William Fairfield’s Letter About a Slave Revolt
Cayenne, April 23, 1789. Honour’d Parent: I take this Opportunity to write Unto you to let you know of a very bad accident that Happen’d on our late passage from Cape Mount, on the Coast of Africa . . . we sail’d . . . with 35 Slaves on bord [13 days into the voyage] the Slaves Rised upon us, At half past seven, my Sir and all hands being Forehead Except the Man at the helm and my self, three of the Slaves took Possession of the Caben, and two upon the quarter Deck, them in the Caben took Possession of the fier Arms, and them on the quarter Deck with the Ax and Cutlash and other Weapons, them in the Caben, handed up Pistels to them on the Quarter Deck. One of them fired and killed my honoured Sir, and still we strove for to subdue them. And then we got on the quarter Deck and killed two of them . . . . There was a . . . passenger on bord that Could speak the tongue . . . and we called them up and one came up, and he cal’d the other . . . we put them in Irons and Chained them . . . . we have sold part of the slaves.”
Runaway Advertisement, 1773 Essex Gazette
Manchester, in Essex County, Massachusetts Bay, June 5, 1773. RAN away from the Subscriber at Manchester Yesterday, a Negro Man named Chester, alias Titus, formerly Mr. Thomas Jaques’s Runaway, about 30 Years of Age, 5 Feet 9 Inches high, well limb’d, a stammering Speech, and one or more of his Toes partly lost by Frost. Had on when he went away, a brown colour’d all-wool Coat, red half-thick Jacket, white Trowsers, mill’d Cap, and check'd woolen Shirt. Whoever shall take up said Runaway, and return him to his said Master at Manchester . . . shall have SIX DOLLARS Reward . . . He has with him a false Pass or Bill of Sale. N. B. All Masters of Vessels and others are cautioned against harbouring or carrying off said Servant on Penalty of Law. JOHN LEE”
Baptismal Records of Juno and Jethro from the First Parish Church
Bill of Sale for Juno Larcom’s 12-year-old son, Reuben Larcom, from 1773
Reuben, Juno and Jethro’s 12-year-old son, was sold to James Thistle in 1773 for more than 40 British pounds.
I do hereby covenant with the said James Thistle that I am the Lawful Owner of the said Reuben, and that I have good Right and Lawful Authority to sell him to the said James Thistle and that I will Warrant and defend the said Reuben to the said James Thistle his heirs and assigns Forever against the Lawful Claims and Demands of all persons in witness whereof I have hereto sett my hand and seal the sixth day of April Anno Domini 1773”
Earning a Living
A receipt from 1779 to 1788 listing payments that Juno Larcom received from Israel Woodbury reveals how Juno earned a living after she declared herself and her family free. She did laundry, which entailed “whitening” or bleaching cloth and she did textile work, which involved spinning, “doubling,” and twisting yarn, and then weaving the yarn into fabric.