Captain Henry Larcom Writes Home About Brutus
In a letter written to his wife and daughter while he was in Brazil, Larcom noted that Brutus would be freed and would learn to be a house servant, cleaning Captain Larcom’s boots and doing other small jobs.
I shall not come alone, but bring a N.E.G.R.O. boy by the name of Brutus to clean my boots and other small jobs; he was born in Africa and a slave, but will be free at the moment he treads on the soil of our country; ten doubloons was paid for him, about one for every year of his age. I suppose you will scowl, but never mind, we hold all men are born free and equal.”
Indenture Papers for Brutus
Indentured servants were under contract for a specific time and then were free. Had he lived to 1840, the boy called “Brutus” in this document would have been completely free.
This Indenture made at the City of Rio de Janeiro in the Empire of Brasil [sic], on the ninth day of June . . . one thousand eight hundred and twenty five . . . the boy Brutus is apprenticed to Henry Larcom, to learn the trade of house servant from this day until the full end and term of fifteen years.”
Letter Dated 1831 from Fanny Larcom to Her Father About Brutus
Jule (Brutus) has done tolerably well for a day or two past but he began his career monday morning with a pretty high hand. I had a great mind to send a letter to you the next morning but Mother made out to frighten him by rapping his knuckles and promising him a good basting [severe beating] when you got home so you must come prepared to give him one of the real good whippings with a cool, calm, reasonable, spirit.”
1830 Census Shows Brutus
Every ten years, from 1810 to 1840, Robert Rantoul took a census of the population of Beverly. In the 1830 entry for “Colored persons,” “Julius Caeaser Larcom” is listed, along with nine other people. This is the last official record of Brutus. Four of the ten people were members of the Larcom family: Rose Larcom was married to Reuben Larcom, son of Juno Larcom and Jethro Thistle; Cloe Turner was their youngest daughter, and Harriot Wellman their granddaughter. From a high of more than fifty individuals just forty years before, the black community had shrunk to ten people, possibly due to lack of work.