UPHEAVAL AND FREEDOM: BLACK NEW YORK DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
It was before the sons of Columbia felt the yoke of their oppressors, and rose in their strength to put it off that this land became contaminated with slavery. Had this not been the case, led by the spirit of pure republicanism, that then possessed the souls of those patriots who were struggling for liberty, this soil would have been sufficiently guarded against its intrusion, and the people of these United States to this day, would have been strangers to so great a curse. It was by the permission of the British parliament, that the human species first became an article of merchandize among them.
Nathaniel Paul, Pastor of the First African Baptist Society in Albany (July 5, 1827)
Agitation against slavery in the 1770s resulted in the manumission of hundreds of Quaker slaves in the southern six counties of New York; the American Revolution freed many hundreds more. The war uprooted the controlled institution of slave ownership and created new opportunities for liberty for some slaves. Blacks won freedom by military service with either British or patriot armies. Slaves who had been abandoned on confiscated loyalist estates and who remained unsold on May 1, 1786, were freed by New York State. While some slave families were further separated by the movement of their owners during the chaos of battle and army occupation, others used the conflict to permanently reunite their families as free people.
War meant disruption and dislocation for most New York slaves. The tremendous movement of both civilian and military populations in and out of the southern six counties of New York during the armed conflict unsettled the routines of both blacks and whites between 1775 and 1783. In 1771 New York City had a population of 21,863 persons including 3,137 blacks.1 Civilians began to leave the city after the British warship Asia fired on the city on August 23, 1775; at least a third of the residents left within two weeks after the bombardment. Many New York City inhabitants, with their slaves in tow, departed from October 1775 through the Spring of 1776 under the threat of riots, civil disorder, possible destruction of the city, and American military occupation. General Lee arrived in New York on February 4, 1776, with 1,500 troops, followed by Washington and his army in April; New York was transformed into a garrison town. By the approach of hostilities in April, from half to two‑thirds of the citizens had deserted the town. Loyalists had been attacked by mobs, persecuted, jailed, and banished from the city. With the arrival of British Admiral Howe's fleet at Staten Island on July 2, 1776, hundreds of New York City's dispossessed loyalists fled within his lines.2
When the British invaded and captured Manhattan in September 1776, only from 3 to 5,000 inhabitants remained, most of whom were Dutch and German traders, the aged and sick, or Tories.3 New York loyalists immediately began to return to the British‑occupied city, along with their slaves. On September 18, 1776, a wounded British soldier, Lt. John Heinrichs, took shelter in a small house on the East River. He noted the arrival of the widow of the former rector of St. George's Chapel at Beekman Street with her family: "All these people came back last evening; and the emotion I felt on seeing mother and children, grandfather and grandchildren, etc. down to the black children of the slaves, hugging and kissing each other, so affected my wound, that I got a fever. . . ."4
From September 1776 through November 1783, civilian life resumed among the new population which inhabited British‑held New York. By the end of February 1777 the population of the city had risen to 11,000, swelling to 30,000 by 1779,5 fueled not only by British and Hessian troops but by both returning and new loyalists who poured into the city. Loyalists initially came from neighboring counties and colonies, but as the war progressed Tories from more distant areas converged on New York. Virginia loyalists arrived early with Lord Dunmore on August 15, 1776. The British evacuation of Philadelphia in 1778 brought several thousand new arrivals to the city. When the British abandoned Savannah in August 1782 "most of the officers, some of the inhabitants and sick men" were brought to New York. By November 1782 an estimated 60,000 refugees were within British lines in New York. A group arrived from Charleston in January 1783.6 The population of the occupied city was also composed of slaves brought back by their loyalist masters and blacks who had escaped from their owners to seek freedom behind British lines.
In addition to New York, British troops occupied Kings, Queens, Suffolk (which comprised Long Island), and Richmond counties from September 1776 through November 1783. Long Island was regarded as a convenient source of supplies for the British army and for the occupied city of New York, and was continually plundered for food, grain, horses, cattle, wagons, wood, and raw materials.7 Law and order was vested in the arbitrary will of the soldiery, consisting of British regulars, the Queens County militia composed of native loyalists, and Hessians. Requisition or theft of property and supplies was committed against both patriots and loyalists indiscriminately. One Long Island resident had his black boy, wagon, and team impressed on the road to carry baggage to Easthampton--the slave later returned home alone.8 John Rogers of Huntington claimed to have lost by robbers a "mustee boy worth 10" during the war.9 On Staten Island "the tories were cruelly used," and forced to provide supplies for the British.
The patriot forces held Albany, Ulster, and Dutchess counties, and parts of Orange, Tryon, and Westchester counties during the war.10 The "neutral ground" for thirty miles around New York City became the scene of guerilla warfare between the irregular forces of both sides. Loyalist auxiliary regiments ("Cowboys") and patriot militia units ("Skinners") took turns burning and plundering noncombatants in Westchester County, New Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut. Westchester County was a no‑man's land occupied by two armies from the Battle of White Plains in October 1776 through the evacuation of the British troops from the county on May 13, 1783. Scattered continental forces held an ever‑shifting line across upper Westchester County from Verplanck's Point on the Hudson to North Salem Township on the Connecticut line. The British bases were in lower Westchester County, at Kingsbridge, Morrisania, and the village of Westchester.11
Both loyalist and patriot residents of Westchester County lost slave property disproportionately to slaveowners in the other five counties in southern New York. Westchester County civilians were caught between the opposing armies and were particularly abused: "The county of Westchester, very soon after the commencement of hostilities, became, on account of its exposed situation, a scene of deep distress. . . . No man went to his bed but under the apprehension of having his house plundered or burnt, or himself or his family massacred before morning."12 Slaves were taken for political advantage, private gain, and for military service by both British and Americans.
Loyalists formed a majority of the population in Westchester County before the conflict. In 1775 the Provincial Congress appealed to patriots in Connecticut to help suppress Westchester's Tories; leading loyalists were disarmed and sent to New Haven.13 Slaves who belonged to Westchester County loyalists after 1775 were subject to being sent by American committees out of the state or into British lines with their masters. Large numbers of slaves were taken into New York City by Westchester loyalists who were able to escape the wrath of local patriots with some of their property. Slaves who were seized as confiscated property in areas under patriot control were sold to new owners. When John Peter Lawson, owner of a 200 acre farm in rebel‑dominated Dutchess County sided with the British, he was obliged to leave his farm and all of his possessions. A local committee then sold "his farm, effects, grain, live stock, negroes etc., and sent his wife with her two Children . . . to the city of New York, allowing her no more but eight days' provisions to take along."14
When Charles Theall of Rye wrote his will on September 17, 1778, he left his granddaughter "a negro boy now in the hands of Ebenezer Purdy, and sold to him by Commissioners as part of the estate of my son Ebenezer, and being then and is now my real property."15 William Underhill of Westchester County also refused to acknowledge the permanent loss of slaves confiscated during the Revolution. His estate inventory in 1784 listed "a negro boy named Edward taken away in the time of war and now in possession of Israel Honeywell said to be sold to him by the commissioners of forfeitures worth 70," and "a negro man named Aaron taken away in time of war," also valued at 70.16
Residents of Westchester County were overrepresented among loyalists from the southern six counties of New York who applied to the British government for compensation for wartime losses.17 Out of 249 Southern District loyalists who submitted claims,18 115 (46.2 percent) were from Westchester County, where partial patriot control during the conflict had meant widespread property loss for Tories. Eleven slaveholders were located among the 249 loyalists--seven of he eleven were from Westchester.19 Frederick Williams of Westchester was awarded 280 for lost property of which 130 were for negroes (a man, woman, and four boys) taken by the Americans. Edmund Palmer's losses included his father's 100 acre farm in Cortlandt Manor, Westchester County, two negroes worth 160, stock, and personal effects.
Gabriel Legget, a patriot slaveowner in lower Westchester County, also experienced disruption and loss of property. Legget was turned out of his farm by Major Bearmore of the British army in 1779, who then occupied his farm. Legget's slave Mercy and her two children left Legget shortly before his eviction from his property to live on Long Island with Stephen De Lancey. Legget's wife then arranged for her to live with Mr. Davenport at Morrisania and then with Capt. Kip, who had succeeded Bearmore in occupying Legget's property. After Kip turned Mercy out, Legget asked Mercy's husband to build a hut for her on the Legget farm where her third child was born. Legget used his slave's family to maintain and safeguard his property during the emergency. Upon the withdrawal of British troops from the farm, Mercy and her three children went to New York City, where she sought freedom under the British proclamation. Legget claimed her as his property prior to her embarkation to go to Nova Scotia with the 1783 British evacuation of New York and had her brought on shore for examination. The board ordered Mercy and her children to be returned to Legget.20
Westchester County's slave population was largely destabilized as a result of its occupation by both British and American armies, the plundering operations of both Tory and Whig militia upon local property holders, the persecution of loyalists and sales of their property in patriot areas, and the flight of loyalists with their slaves to British strongholds. The proximity of the British lines in New York City also encouraged Westchester slaves to run away from their masters and seek freedom within the British camps. The number of slaves decreased by 63.7 percent from 1771 to 1786 in Westchester County. This lost black population did not reappear in the 1790 census, as it did in the other southern New York counties.
* * * * *
New York's position as an active battleground during the American Revolution opened opportunities for freedom to local slaves who were caught between the two opposing armies. Both British and American forces competed for the military services and allegiance of the New York slave population. As military resources, blacks were useful as laborers, scouts, messengers, and spies. On June 30, 1779, Sir Henry Clinton, commander‑in‑chief of the British forces in America, issued a proclamation from his headquarters at Philipsburgh in Westchester County. He granted liberty to any slave (male or female) who fled to the British lines and embraced the King's cause, which policy was in effect from its issuance until the signing of the Provisional Peace Agreement on November 30, 1782.21 The number of New York slaves (and free blacks) who adhered to the British standard is unknown, but it is likely that large numbers sought freedom in this manner. A Gravesend, Long Island, slave testified in July 1776 that over eight hundred local blacks had escaped into the British lines and would probably be made into a regiment.22 A survey of the labor resources of the Quarter Master General's Department, Commissary General's Provision Department, Forage Department, and the Barrack Master General's Department in New York, Staten Island, Long Island, and Harlem Heights on August 26‑31, 1781, revealed that one guide, six drivers, and 116 "negro laborers" were in current service.23 A total of 247 known former New York slaves or freedmen were evacuated with the British between April 23 and November 30, 1783, according to ship registers which listed the names of 3,000 blacks.24 Many more New York slaves may have been aboard unregistered private vessels for whom no records exist.25
On March 20, 1781, the American forces recruited blacks (presumably only males) with a promise of freedom for either three years of service or until regular discharge. Any master who delivered one or more of his able‑bodied slaves to serve in a regiment was entitled to a land grant and was exempt from any future maintenance of the slave after he was freed.26 Although the number of slaves who achieved freedom through service with the colonists is unknown,27 many Tory‑owned slaves ran away to the Americans and many slaves of patriot masters joined the army with their owners' consent. Solemon Close of Salem received 7 on August 26, 1777, as a bounty for 2 1/2 months service to the army rendered by his slave.28 The September 29, 1777, inventory of Thomas Betts's estate indicated that his negro man York was in service with the army as a wagon driver.29 Loyalists Samuel Kipp of Westchester County and Archibald Hamilton of Flushing both applied to the British government for compensation for their property losses at American hands during the Revolution. Kipp claimed 50 for a negro who "deserted to the Americans," while Hamilton listed as property two negroes worth 115 10s. sterling who "joined the Americans."30
As valuable property in unstable times, New York slaves were also considered as contraband of war. Patriots confiscated and sold blacks who belonged to loyalist owners. On August 3, 1775, New York passed the first act which implied confiscation of loyalist property. As early as September 1, 1775, the Provincial Congress passed a resolution authorizing the seizure of property belonging to persons who had joined the British cause. On June 24, 1776, the Continental Congress declared that all loyalist property was liable to seizure, followed shortly thereafter by similar New York legislation. Confiscation of loyalist property by local committees became more common after July 4, 1776; confiscations and sales took place in Westchester in the last months of 1776. On September 21, 1776, the Constitutional Convention ordered measures to be taken against British sympathizers. Loyalists were transported out of the state, jailed, freed on parole, forced to swear allegiance to the Americans, sent into the British lines, and executed for treason. Local committees enforced these policies against domestic enemies in all counties not under British control.31
On March 6, 1777, the New York Provincial Convention appointed Commissioners of Sequestration for each of the counties not under British control; they were empowered to seize and sell the personal property of loyalists (including their slaves) and rent out their lands. Commissioners for Albany, Charlotte, Tryon, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, and Westchester counties appropriated loyalist properties throughout the war until the termination of their powers on May 12, 1784. The Commissioners in Westchester "were so ruthless in the fulfillment of their trust that they aroused the censure of the authorities." Between July 1, 1777, and May 1784, sales of confiscated property in Westchester County totalled 43,880. It is likely that most able‑bodied loyalist slaves left on confiscated estates in upper Westchester County (the one area in the Southern District largely controlled by patriots) were sold between 1777 and 1784.32
By an act of attainder passed on October 22, 1779, the revolutionary authorities moved from sequestration to actual confiscation of loyalist estates. The property of persons adhering to the enemy was declared forfeit to the state. Fifty‑nine persons were convicted of treason, other names were proposed for future indictment, and the governor was authorized to appoint Commissioners of Forfeitures to dispose of the real estate and other confiscated property. Since British troops occupied New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk counties from September 1776 through November 1783, loyalist property there was neither confiscated nor sold during the war years. The Commissioners of Forfeitures began sales there in earnest only after the British withdrawal in November 1783 and after the passage on May 12, 1784, of enabling legislation.33
Many New York Tories attempted to transfer their property (including slaves) temporarily to unconvicted relatives and friends to avoid confiscation of their slave and real estate investments. When loyalist Capt. Peter Corne of Westchester left his premises in 1777, he received permission from the Commissioners of Sequestration for his son‑in‑law Dennis Kennedy to occupy the homestead. Two days after his departure, however, the Commissioners confiscated the property and sold most of the moveable effects. On May 24, 1777, Dennis Kennedy petitioned for the return of the goods and for clearance to resume residence on the property. Kennedy also claimed a negro man York who had been given leave in Peter Corne's passport to accompany his master. Since "the Fellow was averse to going on account of his wife in the Country," Corne had given him to Kennedy for safekeeping along with the rest of his property.34 In order to thwart such transfers, in 1779 New York declared that all conveyances executed by convicted loyalists after July 9, 1776, were "presumed to be fraudulent and to have been made with intent to prevent a forfeiture."35
Richard Floyd of Brookhaven, a convicted loyalist, petitioned the British government for compensation for the loss of his estate and for six negroes and various property. His claim for the slaves and personal goods was disallowed, "they not appearing to be confiscated and still in possession of his brother and son."36 One of the slaves in question, Zipporah, was held as a slave by John Peters in North Hempstead. The sale of one of her children motivated Zipporah to press for her own and the child's freedom though the auspices of the New York Manumission Society in 1802 based on her status as a former slave on the confiscated Floyd estate.37 Had she not been shifted to Peters's ownership, Zipporah would have been entitled to freedom if she had remained unsold by the Commissioners of Forfeitures in 1786 (when all such slaves were freed by the state).
An occasional loyalist manumitted his slaves rather than abandon them to rebel confiscation, possession, and sale. Oliver De Lancey, whose name appeared on the October 22, 1779, list of persons whose estates were forfeited to the state, freed his slaves before joining the British forces as commander of a brigade of 1,500 loyalists. In a May 5, 1784, memorial to the British government applying for compensation for his wartime losses, De Lancey stated that his house at Bloomingdale in New York was burnt down on November 26, 1777, by the rebels, at which time he had twenty‑three slaves in his possession. Aside from a negro child killed in the fire, he gave all the rest but three "leave to work for their maintenance, and go where they pleased by which means they were lost to him."38
As property, blacks also risked being stolen or imprisoned39 by both patriot and Tory soldiers, militia of both sides, and civilians who either kept them or sold them to others for a profit. Slave property was often plundered during the war. Several owners appealed to Sir Guy Carleton (in charge of the withdrawal of the King's troops, loyalists, and blacks within British lines in 1783) for the return of slaves who had been stolen during the war. Evert Byvanck of Ridgefield, Connecticut, stated that his negro man Tom had been made a prisoner by a party of revolutionary refugees. They carried him to Morrisania and sold him to Jesse Hobby, now living at Frog's Neck. As the black was taken prisoner and had no objection to returning to his master, Byvanck begged Carleton to order his release.40 Nicholas Jamieson had sent his slave Willis on an errand which required travel on a ship which ran aground--it was subsequently boarded and he was carried off and sold as a slave. The man who captured him still claimed him as his rightful property. Jamieson was willing to pay 20 guineas for his return and "value[d] the boy at much more than he [was] worth because he was brought up in [his] family."41
Sarah Haviland of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, wrote to the American Commissioners who were inspecting the embarkation of blacks with departing British troops concerning two stolen slaves. In January and June 1780 two slave boys who had been born in her house were forcibly taken by two Staten Island men. Haviland feared that the boys would soon be removed to Nova Scotia with the transports.42 Another owner, Martin McEvoy of New York City, deposed that continental troops took a negro boy from his house near Harlem on the Manor of Fordham.43
* * * * *
Slaves of both loyalist and patriot masters in the southern six counties of New York suffered disruption and separation from family and friends during the war. Slaves who belonged to loyalist owners endured a variety of fates. Some fled into permanent exile outside the colony with banished masters, while some emigrated temporarily with their owners only to later return to New York. Some remained unmolested on their Tory masters' properties throughout the conflict. Many spent the war years in New York City, as thousands of loyalists from the surrounding areas escaped to or were sent by local American committees into the British stronghold; they then either returned to their old homes or were evacuated with their owners to Nova Scotia or Canada after the war. Slaves of loyalists as well as patriots were stolen or imprisoned. Tory‑owned slaves were sold or transferred to new masters to avoid seizure by patriots. Many were appropriated and sold by either the Commissioners of Sequestration or Commissioners of Forfeitures as confiscated loyalist property. Those who were left unsold by the Commissioners of Forfeitures in 1786 were freed by New York State. Some ran away to other colonies or to seek freedom either by joining the American forces or finding refuge behind British lines.
The turmoil of war and occupation also uprooted slaves who belonged to patriot masters in the southern six counties of New York. Some slaves were temporarily removed to nearby Connecticut by Long Island patriot owners escaping the British occupation of the area which followed the Battle of Long Island in 1776. Judge Thomas Tredwell of Smithtown, who owned twelve slaves in 1776, fled to Connecticut during the war.44 Wealthy patriot Shelter Island slaveowners James Havens and Thomas Dering also sought refuge in Connecticut.45 Elias Pelletreau of Southampton, Long Island, moved to the town of Simsbury in Hartford County, Connecticut, at the beginning of the war with his family and one slave girl. He was issued a revolutionary war pass on September 4, 1780, which gave him permission to move to Saybrook, Connecticut.46 Poet Jupiter Hammon was taken by his patriot owner Joseph Lloyd II of the Manor of Queens Village to Stamford and later Hartford, Connecticut, during the war,47 where Hammon wrote his next two pieces in 1778 and 1779. All of these slaves were separated during this temporary relocation from relatives and friends who had lived near their old homes.
Many slaves saw the confusion of war, occupation, and a disrupted slaveholding system as an advantageous opportunity--as a chance not only to escape their masters and seek freedom for themselves, but also to try to reunite their families. Charles, a slave, fled from his Long Island master with his wife and daughter. He later petitioned an American General, Edward Hand, for his freedom, stating that they were:48
taken up by a Fellow who is a Serjeant in one of the Virginia Regiments and sold to one of the Inhabitants as Slaves, he therefore most humbly craves that your honor will take his unhappy case into consideration and if thro' your means he obtains his freedom with his Wife and Daughter he will . . . be ever ready under your honors command to fight against all Enemys of the Honble. United States in defence of Liberty and the rights of Mankind.
Some slaves ran away to other states where slavery had already been abolished--Vermont (1777) and Massachusetts (1780). William Axtell stated in his claim for compensation to the British government that two of his slaves had run off to Philadelphia, "where all negroes are to be free."49 The destination of most runaway New York slaves between 1779 and 1782, however, was the British army, behind whose lines all slaves were offered freedom. Nicolus Brower's July 2‑3, 1778, estate inventory listed a slave named Peter as property worth 60 who had "run away with the British."50 William Neilson of New York City advertised in Loudon's New York Packet on April 28, 1785, that his twenty‑five‑year‑old negro woman Violet had run away and "it is apprehended that she has gone off with a Hessian soldier, and will attempt to transport herself to Nova Scotia or elsewhere." The Americans served a writ against New Rochelle loyalist David Bonnet for enticing Benjamin Stevens's negro to join the King's service in 1776. In denying the charge, Bonnet stated that the slave in question, who kept company with Bonnet's mother's negro woman, had gone off to Long Island of his own volition.51
Samuel Doson, slave to Allida Teller and her son Dr. Abraham Teller of Teller's Point in Westchester County, unsuccessfully sought sanctuary and freedom behind British lines in 1778. After Abraham Teller joined the British, Samuel was charged with having assisted his owner in these efforts and "was therefore ill used by the continental people in the country and that was the reason of his determining to come within the British lines." Samuel's wife and two children, Peter and Elizabeth, were slaves of Pierre Van Cortlandt of the Manor of Cortlandt, also in Westchester County. In 1777 Van Cortlandt had transferred title to the children to his son‑in‑law Gerrard G. Beekman. While in flight from his owners to the British lines in April 1778 Samuel took his two children (but not his wife) from Pierre Van Cortlandt's house and brought them with him to New York City. Both Abraham Teller and Gerrard G. Beekman lodged complaints claiming Samuel and the children as their respective properties. Their cases were heard on July 15 and July 24, 1783, before a joint British‑American commission empowered to investigate disputed claims over blacks about to be evacuated with the British fleet. Samuel and the children were brought on shore for examination; the commissioners referred Samuel's disposition to the commandant and police of the garrison and ruled that the children were to be returned to Beekman.52
* * * * *
The British forces and loyalists evacuated New York between April 23 and November 30, 1783; this entailed another tremendous turnover of the population. There were approximately 90,000 civilian loyalists in New York State in 1775. About 35,000 left the city with the British, of whom approximately 10,000 were originally from the southern six counties of the state. The thousands of refugee loyalists, soldiers, and original Tory inhabitants who made up the heterogeneous population of the city on the eve of is evacuation were soon replaced by the patriots who swarmed back into the city to reclaim their houses and businesses. By April 19, 1783, over 2,000 rebels had reentered the town.53
The British removed blacks from New York as part of the evacuation. When the Provisional Peace Agreement was signed on November 30, 1782, the British agreed to evacuate their troops and personnel without "causing any destruction or carrying away any Negroes or other Property of the American inhabitants."54 British Commander‑in‑Chief Sir Guy Carleton's interpretation of this agreement stated that blacks who were already with the British before November 30, 1782, and who claimed freedom by the 1779 proclamation were free (along with black children born within British lines) and were not to be considered as American property. Only slaves appropriated by the army and those who entered British lines after the signing of the agreement were to be returned.
George Washington unsuccessfully challenged Carleton's stand on honoring wartime promises of freedom to blacks who had joined the British by insisting that the "negro property" referred to in the treaty be defined as all slaves who had at any time been owned by Americans. Washington was unable to persuade Carleton to change his orders and finally agreed to appoint representatives to a joint British‑American board to examine all disputed slave property cases. The board met at Fraunces's Tavern every Wednesday to "receive and settle all claims relative to Negroes."55 The Board heard only fourteen recorded cases56 between May 30 and August 7, 1783: of these, two were decided in favor of the slaves, nine in favor of owners, and three were referred to Brigadier General Samuel Birch, commanding officer in the city, for a decision.57
According to official ship inspection registers, 3,000 blacks were transported with the British, consisting of 1,336 men, 914 women, and 750 children.58 Hundreds of others slipped away on unregistered private vessels, bringing the total number of blacks who left New York to as high as 4,000 persons.59 Sir Guy Carleton ordered the registers to be kept as a record for the settlement of any future claims by Americans against the British government for the removal of their former slave property. The inspection rolls of embarked blacks contain information on their names, ages, former legal status, distinguishing physical characteristics or descriptions, names and residences of former owners, the circumstances under which they entered British lines, and the names and destinations of the vessels on which they were placed.
Many of the blacks were not consulted about their imminent departure and eventual destinations. Had the choice been presented to them, the prospect of either facing former masters and a hostile local patriot population or relocating elsewhere would have prompted most of them to voluntarily accompany the fleet.60 Most of the blacks were relocated either to Canada or Nova Scotia although many were also deposited in England.61 Six months after the fleet sailed a British naval officer wrote from Nova Scotia concerning the emigrated loyalists from New York. He noted that most had gone to Port‑Roseway where they erected a large city (Shelburne) "which contains nine thousand inhabitants exclusive of the Black town, containing about 1,200 free Blacks, who have served during the war."62 Many of the free blacks who were taken to Nova Scotia and their descendants suffered poverty and hardship as rewards for their service to the British.63
Of the 3,000 blacks listed in the ship registers, 247 were originally former New York slaves or free blacks64 accompanied by twenty‑one family members who came from other colonies65 (totalling 268 blacks). The 247 New York blacks who were evacuated as part of the British withdrawal had entered the British lines under a variety of circumstances. Some acknowledged that they had run away from their previous masters, many claimed to have been either born free or freed by their last masters, while others were still slaves or indentured servants and were in the custody of their owners. As table 1 shows, of the 247 blacks who were originally from New York, 36 percent described themselves as former slaves who had either run away, been abandoned by their owners, or
had left under unknown circumstances--all were presumably now free because of their residence within British lines and adherence to the royal cause. Another 6.1 percent were children born free to parents within British lines. A large 42.9 percent claimed to have been born free or been freed by their former masters prior to their attachment to the British, and 15 percent were being evacuated as slaves.66
A comparison of the stated legal statuses of the ninety‑three male and eighty‑seven female adult New Yorkers within the group of 247 evacuees indicates that men and women had entered British lines under very different circumstances. While 39.8 percent of the men stated that they had run away from their former masters to join the British, only 24.1 percent of women had absconded from owners. Another 12.9 percent of men described themselves as former slaves (who had also either run away from or been abandoned by owners) and only 6.9 percent of women. Men widely admitted (52.7 percent of the sample) their former status as slaves who had taken direct action in leaving their masters to seek British protection and freedom. Runaway slaves under peacetime conditions were also traditionally males; in a sample of 208 adult New York runaways, 1726 to 1814, 170 were men (81.7 percent).67 Female slaves were far less likely to run away than men--in peace or war.
Blacks who indicated that they had run away from their masters had left them between 1775 and 1781. The most common dates of departure for the sixty‑three New York black runaways68 were in 1776 and 1777: 1775 (3), 1776 (21), 1777 (16), 1778 (7), 1779 (8), 1780 (5), 1781 (2), and one date unknown.69 The blacks who were simply listed as "former slaves" had also probably run away from their masters during the same revolutionary years (dates unknown). Several former slaves reported that they had been abandoned by their owners before entering British‑occupied territory.70 Harry Spencell said that his master, B. Benson of New York, had left him upon "the landing of the British troops on N. York Island."71 Thirty‑four‑year‑old Toney stated that he was formerly the slave of Rymer Suydam of Brooklyn, who left him in the year 1776 "to shift for himself."72 John and Betsey Forsyeth had both been abandoned by their respective owners.73 George Townsend of New York left Betsey in 1776, while George Rapalje of New York deserted his slave John in the same year. John and Betsey were evacuated together with their one‑year‑old daughter Lydia who had been born free within the British lines.
Since the first federal census in 1790 indicated that only 27.4 percent of blacks in the southern six counties of New York were free, it is unlikely that the 42.9 percent of New York blacks who claimed to have been born free or freed by their former owners had really been free prior to their entry into British lines. Private manumissions in New York were rare before 1785; together with the relatively small number of Quaker manumissions in the 1770s they could not have accounted for the disproportionately great number of freedmen among blacks who fled to the British. If such a large segment of blacks who joined the British really were already free, it would have indicated genuine strong black support for the King and perhaps a desire on the part of former slaves to retaliate against slaveholding Americans. One such free southern negro had been brought from England to Baltimore and sold into slavery before the war. Free since 1777, he begged for British assistance to leave America, having "suffered with the Greatest Barbarity in this Rebellious Country."74
Undoubtedly, some New York blacks who had genuinely been free prior to the Revolution did side with the British during the war and sailed to England in 1783 with other (white) loyalists and the evacuating troops. Benjamin Whitecuff was born free at Hempstead, Long Island, to a free father. When his father and brother joined the American side (both were killed in action), the father told Benjamin that he could claim their sixty‑acre farm for himself if the British took the area. He was also left a yoke of oxen and a cart, for all of which property he applied (unsuccessfully) to the British government for compensation in 1784. Benjamin had joined the British troops when they landed on Staten Island in 1776 and served as a spy during the war and later as a sailor in the Royal Navy.75 Another free‑born Long Island black, John Thompson, petitioned the British government in 1788 for compensation for the loss of his house, ten acres of land, furniture, currency, and a small house also on the property worth a total of 516. He had worked as a servant to Col. Edmund Fanning before the war and participated with Fanning in Tory activities and missions.76 Other black loyalists presented claims after the war to the British government for property they had lost in America--none were compensated.77
It is probable that many of the former New York slaves who claimed to have been born free or freed by their owners disguised their status in the hope of reducing their chances of being reclaimed by their masters. Rather than officially admit (on the verge of permanent departure to freedom outside of New York) that they were possibly recoverable runaway slaves, they provided a fictitious free past for themselves. British officials who recorded detailed information in ship registers on each black being transported out of the American colonies also had incentives to present blacks as free‑born rather than as former slaves. The British were eager to believe black statements of free birth and may have counseled blacks to insist that they had been free prior to their entry into British lines. Black fear of re‑enslavement and British desire to publicly minimize the number of former American slaves they were taking with them combined to inflate artificially the number of pre‑war free blacks listed in the evacuation. American anger at the removal of slave property by the British contributed to years of litigation, claims for compensation, and diplomatic hostility between the two countries.
While only 19.4 percent of the black male adult evacuees claimed to have been born free, 42.5 percent of women reported themselves as having been free from birth. Another 10.8 percent of men indicated that they had been manumitted by their previous owners, and 14.9 percent of women. It is very unlikely that 57.4 percent of the adult black women had been free prior to their entry into the British lines. It would have meant that free black New York women had either disproportionately supported the crown, run to the British lines, or that large numbers merely found themselves in British‑occupied territory at the war's end. Women had a major incentive to assert falsely that they had been born free since their status determined the legal condition of their children. Anxious to guarantee freedom to children in danger of re‑enslavement by Americans and possibly also wary of British intentions, women commonly insisted that they had been born free or had been manumitted prior to the Revolution.
Out of seventy New York blacks who claimed to have been born free thirty‑six indicated that they had been indentured out to service for a period of time or had been born in or lived in a white household. Women disproportionately mentioned a service or residential connection to a white household (twenty women, eleven men, and five children). If these were free associations (rather than hidden references to real slaveowners), large numbers of free blacks in pre‑Revolution New York lived as indentured servants or as dependents in white households rather than in autonomous black‑headed households. Elizabeth Merrick said that she had been born free but had "served her time" with Sonnbert Woodward of Newtown, Long Island. Charity Morris claimed that she was born free but had lived with Jonathan Mills on Long Island until age eighteen. Betsey Herbert, age forty‑four, had been born free at Peter Van Dewater's house in Bedford, Long Island. Sixteen‑year‑old Hannah, on board ship with her eight‑month‑old child Sarah, had lived with Caleb Movul until "within this last year" although she had been born free in Cow Neck, Long Island.78
Some of the New York blacks who were involuntarily evacuated by the British as indentured servants or slaves were in the custody of their pre‑war loyalist owners, as whose property they had survived the war. Cato, age twenty‑five, was the slave of John Bridgewater who had purchased him eighteen years ago "out of a Guinea ship at New York." Frank Gibb, age nine, was the property of Robert Gibbs; he had been born in his house in New York.79 James Peter, a loyalist, was preparing to emigrate to Nova Scotia and to bring with him his slave woman. The woman's husband, Pomp, was serving in the family of Sir Guy Carleton. Peter begged Carleton to release Pomp, issue him a passport, and let him accompany Peter to Nova Scotia, as "the said Negro has expressed a desire of going with his wife."80 Other slaves had been acquired either recently or during the war and were being evacuated with their new civilian loyalist owners. Twenty‑three‑year‑old Davey had been purchased by John Anderson of Port Roseway, Nova Scotia, from his old owner Midcalf Eden of New York. Anderson also bought William, age fourteen, who had been "taken with a guard of the enemy by a party from the garrison in 1779," from his owner and then subsequently sold to Anderson.81 Hargar, a former slave to Doctor Middleton of New York, was sold upon Middleton's death to the Widow Brown of St. John's, with whom she was embarked in 1783.82
Some of the slaves who were evacuated had been purchased or taken from New York owners by British army personnel. Capt. Thatcher had bought Hannah Darvis from Stephen Biddle of Staten Island. Fifteen‑year‑old John was held by quartermaster D. W. Munter of Germany, who had gained possession of him from Benjamin Carpenter of Jamaica, Long Island.83 Samuel Dickison had been "taken in arms" from his owner Thomas Hunt of Phillipse's Manor in 1776 by Capt. [De Thipp], and was presumably also still a slave.84 A black boy, John Mein, was carried to Nova Scotia as an indentured servant by Chevalier Longchamps. Subsequently abandoned there by Longchamps, Mein was supported by the overseers of the poor of St. Johns. They later sold him to Mr. Smith of New York City until age twenty‑one in order to recover the sums spent on his maintenance. The New York Manumission Society intervened on the boy's behalf when it learned that Smith was about to take Mein with him to Georgia.85 Bill Richmond, born on August 5, 1763, was the property of Rev. Richard Charlton of Staten Island before the war. He changed hands during the British occupation of the island and was taken at age fourteen in 1777 to England as a servant of the Duke of Northumberland, General Earl Percy. He later became a well‑known boxing champion in England.86
* * * * *
A large proportion (57.9 percent) of the 247 New York blacks and 61.2 percent of the total sample of 268 blacks (247 New Yorkers plus eighteen spouses, one adult relative, and two children from out of the colony) who waited near the docks to be evacuated with the British were clustered in family groups.87 Of the 268 blacks, 164 were in families while 104 travelled alone. Most evacuees were under the age of thirty‑five; they fit the youthful age profile of runaway slaves.88 Only 15.6 percent of the evacuated blacks were over the age of thirty‑five, and 3.7 percent were over the age of fifty. Most of the blacks who were alone were adult males, reflecting both the greater male tendency to run away alone from masters and the widespread separation of slave fathers from both their wives and their children, who were owned by their mothers' masters. Whereas 61.1 percent of adult men were alone, only 33.3 percent of adult women had no family members with them. The majority of women (66.7 percent) were on board ship with spouses, children, mothers, or other relatives. Biology, maternal role expectations, and the common ownership of slave mothers and their young children by one master meant that slave women were far more connected to children than men. When women ran away from their owners, they often brought at least some of their children with them. Once the family category of mothers with children is removed, approximately the same proportion of men and women would have been evacuated alone. Out of sixty‑seven children, only seven were without any parents--six of these seven were slaves in the custody of owners. Almost all children (89.6 percent) were evacuated with one or both parents. Most of the children (77.6 percent) had been born prior to their parents' entrance into the British lines89 and had been taken with them when they fled their masters and the war:
Family Men Women Children Total Number
Affiliation Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent of Blacks
Alone 66 61.1 31 33.3 7a 10.4 104
Married Pair 14 13.0 14 15.1 ... ... 28
Nuclear Familyb 17 15.7 17 18.3 29 43.3 63
Childrenc ... ... 20 21.5 28 41.8 48
Adult Childrend ... ... 4 4.3 ... ... 4
Family Group 11 10.2 7 7.5 3 4.5 21
Total 108 100.0 93 100.0 67 100.0 268
aFive boys and two girls under the age of fourteen.
bOf the seventeen nuclear families, eight had one
child, six had two children, and three had three
cThirteen mothers had one child, six had two
children, and one had three children.
dTwo mothers travelled each with an adult daughter.
As table 2 shows, there was a direct correlation between a black's stated past history or legal status and his likelihood of being accompanied by a family member at evacuation. Only 35.1 percent of evacuated blacks who were slaves were part of a family group, 50.6 percent of blacks who described themselves as former slaves, and 66 percent of blacks who claimed to have been born free or freed by owners prior to or during the war.90 The higher rate of family associations for the former free group over the former slave group suggests that blacks who were free before the Revolution may have been more able to sustain family relationships or were more able to take bold action to reunite their enslaved families than were newly liberated runaway or abandoned slaves. It is probable, however, that the free‑born group really included many runaway slaves who had disguised their status. They disproportionately traveled in families (mothers with children) over whom the threat of re‑enslavement and separation hung heavy, justifying the creation of a falsified free past.
All of these families were able to congregate under the safety of the 1779 British proclamation which offered freedom to slaves who adhered to the King's cause and freedom to all black children born behind British lines. Separated slave families fled their respective masters and commonly owned slave families fled their single master to reunite and live as free persons under British protection. As an example, Frank and Jane Marshal were held by separate
TABLE 2 SHOULD GO HERE—SEE P. 670
tenant farmers on Philipse Manor in Westchester County. Jane and her two children left Elthen Hunt in 1776 while Frank left Abraham Odell in 1777--they either reunited or first met after escaping to the British.91
Twenty‑seven‑year‑old Isaac Corie had been freed by his former Quaker master in Great Neck, Long Island. Hagar Corie had been the slave of Joseph Hewlett, also of Great Neck. It is likely that they had originally been separately owned spouses in the same town prior to the Revolution and fled to be together under the British sanction. Their eighteen‑month‑old child may have been born free behind British lines. Pomp Willet (age thirty‑six), his wife Nancy (age twenty‑three), and their son John had been slaves of Sarah Willet of Westchester County. At her death in 1776, they came into the British lines together. Their daughter Lilly, age five, had been born free within the occupied territory. This commonly owned slave family sought refuge and each other through the British offer of freedom.92
Some blacks were in the company of groups of relatives or friends at the time of their departure from New York. Mary, Job, and George State (ages twenty‑one, twenty‑four, and twenty‑five) all bore the same last name and claimed to have been born free. Phillis Wilkins (age thirty‑one), Ichabod Wilkins (age twenty‑five), and Michael Wilkins (age fifteen) were embarked together. While Phillis claimed to have been born free on Long Island, both Michael and Ichabod had belonged to John Thomas of White Plains, whom they had left five and seven years ago. Michael may have been Phillis's child or a brother to either (or both) Ichabod and Phillis. Charles Frances (age twenty‑seven), Thomas Frances (age thirty‑six), and William Frances (age thirty), were all former slaves of masters in North Castle and at Philipse Manor in Westchester County. They left their respective owners in 1776, 1777, and 1777. Rose Yeates, whose name followed that of William Frances on the ship inspection register, claimed to have been born free in North Castle, which town she also departed in 1777. A three‑year‑old child, Billy Frances, was with her at the evacuation. It is likely that Rose and William were the parents of Billy, and that William, Charles, and Thomas were adult siblings who banded together after escaping their slaveowners.93
The British lines formed an umbrella underneath which new black families could form among men and women who met after deserting to the King. Fifteen New York women and three men married blacks who had travelled to New York from other colonies with the British troops, two of whom brought children along with them. Jenny Cox, a former Long Island slave, was freed at her owner's death. She married Cato Cox who had been born free at Frankford Province, Pennsylvania, and was accompanied by his ten‑year‑old son John. Cato Winslow left his New York owner in 1776. His future wife Rose also left her Boston, Massachusetts, master in 1776, at which time she took with her her then four‑year‑old son Toby. In addition to Toby, Cato and Rose brought their daughter Hannah with them on board ship; she had been born free within the British lines.94 Sebro Jackson, a former New York slave, married London Jackson, a Hampton, Virginia, slave who had left his owner two years earlier. They embarked with their six‑month‑old son Zelphen Jackson and a thirty‑three‑year‑old woman named Nelly Jackson who had also left her Hampton, Virginia, master in 1781. It is likely that Nelly and London Jackson were adult siblings who had fled their separate Virginia masters together and came with the British as far as New York.95
The fact that only 57.9 percent of evacuated New York blacks were accompanied by a family member reflects both the long‑term disruptive effect of slavery on the slave family and the recent ravages of war. Widespread separate ownership of slave relatives meant that husbands, wives, and children normally lived in isolation from one another. When war came many slave family members were further sundered as their respective owners chose political sides, fought, lost property, moved, or died. Men and women often ran away and grasped their chance for freedom alone--without their perhaps far‑removed spouse and scattered children. No more than a third of adult men and women left New York with a wife or husband. That a little over half of the blacks were nevertheless in transit with a family member is a testament to the perseverance of family ties against overwhelming odds.
The removal of 3,000 blacks from New York undoubtedly separated many families permanently, some of whose members boarded ships to leave the continent while others remained behind. For the 247 blacks from New York the evacuation meant a final break from those family members and friends who stayed in America. Spouses and nuclear families as well as blacks who were alone all left relatives behind. Women who entered British lines only with offspring were parted from the fathers of their children. Phillis Halstead, age thirty‑five, ran away from her Eastchester master in 1778. Upon her evacuation from New York she brought with her a two‑year‑old daughter born free within the British lines, leaving behind any husband or older children.96 The 2,753 blacks who had come to New York from other areas with the British had already been parted from kinfolk and comrades at home.
Fear of re‑enslavement and separation from accompanying family members stalked the blacks who were assembled in New York prior to embarkation on British transport ships. They were housed in "Negro barracks" at 18 Broadway, 10 Church Street, and at other locations.97 There they waited and attempted to obtain the much sought after "General Birch Certificate" which guaranteed the bearer his right to depart with the British evacuation. Brigadier General Samuel Birch, commanding officer in the city, issued these freedom certificates upon the application of any black able to prove his status as a refugee within British lines before November 30, 1782.98 The certificates, however, did not ensure freedom; masters gathered in New York to petition Sir Guy Carleton for the return of their slaves.
One of the black loyalists, Boston King, wrote of the slaves' fear of being returned to their owners, "especially when [they]saw [their] old masters coming from Virginia, North Carolina, and other parts, and seizing upon their slaves in the streets of New‑York, or even dragging them out of their beds."99 John Harbeck, a New York City resident, was one of the owners who petitioned Sir Guy Carleton for the return of his negro man (who refused to accompany him once he had been located). The slave, Thomas Foster, was on board the vessel Polly about to depart for Port Roseway, Nova Scotia. Foster claimed that Harbeck had abandoned him in New York in 1776, "since which time he has served and done duty there in ye Black Company."100 Peggy Gwynn, a former Virginia slave, had come to New York with the King's troops and "[was] desirous of liberty to go with [her] husband who belongs to the artillery department." Her petition to be allowed to join her husband in the evacuation was denied when British headquarters ruled that "as she is not a free woman, she must be delivered up to her owner."101 Mingo, Dianah, and their infant daughter fled their master together, only to be removed from the ship on which they were prepared to sail and returned to their owner, Cornelius Mumford of Flushing, Long Island.102
* * * * *
The repercussions of the Revolution on the black population of New York continued for many years after the evacuation of British troops and loyalists in 1783. Prior to its sailing, the British army abandoned many former slaves in New York, some of whom it had collected in the South. These black were often indentured out to service or sold again as slaves to New York owners. From 1797 to 1799 the New York Manumission Society worked to secure the freedom of three black men who had been left as slaves or indentured servants by British army personnel. Jacob had been brought by the British from Virginia to New York and left there after the evacuation. A person falsely pretended to claim him on the authority of his Virginia master and sold him as a slave to George Bennet of Red Hook, Long Island, in whose possession he remained until 1798. Another black man, John Jackson, stated that he had been left at the time of the evacuation by his master Dort Edward of the British army with Leffert Lefferts of Bedford, Long Island. In 1788 Edward instructed Lefferts to keep John until he was of age and then free him (unless Edward returned to the country). Instead, Lefferts sold John to a new owner a year later--he was subsequently sold another three times before appealing his case for freedom to the Manumission Society in 1799. The Society also pressed for and successfully obtained the freedom of Peter Custan in 1797, a boy bound by indenture to a British officer who had transferred the now‑expired contract to another master at his departure.103
The British also left other blacks behind--slaves on confiscated loyalist estates. Slaves of loyalist owners in British‑controlled New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and lower Westchester counties were never disposed of by the Commissioners of Sequestration between 1777 and early 1784 and only became the property of the Commissioners of Forfeitures on May 12, 1784, when the massive sales of loyalist land and other holdings began.104 Loyalist slaveholders in these areas had sold off many of their valuable slaves prior to their evacuation with the British and brought the rest with them; often only the aged and infirm were left behind to be inherited by the Commissioners of Forfeitures.105 The New York State legislature moved quickly in May 1784, to settle the support problems stemming from the confiscation of loyalist slave property. Out of any monies arising from the rental of loyalist property, the Commissioners of Forfeitures were "to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of any slave or slaves who may be found unable to support themselves, and who belonged to, and have not been disposed of" by persons whose estates were forfeited to the state.106
It is probable that most of the remaining productive slaves were sold by the Commissioners of Forfeitures between May 12, 1784 and May 1, 1786. William Axtell had had holdings worth 9,234 in Kings County. After the war he applied to the British government for compensation for losses due to the confiscation of his estate. He had been informed in 1787 that all of his negroes had been sold. Jacob Lefferts had purchased a man with his wife and child for 214 11s., Axtell's former housekeeper and her husband bought two slaves, Aquila Giles (one of Washington's officers) claimed one slave, others were sold to farmers in Dutchess County, and two had run off to Philadelphia, "where all negroes are to be free."107
On May 1, 1786, New York State freed all the unsold slaves who had become the property of the state through the attainder or conviction of their former loyalist owners and who were still in the possession of the Commissioners of Forfeitures. The number of slaves freed is unknown.108 New York State directed the Commissioners to "provide for the comfortable subsistence" of those freed blacks who "by age or infirmity are become unable to gain a subsistence"--at the expense of the state.109 After the termination of the office of the Commissioners of Forfeitures on September 1, 1788,110 the state treasurer was ordered in 1792 to pay overseers of the poor directly for any sums already expended or that would be incurred in the future for the support of these former slaves. This act stipulated that the blacks were to be supported "in like manner as other poor of the towns where they have been, or hereafter shall happen to be or are maintained."111
The revolutionary war and its aftermath left New York with a legacy of aged and infirm slaves who belonged to the state--it freed them and accepted responsibility for their maintenance. New York State took on the same legal burden imposed on any other slaveowner in the state who manumitted elderly or infirm bondsmen in 1786 without overseer of the poor certificates--to support their former slaves if they ever became dependent. Local overseers of the poor supported these freed slaves as they did other blacks who became dependent, only with the costs absorbed by the New York treasury rather than former masters' estates or the towns themselves.
It is unknown what proportion of the slaves on confiscated loyalist estates who were freed in 1786 by the state later became dependent on the public treasury. Undoubtedly, many of the freed slaves who had once belonged to the fifty‑nine loyalists whose estates were declared to be forfeit in 1779, and other loyalists convicted later, eventually relied on overseers of the poor for care. Blacks who were already feeble or elderly at the time of their manumission were usually unable to rely on family members for support in old age. Almost all of their relatives would still be slaves in 1786; only 27.4 percent of blacks were free by 1790 in the southern six counties of New York. With children, grandchildren, siblings, and cousins dislocated by the Revolution--sold out of the state, sold by Commissioners of Sequestration or Forfeitures, removed with fleeing loyalists, evacuated as freemen with the British, or still held as slaves--older blacks suddenly found themselves free but alone and indigent. They were left to rely on local charity rather than the paternalistic bounty some undoubtedly would have received on several of the large estates of their former loyalist masters.
Slaves once owned by Frederick Philipse (Westchester County), William Axtell (Kings County), John Rapalje (Kings County), Daniel Kissam, Sr. (Queens County), Parker Wickham (Suffolk County), Robert Bayard (New York City), and Richard Floyd (Suffolk County), all of whom were among the fifty‑nine loyalists attainted in 1779, were later supported by local towns in the southern six counties of New York.112 Frederick Philipse's prestigious Westchester County estate was confiscated on October 22, 1779; the Manor was sold by the state in 311 conveyances in 1784.113 The number of slaves resident on the Manor in 1779 is unknown, but based on Philipse's inheritance of thirty‑three slaves in 1751, the holding was probably large.114 At least two valuable Philipse slaves were sold in the years immediately prior to confiscation, possibly by the Commissioners of Sequestration: a negro boy George was sold for 100 on July 3, 1777, and a negro man Pompey was sold for 150 on May 21, 1778.115 Eight known slaves116 who had belonged to the 92,000 acre Philipsburgh Manor later became dependent on the three towns of Yonkers, Westchester, and Flatbush. They spent their last years as dependent freedmen supported by overseers of the poor instead of living with the Philipse family in their accustomed surroundings.
David Hunt, overseer of the poor of Westchester, charged New York State 203.13.0 for supporting Tom and Mary, "two old, helpless negroes, late the property of Frederick Philipse," from October 13, 1786, to January 17, 1790. Another 69.12.0 was added to the bill for the maintenance of Cato, another old negro who had belonged to the estate, from October 13, 1786, to April 1, 1791. The state was also later charged 3 for "expenses attending the funerals of two negroes."117 From 1791 to 1797 the overseers of the poor of the town of Yonkers presented seven separate accounts to the state for the support of "two ancient male slaves" who formerly belonged to Philipse, totalling 318.104.22.168
The support of two other former Philipse slaves, Betty and Ceasar, became troublesome enough to have been mentioned in an 1816 piece of legislation. The overseers of the poor of Yonkers sent bills to New York State for the support of Betty from April 7, 1807, to March 22, 1818, and for Ceasar from April 24, 1808, through March 22, 1818, totalling $2,588.25.119 The account for their support from April 1, 1814, to March 22, 1816, totalled $420 ($240 for Ceasar and $180 for Betty), to which was added a note: "proof insufficient as to this charge and therefore disallowed." The legislature dealt with this individual case when it reaffirmed its broad policy of supporting superannuated slaves of confiscated estates on March 22, 1816: "The comptroller shall audit the accounts of the overseers of the poor of Yonkers for the support, up to the time of the passing of this act, of two persons, formerly slaves of Frederick Philipse. . . . If the accounts are approved, the treasurer should pay, notwithstanding the amount of such accounts shall exceed the rate of $3 per month for each person."120 Justices of the peace of the towns of Eastchester and Greensburgh were ordered to inquire respectively into the cases of Betty and Ceasar who were examined on May 18, 1816, and January 3, 1817:121
[They say they were] the property of Frederick Philipse before he left his home in the revolutionary war, and [have] never since rented a tenement, paid taxes, or been bound as an apprentice. [They have] not gained a legal settlement anywhere since that time.
Since the attainder of the Philipse estate in 1779, neither Betty nor Ceasar had established their own homes, found permanent employment either independently or as bound servants, or become legal residents of any town. They lived in a transient or dependent state from 1779 through 1818, unable to support themselves after their removal from Philipsburgh Manor. Pursuant to the act of March 22, 1816, the Comptroller's Office on November 12, 1816, ordered payment of $180 to the overseers of the poor of Yonkers for Betty's support.122
Another Philipse slave named Wall became dependent on the Kings County town of Flatbush. The last bill presented by Flatbush to New York State on Wall's account totalled $22.90 1/2 and covered the short period of January 19 to February 12, 1813. The overseers of the poor of Flatbush paid seven different white residents of the town for services rendered on Wall's behalf:123
This should be indented as a quote—but do in 2 columns or tabs—see p. 683
To paid Abraham Van der Veer for blankets and
sundry articles furnished for the use of Wall $6.28
Stephen B. Schoonmaker for boarding and lodging
John Scott for a shirt for ditto 0.87 1/2
Mary Cornell for washing Wall's clothes 0.37 1/2
Dr. Nicholas Schoonmaker, medicine
and attendance for do. 5.62 1/2
William Algeo for making coffin for do. 3.25
Francis Rayner for burying Wall 2.00
Two of the slaves who had once belonged to William Axtell of Kings County were eventually supported in the New York City almshouse. The following entry was read into the minutes of the meeting of the Common Council of New York City on June 3, 1799: "An account of the Commissioners of the Almshouse stating the expense of supporting two negroes formerly belonging to William Axtell, whose estate was confiscated. . . ."124 The overseers of the poor of Brooklyn submitted bills to the state for the upkeep of Harvey, "a negro late the property of John Rapalje," covering April 1, 1791, to June 10, 1792. Expenses had accumulated for board and lodging, two blankets, the making of two shirts, two pairs of trousers, a coat, bed linen, and for funeral expenses.125 Tone, formerly the slave of Daniel Kissam, Sr., became dependent on the town of North Hempstead. His support costs from November 24, 1794, through December 22, 1795, totalled 18.18.4, and included charges for attendance during illness, one blanket, one pair of stockings and shoes, a coffin and burial expenses.126 The town of Southold submitted bills to the state for maintaining "James, a negro man of about age seventy‑six, resident in Southold and formerly Parker Wickham's slave at the time of his confiscation." James had been supported from April 12, 1790, to March 7, 1793.127 The forfeited estate of Robert Bayard paid the overseers of the poor of North Hempstead the sum of 63.9.3 for maintaining two superannuated blacks--Crago and Phillis Crago, from May 3, 1794, to March 26, 1796.128
Dale, "a black man pauper to the state," incurred charges totalling 2.10.3 for "1 rose blanket, 3/4 yard muslin, 1 quart spirits, 5 1/2 yards muslin, 1/2 gallon spirits and 50 segars" in the town of Flatbush.129 Nero was put out with the Widow Mary Fowler for care by the overseers of the poor of Eastchester from March 10, 1796, until his death on June 8, 1796. Eastchester charged the state for his board, the costs of making two shirts, for "a sheat to La out Nero in," for the making of his coffin, the digging of the grave, and a "1/2 gallun of Rum for nero burring." The town expended 9.10.0 on Nero, and on March 25, 1800, they received cash (7.12.0) from the state for his maintenance.130
Richard Floyd lived in the Manor of St. George/Patent of Meritches at Brookhaven and owned twelve slaves in 1776,131 six of whom he later transferred to relatives to prevent confiscation. Three of Floyd's slaves who were confiscated and freed by the state later became dependent on the towns of Brookhaven and Oysterbay. Dick, "a superannuated negro, formerly Floyd's property," was supported by the overseers of the poor of Brookhaven from 1793 through April 1796, with charges incurred for his maintenance and for "medicines supplied him during a two months illness in January and February," 1796.132 Bills were located for the support of Rose during the years 1793 to 1794, and from March 1, 1804, through her death on February 11, 1806, at age ninety‑one. Initially chargeable to the town of Brookhaven, by 1804 she had become the responsibility of the overseers of the poor of Oysterbay, who boarded her out with David Richard Floyd Jones.133 Jones also housed Guinea, "an old negro man" formerly belonging to Richard Floyd from May 11, 1794, to May 11, 1795, at the expense of the town of Oysterbay.134 Guinea was still being supported by Oysterbay during the period May 1, 1801, to August 28, 1802, for which it was reimbursed by the state in the amount of $130.75 on September 18, 1802.135
The total number of slaves from confiscated loyalist estates who were freed and later supported by the state is unknown. New York disbursed funds for the support of these superannuated slaves from May 1, 1786 through the year 1828 and beyond--until the last of the slaves who had belonged to attainted Tory owners died. Information was unavailable on the state's expenditures for such slaves from 1786 through 1796.136 As a partial estimate, New York spent at least $1,976.75 over this ten year period137 for the support of blacks who were already old or in chronic poor health at the time of their confiscation and manumission and who were in need of immediate assistance.
In 1816, New York reaffirmed is continuing responsibility to reimburse local overseers of the poor for the costs of maintaining former loyalist slaves who were manumitted by the state. The blacks were still to be supported at the same level ($3 per month per person) as were other town paupers, with carefully scrutinized accounts to be paid by the state treasurer on the warrant of the comptroller.138 Former loyalist slaves who were supported as late as the 1820s included persons who had been in youth or middle age at the end of the war, and had in the interim grown old, ill, or became unable to support themselves. Between January 10, 1797, and November 30, 1828, New York spent $7,120.62 on the "maintenance of infirm slaves, late the property of persons whose estates were confiscated."139 Slaves who were infants in the 1780s could have become chargeable to the state during old age, with New York expending funds for the support of superannuated slaves into the 1860s as a consequence of its policy during the Revolution.
* * * * *
The great wartime and post‑war rearrangement of people, personal property, and land titles in the southern six counties of New York dramatically affected both the white and black populations. Some Tories had continued to live on their properties during the Revolution in spite of local patriot opposition and molestation and retained their homes, lands, and slave property.140 Many, however, had either fled New York during the war or departed with the British exodus in 1783. Those who subsequently returned often did so without legal permission and without their former possessions and landholdings. "It was not until April 11, 1792, that all banished Tories were permitted to return, provided that they recognized the state's title to the property that had been confiscated."141
Census figures indicate on the surface a sharp drop in the black population from 1771 to 1786, with a reappearance of their numbers in the 1790 census.142 It is possible that the 1786 census simply failed to enumerate free blacks;143 it was the first census taken after the manumissions of Quaker slaves in the 1770s and of slaves who had either served in revolutionary armies or had been abandoned on confiscated loyalist estates and freed in 1786. Its omission of thousands of blacks reflected the wartime confusion in property and status relations which still remained unsorted in 1786. Although overall black population figures from 1771 to 1790 show that losses were not as severe as the incomplete 1786 figures indicated, growth stagnation had occurred due to slave flight or removal with owners to other states or British colonies, wartime casualties, and the evacuation of slaves, indentured servants, and free blacks with the British forces in 1783. To this must be added the loss of the natural growth which would have occurred during this period among the disrupted, removed, and casualty sectors of the black population. Between 1771 and 1790, the black population in the southern six counties grew at a slow average annual rate of 0.4 percent, gaining only 999 blacks over a nineteen year period.144
Gain or Loss
1771 Black 1786 Black in Population, 1790 Black
County Population Population 1771‑1786 Population
Kings 1,162 1,317 + 155 1,526
Richmond 594 693 + 99 882
Queens 2,236 2,183 ‑ 53 3,124
New York 3,137 2,103 ‑ 1,034 3,484
Westchester 3,440 1,250 ‑ 2,190 1,777
Suffolk 1,452 1,068 ‑ 384 2,227
Total 12,021 8,614 ‑ 3,407 13,020
New York and Westchester counties experienced the greatest losses in black population. Since New York City served as British army headquarters from 1776 through the evacuation in 1783, it had a consequently heavy turnover in its civilian, slave, and free black populations. The town lost 33 percent of its black residents between 1771 and 1786 but recovered its prewar black population size by 1790. Westchester County lost almost two‑thirds of its black population between 1771 and 1786; it did not reappear in 1790. Even by 1830 the federal census for Westchester County only enumerated 2,115 blacks--far smaller than Westchester's pre‑Revolution black population. Kings and Richmond counties did not experience net black population decline during the war, although their rates of growth were slow; Queens County's black population remained almost the same over the fifteen‑year period with no growth and a small loss of fifty‑three blacks.
* * * * *
Both blacks and whites in New York emerged from the Revolution with an altered perspective on the institution of slavery. Slaves had experienced severe disruptions during the war. They had fled homes and farms with both patriots and loyalists in the face of advancing armies and occupation, been sold, temporarily transferred to new owners, stolen by both civilians and soldiers, taken to Nova Scotia as slaves or indentured servants, or forcibly returned from the safety of the British lines to former owners. Large numbers had suffered a break in family relations during the chaos of the war and had been removed either temporarily or permanently from parents, spouses, siblings, and children.
The solid wall of slavery had been shattered--slaves had seen their masters run away, hide, lose their property, or die. The slave community saw some blacks achieve freedom in other ways than through rare private manumission. Some slaves had won freedom through enlistment in the revolutionary armies and remained in New York to increase the free black population. Many had escaped to the British lines, were freed by the British, and left the state with them in 1783. Others were liberated as a result of the confiscation of the estates of their loyalist slaveowners. Moreover, slaves were exposed along with their masters to the egalitarian rhetoric of the Revolution which made their enslavement inconsistent with the ideals of the new nation.
1Bureau of Census, Century of Population Growth, table 98,p. 183.
2Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, pp. 63, 69‑71; Rosenwaike, Population History of N.Y.C. pp. 14‑15; Wilbur C. Abbott, New York in the American Revolution (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929; reprint ed., Port Washington, N.Y.: Ira J. Friedman, 1962), pp. 169‑71, 207‑11, 215.
3Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, pp. 76‑77, 98; Abbott, New York in the Revolution, p. 207.
4I.N. Phelps Stokes, ed., The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498‑1909, 6 vols. (New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1915‑1928), 5:1018; Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, p. 103.
5Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, p. 103; Abbott, New York in the Revolution, p. 248.
6Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, p. 214.
7In 1781 the British army ordered a census to be taken of slaves, livestock, horses, wagons, carts, woodlands, and grains on Long Island so that requisition of these materials could be based equitably on the existing resources of each homestead. Darlington, "Census of 1781"; Blank "Census of 1781."
8Darlington, "Census of 1781," pp. 319‑20.
9Huntington Town Records, 3:97.
10Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, p. 123.
11Kent Forster, "Westchester--A House Divided," New York History 28(1947):405, 413. See Hufeland, Westchester County During the Revolution, pp. 209‑10, 237‑38, 247, 258, 275, 291, 296‑98, 306‑7, 374, 390‑91, 425, 431, 436 on the changing positions occupied by the continental and British armies during the Revolution.
12Forster, "Westchester--A House Divided," pp. 406, 409‑13; Abbott, New York in the Revolution, pp. 243‑44; Alexander Clarence Flick, Loyalism in New York During the American Revolution, Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law, vol. 14 no. 1, edited by the Faculty of Political Science of Columbia University (New York: The Columbia University Press, 1901), p. 185.
13Flick, Loyalism in New York, p. 88.
14Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, pp. 212‑13.
15Coll. NYHS, Abstracts of Wills, 9:106.
16William Underhill, Westchester Co., September 2, 1784, Inventories of Estates--New York City and Vicinity 1717 ‑ 1844, NYHS; Scott and Owre, Genealogical Data from Inventories.
17The losses of Westchester County loyalists were as severe as those suffered by the harshly treated Tories in the northern counties of the state. Out of 466 petitions filed by loyalists who had emigrated and claimed compensation for their confiscated property from the crown, Albany County furnished the largest number, followed by Westchester, Tryon, Dutchess, Charlotte, Orange, and Cumberland. Flick, Loyalism in New York, p. 166. Many loyalists who were not attainted or convicted and whose estates were not confiscated still suffered losses during the Revolution for which they applied to the British for compensation. Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 187.
18Transcripts of the Manuscript Books and Papers of the Commission of Enquiry into the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists held under Acts of Parliament of 23, 25, 26, 28, and 29 of George III preserved amongst the Audit Office Records in the Public Record Office of England 1783‑1790, Examinations in Nova Scotia, New York claimants, vols. 17‑31; Examinations in London, New York claimants, vols. 41‑46, Transcribed for the New York Public Library, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. Petitions in this collection filed by 249 former residents of the southern six counties of New York are abstracted in Appendix 5, Abstracts of Schedules of Losses and Determinations on the Claims of Loyalists from the Southern District of the State of New York in Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 187‑209.
19Far more than only 11 of the 249 petitioners from the southern six counties of New York had been slaveholders, but the abstracts do not include detailed accounts of the lost property. In many cases, loyalists may not have mentioned or requested compensation for their lost slaves where the circumstances of their seizure disqualified them as allowable property under British reimbursement guidelines. The abstracted petitions of known confiscated loyalist slaveholders Frederick Philipse, John Rapalje, Daniel Kissam, Sr., Parker Wickham, and Robert Bayard did not include claims for lost slave property. Of the eleven slaveholders, William Axtell, Dennis Carleton, Richard Floyd, and Archibald Hamilton had been residents of Kings, New York, Suffolk and Queens counties, while James Holmes, Samuel Kipp, Benjamin Ogden, Edmund Palmer, Gideon Palmer, John Teed, and Frederick Williams were from Westchester. Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 188‑208.
20Petition of Gabriel Legget, August 7, 1783 Board Meeting, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
21"Proclamation by Sir Henry Clinton, General and Commander‑in‑Chief," British Headquarters Papers, Document 2094, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. This proclamation was published on July 3, 1779, in Rivington's Royal Gazette.
22Richard K. MacMaster, ed., "Negro Loyalists of Long Island: Unpublished Petitions from the American Loyalist Transcripts, New York Public Library," Journal of Long Island History, 4, no. 2 (Spring 1964):31.
23Collections of the New‑York Historical Society, Proceedings of a Board of General Officers of the British Army at New York, 1781, John Watts De Peyster Publication Fund Series, vol. 49 (New York: Printed for the Society, 1916), pp. 112, 118, 122‑25, 126, 128, 129‑31, 134‑36, 136‑37, 138‑39, 141‑42, 174. For other lists of blacks who served with the British in New York, see Calendar of Historical Manuscripts Relating to the War of the Revolution in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, New York, 2 vols. (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co. for New York State, 1868), 1:267; Judge A.W. Savary, "Muster Rolls of Discharged Officers and Disbanded Soldiers and Loyalists Taken in the County of Annapolis Between the 18th and 29th Days of June 1784," NYGBR 33(1902):214‑19; 34(1903):38‑44; Judge A.W. Savary, "Muster Roll of Disbanded Officers, Discharged and Disbanded Soldiers and Loyalists Mustered at Digby, the 29th Day of May 1784," NYGBR 34(1903):118‑23, 192‑97.
24Book of Negroes Inspected on the 30th November 1783 by Capt. Gilfillan of Armstrong on board the fleet laying near Statten Island, in the absence of the American Commissioners and Secretary, which numbers have since been regularly registered and certified by said two captains; Book of Negroes Registered and Certified after having been Inspected by the Commissioners appointed for his Excellency Sir Guy Carleton, General and Commander‑in‑Chief on board sundry vessels in which they were embarked previous to the time of sailing from the Port of New York between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), and July 31 and November 30, 1783 (Book 2), British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
25Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the American Revolution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Virginia, 1961), p. 172; James W. St. G. Walker, The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783‑1870, Dalhousie African Studies Series (New York: Africana Publishing Co., 1976), p. 12.
26"An Act for Raising Two Regiments for the defence of this state on bounties of unappropriated lands," March 20, 1781, Laws of New York State, 4th Session, Chap. 32, 1:351.
27For a list of over forty New York blacks who fought with the patriot forces, see National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, Debra L. Newman, comp., Special List No. 36, List of Black Servicemen Compiled From the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1974), pp. 1‑29. The bones of some black American soldiers who died in the Battle of Long Island in 1776 were placed in an unmarked and unhonored common dirt grave. They were accidentally excavated by workmen in New York City in 1851--and were then shoveled into the water or used as part of the building foundation. William Cooper Nell, The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution, with sketches of Several Distinguished Colored persons (Boston: Robert F. Wallcot, 1855; reprint ed., Louisville, Ky.: Lost Cause Press, 1964), pp. 151‑52. Such sources as army muster rolls, payment records, records of land grants to masters, or freedom documents which may have been conferred on black patriot soldiers at the end of their service could be used to estimate the number of blacks who gained freedom through service with patriot armies.
28Ezekiel Hawley MSS., NYHS. Ezekiel Hawley, possibly the paymaster, delivered the sum to Solemon Close.
29Estate Inventory of Thomas Betts, Flatbush, September 29, 1777, Inventories of Estates--New York City and Vicinity 1717 ‑ 1844, NYHS.
30Appendix 5, Abstract of Schedules of Losses of Loyalists, in Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 196, 199.
31Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 120‑34, 136, 137‑38, 170; Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 14.
32Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 139‑45; Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 14‑17.
33Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 145‑50, 153‑57; Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 17‑25.
34"Petition of Dennis Kennedy, May 24, 1777," Calendar of Historical Manuscripts of the Revolution, 2:171‑73.
35Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 20; Flick, Loyalism in New York, p. 148.
36Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 195. He was awarded 2,310 sterling for other lost property. Three of Floyd's slaves who were confiscated and freed by the state later became dependent on the towns of Brookhaven and Oysterbay.
37New York Manumission Society--Reports of the Standing Committee, April 24, 1802, microfilm reels 1 and 2, p. 218, NYHS. Floyd had planned to leave Zipporah to his wife at his death, as indicated in his pre‑war 1768 will (proved at his death in 1784). Will of Richard Floyd, Brookhaven, 176[ ], Floyd Papers, no. 42.315.604, MCNY; Coll. NYHS, Abstracts of Wills, 12:219.
38Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 17, 37. Brigadier General Oliver De Lancey, Claim for Losses, Transcripts of the Manuscript Books and Papers of the Commission of Enquiry into the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists . . . , 41:177, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. The abstract of this claim in Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 193, does not include slave property.
39Rev. Joshua Hartt, a patriot minister on Long Island, was chained to a black prisoner while in detention by the British. In response to a British officer's inquiry as to how he liked his company, Hartt replied "Better than yours." Evelyn Briggs Baldwin, "Marriages and Baptisms Performed by the Rev. Joshua Hartt of Smithtown, Long Island, With a Sketch of His Life," NYGBR 42(1911):128.
40Petition of Evert Byvanck of Connecticut to Sir Guy Carleton, April 3, 1783, British Headquarters Papers, Document 7301, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
41Petition of Nicholas Jamieson to Lt. Gov. Andrew Elliot, April 23, 1783, British Headquarters Papers, Document 7490, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
42Petition of Sarah Haviland to American Commissioners in New York, June 23, 1783, British Headquarters Papers, Documents 8123, 8132, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
43Petition of Martin McEvoy, September 8, 1783, British Headquarters Papers, Document 9056, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. The culprit, presumably still in possession of the slave, was named Hestervelt and lived at [Chester].
44"Suffolk, 1776," Force, ed., American Archives, 4:1246; William A. Robbins, "Descendants of Edward Tre(a)dwell Through His Son John," NYGBR 43(1912):139.
45Wortis, "From First Settlement to Manumission," p. 150.
46Pelletreau, comp., Records of Southampton, 3:410.
47Jupiter Hammon had become the property of Joseph Lloyd II in 1763, by whom he was removed to Connecticut. Upon Joseph Lloyd II's death in 1780, Jupiter returned to New York as the property of John Lloyd II who had remained on the manor during the war to guard the estate against depredation. Coll. NYHS, Papers of the Lloyd Family, 2:643‑44; Ransom, ed., America's First Negro Poet, pp. 14, 35‑37, 107; Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p.13.
48The Unpublished Revolutionary Papers of Major General Edward Hand of Pennsylvania, 1777‑1784 (New York: n.p., 1907), p. 30.
49Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 44. Axtell was referring to the gradual abolition law passed in 1780 in Pennsylvania which provided for the freedom of future generations of the state's slaves.
50Estate Inventory of Nicholas Brower, July 2‑3, 1778, Inventories of Estates--New York City and Vicinity 1717 ‑ 1844, p. 17, NYHS.
51David Bonnet, Statement, September 13, 1783, British Headquarters Papers, Document 9116, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
52It is likely that Samuel was returned to Teller as his name did not appear on the register of blacks evacuated with the British. The details of this case appear in British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, pp. 7‑10, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
53Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 179‑82; Abbott, New York in the Revolution, p. 263; Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, p. 257.
54Walker, Black Loyalists, p. 10.
55Quarles, Negro in the American Revolution, pp. 167‑71; Walker, Black Loyalists, pp. 10‑11.
56Petition of Rawlins Lowndes, Charlestown, South Carolina, to Sir Guy Carleton, August 8, 1782, Documents 5243, 5568; Petition of Evert Byvanck, Connecticut, to Sir Guy Carleton, April 3, 1783, Document 7301; Petition of Nicholas Jamieson to Lt. Gov. Andrew Elliot, April 22, 1783, Document 7490; Petition of Jno. Pafford to Brig. General Birch, 1781, Document 3653; Petition of John Harbeck to Sir Guy Carleton, New York City, April 14, 1783, Document 7419; John Willoughby and others to Sir Guy Carleton, Norfolk and Princess Anne counties, Virginia, April 28, 1783, Documents 10098, 7448, 7680; Petition of Sarah Haviland to American Commissioners in New York, Elizabethtown, New Jersey, June 23, 1783, Documents 8123, 8132; Petition of Martin McEvoy, New York City, September 8, 1783, Document 9056; Petition of Judith Jackson, black woman, to Sir Guy Carleton, September 18, 1783, Document 9158; Petition of Peggy Gwynn, negro woman formerly of Virginia, to Guy Carleton, Document 9656; Petition of David Hurd to Guy Carleton, Document 9687. All above documents are located in British Headquarters Papers, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. The British‑American board heard the petitions of Doctor Abraham Teller on July 15, 1783, Gerrard G. Beekman on July 24, 1783, and Gabriel Legget on August 7, 1783. These three cases are detailed in British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
57Walker, Black Loyalists, pp. 11‑12.
58Book of Negroes Inspected on the 30th November 1783 . . . on board the fleet laying near Statten Island . . . ; Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), and July 31 and November 30, 1783 (Book 2), British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, pp. 17‑157, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. Of the 3,000 blacks, 2,714 left from New York City ports, and 286 on ships docked at Staten Island. These items are also available in Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774 ‑ 1789, roll 7, microcopy 332, National Archives (Federal Archives and Records Center, Bayonne, N.J.); Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774 ‑ 1789, roll 66, microcopy 247, Item 53, National Archives.
59Quarles, Negro in the American Revolution, p. 172; Walker, Black Loyalists, p. 12. Loyalists who left before or apart from the official evacuation (between April 23 and November 30, 1783) may have carried off large numbers of unrecorded blacks. Loyalists began to leave America as early as 1774; a large group of six hundred sailed for Nova Scotia in the fall of 1782, well in advance of the general loyalist exodus. Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 169, 179‑80; Abbott, New York in the Revolution, p. 269. The British registration of blacks removed from the colony was only ordered by Sir Guy Carleton in April 1783, shortly before his conference with George Washington concerning American blacks on May 6, 1783. Quarles, Negro in the American Revolution, p. 169.
60Quarles, Negro in the American Revolution, p. 172.
61James Walvin, Black and White: The Negro and English Society 1555‑1945 (London, England: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1973), p. 48, notes that some of the slaves who fought for the British in America wound up in England after the war: "They arrived in London to join the already considerable number of black beggars. According to one hostile witness [in 1787] 'the city of London, and the country about it [was] lately infested with American negroes.'"
62Stokes, ed., Iconography of Manhattan Island, 5:1168; Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, p. 262; Flick, Loyalism in New York, p. 174. Also see T. Watson Smith, "The Slave in Canada," Nova Scotia Historical Society, Collections 10 (1896‑1898):23; Quarles, Negro in the American Revolution, pp. 174‑75; Walker, Black Loyalists, p. 12. Loyalists began to leave America as early as 1774 continuing through 1784. Prior to the final evacuation at New York, loyalists quit Boston, Philadelphia, Virginia, Savannah, and Charleston to depart for England, the British West Indies, Canada or Nova Scotia. Of the loyalists who were originally from New York, 20,000 relocated to Nova Scotia, and 15,000 settled in Canada. They were accompanied by slaves and free blacks. Abbott, New York in the Revolution, pp. 270, 272; Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 169, 175‑76, 179.
63Douglas Martin, "Blacks Search for a History in Nova Scotia," New York Times, 13 March 1984, p. A13.
64Blacks were counted as New Yorkers only where their or their former masters' prior places of residence were listed as having been in New York. In one case a black was counted as an original New York slave where information was not included on his former master's residence. The determination was based on recognition of the owner's name (Valentine Nutter). Many other blacks among the 3,000 may have also been originally from New York, but the locations of their old owners' homes were not included in the ship manifests. Most of the 3,000 blacks were identified as former southern slaves who had come North with the British and were evacuated out of New York rather than Savannah or Charleston. Gutman, Black Family, p. 242, analyzed the origins of all slaves and former slaves over the age of fifteen included in the evacuation. Almost two‑thirds were from the South, from 22 to 25 percent were from the Middle or New England colonies, and the origins of 10 to 15 percent were unknown.
65They came from New Jersey (six), Massachusetts (three), Connecticut (two), Pennsylvania (two), Rhode Island (one), Virginia (three), South Carolina (two), the West Indies (one), and Barbadoes (one) before forming families with New York blacks. Fourteen of the twenty‑one were from other Northern colonies.
66Of the twenty‑one out‑of‑state family members who accompanied New York blacks, twelve were runaway slaves, one was described simply as a former slave, six were born free, one had been freed by his former master, and one was evacuated as a slave.
67See pp. , above on the sample of runaway New York slaves.
68The twelve out‑of‑state runaways had left their masters in 1776 (2), 1777 (1), 1778 (2), 1779 (3), 1780 (2), and 1781 (2).
69Since slaves who had entered British lines after November 30, 1782, were to be returned to their masters, reportage of dates of departure may have occasionally been falsified to avoid detection.
70Six had been abandoned in 1776, one upon the British occupation of New York City, and three dates unknown.
71Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), p. 37, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
72Book of Negroes Inspected on the 30th November 1783 . . . on board the fleet laying near Statten Island . . . , p. 156, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
73Ibid., p. 152.
74Quarles, Negro in the American Revolution, p. 173.
75MacMaster, "Negro Loyalists of Long Island," pp. 30‑33.
76Ibid., pp. 33‑35. Also see Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 205. In December 1776 Col. Fanning had been given a warrant to raise 500 loyalist provincials to fight for the British. Flick, Loyalism in New York, p. 107.
77Samuel Burke, a native of South Carolina, came to New York during the war and acquired a house and garden through his marriage to a free Dutch mulatto woman. He claimed for the loss of 204 12s. sterling in property. David King, a New York City shoemaker, sustained a loss of 30 sterling in personal property. Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 191, 199.
78Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), pp. 56 (2), 64; Book of Negroes Registered . . . between July 31 and November 30, 1783 (Book 2), p. 133, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
79Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), pp. 56, 45, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
80Memorial by James Peter to Sir Guy Carleton, October 5, 1783, British Headquarters Papers, Document 9304, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
81Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), p. 27, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
82Book of Negroes Registered . . . between July 31 and November 30, 1783 (Book 2), p. 106, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
83Ibid., pp. 102, 96.
84Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), p. 23, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
85John Jay Papers, Manuscript Collection, Columbia University.
86File on Bill Richmond, SIIAS; Article on Bill Richmond, We Too Have a Heritage 3 (February 1978):1‑2, SIIAS; Walvin, Black and White p. 72; Paul Edwards and James Walvin, Black Personalities in the Era of the Slave Trade (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983), pp. 186‑92. See p. above on the 1777 will and estate inventory of Rev. Richard Charlton.
87See Gutman, Black Family, pp. 241‑44, who also noted the family links between slaves evacuated with the British from New York in 1783.
88Only 11.3 percent of runaways were over the age of thirty‑five and 2 percent were over age fifty in a sample of runaways in the southern six counties of New York, 1726 to 1814. See pp. ‑ , above for an age profile of the runaway group.
89Out of sixty‑seven children, only fifteen had been born free within British lines.
90The fifteen children who were born free behind British lines are excluded from these calculations.
91Book of Negroes Registered . . . between July 31 and November 30, 1783 (Book 2), p. 84, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
92Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), p. 17, 66, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
93Ibid., pp. 52, 60, 35; Book of Negroes Registered . . . between July 31 and November 30, 1783, (Book 2), p. 98, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
94Book of Negroes Inspected on the 30th November 1783 . . . on board the fleet laying near Statten Island . . . , pp. 152, 154, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
95Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), p. 27, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
96Ibid., p. 76.
97A list of barrack houses in the New York garrison includes the addresses of "Negro barracks." British Headquarters Papers, Document 10349, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
98Walker, Black Loyalists, p. 11. One "General Birch Certificate" has been located at the Manuscript Room, MCNY, issued to George Elliga Moore on July 18, 1783.
99Walker, Black Loyalists, p. 10.
100Petition of John Harbeck to Sir Guy Carleton, April 14, 1783, British Headquarters Papers, Document 7419, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. Book of Negroes Registered . . . between April 23 and July 31, 1783 (Book 1), p. 23, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. The outcome of this case is unknown.
101Petition of Peggy Gwynn to Guy Carleton, British Headquarters Papers, Document 9656, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
102Book of Negroes Registered . . . between July 31 and November 30, 1783 (Book 2), p. 104, British Headquarters Papers, Document 10427, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library.
103Case of Jacob, hearings on May 25, 1797, February 13, 1798, March 1, 1798, pp. 94, 106, 107; Case of John Jackson, hearing December 10, 1799, p. 130; Case of Peter Custan, hearing March 9, 1797, p. 89, in New York Manumission Society--Reports of the Standing Committee, January 26, 1797‑March 11, 1807, microfilm reels, NYHS.
104Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 153‑57; Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 20‑25.
105Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 14‑17, 21‑22, 24, 91.
106"An Act for the speedy sale of the confiscated and forfeited estates within this state and for other purposes therein mentioned," May 12, 1784, Laws of New York State, 7th Session, Chap. 64, 1:753.
107Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 43‑44.
108No manumission documents have been located for former loyalist slaves freed in 1786 by New York State--although some may exist.
109"An Act further to amend an act entitled 'An Act for the speedy sale of the confiscated and forfeited estates within this state,'" May 1, 1786, Laws of New York State, 9th Session, Chap. 58, 2:316.
110Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, p. 27.
111"An Act for the relief of such towns as have, or hereafter shall support certain persons manumitted by the State," March 2, 1792, Laws of New York State, 15th Session, Chap. 17, 3:282.
112Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 17‑18. An account was also located for the support of a black who formerly belonged to a Dutchess County owner, Beverly Robinson. The New York City Commissioner of the Almshouse billed New York State $252 for the support of Jinny from May 1, 1798 to May 1, 1805. Care of Children of Slaves, Accession no. 267, Box 1, New York State Library, Albany, N.Y.
113Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 51‑53.
114Will of Frederick Philipse, June 6, 1751, Tom Paine Memorial House, New Rochelle, N. Y.
115Hall, Philipse Manor Hall, p. 187; Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 15‑17. The thoroughness with which the Commissioners of Sequestration executed their function in Westchester County suggests that they, rather than Philipse, were in control of the property at this point and had arranged the sales.
116In addition to accounts located for the support of Tom, Mary, Betty, Ceasar, Wall, Cato, and "two ancient males," other bills were found which may have been for the support of additional, unnamed, superannuated Philipse blacks. The overseers of the poor of Yonkers presented a bill to New York State for the period April 24, 1806 to April 24 [illegible], in the amount of 253. Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Accession Number 7012, Collection Number 200, Box 49, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. The State of New York paid the town of Yonkers $126.50 on May 26, 1802 for the support of a slave "late the property of Frederick Philipse." Office of the State Comptroller, Albany, Day Book No. 2, August 13, 1801 to January 8, 1803, p. 145. On May 3, 1803, the state paid Yonkers $126.50 for the "support of an ancient male slave formerly the property of Frederick Philipse." Office of the State Comptroller, Albany, Day Book No. 3, January 11, 1803 to November 9, 1803, p. 113. On May 29, 1804, Yonkers was reimbursed for the sum of $126.50 for the support of a "male infirm slave" of Philipse for the April 2, 1803 to April 24, 1804 period. Office of the State Comptroller, Albany, Day Book No. 4, November 10, 1803 to January 9, 1805, p. 231. All three Day Books are catalogued as Manuscript No. 310, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y.
117Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 91‑92, on Tom, Mary, Cato, and the two funerals.
118This total excludes one of the bills for their support from April 4, 1791 (or May 1, 1791) to April 24, 1792. The manuscript was partially illegible due to damage from a 1911 fire in the state archives. An additional undated account for the "support of two infirm slaves, late the property of persons whose estates were confiscated" in the amount of 210 presented by Yonkers to the state was also omitted from the total of 379.19.0. It may have been for the support of the same two "ancient males." Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 49, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y.
119Four separate accounts were presented for Ceasar, six separate bills for Betty's support, and four joint accounts for the maintenance of both Ceasar and Betty, totalling $1,238 for Ceasar and $1,350.25 ($757.50 plus 237.10 [$592.75]) for Betty. An account for the support of "a female slave" from April 7, 1807, to April 7, 1808, was assumed to be for Betty, and a bill "for keeping a male slave" from April 24, 1808, to April 24, 1809, was assumed to be for Ceasar's care. All bills are located in Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 49, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y.
Sums in pounds were converted to dollars at the exchange rate of one pound = $2.50 based on conversion ratios used in John McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600‑1775: A Handbook (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1978); Berthold Fernow, "Coins and Currency of New York," in The Memorial History of New York City from Its First Settlement to 1892, ed. James G. Wilson (New York: New York History Co., 1893), 4:297‑343. Fernow lists 200,000 as being worth $500,000 in New York currency; Zilversmit, The First Emancipation, p. 234, lists 100 as equal to $250. Flick, Loyalism in New York, rated one pound equal to $2.50, 1777 to 1781. Downs, ed., Riverhead Town Records, p. xxii, notes that 1 equalled $2.50 when the town of Riverhead changed from the use of pounds to dollars in 1815.
120"An Act concerning the maintenance of certain persons, formerly slaves," March 22, 1816, Laws of New York State, 39th Session, Chap. 45, p. 37.
121Both certificates of examination were identically worded, and were designed to establish whether both Betty and Ceasar were legitimate paupers of the town of Yonkers. Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 49, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y.
122Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 49, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y.
123Hall, Philipse Manor Hall, pp. 188‑89. The manuscript document on which Hall's 1930 account was based is located in Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 49, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. Since Hall's viewing of it, it has disintegrated (due to fire damage) to only partial readability. One must rely on Hall's version of the document. No other manuscript bills presented by the town of Flatbush for the maintenance of Wall were found.
124Osgood, comp., Minutes of Common Council of N. Y. C., 1784‑1831, 2:552.
125Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 48, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. Bills for Harvey totalled 19 during this period. John Rapalje had possessed the largest estate in Brooklyn prior to confiscation. Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates, pp. 43‑44.
126Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 48, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. This cumulative bill was certified by the town supervisors on March 26, 1796, was dated March 29, 1796, and was audited on the fourth of May.
127Ibid. Several of the accounts for the support of James were burnt and illegible, particularly the accounts for April 12, 1790 to ‑‑, and from April 12, 1791 to April 12, 1792. Expenses for the period April 12, 1792 to March 7, 1793 totalled 4.14. These charges were audited on June 10, 1793.
128Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 46, Document 8754, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. Complementary information on this account is located in another document in Box 49.
129Dale was housed by the overseers of the poor with Mr. Fish and A. Vanderveer, who were reimbursed for 2.10.3 on January 5, 1813. "Overseers of the Poor for Flatbush to Fish and Vanderveer for the following furnished to Dale, a black man pauper to the State," New York State--Kings County--Flatbush Box, Manuscript Room, New York Public Library. Dale must have been the former slave of a loyalist owner in order to be classified as a state (rather than town) pauper.
130Eastchester Historical Society, Records of the Town of Eastchester, 1665‑1835, vol. 6: Overseers of the Poor 1778‑1824, pp. 6‑7, 40‑44, 61. Nero's former loyalist owner is unknown.
131"Suffolk, 1776," Force, ed., American Archives, 4:1236‑52.
132The trustees of Brookhaven submitted bills for their care of Dick to New York State on April 1, 1794 (audited and approved August 30, 1794), April 1, 1795 (audited June 1, 1795) and on April 1, 1796, totalling 42. Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 48, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. Another undated account for the support of Dick was located in the amount of 20. "Account of the cost of maintaining the male slave Dick and female slave Rose, both formerly the property of Richard Floyd," February 14, 17[ ], MCNY.
133The trustees of Brookhaven submitted bills to the state for the maintenance of Rose on April 1, 1794 (which sum included "medicines during a long fit of illness"), audited and approved on August 30, 1794, and on April 1, 1795 (audited June 1, 1795), totalling 22.14.3. Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 48, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. A gap appears in the accounts for Rose's support--in the interim she became dependent on the town of Oysterbay. On September 1, 1804, and on March 1, 1805, Oysterbay submitted bills for Rose's maintenance covering the March 1, 1804 to March 1, 1805 period (totalling $52). Rose was age ninety (or seventy) as of the March 1, 1805 account. Care of Children of Slaves, Accession no. 267, Box 1, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. The last bill for Rose was dated April 1, 1806, claiming $50 for her support from March 1, 1805 to February 11, 1806, and $2.12 in funeral expenses (audited May 6, 1806). Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 48, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. Another undated account for the support of Rose was located in the amount of 5. "Account of the cost of maintaining the male slave Dick and female slave Rose both formerly the property of Richard Floyd," February 14, 17[ ], MCNY.
134A bill dated June 8, 1795 for the amount of 24 was located in Revolutionary Manuscripts, Commissioners of Forfeitures, Southern District, Box 48, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y.
135Office of the State Comptroller, Albany, Day Book No. 2, August 13, 1801 to January 8, 1803 (entry on September 18, 1802), p. 221, New York State Library, Albany, N. Y.
136Abstracts of the state treasurer's cash accounts (the only type of financial record included in the Journals before 1798) are located in the Journals of the Assembly of New York State, Sessions 7‑20, 1784 to 1797, NYHS. None contain any listing for sums spent on the support of superannuated former loyalist slaves. Starting with the 21st Session, January 2, 1798, covering the January 10, 1797‑January 8, 1798 fiscal period, the annual report of the State Comptroller is included in the State Assembly journals. It routinely lists payments for the maintenance of infirm slaves.
137Based on sums spent on the support of slaves who had belonged to John Rapalje, Daniel Kissam, Sr., Parker Wickham, Robert Bayard, Richard Floyd, and Frederick Philipse during the years 1786 through the end of 1796 outlined in the preceding pages, New York spent at least $1,976.75 (790.7.10) during this period. This sum represents in most cases only partial fragments of the real total spent on the former slaves of these six loyalists--some of the accounts located were burnt or illegible. Where gaps of either months or years appear in the payment record, it can be assumed either that support was intermittent or that the bills in question were not located. Often only a single bill per slave was found, reflecting what may have been but one out of several real years of support. This estimate of $1,976.75 paid by the state 1786 to 1796 is also severely limited in that it covers sums spent on the slaves of only six loyalists. It must be regarded as a bare minimum projection of the state‑wide maintenance costs incurred by New York during this decade.
138"An Act concerning the maintenance of certain persons, formerly slaves," March 22, 1816, Laws of New York State, 39th Session, Chap. 45, p. 37.
139See app. 14 for a listing of sums spent annually on the support of superannuated slaves, 1797 through 1828.
140Oscar Zeichner, "The Loyalist Problem in New York After the Revolution," New York History 21(1940):296‑97; Flick Loyalism in New York, pp. 164‑65.
141Flick, Loyalism in New York, pp. 166‑68; Zeichner, "The Loyalist Problem in New York," pp. 296‑99.
142Bureau of Census, Century of Population Growth, table 98, p. 183; Bureau of Census, Century of Population Growth, table 99, p. 183; Bureau of Census, Heads of Families, 1790. Black population losses were concentrated in the British‑occupied southern six counties of New York. From 1771 to 1786, the number of blacks in the upstate counties (Albany, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Cumberland, Gloucester, Montgomery and Washington) rose from 7,882 to 10,275 blacks. A gain of 2,393 persons was registered while the southern six counties lost 3,407 blacks, resulting in a net loss of 1,014 blacks statewide (plus diminished potential natural reproductive growth during the war years). All of the upstate counties also displayed the same rapid enhancement of their black populations between the 1786 and 1790 censuses as did the southern counties, growing from 10,275 to 13,032 blacks in four years. Albany County appeared to lose black population 1786 to 1790 only because five new counties (Montgomery, Washington, Columbia, Clinton, and Ontario) were formed 1784 to 1790 from lands ceded by Albany. The southern six counties disproportionately lost black population in wartime compared to the rest of New York. Whereas in 1771 60.4 percent of New York colony's black population lived in the southern six counties, only 45.6 percent lived there in 1786, and 50.3 percent by 1790. See table 1, p. above on the proportion of New York blacks resident in the southern six counties over time.
143The 1786 census included categories for only the white, slave, and tax‑paying Indian populations, whereas all earlier provincial censuses (after 1723) generally enumerated the white population and what was referred to as the negro or black population (which could have included both slaves and free blacks). It listed 8,614 slaves while the 1790 federal census included 9,447 slaves and 3,573 free blacks in the southern six counties of New York.
144The average annual growth rate of the black population in the southern six counties of New York was 1.5 percent (excluding slave importations) from 1698 to 1771, and 1.7 percent from 1790 to 1830. See pp. ‑ above on black population growth 1698 to 1830.