent held slaves, while 25.9 percent of Shelter Island's twenty‑seven heads of household owned slaves in the same year. In Suffolk County in 1776,75 20.6 percent of homes owned slaves.76
In 1790 the institution of slavery stood at a crossroads betweeen its eighteenth‑century zenith and the onset of massive individual voluntary manumission and eventual abolition. As table 2 shows, between 1790 and 1820 the incidence of slaveholding was highest among Kings77 and Richmond county households, where large segments of the white population owned black labor. Slaves were far less commonly found in Westchester, Suffolk, and New York households. Slaves held by Dutch owners in Kings and Richmond counties and in the towns of Harlem, Newtown, and Jamaica experienced a substantially different form of the institution. They lived in an environment where a large proportion of the whites in the community were involved in and supported the slave system.
The proportion of white households that held slaves dropped from 22.1 percent in 1790 to 4.1 percent in 1820 in the combined southern six counties of New York as owners manumitted their slaves. While the proportion of whites that were slaveholders dropped in each county after 1790, the actual number of white slaveholding households increased for a time in Kings and New York counties before falling and declined only very slowly in Richmond County. Slaveholders in these areas maintained their numbers but not their proportional representation in the growing white society around them.
* * * * *


Total Number of Proportion of All
County Number White Households White Households
Of White Which Held that Held Slaves
Households Slaves


Kings 544 319 58.6
New York 5,854 1,117 19.1
Richmond 562 238 42.3
Suffolk 2,806 493 17.6
Queens 2,246 776 34.6
Westchester 3,763 540 14.4

Total 15,775 3,483 22.1


Kings 707 398 56.3
New York 11,199 1,483 13.2
Richmond 686 231 33.7
Suffolk 3,283 410 12.5
Queens 2,675 532 19.9
Westchester 4,180 480 11.5

Total 22,730 3,534 15.5


Kings 1,086 370 34.1
New York 15,859 1,074 6.8
Richmond 811 203 25.0
Suffolk 3,528 225 6.4
Queens 2,711 357 13.2
Westchester 4,269 432 9.9

Total 28,264 2,652 9.4


Kings 1,718 286 16.6
New York 18,264 366 2.0
Richmond 942 183 19.4
Suffolk 4,141 146 3.5
Queens 3,154 270 8.6
Westchester 5,178 133 2.6

Total 33,397 1,384 4.1
SOURCES: The total number of white households and the number of white households which held slaves wereindividu‑
ally counted within each of the southern six counties of New York as listed in the 1790, 1800, 1810, and 1820 federal censuses. Bureau of Census, Heads_of_Families,
1790; 1800 Census, Printed Population Schedules,
NYGBR; 1800 Census, Manuscript Population Schedules; 1810 Census, Manuscript Population Schedules; 1820 Census, Manuscript Population Schedules.

NOTE: Free black‑headed households which contained slaves are not included in this table which concerns only white slaveholders.
The average New York master owned only two or three slaves. Holdings were consistently small in both New York City and in rural areas during the entire colonial and early national periods. In New York City most slaves served as domestics or as workers in mercantile houses, small shops, and in the maritime trades. They were owned by a wide variety of city residents: merchants, grocers, physicians, attorneys, mariners, and gentlemen. A broad spectrum of artisans also held slave labor: shipwrights, carpenters, tallow chandlers, coachmakers, and ropemakers. Slaveholding was common in all walks of city life; the inspector of the revenue, the vice consul of France, a deputy sheriff, and numerous clergy held slaves, as did tailors, fruiterers, booksellers, and shoemakers. In the growing town of Brooklyn, the occupations of thirty‑five persons who manumitted their slaves between 1790 and 1827 included fourteen farmers, eleven gentlemen, three merchants, one widow, one innkeeper, one storekeeper, a butcher, a miller, a soldier, and the town clerk.78
Outside of New York City, slaves were used extensively for farm labor, as they were in New England.79 The small farm was the backdrop for New York slavery--the setting in which the majority of slaves lived out their lives in the southern six counties of New York. Northern agriculture was essentially subsistence farming with a ready market in New York City for whatever surplus might be produced.80 Rather than serving in gang labor in a mass‑scale southern plantation single‑crop economy, New York slaves provided the much‑needed extra general labor required on the diversified family farm.
Most New York farms were of moderate size. The original patentees of the Queens County town of Jamaica each received a six acre house lot, ten acres for farming, and twenty acres of meadow when the town's lands were divided in 1656; later divisions expanded these holdings.81 The largest farms in late seventeenth‑century Long Island were composed of between 110 and 120 acres. The bulk of the rural population in the eighteenth century was composed of farmers whose holdings ranged from forty to one hundred acres. The average farm in nearby Rockland County was approximately eighty acres by 1800, which was generally sufficient to support a family in reasonable comfort with some marketable surplus.82 The three economic classes in eighteenth‑century Jamaica in Queens County consisted of small farmers who held up to twenty acres of land, middle class to wealthy farmers who owned from forty to one hundred acres (forty‑five was the average), and a small class of planters who held an average of 215 acres of land apiece.83
In the late seventeenth century there was a positive correlation between landed wealth and the number of slaves owned, although small farmers could often possess as many slaves as average size landholders. The two men with the largest landholdings also had the greatest number of slaves in the English town of Flushing in 1675.84 Charles Bridgs owned the largest farm in Flushing, with fifty acres of land, sixty acres of meadow, fifty‑seven animals, and eight blacks. John Furbosh was second, with eighteen acres of land, forty acres of meadow, fifty‑seven animals and three blacks. John Bowne was the third largest landowner; he held twenty acres of land, thirty acres of meadow, ninety‑four animals, but no slaves. No slaveholder, other than Bridgs and Furbosh, had more than one black slave. The smallest farm in town belonged to John Hoper, with one acre of land, two cows, and no slaves. The distribution of slaves in the Dutch town of Amesfort (Flatlands) in 1683 reveals a similar pattern. Roelof Martens owned the largest farm which comprised sixty morgens (one morgen equals two acres) of land, thirty‑one animals, and two blacks. Three farmers who owned between twenty‑three and twenty‑eight morgens of land each held one black. Gerrit Strycker's small farm comprised only two morgens of land and twelve animals, but he also had one black slave.85
Slaveholding was widespread among middle‑class, wealthy, and elite farmers but was by no means universal. A 1781 census of Oysterbay‑Jericho on Long Island86 revealed that Thomas Smith held the largest farm in the area, with 100 acres under cultivation, 25 in woodland, and 118 animals. He also owned eleven slaves--three men, three women, and five children. Henry Ludlam's farm was the second largest, with 70 acres of fields, 20 of woodland, and 104 animals. He had a slave labor force of one man and two women. Henry Downing's properties made him the third largest landholder in town, with sixty‑two acres under cultivation, twelve in woodland, and fifty‑one animals. He held no slaves.
The Kings County town of Gravesend was heavily involved in slaveholding. When it counted the amount of land and the number of slaves held by its residents for tax purposes in 1788,87 twenty‑seven (46.6 percent) of its fifty‑eight households owned slaves. Slaveowning was more common among larger landholders. The twenty households at the bottom of the landed wealth scale owned from zero to twelve acres; none had slaves. The nineteen households in the middle of the landed wealth scale owned from thirteen to eighty acres; of this group eleven, or 57.9 percent, held slaves. The nineteen households at the top of the landed wealth scale owned from 81 to 248 acres; sixteen, or 84.2 percent, held slaves. While landed wealth was an indicator of whether or not one would own slaves, large landholders did not necessarily own greater numbers of slaves than small farmers. Out of twenty‑seven slaveholders, the nine men with the most acreage possessed a total of twenty‑three slaves, an average of 2.6 slaves per owner. The middle nine men held nineteen slaves (2.1 per owner), while the nine slaveholders with the least acreage held twenty‑three slaves between them (2.6 slaves per owner). The largest single slaveholder in Gravesend was Albert Voorhis, with a modest thirty‑five acres but seven slaves.
When New Yorkers established new towns and farms they needed all available labor to build the first dwellings, erect shelters for the stock, and raise churches and meetinghouses. Gardens had to be laid out, fruit orchards planted, crops grown and harvested, trees cut, and highways constructed. Once established, New York farmers grew such field crops as corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, field peas, and clover. They raised garden vegetables which included turnips, carrots, pumpkin, squash, cabbage, beans, and onions. Fruit trees produced apples and pears. Cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, and chickens were kept as sources of meat, milk, butter, cheese, cream, eggs, and wool; horses and oxen were used as beasts of burden and for transportation.88 Slaves were employed in all of these tasks. Slaves were also skilled in the other areas of the colonial economy. On the large estate of Colonel Schuyler at Albany, slaves cut wood, threshed wheat, raised hemp and tobacco, made shoes, constructed canoes, nets, and paddles, tended to and shod horses, broke in wild horses, made cider, cooked, sewed, did laundry, and acted as household servants.89
Slave labor was well‑utilized all year long in New York, not only during the shorter northern growing season and at harvests. Just to cut, pile, haul, and split the family's firewood could consume weeks of labor.90 Slaves carted dung, mended fences, thatched roofs, and repaired farm buildings and dwellings. Animals had to be fed. Slaves were also sent on errands to local shopkeepers or on other business for their masters. An annual routine of seasonal agricultural chores kept slaves constantly busy. Spring meant days of picking up stones in the field, plowing, and planting the field crops and garden vegetables. In June wild strawberries could be picked, and August/September was haying time, with hands needed to mow the meadow grasses. Late September and October were harvest time, with potatoes to be dug and corn to be cut, carted home, and husked. Hogs were butchered in the late Fall between November and January; they had to be slaughtered, cut into merchantable pieces, salted and barreled. Other animals might have to be taken to town and given to merchants to help balance farmers' accounts.91
Male and female slaves were often assigned to different kinds of labor. Runaway males and black men advertized for sale were described as being proficient in a number of occupations: farmer, butcher and sawyer, "attends a grist mill," "acquainted with management of horses," house carpenter, boatman, and blacksmith--skills in high demand in farm and town. Male slaves commonly accompanied their masters while hunting and fishing.92 Female slaves generally were employed at cooking, housekeeping, sewing, spinning, knitting, repairing clothing, attending at table, and in dairy work (milking cows and processing milk into cheese and butter). The absence of ready‑made consumer goods in seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth‑century America meant that New York women, aided by their female slaves, had to produce all of the household's food, clothing, and such other necessities as soap and candles from scratch. In a world without refrigeration breads had to be baked daily, meats had to be smoked, salted, or pickled, and fruits and vegetables had to be preserved in the Fall for use through the Winter until the following June. Colonial kitchens also produced apple cider and medicines and fragrances from herb gardens. The production of cloth was a major domestic enterprise. Flax was grown and laboriously fashioned into linen. Woolen cloth was made at home: sheep were shorn, the wool was sorted, picked, and carded; it was then turned into yarn on spinning wheels, dyed with berry, plant, or insect colorings in large iron pots over open fires, and woven into cloth which would be sewn into clothing, bedding coverings, and curtains. The very small size of New York slaveholdings meant that a black woman was often the sole family slave; she might therefore also be required to do a great deal of agricultural work. In 1692 John Bowne and his son Samuel of Flushing described the work expected of their slave Black Mary: she was "to assist in weeding the Indian corn, in harvesting and hay‑making, when she can be spared from the garden, orchard and carding work."93
Famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth served as a slave in Ulster County, New York, from her birth in 1797 until her emancipation in 1827. She performed a wide variety of tasks for her four successive owners. She planted and hoed corn, plowed, planted, reaped, and bound wheat, and raked hay. In the Fall she would slaughter the pigs, smoke the hams, pickle the meat, or stuff the summer sausage. She picked hundreds of ripe apples and pears, cut them into quarters, and strung them high in the attic to dry. In the Autumn she also washed wool, carded, and spun it into long woolen threads to be made into clothing. She was expected to cook, clean, and wash laundry throughout the year.94
Slave labor, when not required by the owner, was commonly hired out.95 Estate executors and widows also hired out slaves to receive the income from their wages; men occasionally left slaves as legacies to be hired out to provide revenue for their widows and children.96 On August 23, 1703, the widow Aletta Douw hired out her negro man Josse for one year at 13 to Simeon Soumain.97 The estate of John Cortelyou hired out a female slave [Isabel] in 1813 to serve Ann McLeod of Flatbush.98 Acting for herself while her husband was in England, Ann Wharton of New York City hired out two slaves, Sy Coster and Mingoe, to John Pallmer of Westchester. In 1696 she contracted with Lt. John Lawrance that at the end of their period of hire to Pallmer the two men would be permanently sold to him for the sum of 50.99
In addition to hiring them out for profit owners used their slaves' labor as a means of repaying debts. According to the account book kept by Elias Pelletreau of Southampton, David Hanes settled a debt with Pelletreau by having his slave perform farmwork for him on January 30, 1770.100 Slaves were also temporarily loaned or borrowed out to neighbors. John Baxter, a Flatlands farmer, made the following entries in his diary:101

September 7, 1799 Mowing salt hay. Peter Van Der Bilts negro Bram helped.

September 13, 1802 Carromus A. Wyckoff and his negro mowed my salt meadow.

July 23, 1806 Mawn the negro of John Voorhees mowing fresh grass for me.

September 2, 1806 A. Wyckoff and his negro Harry cut my salt hay.

November 17, 1817 Paid Mrs. Bennet 7 1/2 dollars for one month's work of her negro Rob‑‑he has ten blank days.
* * * * *
The overall productivity of the slave labor force in New York was modified by the age structure of the black population.102 At any given time, approximately half of a town's slave population was dependent rather than immediately productive labor. Since the work of slave children was only fully valuable from puberty upwards and adult slave labor began to lose both resale and productivity value over approximately the age of forty‑five, both youthful and elderly slaves were often economic burdens rather than assets. As table 3 shows, only approximately 50 percent of slaves were prime laborers between the age of fourteen/sixteen and forty‑five/sixty. About 40 percent of blacks in the slave population were children and about 14 percent were over the age of forty‑five; between 6 and 7 percent were over the age of sixty (males). Whites had to support that segment of the slave labor force which was dependent--part of the costs of running a slave labor system.
While the normal age profile of the black population in eighteenth‑century New York (which included both natural reproduction and importations) dictated that half of the population would be partially or totally dependent, the non‑random distribution of slaves into particular households meant that through choice, purchase, sale, and the passage of time owners could have either prime or mixed‑age holdings or holdings of particularly youthful or elderly slaves. The age contours of their slaveholdings changed over time because of black births, the addition of young adults, the aging of slaves, the voluntary or involuntary retention of superannuated blacks, and by deaths.
The life cycle of individual slaves in small holdings and of a collectivity of slaves in larger holdings



1746 41.1 52.0 7.0 11.9

1749 43.3 50.7 6.0 10.5

1756 44.4 49.1 6.5 11.7

1771 41.4 50.8 7.8 13.3


1820 36.1 49.7 14.2 30.4 14.5

SOURCES: Compiled from data in Bureau of Census, Century of Population Growth, tables 95, 96, 97, 98, pp. 182‑83; 1820 Census, "Aggregate Amount of Persons. . . ."
determined the potential labor benefit available to owners. Lewis Morris, lord of the Manor of Morrisania in 1755, owned twenty‑nine slaves over the age of fourteen plus an estimated additional twenty‑one children.103 Out of these fifty slaves, the twenty‑one children (42 percent) were either still totally dependent or were of limited immediate value and the eight elderly slaves (16 percent) were largely beyond sustained labor. Therefore, 58 percent of Morrisania's slave population was only marginally productive.

Age Structure of Adult Slave Population,

Manor of Morrisania, 1755

Age Groupings Males Females

14‑19 1 0

20‑29 6 3

30‑39 1 1

40‑44 2 1

45‑49 2 0

50‑59 2 2

60‑69 4 1

70‑79 0 0

80‑89 1 1

90‑99 1 0

Out of twenty‑nine adult slaves held by Lewis Morris only fifteen were prime adults between the ages of fourteen and forty‑four. The six slaves between the ages of forty‑five and fifty‑nine were growing old and may have produced less work. The five slaves in their sixties and the three slaves in their eighties and nineties were beyond productive labor; they represented 27.6 percent of Morris's adult slave labor force. The life cycle of the manor, its owners, and its slaves104 had produced a particularly old workforce.
Abraham Depeyster of New York City had a far smaller holding than Lewis Morris; it too contained a proportion of dependent slaves:105

Sarah age 90 no value

Ceaser age 50 35

Mary age 48 45

Dinah age 45 32.10

Hannah age 18 60

Susan age 34 55

Frank ‑‑‑‑‑‑ 60

Bett, blind ‑‑‑‑‑‑ no value


Out of eight slaves only three were choice laborers--Susan, Hannah, and Frank. The three slaves between forty‑five and fifty years of age were worth less at valuation and were beyond their prime. One slave was blind, and another was ninety years old. This labor force was probably less of an asset than a burden to be supported; in a few more years it would have further become a collection of largely dependent, superannuated slaves.
According to Henry Oothoudt's estate inventory taken on August 25, 1801, he had owned a very youthful slave workforce:106
negro wench Sarah age 22

negro child Dian age 5

negro child Brom age 3

negro child Ann age 1

negro wench Claar age 25

negro man Sam age 22

negro boy Jack age 16

negro boy Sam age 10

negro boy Pert age 9

negro boy Jack age 6

negro girl Sarah age 4

negro girl Criss age 2

negro girl Gin age 5 months

Out of Oothoudt's thirteen slaves, four were prime adult laborers aged sixteen to twenty‑five years, three were children of only modest current labor value, aged six to ten years, and six were young children under the age of five who had to be supported. In five years, however, Oothoudt would have had a very valuable, young, prime labor force of six men and women aged fourteen to thirty years, six older children between age six and eleven of moderate current use but on the verge of entering their prime years, and only one five‑year‑old to be supported.
Most New York slaveowners held far fewer slaves than did Lewis Morris, Abraham Depeyster, or Henry Oothoudt. With only one, two, or three slaves in his household, the average master could ill‑afford to maintain a half (or in the case of a single slave) totally unproductive workforce. The small size of their holdings made New York owners particularly anxious to try to sell off unwanted infants born to their women as well as their aging slaves. The smallness of New York slaveholdings also dramatically affected blacks both as individuals and as family members. Most slaves lived on properties of less than a hundred acres with a white family and either none or only a few other slaves. The ownership of an entire slave family over time was incompatible with the economic demands of northern family farm slavery which called for a limited number of workers of a specific age and sex.
1Rosenwaike, Population History of N.Y.C., p. 3; Davis, "Slavery in Colonial New York City," p. 42; Michael Kammen, Colonial New York--A History, A History of the American Colonies in Thirteen Volumes (New York: Charles Scribner's & Sons, 1975), pp. 58, 65.
2Articles of Capitulation, in O'Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative, New York State, 2:250‑53.
3Fernow, ed., Records of New Amsterdam, 6:286.
4Coll. NYHS, Abstracts of Wills, 1:82‑83.
5Charles Lincoln, William Johnson, and A. Judd Northrup, eds., The Colonial Laws of New York from the Year 1664 to the Revolution, 5 vols. (Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1896), 1:18, 48.
6Ibid., 1:xii.
7McManus, Negro Slavery, pp. 79‑80.
8"An Order Concerning Negros and Indian Slaves," October 4‑6, 1682, Collections of the New-York Historical Society, Proceedings of the General Court of Assizes, 1680 to 1682, vol. 45 (New York: Printed for the Society, 1912), pp. 37‑38; "An Act for Regulateing of Slaves," November 27, 1702; "An Act to Incourage the Baptizing of Negro, Indian & Mulatto Slaves," October 21, 1706; "An Act for Suppressing of Immorality," September 18, 1708; "An Act for preventing the Conspiracy of Slaves," October 30, 1708, in Lincoln, Johnson, and Northrup, eds., Colonial Laws of New York, 1:519‑21, 597‑98, 617‑18, 631.
9See p. below on black/Indian miscegenation.
10The origins of Indian slavery in New York are unclear. Although no eighteenth‑century statute which outlawed Indian slavery has been located, acts passed regarding slavery after 1773 no longer mentioned Indians. By the 1780s Indian birth or ancestry was considered prima facie evidence of entitlement to freedom. See p. below on such manumissions.
11Joseph Osborne, comp., Records of the Town of Easthampton Long Island, 5 vols. (Sag Harbor, N.Y.: John H. Hunt, Printer, 1887‑1905), 1:229.
12Paul Gibson Burton, "Cornelis Melyn, Patroon of Staten Island, and Some of His Descendants," NYGBR 68 (July 1937): 218; Osborne, comp., Records of Easthampton, 1:412‑13.
13John Gilmary Shea, "The New York Negro Plot of 1741," in David Valentine, comp., Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York, 28 vols. (New York: William C. Bryant, Printer, for New York City, 1841‑1870); 28 (1870): 764‑65.
14Shea, "New York Negro Plot of 1741," p. 765 notes that "with the fall of King James the enslavement of Indians resumed." For the 1682, 1706, and two 1708 acts, see n. 8 above. "An Act for Preventing Suppressing and Punishing the Conspiracy and Insurrection of Negroes and other Slaves," December 10, 1712; "An Act for Explaining and Rendering more Effectual an Act of the General Assembly of this Colony entitled, an Act for Preventing, Suppressing and punishing the Conspiracy and Insurrection of Negroes and other slaves," November 2, 1717. Lincoln, Johnson, and Northrup, eds., Colonial Laws of New York, 1:761‑67, 922.
15Records of the Towns of North and South Hempstead, 1654‑1874, 8 vols. (Jamaica, N.Y.: Long Island Farmer's Print, printed by order of the Town Board of North Hempstead, 1896‑1903), 2:60.
16Scott, "Slave Insurrection in New York," pp. 43‑74. Of the forty‑six slaves accused in the conspiracy, forty‑two were black and four were Indian.
17"Southold, 1698," Doc. Hist., 1:455‑56; "Southampton, 1698," Doc. Hist., 1:445‑47; Harris, "Hempstead, 1698," NYGBR, p. 67; Miller, "Census of Westchester, Eastchester, Fordham and Bedford, 1698," pp. 129‑34; Randolph, "Census of 1698, Mamaroneck, Morrisania, and New Rochelle," pp. 104‑5.
18Hartell, "Slavery on Long Island"; Wells, "New York Census of 1731," pp.256‑57; "1755 Slave Census," Doc. Hist., 3:511, 516.
19Wood, Black Majority, p. 142, also found that the work of the SPGFP in baptizing blacks had only very limited rewards due to the difficulty of the preparation required for Anglican baptism. Early efforts to spread Protestant Christianity among South Carolina negroes had a negligible impact, whereas other sects, notably Catholic, "readily christened any Negro who came before them."
20Frank Klingberg, Anglican Humanitarianism in Colonial New York (Philadelphia: The Church Historical Society, Publication no. 11, 1940), pp. 122, 170, 187.
21Ibid., p. 126. Neau's estimate of the black population of New York City was quite accurate. According to the 1703 New York City census there were eight hundred blacks in the city. "N.Y.C., 1703," Doc. Hist., 1:395‑405.
22Klingberg, Anglican Humanitarianism, p. 131.
23Ibid., pp. 155‑57.
24Ibid., p. 167.
25Owner opposition eased somewhat in the 1740s. In 1740 Rev. Richard Charlton at New York City noted an improved master attitude toward his activities due to public and private exhortations. Rev. Samuel Auchmuty at New York City wrote in 1750 that "masters of the slaves in this place have also become more desirous than they used to be, to have their servants baptized. . . ." Klingberg, Anglican Humanitarianism, pp. 143, 147.
26The idea that only heathens could be enslaved made whites fear the Christianization of their slaves. An early attempt to resolve this issue occurred on March 30, 1688 when Gov. Thomas Dongan ordered the attorney general to draw up an "Act for all negroes and other servants within ye government to be instructed and bread on ye Christian Faith," with a clause that "ye property of ye owners of such servants be no wise altered thereby." Shea, "New York Negro Plot of 1741," p. 765.
27Lincoln, Johnson, and Northrup, eds., Colonial Laws of New York, 1:597‑98. This bill was supported by various ministers including Elias Neau and William Vesey. They urged the legislation in order to prevent the withdrawal of their negro catechumens by whites who feared that baptism would deprive them of their slave property. Klingberg, Anglican Humanitarianism, p. 127. See William Kemp, The Support of Schools in Colonial New York by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Contributions to Education, Teacher's College, No. 56 (New York: Teacher's College, Columbia University, 1913), p. 239.
28Zilversmit, The First Emancipation, pp. 25‑26.
29"Reverend John Sharpe's Proposals for Erecting a School, Library, and Chapel at New York, 1712‑1713," Collections of the New-York Historical Society 13 (1880):353.
30Klingberg, Anglican Humanitarianism, p. 130.
31Ibid., pp. 127, 132.
32Ibid., p. 135.
33Ibid., p. 176.
34This estimate is based on the number of black baptisms listed in missionary reports to the SPGFP excerpted in Klingberg, Anglican Humanitarianism, pp. 120‑86. The legal status of blacks who received baptism was usually not mentioned, but since almost all blacks were slaves during this period it is likely that most of the baptized blacks were slaves rather than freedmen. There were 7 men, 11 women, 833 children, and 556 persons of unknown age and sex baptized during this period.
35This estimate is based on the number of black catechumens listed in missionary reports to the SPGFP in Klingberg, Anglican Humanitarianism, pp. 120‑86. Some students in this group may have been double‑counted if they reappeared in successive years or reports. Some who were later baptized were counted in with that group separately. Catechumens who received religious instruction included 127 men, 145 women, 50 children, and 852 persons whose age and sex were not specified. Only eight pupils were listed as being free.
36Pope‑Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, p. 155; James G. Lydon, "New York and the Slave Trade, 1700 to 1774," William and Mary Quarterly, 35, no. 2 (April 1978):384; Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, p. 123. See Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade,3:462‑510 on the Caribbean islands from which slaves were shipped to New York.
37Lydon, "New York Slave Trade," p. 376; Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, p. 125; Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 1:93‑95; 3:406, 438‑44.
38Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3:438‑39 (this incident probably took place in 1684), 442‑44 (this incident probably took place in 1698); Edmund B. O'Callaghan, ed., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, New York, 1664-1776: English Manuscripts (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co., 1866), p. 158; Thomas J. Scharf, History of WestchesterCounty, New York, Including Morrisania, Kings Bridge, and West Farms, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: L.E. Preston & Co., 1886), 1:30.
39At least fifty blacks were transported out of the colony in the aftermath of the 1741 slave plot. Of the others, 176 went to southern plantations, and the rest to the West Indies and Madeira. Known exports amounted to about 6 percent of known imports‑‑268 out of 4,398 blacks in the 1715 to 1764 period. Lydon, "New York Slave Trade," p.387.
40See Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3:444, table 351 and n. 2 on the proportion of Africans imported 1701 to 1717 and on customs duties.
41Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, p. 150.
42Pope‑Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, pp. 56‑57.
43Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, pp. 185‑88.
44Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 1:398; Pope-Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, pp. 58‑59; Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, pp. 161‑62; Collections of the New‑York Historical Society, Diary of William Dunlap, 1766‑1839, 3 vols. (New York: Printed for the Society, 1929‑1931), 1:190‑91 (hereafter cited as Coll. NYHS, Diary of William Dunlap); Kenneth Scott, "The Slave Insurrection in New York in 1712," New-York Historical Society Quarterly 45 (1961):46‑47.
45Chaplain Roswell Randall Hoes, "The Negro Plot of 1712," NYGBR 21 (1890):162. 1715 to 1764 period. Lydon, "New York Slave Trade," p.387.
46Pope‑Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, p. 139.
47Ibid., p. 141.
48Scott,"Slave Insurrection in New York," p. 57, notes that at the trial of one of the conspirators, "a Negro boy was allowed to act as interpreter for one or more of the more of the accused slaves who had not yet learned English." See pp. 62‑67 for a list of the names of the slaves who were accused of participating in the 1712 uprising.
49See p. below on another New York slave who practiced obeah.
50Lydon, "New York Slave Trade," p. 382.
51Ibid., pp. 387‑88.
52Collections of the New‑York Historical Society, Letter Book of John Watts, 1762‑1765, vol. 61 (New York: Printed for the Society, 1928), p. 32 (hereafter cited as Coll. NYHS, Letter Book of John Watts). Also see Donnan, ed., Documents Illustrative of Slave Trade, 3:457.
53Lydon, "New York Slave Trade," pp. 381‑82, 387.
54Pope‑Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, pp. 152‑55.
55McManus, Negro Slavery, pp. 28‑30.
56Ann Hartell, "Slavery on Long Island," The Nassau County Historical Journal, 6, no. 2 (Fall 1943): 56.
57McManus, Negro Slavery, p. 30. Slave importations into New York were made illegal on February 22, 1788.
58Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, p. 150.
59Ibid., pp. 185, 188.
60See pp. ‑ below on this sample of runaway slaves.
61The African spoke no English or Dutch "or any other language but that of his own country" and was "lately imported from Africa." Runaway Slave Ad, New York Mercury, 6 November 1752.
62This interchange of slave personnel between Dutch and English communities is illustrated in Runaway Slave Ad, New York Mercury, 30 November 1772. Owner Caleb Morgan reported that his twenty-five-year-old runaway slave Sambo "talks good English and some Dutch--was brought up among the Dutch."
63Runaway Slave Ad, New York Evening Post 5 September 1748, in Richard Webber, "Some Old Westchester News Items and Advertisements," Quarterly Bulletin of the Westchester County Historical Society, 3, no. 3 (July 1927): 10; Runaway Slave Ad, New York Mercury, 12 November 1781; Runaway Slave Ad, Frothingham's Long Island Herald, 31 May 1797. Pope-Hennessy, Sins of the Fathers, p. 59 mentions the "tribal and status‑symbol cuts [commonly] incised facially in childhood" among Gold Coast tribes. African slaves in New York often bore these markings.
64Augustus Griffin Diaries, 1792‑1850, 2 vols., August 12, 1799 entry, vol. 1, pp. 124‑26, LIHS.
65Several native Africans and African practices are mentioned in this study. See Venture Smith (p. ), Sojourner Truth's mother (p. ), Jack Conklin (p. ), Belinda (p. ), King Charlie (p. ), Schuyler estate (p. n. ), Cato (p. ), Obium (p. ), Owah/Tom Gall and Obed (pp. ‑ ). See pp. ‑ below on breastfeeding and pp. ‑ below on the naming of children.
66See app. 1 for a listing of the relevant 1698, 1706, and 1755 census sources. 1800 Census, Manuscript Population Schedules, New York City (Ward 6, p. 828); 1810 Census, Manuscript Population Schedules, New York City (Wards 6 and 7, pp. 149a, 176a); 1820 Census, Manuscript Population Schedules, Suffolk County (p. 169a); Westchester County (p. 227); Queens County (p. 255).
67William A. Robbins, "The Salmon Records," NYGBR 48 (1917): 277. This black could be the same Yarranbey whose daughter was baptized on October 20, 1758 and who was baptized himself (Yarranboe) in 1764 at the Presbyterian Church of Mattituck-Aquebogue. R. Vosburgh, ed., Christ Protestant Episcopal Church, New York City (n.p., 1919), NYGBS; "Records of the Church of East Hampton," in Joseph Osborne, comp., Records of the Town of Easthampton, Long Island, 5 vols. (Sag Harbor, N.Y.: John H. Hunt, Printer, 1887‑1905), vol. 5; Records of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Brooklyn, N.Y., formerly known as the Sands Street Methodist Episcopal Church, NYGBS.
68Daniel Horsmanden, The New York Conspiracy or a History of the Negro Plot, with the Journal of the Proceedings against the Conspirators at New York in the Years 1741‑1742 (New York: Southwick and Pelsue, 1810; reprint ed., Thomas J. Davis, ed., Boston: Beacon Press, 1971).
69Ralph G. Duvall, The History of Shelter Island from Its Settlement in 1652 to the Present Time, 1932 (Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.: By the Author, 1932), p. 89.
70Richard [Conrency], Certificate of Freedom, December 14, 1812, Indentures of Apprenticeship, NYHS.
71Jacqueline Bernard, Journey Toward Freedom: The Story of Soujourner Truth (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1967), pp. 42‑44; Gabriel Furman, Antiquities of Long Island, and Notes Geographical and Historical Relating to the Town of Brooklyn in Kings County on Long Island, To Which is Added a Bibliography by Henry Onderdonk, ed. Frank Moore (New York: J. W. Bouton, 1875), pp. 265‑69.
72In the town of Brooklyn 33.7 percent of households held slaves, 36.2 percent in Bushwick, 51.4 percent in Flatlands, 32.4 percent in Gravesend, 48.5 percent in Flatbush, and 46.3 percent in New Utrecht. Large proportions of the white population continued to use slave labor in New Utrecht: 50 percent in 1716 and 47.4 percent in 1717. The need for farm labor was great in Kings County, for in addition to the 295 slaves in the county in 1698 there were also 48 apprentices.
73"Flushing, 1675," Doc. Hist., 2:263‑64; "Flatlands, 1683," Doc. Hist., 2:288‑89; Southold, 1686, L.I.H.S.; N.U., Bergen Papers, St. Francis; "Kings Co., 1698," Doc. Hist., 3:87‑89; Miller, "Census of Westchester, Eastchester, Fordham and Bedford, 1698"; Randolph, "Census of 1698, Mamaroneck, Morrisania, and New Rochelle"; Gardner, "Census of Newtown"; "Flushing, 1698," Doc. Hist., 1:432‑37.
74In Kings County in 1731 180 out of 306 households held slaves. High proportions of households owned slaves in all of its towns: Gravesend (41.4 percent), New Utrecht (55.9 percent), Flatlands (55.9 percent), Flatbush (57.9 percent), Bushwick (61 percent), and Brooklyn (66.3 percent).
75This census of Suffolk County excludes the town of Huntington. Proportions of slaveholders in the white population ranged from a low in Southampton (14.4 percent), Easthampton (14.6 percent), Shelter Island (18.5 percent), Brookhaven (19.6 percent), Southold (21.8 percent), Islip (26.9 percent), Manor of St. George and Patent of Meritches (30.4 percent) to a high in Smithtown (41.5 percent).
76"N.Y.C., 1703," Doc. Hist., 1:395‑405; "Kings Co., 1731," Doc. Hist., 4:122‑31; "New Rochelle, 1771," NYGBR 107 (1976):196‑98; Mallmann, Historical Papers; "Suffolk, 1776," Force, ed., American Archives, 4:1236‑52.
77The proportion of Kings County white households that held slaves in 1790 ranged from 47.2 percent of households in Brooklyn to 75.9 percent of households in New Utrecht.
78Occupations of owners were compiled from Scott, "Slave Insurrection in New York," pp. 43‑74 (the professions of twenty‑nine of the owners whose slaves were accused in the 1712 New York City uprising were listed); New York City Birth Certificates of Slaves, microfilm reel 49, NYHS (professions were listed for 170 of the owners who registered the birth of children to their slave women between 1799 and 1827); Harry Yoshpe, "Record of Slave Manumissions in New York During the Colonial and Early National Periods: A. Abstract of Instruments of Manumission on Record in the Office of the Register, New York County; B. Abstract of Instruments of Manumission among the Papers of the Manumission Society, New York City," Journal of Negro History, 26, no. 1 (January 1941):78‑107 (professions were listed for 159 slaveowners in Yoshpe's compilation and in other scattered manumission documents). Figures for Brooklyn were taken from manumissions listed in Brooklyn Town Meeting Minutes, 1785‑1823, Book no. 500, St. Francis. Printed with minor errors in Kenneth Scott, "Manumissions in Kings County, New York, 1797‑1825," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, 65, no. 2 (June 1977):177-80, and in Henry McCloskey, "Slavery on Long Island," Manual of the Common Council of the City of Brooklyn (1864), pp. 157‑65.
79A large proportion of New England's slaves worked on small farms where they raised food products, forage crops, and livestock and made dairy products. Greene, Negro in Colonial New England, pp. 103, 321.
80Carl Nordstrom, "Slavery in a New York County: Rockland 1686‑1827," Afro Americans in New York Life and History, 1, no. 2 (July 1977):155.
81Jean Peyer, "Jamaica, New York, 1656‑1776: Class Structure and Social Mobility," Journal of Long Island History, 14, no. 1 (Fall 1977):34‑47; Robert C. Ritchie, The Duke's Province: A Study of New York Politics and Society 1664-1691 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), p.131.
82Nordstrom, "Slavery in Rockland, 1686‑1827," p. 155.
83Peyer, "Jamaica, New York, 1656‑1776," p. 36.
84"Flushing, 1675," Doc. Hist., 2:263‑64.
85"Flatlands, 1683," Doc. Hist., 2:288‑89.
86Blank, "Census of 1781"; Darlington, "Census of 1781," 2:328‑29.
87"Gravesend, 1788," Gravesend Records, St. Francis. See app. 3 for a list of households arranged according to the number of acres held with the corresponding number of slaves. The number of taxable acres listed may only be the number of acres a man had under cultivation, not his entire holding in land. The real number of slaves in Gravesend could have been higher if only prime adults were listed as taxable property in 1788. The 1788 list included 65 slaves whereas according to the 1790 federal census, Gravesend had 135 slaves. The seventy slaves not listed in 1788 may have been black children and the elderly who were not considered to be taxable property.
88Alice P. Kenney, Stubborn for Liberty: the Dutch in New York (Syracuse, N.Y.:Syracuse University Press, 1975), pp. 91‑95. On the Manor of Queens Village the Lloyd family's slaves and tenants raised wheat, rye, corn, vegetables, fruits, cattle, sheep, swine, and horses using the best contemporary agricultural methods. Collections of the New‑York Historical Society, Papers of the Lloyd Family of the Manor of Queens Village, Lloyd's Neck, Long Island, New York, 1654-1826, 2 vols. (New York: J.J. Little & Ives Co. for the New-York Historical Society, 1926‑1927), 1, introduction, p.xi. (hereafter cited as Coll. NYHS, Papers of the Lloyd Family).
89Ann Grant, Memoirs of An American Lady, 2 vols. (London: n.p., 1808; reprint ed., New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1901), 1:302‑11.
90Howard S. Russell, A Long, Deep Furrow: Three Centuries of Farming in New England (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1976), p. 314.
91Ibid., pp. 44, 94, 96, 99, 122, 145, 151, 153‑54, 161, 193, 195, 220, 294.
92Journal of John Baxter of Flatlands, Long Island, 1790‑1826, 3 vols.,LIHS. Long Island artist William Sidney Mount painted a picture in 1845 entitled Eel Spearing at Setauket, based on an old black named Hector who had shown Mount how to fish. Alfred Frankenstein, Painter of Rural America: William Sidney Mount, 1807-1868 (Stony Brook, N.Y.: Suffolk Museum at Stony Brook, 1968).
93Henry Onderdonk, "Farming in Olden Times in Queens County," Journal of Long Island History 5 (1965):1‑17.
94Bernard, Journey Toward Freedom, pp.26, 48, 58.
95For examples of hiring out, see Coll. NYHS, Papers of the Lloyd Family, 1:105, 258, 261‑62, 270‑71, 282‑83.
96Out of 2,526 slaves disposed of in regular wills, and 1,109 slaves disposed of in miscellaneous wills where data was less complete, only ten slaves where ordered to be hired out by testators. The widows or estate executors generally took such actions themselves in order to best utilize inherited slave property.
97Richard B. Morris, Select Cases of the Mayor's Court of New York City, 1674-1784 (Washington, D.C.: The American Historical Association, 1935), p. 237. This hire resulted in a court case heard on May 22, 1705 (Aletta Douw v. Simeon Soumain). Soumain failed to pay Douw 11.7.0 of the sum agreed upon.
98Ann McLeod registered the birth of children to Isabel in 1813 and 1815. Flatbush Slave Records 1799‑1819: Births and Manumissions of Slaves 1799‑1819, vol. 107, pp. 275, 282, St. Francis.
99Bill of Sale, Ann Wharton to Lt. John Lawrance, April 1696, in Josephine Frost, ed., Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island 1656-1751, 3 vols. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Lyons Genealogical Co. for the Long Island Historical Society, 1914), 2: 177.
100Ken Stryker-Rodda, "Genealogical Gleanings from Account Books of Elias Pelletreau of Southampton, Long Island," Journal of Long Island History, 5, nos. 1 and 2 (1965):27‑47, 28‑46.
101Journal of John Baxter of Flatlands, Long Island, 1790‑1826, LIHS.
102Figures for the white population from 1712 to 1786 indicate that an average of 47.6 percent of males were in the prime sixteen to sixty age group compared to 50.6 percent of black males. For the 1800 to 1820 period an average of 42.7 percent of whites were in the prime sixteen to forty‑five age group compared to 52.4 percent of blacks (aged fourteen to forty‑five years). Whites had lower proportions of prime labor in their population than blacks because they had a larger proportion of children in their population. The age structure of the New York white population (proportions of children, prime adults, and elderly) is displayed in app. 4.
103Slaves in Westchester County, "An Account of the Negroes above fourteen years of Age belonging to Lewis Morris, at Morrisania," in O'Callaghan, ed., Documentary History New York State, 3:510. See p. n. for the method of estimating Morrisania's child slave population.
104The original owner of the manor lands, Colonel Lewis Morris, had what was probably a young, productive work-force of sixty-six slaves (thirty‑three adults and thirty‑three children or teenagers) at the time of his death in 1691. Having only come to New York in the 1670s, it is likely that in 1691 most of his slaves had been recently purchased in their youth. His nephew Lewis Morris inherited the estate and sixty of the slaves; he consolidated the properties into the Manor of Morrisania in 1697 with this theoretically young, healthy slave labor force (half of which were children). When he died in 1746 at age seventy‑five his slaveholding had become middle‑aged, composed of the remnants of his inherited sixty slaves and any additional purchases he had made during his stewardship of the manor. His son Lewis Morris, lord of the manor in 1755, had to support eight slaves in old age which had belonged initially to either his father (see his mother Isabella Morris's 1746 will, p. below) or to their ancestor Lewis Morris in 1691. The passing down of Morris family slaves from one heir to the next meant that by the third generation a number of long‑held slaves had accumulated who needed to be maintained during old age. Estate Inventory and Will of Colonel Lewis Morris, Coll. NYHS, Abstracts of Wills, 1:196, 182; Frederic Shonnard and W. W. Spooner, History of Westchester County, 2 vols. (New York: The New York History Company, 1900), 1:153.
105Estate Inventory of Abraham Depeyster, New York City, January 25‑26, 1768, New York Public Library.
106Kenneth Scott and James Owre, Genealogical Data from Inventories of New York Estates, 1666‑1825 (New York: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1970).