FIRST SLAVE REVOLT IN CONTINENTAL NORTH AMERICA
The first slave revolt in continental North America was in South Carolina in 1526. Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, a Spanish colonizer founded a town near the Pedee River. This settlement consisted of 500 Spaniards and 100 enslaved Africans. Illness soon hit the settlement and Ayllon died. The South Carolina Indians became hostile to the settlement, and in November the enslaved Africans revolted, killing their Spanish masters, and escaped to Indians. The surviving 150 returned to Haiti in December, 1526. [Herbert Aptheker, Negro Slave Revolts in the United States 1526-1860 pp. 16- 17; Joseph Cephas Carroll, Slave Insurrections in the United States 1800-1865. Reprinted by the Negro Universities press: Westport, Connecticut, 1971. p.13]
YORK COUNTY SERVANTS’ PLOT
1660s In Virginia York County servants plotted to rebel over their “hard usage.” Leader of the uprising, which was betrayed before it went into effect, was an indentured servant named Isaac Friend. Friend’s master, James Goodwin, had apparently restricted his servants’ diet to corn and water. Friend presided at a meeting at which they complained that they “were kept according to the law of the country,” and asked them to join in a petition to send for England to the king to have it redressed. In the meantime, Friend declared that he would lead the group to get arms and that they would fight for their liberty and freedom, and then they go through the country and kill those who made any opposition and that they would either be freed or die. [Records of York County Court,” WMQ 1st ser., XI (1902), pp. 34-37.]
INDENTURED SERVANTS PLAN REVOLT IN GLOUCESTER
Disaffected servants in Gloucester County, Virginia planned to revolt. There is some evidence that the plot leaders were convicts, primarily Cromwellian soldiers: “For the poor people becoming therefore very uneasy, their murmurings were watched and fed by several mutinous and rebellious Oliverian soldiers that were sent thither as servants. A James city grand jury presented nine “laborers” of Gloucester County charged “as false Traytors against his most Excellent Prince, of Soveraigne Lored Charles ye second.” They apparently planned to break into a couple of houses to steal arms and ammunition with which they would march to the Governor to demand freedom from their contacts. [Robert Beverly, The History and present State of Virginia, New York, 1972 p.32; Also see “The Servants’ Plot of 1663,” VMHB, XV (1908), pp. 38-41.]
AFRICANS AND EUROPEAN PLAN REVOLT TOGETHER
The first serious planned uprising involving Africans in English America occurred in Virginia in 1663 on September 13th. John Berkenhead, a Black servant to Major John Smith of Gloucester County, betrayed an extensive conspiracy of African slaves and white indentured servants. Information on this incident is scanty. However, what is clear regarding this incident is that both African and White indentured servants in Gloucester County jointly planned to rebel and overthrow their masters, and, thus, secure their freedom, but the plan was betrayed by an indentured servant, John Berkenhead. An unknown number of rebels were executed, and their bloody heads placed on chimney tops. [Hening, Virginia Statutes at Large, II, p. 204.]
PLAN TO EXTERMINATE WHITES
There was a large-scale plan for rebellion in the Northern Neck region of Virginia. This plan called for the extermination of whites, but the plan was discovered, and the leaders arrested and executed. Afterwards, the Council placed a ban upon public funerals for dead slaves, and the House of Burgesses passed stricter laws for the prevention of insurrections. [McIlwaine, H. ed., Executive Journals, Council of the Colony of Virginia, I, pp. 85-87.]
BLACK CONVICTED OF PROMOTING AN INSURRECTION
A Maryland slave, Sam, belonging to Richard Metcalfe was tried as the leader behind conspiracies aimed at rebellion. The only available details regarding this event are that he was convicted of having “several times endeavored to promote a Negro Insurrection in this Colony." For this crime against the state, he was severely beaten and forced to wear, for life, “a strong iron collar affixed about his neck” with the death penalty for its removal. [William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, X p. 177.]
BLACKS AND NATIVE AMERICANS PLAN REBELLION
In 1690, Mr. Isaac Morril of New Jersey came to Newbury, Massachusetts, and attempted to get the African and Indian slaves to flee to the French in Canada and then join the latter in an attack upon the English. One Black, a slave of Mr. Moody, as well as another Jersey person, George Major, were implicated, but their fate is not known. [William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, X, p. 177].
LARGE NUMBER OF SLAVES RAVAGED PLANTATIONS
A slave named Mingoe, who had fled his master in Middlesex County, Virginia, gathered a large number of followers and ravaged plantations, particularly in Rappahannock County. These Negroes not only took cattle and hogs, but “two guns, a Carbyne & other things.” What became of this incident of rebellion in not recorded. [MS. Order Book, Middlesex County, 1680-1694, pp. 526-27.]
SLAVE THREATENS TO RISE AGAINST WHITES
On September 9, 1702, in Charles Town, “Capt. Wm. Davis and Capt Wilkinson informed the Commons House of Assembly of a Negro man of Mr. John Williamson’s who is now in Irons at his masters House for threatening that he with other negroes would Rise and Cutt off the Inhabitants of this Province.” [Salley, A. S. ed., Journals of the Commons House of Assembly of South Carolina for 1702, pp. 99.]
SLAVES REBELLED AND KILLED SEVEN WHITES
A small group of slaves in Newton, Long Island, rebelled and killed seven whites. Four slaves, including an Indian and a woman, were executed, the men being hanged and the woman burned. [O’Callaghan, E. B. ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, V. p.39].
SLAVE PLANNED TO REBEL IN SURRY JAMES CITY
A plan to rebel was discovered early in 1709 in Surry James City, and Isle of Wight Counties, Virginia, involving Indian and Black slaves. A special court of investigation was appointed by the Governor. On March 24th the court returned with the following results: “ye [the] Examination of Sevll [several] Negroes and Indian slaves concerned in a Late Dangerous Conspiracy, formed and carried on by great[e] numbers of ye said negroes and Indian slaves for making their Escape by force from ye Service of their masters, and for ye [the] Destroying and cutting off such of her Majesties Subjects as Should oppose their Design.” Most were punished and released, but the ringleaders, including William Edwards’s Scipio, Joseph Hohn Jackman’s Salvadore, and Tom Shaw, who belonged to Samuel Thompson, were held over for further orders. Peter who also belonged to Samuel Thompson, remained at large, outlawed, and he and Scipio were the initial conspirators, while Salvadore “has been a great promoter and Incourager in persuading of ‘em to ye probability of Effecting their designe and in promising of ‘em his Assistance therein.” Their fate is not recorded. [Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series 1710-June 1711 p. 238; Also see Herbert Aptheker, Negro Slave Revolts in the United States p.18]
THE CONSPIRACY OF THE NEGRO’S
"The Conspiracy of The Negro’s in Surry County and Their Accomplices for Levying War in This her Majesty’s Colony was for happily Discovered when it was just upon the point of Execution That we Think it for The public Good of The Country to Recommend to You The Rewarding So Signal a Service. The person who gave The first information of The Negro’s Designs and Continued from time to time to Make Known Their Consultations, was one Will a Negro Belonging to Robert Ruffin of Surry County: and Tho[ugh] at his Earnest Desire his Discovery was as Carefully Concealed as Could be, yet in a short Time he Became for such Suspected That Several Negro’s Laid Wait for his Life, for That his Master Desiring he Might be Removed to a place of More Safety were accordingly Caused him to be Conveyed into The Northern Neck where he has Been and is Still Entertained and Since his Master has Lost The Benefit of his Labour and That we have Engaged he shall be paid, we not only propose That he may be Satisfyed for The fame; but That The Negro may have such a Reward for The Service he has Done, As may Encourage others to The Like fidelity if Ever any Such Occasion should again happen." [McIlwaine, H. R. ed., Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia 1659/60-1693. Richmond, Virginia].
SLAVES PLANS INSURRECTIONS IN SURRY COUNTY, VIRGINIA
There was a plan for an insurrection in Surry County Virginia. A slave by the name of Will, who belonged to Robert Rufflin, betrayed the plan and was, rewarded his freedom for loyalty to his master and emancipated. [Hening, Virginia Statutes at Large, II, p. 204.]
A SLAVE NAMED SEBASTIAN TERRORIZED WHITES
In South Carolina, there were a series of rebellious activities. According to the provincial legislature, the inhabitants were “in great fear and terror” by the activities of “several Negroes [who] keep out, armed, and robbing and plundering houses and plantations.” These rebels were led by a slave named Sebastian, and their activities were not in check until finally tracked down and killed by an Indian hunter. [Holland, Edwin Clifford. A refutation of the Calumnies circulated against the Southern and Western States, respecting the institution and existence of slavery among them, to which is added, a Minute and Particular Account of the Actual State ad Conditions of Their Negro Population. Together with Historical Notices of all the insurrections that have taken place since the settlement of the country. Reprinted 1969 by Negro Universities Press: A Division of Greenwood Publishing Corp., New York.]
ENSLAVED AFRICANS REBELLED IN NEW YORK CITY
Early in April, in New York City, about 25 or 30 slaves including two indigenous Americans, Coromantee (Asante) and Paw Paw (Nagoes—Nigerians) set fire to building and, armed with a few guns, clubs, and knives, waited for the whites to approach. Several did, and were attacked by the slaves, who killed about nine men and serious wounded six others. The Africans were joined by some Spanish, and Mestizoes, who had been captured at sea. It was reported by contemporary witness that according to an African custom they sucked the blood of each other hands as a pledge of absolute secrecy. Their gunfire attracted the attention of Governor Hunter, who ordered a cannon to be fired and sent soldiers from Twenty-one enslaved Africans were executed; six including a pregnant woman were pardoned. “Some were burnt others hanged, one broke on the wheele, and one hung alive in chains in the town…” In summary, of those convicted one was broken on the wheel, another hanged alive in chains; 19 more were executed on the gallows, or at the stake, one being “burned with a slow fire, that he may continue in torment for eight or ten hours and continue burning in said fire until he be dead and consumed to ashes” [Letter of Governor Robert Hunter to the Lords of Trade, in E. B. O’Callaghan, (ed.), Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, (Albany, 1855), V, 1707-1733, 341-342].
NEGROES FORM REVOLT TO DESTROY ALL ENGLISH
“A considerable number of negroes of the Carmantee and Pappa Nations formed a revolt to destroy all the English, in order to obtain their liberty.” The Negroes set fire to a house in York city, South Carolina, and shot and stabbed the whites as they ran out. The rebels were scattered by the British, who killed eight and wounded 12. [Letter from the Reverend Francis Le Jau, dated January 22, 1714, in Edgar L. Pennington, “The Reverend Francis Le Jau’s work among Indians and Negro slaves,” in The Journal of Southern History, I. p. 458.]
AFRICAN SLAVES REBELLED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
A planned slave rebellion was betrayed and crushed in South Carolina. Among the principal leaders were recently imported Africans from Martinique. An entry in the House journal of the Colony dated May 11, 1715 provides the only evidence concerning this incident. “The House being informed by Capt. David Davis, that a negro man of his had been and was the chief instrument in discovering a dangerous plot & conspiracy designed among the Negroes in Goose Creek quarters, about two years ago for which he was promised a reward.”[The House Journal of the Colony dated May 11, 1715.]
SLAVES RISE ATTACKING WHITES IN HOMES AND ON STREETS
Enslaved Africans of Charleston, South Carolina, rose up against their masters and attacked the white people in their homes and on the streets. The rebels were organized and killed a man named Benjamin Cattle, a white woman, and a Negro boy. A force was raised and they were pursued, and 23 of them were captured, six convicted, three executed, and three escaped. [Joshua Coffin, Account of some of the Principal Slave Insurrections. New York: Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, 1860 p. 11]
SLAVES PLAN TO KILL WHITES AND TAKE OVER CITY
A serious plot was discovered in South Carolina in 1720. A contemporary account of this conspiracy reads: “I am now to acquaint you that very lately we have had a very wicked and barbarous plots of the designe of the negroes rising with a designe to destroy all the white people in the country and then to take the town [Charles Town] in full body but it pleased God it was discovered and many of then taken prisoners and some burnt some hang’d and some banish’d.” [MS. Public Records of South Carolina, VIII, pp. 24-27; Headlam, C. Calendar of State Papers, March 1720 to December 1721, p. 57.]
TWO HUNDRED ARMED SLAVES PLANS TO KILL WHITES
In October, 200 armed enslaved Africans near the mouth of the Rappahannock River, Virginia, got together in a large organized group with the intentions of murdering the white people as they left Church, but were discovered and fled. [Joshua coffin, Principal Slave Insurrections, p. 11]
SLAVES PLAN TO KILL AND DESTROY WHITES
In Colonial Virginia, a planned slave revolt, which covered three counties, was discovered. The leaders were Cooper Will, slave of Gabriel Throckmorton, and two Sams, one the property of Elizabeth Burwell, the other of Elizabeth Richardson, were found guilty of “unlawfully Assembling meeting and Congregating themselves with other slave and Communicating contriving and Conspiring among themselves and with the said other Slaves to kill murder & destroy very many” of the King’s subjects. They were sentenced to three years confinement. [Drysdale letter in C. Headlam, ed., Calendar of State papers, Colonial Series, 1722-1723, p. 192.]
SLAVES PLAN TO BURN TOWN AND ESCAPE TO FREEDOM
Slaves of Middlesex and Gloucester Counties, Virginia, were discovered in the spring in a plot in 1723 to burn down the town in order to gain their freedom. By a resolution of the House of Burgesses, adopted May 17, 1723, seven of the Negroes were sentenced to sale and transportation out of the Colony. [Carroll, p. 18]
SLAVES PLAN TO DESTROY WHITES IN THE CITY
A large number of slaves rose against their masters in Savannah, Georgia. The enslaved Africans planned to destroy all the whites in the city. The rebellion failed because of disagreements about the methods for achieving freedom. This disunity caused confusion and indecision, and when fired upon they dispersed [Gordon: 1928, 32].
RUNAWAY SLAVES FIGHT AGAINST WHITES
A large number of Virginia slaves ran off in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and took with them guns, ammunitions and agricultural tools. Their settlement was attacked by a large group of whites, and after pitched battle, the remaining blacks were returned to slavery. [Bruce, A. History of Virginia, I p. 322.]
SLAVE REVOLT SUPPRESSED IN NEW ORLEANS
Another uprising took place in the New Orleans area, causing great alarm to the local population until the revolt was suppressed. Two leaders of the revolt were hanged [Niles Register, XXVI, (1829), 53].
SLAVES EXECUTED FOR INSURRECTION
An intended insurrection was discovered in Virginia, South Carolina. The ringleaders were brought to trial and executed. [Archives of Virginia, Journal of the Board of Trade, XV, p. 496.]
SLAVES PLAN TO KILL MASTER AND ESCAPE TO FREEDOM
In Williamsburg, Virginia, there were plans for an uprising by enslaved Africans. Rumors had circulated among the slaves that Colonel Spotswood had orders from the King to free all baptized persons on his arrival. The plan of the rebellion was to have each black person kill his master during the night, and once completed they would all gather for a victory celebration in town. The plan was discovered and the leaders executed. [Holland, Edwin, Clifford. Refutation of The Calumnies circulated against The Southern and Western States respecting the institutions and existence of Slavery among them. To which is added, a minute and particular account of the actual states and condition of their Negro Population. Together with Historical notices of all the insurrections that have taken place since the settlement of the country Originally published in 1822 by A. E. Miller. p.68; also in Carroll, Slave Insurrections, p. 21.]
SAMBA EXECUTED FOR PLANNING A SLAVE REVOLT
In New Orleans, a slave named Samba was arrested for planning a slave revolt. Samba had in his own country been at the head of a revolt by which the French lost Fort Arguin. He was condemned to slavery in America. Samba, on his way to America, had laid a plan to kill the crew and take over the ship, being discovered he was put in irons and landed in Louisiana. Samba and seven other men were “broke alive on the wheel,” and one slave woman was hanged.” [Martin, Francois-Xavier. The History of Louisiana, I, pp. 293-96.]
SLAVES REBELLED WILLIAMSBURGH
In August, an insurrection of blacks occurred in Williamsburgh, Virginia. Five counties were in arms pursuing them with orders to kill if they did not surrender. [Archives of Virginia, Journal of the Board of Trade, XV, p. 496.]
ARMED BLACKS PLANNED TO DESTROY WHITES
In August, slaves in South Carolina planned to destroy all the whites. This plan was discovered in St. John’s Parish by a servant of Major Cordes. The purpose of the revolt was to begin a widespread war against the planters starting in Charleston. Using the pretense of conducting a “dancing bout” in the city and in St. Paul’s Parish the enslaved Africans gathered together to seize the available arms and to begin the attack. At the moment of attack the militia arrived killing a large number of the insurgents, with some able to make their escape [Holland, Edward Clifford. A Refutation of the Calumnies Circulated Against the Southern and Western States Respecting the Institution and Existence of Slavery, Charleston, 1822, 68-9, 81].
Two hundred slaves assembled near the mouth of the Rappahannock River, Virginia, to kill the white people in a church, but when the plot was discovered they fled [Gordon:1928,32]. .
RUNAWAY BLACKS ATTACK WHITES
“On reading a letter from Capt. Charles Russell to the Honble Thomas Broughton Esqr. Relating to Several Run away Negroes who are near the Congerees, & have robbed several of the Inhabitants thereabout.” Governor offers a reward of 20 pounds a head, alive, and 10 pounds, dead, for each of these rebels, which was done. [Aptheker: 1943, 183.]
A WOMAN HANGED AND FOUR BROKEN ON THE WHEEL
Enslaved Africans in French Louisiana acting with Indian allies after the French defeated the Natchez Indians. A slave woman was hanged and four men broken on the wheel. Their heads were then stuck on poles at the upper and lower ends of New Orleans. [Martin, Francois-Xavier. The History of Louisiana, I pp. 293-96.]
BLACKS ARRESTED FOR CONSPIRACY
In Colonial Virginia, three enslaved Africans were arrested early in 1737 as the leaders of a “Conspiracy against the Peace of this Government,” but the final outcome is not on record. [MS.Journal of the Commons House of Assembly, February 24, 1737, X p. 434.]
NUMEROUS WHITES KILLED IN GEORGIA BY SLAVES
Numerous whites were killed in Georgia by enslaved Africans making their way from South Carolina to St. Augustine, Florida [Flander, Ralph Betts. Plantation Slavery in Georgia. Chapel Hill, 1933, 2.]
ENSLAVED AFRICANS ESCAPE JAIL AND WAGE WAR
Several enslaved Africans broke out of a jail in Prince George’s County, Maryland, joined other enslaved Africans and proceeded to wage a small-scale guerrilla war. The Council of the Colony asked the magistrates to instruct the sheriff to put down the revolt. [Brackett, J. R. The Negro in Maryland, p. 76, citing Council records May 5, 1738.]
THE STONO SLAVE REBELLION
On September 9th, a large number of Angolans (about 86) under the leadership of a slave named Jemmy or Tommy sacked and burned the armory. Afterwards, they began to march to the beat of drums to a Spanish fort in St. Augustine, Florida, which contained a runaway slave community. They attacked and burnt several plantations along the way killing between 20 and 30 whites. The Angolans stopped in a field next to the Stono River to dance the Angolan victory dance and sing when they were overtaken by the white militia and cut down and defeated in a long pitched battle [Gentleman’s Magazine, X, (1740), 127-8].
SLAVE PLANS TO CAPTURE TOWN’S MAGAZINE
In Annapolis in Anne Arundel County on January 30, 1739, 200 slaves were directly implicated. The leader was “a Clever Sensible fellow between 40 & 50 years old.” He planned to capture the town’s magazine and the Capitol, and establish their own government. Should they be overwhelmed they intended “to settle back in the Woods.” On Sunday at the appointed time for the revolt a terrific storm postponed the revolt for two weeks. A slave belonging to Mr. Brookes betrayed the plot, and immediate measures of repression were taken as the leaders were executed. [Browne, W. H. ed., Archives of Maryland, XXVIII.]
SLAVE REVOLT DISCOVERED IN PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY
In 1739 there was a “wicked and dangerous conspiracy” started by the enslaved Africans. This slave revolt was discovered in Prince George County. The plan was to kill all the whites and take over the state. The plan was discovered and the leaders of the revolt were tried, convicted and executed. [Archives of Maryland, XL, and p. 428; also in Brackett, Jeffrey R. The Negro in Maryland. Baltimore, 1889, 93.]
SLAVE REVOLT DISCOVERED DAY BEFORE ACTION
A planned slave revolt, involving at least 200 enslaved Africans in and around Charleston [South Carolina] was discovered before the day of action. On the appointed date set for the revolt 150 Blacks had gathered but, while yet unarmed, they were surprised and attacked by the whites. Fifty were captured and hanged, 10 a day. Following this event the terrific fire swept the city causing over a million pounds of damage. The direct cause was not known but the city’s blacks were suspected. [Herbert Aptheker, Negro Slave Revolts in the United States 1526-1860. International, 1974 p. 593.]
SLAVE BURNT TO DEATH FOR ARSON
A terrific fire devastated Charles Town [Charleston, South Carolina] destroying hundreds of buildings. Several more fires brought out and were attributed to slaves. A woman was condemned to die for the crime of arson in July, a man was burnt to death in August as punishment for setting fire to a house with the “evil intent of burning down the remaining Part of the Town,” and two were charged with setting fire.
SLAVE ACCUSED OF POISONING WATER SUPPLY
Slaves in New York City were accused of conspiring to kill their master by poisoning the water supply [Aptheker: 1943, 192.]
SLAVE INSURRECTION BREAKS OUT
A slave insurrection broke out in Berkeley County [McGrady, Edward. The History of South Carolina Under the Royal Government, 1719-1776. New York, 1899, 5].
THE PANIC OF NEW YORK; BLACKS HANGED AND BURNT ALIVE
Known as the panic of New York involving both blacks and white. A white, Hewson or Hughson, was accused of providing the slaves with weapons. He and his family were executed; a Catholic priest was also hanged as an accomplice based on a slave woman’s questionable testimony. One hundred and fifty slaves and 25 whites were arrested. Thirteen Black leaders and four whites were burnt alive, 18 hanged, and 80 transported [Gentleman’s Magazine, XI, 1741, p. 411].
SLAVE REVOLT DISCOVERED BEFORE EVENT
Famous slave trader Henry Laurens in a letter dated March 21, 1748, tells a friend
of the “Account of a most horrid Insurrection intended by the Negroes there which was prvedentially [sic] discover’d before any mischief done.” [South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, XXXI, p 219.]
BUILDINGS BURNED BY TWO FEMALE SLAVES
In 1754, C. Croft, Esq., of Charleston, S. C. buildings were burned by two of his female slaves, who were burnt alive [Gordon: 1928, 33].
TWO SLAVES EXECUTED FOR POISONING MASTER
Two slaves named Mark and Phillis were put to death at Cambridge, Mass for poisoning their master John Codman of Charlestown. Mark was hanged, and Phillis burned alive [Gordon: 1928, 33].
In August, 1759, an insurrection was contemplated in Charleston, South Carolina, but it did not mature. [Coffin: p, 16.]
SLAVES EXECUTED FOR POISONING OVERSEERS
Slaves in the neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, rebelled. How many people were involved is not known, but several overseers died from the effects of poison administered to them by enslaved Africans. “Four slaves were executed after which their heads were cut off, and fixed on the chimnies of the courthouse; and it was expected that four more would soon meet the same fate.” [Boston Chronicle, January 11-18, 1768.]
SLAVES COMMIT ROBBERIES, INSULTS ON WHITES
In Savannah, Georgia, “Negroes had Committed many Robberies and insults between this town [Savannah] and Ebenezer and that their Numbers (which) were now Considerable might be expected to increase daily: that it appeared absolutely necessary to fall upon Some Spirited measures to take and disperse [sic] them to prevent further Inconvenience. . .[Aptheker:1943,198.]
SLAVES SET FIRE TO HOUSE AND KILL WHITE CHILD
In Savannah, Georgia, “a Number of fugitive Slaves have Assembled themselves on or near the borders of the River Savannah & are frequently committing Depredations on the Inhabitants in that neighbourhood with Impunity. . .the said fugitive Slaves did lately Set fire to a Dwelling house near Black Creek in which a White child was Burnt to death & also that some Slaves had lately Stopt a boat belonging to Jno Stirk upon the river & taken several articles of Value therefrom, also that some Slaves being at a Campt near Augustins Creek being Surprised by one Fendin a White man did fire at the said Fendin.”[Cabdkerm A. D. XII, pp.146-47.]
SLAVES KILL WHITES IN FLORIDA COLONY
In 1773 after the Spanish issued a decree welcoming English slaves to Florida. About 20 South Carolina slaves marched in a group to the Florida colony, killing many whites along the way.
SLAVES COMMIT DISORDERS IN WHITE NEIGHBORHOODS
On July 5th the Governor, James Glen, of South Carolina received a letter from Capt. Richard Wright asking for assistance of some Notchee Indians, to help in the apprehension of runaway “Negroes, who had sheltered themselves in the Woods, and being armed, had committed disorders in the neighbourhood.”
OVERSEER AND SEVEN OTHERS KILLED BY SLAVES
In Andrews Parish, in Georgia, six men and four women led an uprising among enslaved Africans. They killed the overseer while in the field, then went to the house and killed his wife. The insurgents wounded a carpenter and a small boy. They went to several houses in the neighborhood and killed three men and wounded several others. They were arrested and two men and two women were burned alive. [The Georgia Gazette, December 7, 1775.]
ENSLAVED AFRICANS REBELL KILLING FOUR WHITES
In November, several enslaved Africans men and women in St.
Andrew’s Parish, Georgia rebelled and before being subdued killed four whites and wounded three others. Two of the slaves were burned alive for their part in the rebellion. [Savannah Georgia Gazette, December 7, 1774.]
SLAVE REVOLT BETRAYED ON DAY OF OUTBREAK
In July of 1775 in Pitt, Beaufort and Craven counties, North Carolina, two slaves betrayed a planned slave revolt on the day for the outbreak. Questioned by a citizen committee that found “a deep laid Horrid Tragick Plan” for rebellion. Dozens of slaves were apprehended, some were armed and others were killed for resisting arrest. However, the majority to “receive 80 lashes each [and] to have Ears crap’d.” [Clark, W. ed., The State Records of North Carolina, XIX, p. 258.]
SLAVES AND SOLDIERS PLOT TO BURN CITY OF ALBANY
Marquis de Lafayette writing from Albany, New York, informs Henry Laurens that he recently received an anonymous letter detailing a plot in which slaves and soldiers were involved and that they planned “to burn the city of Albany, the stores, magazines, bateaux as soon as the river would open,” and that many "officers and gentlemen were to be assassinated by their own negroes etc etc etc.”[The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, VIII, p. 7.]
SLAVE HANGED FOR TREASON
A slave named Bill, of Prince William County, was sentenced to death in May, 1781 and convicted of the crime of treason, “in aiding abetting, and feloniously and traitorously waging & levying war against the Commonwealth, in conjunction with divers enemies of the same, in an armed vessel.” Bill was hanged for his crime of treason. [“Index to Spanish Judicial Records,” in The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XX, pp. 840-865.]
WHITES AND SLAVES ATTACK PLANTATIONS
A group of whites and fugitive slaves numbering about 50 men attacked numerous plantations in the City County, Virginia, creating serious problems to life and property because “Runaway negroes joined by a few white men have or late been doing mischief in the neighborhood.”
SLAVE REBEL ST. MALO KILLED
In the Spanish province of Louisiana numerous “rebellious maroons and negroes,” under the leadership of one called St. Malo. An expedition succeeded in capturing about 25 men and women. Some were hanged, and others branded. [Hill, Roscoe R. ed., Descriptive Catalogue of the Documents Relating to the History of the United States in the Papeles Procedentes de Cuba Deposited in the Archivo General de Indias at Serville, p. 137.]
CLAUDE TRENONAY ASSASSINATED BY HIS IGBO SLAVE
In French Louisiana, on July 8, 1791, Claude Trenonay was assassinated by his Igbo slave, Latulipe. Valentin Leblanc, commandante of the Pointe Coupee post, was officially informed that the Mina slaves were about to rise up and kill their masters. George Olivo sent word to Leblanc that the slaves of Mina and Bambara nations planned to rise up against all whites of the district and that both nations planned to meet at New Roads in False River on July 6 to discuss plans to attack the French. The uprising did not take place, however, because of bad weather and because the slaves from outside False River could not meet. [Ulysses S. Ricard, Jr., “The Pointe Coupee Slave Conspiracy of 1791,” in Proceedings of the International Congress of the French Colonial Historical Society.]
POINTE COUPEE SLAVE CONSPIRACY
Pointe Coupee slave conspiracy of 1792 was connected with the plan of 1791.
900 ARMED SLAVES COMMIT OUTRAGES UPON CITIZENS
In Northampton County, Virginia 900 slaves assembled in different parts, armed with muskets, spears, clubs &c and committed several outrages upon the inhabitants.
ENSLAVED AFRICANS ATTACK NIGHT PATROLLERS
A slave insurrection occurred in Northampton County, Virginia. The cause was an attempt by a military commander to control the movement of slaves and to prevent them from meeting and going from place to place. The Blacks believed that they were entitled to these privileges. Six enslaved African Americans armed themselves with clubs and attacked the night patrollers. The patrollers escaped unharmed and five slaves were captured, condemned and executed. [Calendar of Virginia State Papers, V, pp. 624-25.]
ENSLAVED AFRICANS PLAN REVOLT IN A SCHOOL HOUSE
In September of 1793, in Powhatan County, over 300 slaves met in a school house and planned an insurrection. However, before the plan was executed, several of the leaders were apprehended and whipped. There is no record of executions. [Calendar of Virginia State Papers, VI, p. 547.]
80 ENSLAVED AFRICANS 34 WHITES PLAN TO BURN NORFOLK
In October of 1793, there was an intended slave insurrection of 80 African Americans, assisted by 34 whites. The plans were to burn Norfolk and Portsmouth, and all the French ships in the harbor. [Calendar of Virginia State Papers, VI. pp. 571-72.]
SLAVES PLAN TO REBEL IN POINTE COUPEE
A major outbreak occurred in Pointe Coupee parish Spanish colony of Louisiana. The plan for revolt was betrayed after disagreement among the leaders as to when to revolt. The militia was immediately armed and with the aid of regular soldiers the plot was crushed. The slaves resisted arrest and twenty-five were killed, and another twenty-three were executed. The bodies of nine of them were left hanging. Three whites were implicated and banished from the colony. [Gayarre Charles. History of Louisiana, III pp. 354-55].
SLAVE REVOLT ON THE PLANTATION OF JULIEN POYDRAS
There was a large-scale slave insurrection in French Louisiana on the plantation of Julien Poydras, in Pointe Coupe Parish. Twenty four enslaved Africans were executed, and several whites were convicted for assisting the slaves and sentenced to imprisonment. A mulatto remained loyal to his master and defended the family against the rebels, for which he was emancipated. [Calendar of Virginia State Papers, VI p.547; also in Puckett, Free Negro in Louisiana (MS).]
SLAVES PLAN TO BURN TOWN AND LIBERATE ALL THE SLAVES
In Elizabethtown and Newark, New Jersey, there an intended revolt was uncovered. The plan was to burn the town and liberate all the slaves. [Carroll, Slave Insurrections, p.44]
PLANNED REVOLT IN LOUISIANA
A plan for a slave revolt was discovered in St. Landry parish, Louisiana.
NEWLY IMPORTED AFRICANS KILL MASTER
A planter in Screven County, Georgia, recently purchased a group of newly imported Africans who rebelled and killed him. His wife was able to escape with the help of two slaves, who remained loyal to her [Columbian Museum and Savannah Advertiser (Savannah, Georgia), Feb. 24, 1797].
ENSLAVED AFRICANS PLOT TO BURN CHARLESTON
Enslaved Africans in Charleston, S.C. plotted to burn the city. Two slaves were hanged, and three deported [Henry, H. H. The Police Patrol of the Slave in South Carolina, p. 150].
SLAVES REBEL, KILLING TWO WHITES
A group of Black slaves were being transported through Southampton County, Virginia, and they rebelled, killing two whites.
GABRIEL PROSSER PLANS SLAVE REVOLT
One of the largest slave revolts in the history of North America was planned under the leadership of Gabriel Prosser. There is little known of his early life except that his master was Thomas H. Prosser of Henrico County, Virginia, who owned a plantation a few miles from Richmond. Thousands of enslaved Africans were part of the plan. At the appointed time 1,000 slaves gathered six miles outside of Richmond, armed with clubs and swords, but a storm flooded the rivers and ripped out bridges and the rebels dispersed. The next day hundreds of slaves were arrested. The leader Gabriel was finally captured in Norfolk on September 25th and sent to Richmond. [Norfolk Herald, September 10, 1800.]
BLACKS JAILED FOR PARTICIPATING IN INSURRECTIONS
In October, 1802, 20 African Americans were confined in the Virginia workhouse [penitentiary] for participating in insurrections. This appeared to have been a continuation of the Gabriel Prosser Revolt. [Archives of Virginia, Executive Papers, July 27-December 31, 1802.]
SLAVES PLAN INSURRECTION ON EASTER
On Easter Monday a slave named Ben belonging to Mr. Philemon Bird, of King and Queen County, attempted an insurrection of the slaves, for which he was convicted and hanged Saturday, June 1, 1802. On that same Easter night 80 slaves met in a field near Norfolk and planned to fire the city and kill the white people. [Archives of Virginia, Executive Papers January 25- June 1, 1802.]
GOVERNOR MONROE RECEIVED WORD OF SLAVE REVOLT
In January, 1802, Governor Monroe received word of a plot in Nottaway County, Virginia several slaves suspected of participation were executed [Hamilton, ed. Writings of James Monroe, III, 328-9].
PLANNED SLAVE REVOLT BY 10 WHITES FOILED
A suspected slave insurrection was foiled in Goochland County aided by eight to 10 white men [Johnston, James H. “The Participation of White Men in Virginia Negro Insurrection,” p. 161].
SLAVE REVOLT IN BERTIE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
A slave insurrection was reported in Bertie County, North Carolina [Bassett, John Spencer. Slavery in the State of North Carolina, Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, XVII: Baltimore, 1899, p. 332]
SLAVE PLOTS HERTFORD AND BERTIE COUNTIES
The White population was alarmed by evidence of a slave conspiracy. The slave revolt was prevented with the arrest of fourteen blacks. Frank was found guilty of conspiring and hanged; another slave was “cropped, branded, and whipped, a third was cropped and whipped, and the reminder whipped [Raleigh Register, June 22, 1802].
BLACKS ATTEMPT TO BURN THE TOWN OF YORK, PA.
African Americans attempted to burn the town of York, Pennsylvania. This disturbance was caused when a Black woman was convicted on a charge of poisoning her master. The Blacks resented the action of the courts and sought to revenge this court decision by burning the town. The attempt by the Blacks brought the city business to a standstill and the town officials appealed to the Governor for help. Twenty African Americans were convicted on the charge of arson. [Turner, The Negro in Pennsylvania, pp. 152-53].
SLAVE CONSPIRACY DISCOVER ON ST. HELENA ISLAND
In Louisiana, William J. Grayson “happened to be near the scene of a negro conspiracy,” while on a visit to the plantation of his cousin, Major Hazzard, on the Euhaw River, in St Peter’s Parish. There was “a rumor afloat” that slaves in the neighborhood were plotting to revolt, and the white people started taking guns to bed. The rumor was true, but the rebellion fizzled when a slave tipped off his master, only hours before “the time appointed for the outbreak.” Forewarned, the whites surprised and seized the ringleaders, and tried them “without delay,” condemning “ten or a dozen” to be hanged. The sentence was carried out immediately. “The heads were cut off, stuck on poles, and set up along the highway leading from Purryburg, the place of the trial, to Coosawhatdhie,” the old judicial seat of the Beaufort District [Rosengarten, Theodore. Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter. William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 118}.
SLAVE INSURRECTION IN WAYNE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
In 1805 there was a slave insurrection in Wayne County, NC. The enslaved Americans planned to kill the whites in authority and keep the others in slavery. The slaves wanted the whites to experience what slavery was like by enslaving them. The method of killing was poisoning. A large number of African Americans were tried for poisoning their masters. A woman was burned alive for poisoning her master and two others hanged. Thirteen men were imprisoned; one executed and the rest given lesser punishments, such as whipping, pillorying, cropping the ears off, and transporting. [Carroll: 1938, 70].
THE CHARLES DESLONDES SLAVE REVOLT
In 1811, another "largest slave revolt in American history" took place in New Orleans, Louisiana. During this revolt about 500 enslaved Africans, armed with pikes, hoes, axes and a few firearms, marched on the city of New Orleans with flags flying and drums beating. Many of the slaves had participated in the Haitian Revolution. This revolt was led by Charles Deslondes, a mulatto from Saint Dominique, Haiti. They were well-organized and used military formation dividing themselves into companies commanded by various officers. They showed a variety of military formations, but collapsed in combat against a well- armed militia and regular army troops under General Wade Hampton.
SLAVE PLOT INVOLVING SLAVES, FREE BLACK AND WHITES
A conspiracy involving slave, free Blacks, and a few whites in New Orleans was betrayed in the summer of 1812 by a slave named Lewis Bolah. Joseph Wood, a white man, was executed on September 13th for his participation; another white man named Macarty was jailed. What ultimately became of Macarty, of the enslaved Africans involved is not known. [Aptheker, Herbert. American Negro Slave Revolts. New York: International Publishers, 1943, 254.]
On March 30, 1813, the Gov. of Virginia heard from Mr. Nathaniel Burwell of Gloucester County that, “we are threatened with an insurrection of our Negroes. Ten have been apprehended and are in jail.” [Aptheker: 1943, 255].
SLAVE CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY AND INSURRECTION
In Williamsburg, James City County in Virginia three slaves were sentenced to death on charges of “conspiracy & insurrection.” [Aptheker: 1943, 255]
CAMDEN REBELS PLANNED TO KILL ALL WHITES IN TOWN
In Camden, South Carolina, enslaved Africans planned to burn the entire city and kill all the white men, and then to take their women as wives. They were betrayed by a fellow slave, and six of the ring leaders were hanged. The slave who betrayed the plan was purchased from his owner by the state at a cost of $100, given his freedom and a pension for life. [The Camden Gazette, July 4, 1816].
PLANNED REVOLT IN FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA
Insurgents were betrayed by one of their own members before their plans could be put into execution, and the leaders were hanged. [Carroll: 1938, 74].
ATTEMPTED SLAVE INSURRECTIONS
In 1816, there were two attempted slave insurrections in Spottsylvania and Louisa Counties in Virginia. [Carrol: 1938, 74].
WHITE MAN LEADS SLAVE INSURRECTION: GEORGE BOXLEY
George Boxley, a white store owner, was a religious visionary figure much like John Brown. Boxley was between 30 and 40 years of age, six feet two, with a thin visage, of a sallow complexion. His hair was blond thinning at the top. He had large whiskers, and blue-gray eyes. He participated in slave religious gatherings and told the slaves that the Lord had sent him a holy message by a little white bird, which said that he should deliver them from bondage. On the basis of the symbolisms of the “white bird” in slave culture, numerous African American joined his movement. However, before the plan could be executed, a slave woman revealed the plan. Several Blacks were arrested and imprisoned. Boxley with a dozen of slaves march on the city with the aim of releasing them from prison, but on the road many of his followers lost courage and returned to their plantations. Boxley fled to the woods and remained in hiding for a long time before finally surrendering. Six slaves were convicted and hanged, and six others were transported. George Boxley escaped, never to be heard from again. [Archives of Virginia, Executive Papers, February 25, 1816].
TWO HUNDRED SLAVES REBEL IN ST. MARY’S COUNTY
On Easter Monday, April 7, 1817, several spontaneous outbursts occurred in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Two hundred Blacks were involved, several whites were injured by sticks, brick bats, and other missiles,” and two houses were sacked before the authorities could restore order [Report from Great Mills, Maryland, April 12, in N. Y. Evening Post, April 21, 1817].
INSURRECTION IN CHARLESTON
An insurrection in Charleston, South Carolina, was quickly suppressed [Carroll: 1938, 76].
RUNAWAY SLAVES KILLED OVERSEER
Runaways slaves in Wilmington, North Carolina raiding neighboring plantations, and killed an overseer, Jacob Lewis, and wounded William Stelly. On December 18, 1818, Governor Branch issued a proclamation offering a reward of $250 for the capture of a lawless band of runaway blacks numbering seven. The leader of this group was a “negro named Andey alias Billy James. These slaves had shot Robert Young “and robbed the widow Fox of two half-Eagles between Raleigh and Lewisburg. Billy James was never captured by the authorities [Raleigh Register, December 18, 1818].
SLAVES PLAN TO FIRE THE CITY
In Augusta, Georgia, slaves entered a conspiracy to fire the city and make their escape. A white man, Alexander Russell, was shot and killed for not responding when hailed by guards posted in the city. Several of the rebels were executed. The leader of the movement, Coco, had “arranged a pretty extensive plan of operations, and it had got under way, would have caused much havoc of persons and property.” Coco was executed for his part, and another slave involved, Paul, received 25 lashes every third day until receiving a total of 250, and was then branded with the letter “R” on his left cheek, and had his ears cut off [Augusta Herald, May 14, in the Louisiana Courier, June 28, 1819; U.B Phillips, 477].
FEDERAL TROOPS NEEDED TO PUT DOWN SLAVE REVOLT
In March, 1820, Florida experienced an uprising along Talbot Island that was put down by a detachment of federal troops [Wish, Harvey, and “American Slave Insurrections Before 1861, p.318].
BLACKS ATTACK WHITES IN THEIR HOMES AND ON STREETS
Whites were attacked in their homes and on the streets by blacks in Charleston, South Carolina [Gordon, A. H. “The Struggle of the Negro for Physical Freedom” in The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 13, and No. 1 (Jan., 1928), 32].
ENSLAVED AFRICANS IN ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. PLAN REVOLT
The militia of Onslow County was called out to suppress an aggressive band of blacks “when about boldly burning houses and committing numerous thefts.” Runaway enslaved Africans were communicating with slaves on the plantations in adjoining counties with the view of organizing a slave revolt.
THE DENMARK VESEY PLANNED SLAVE REVOLT
Denmark Vesey led one of the largest planned revolts in the history of North America. Denmark Vesey had been the slave of Captain Vesey, who left Haiti in 1791 during the Haitian Revolution. Denmark Vesey purchased his freedom after wining the East Bay Lottery in 1800. With the assistances of Peter Royas, Ned and Rolla Bennett, Monday Cell and Jack Prichard—also known as Gullah Jack, a native of Angola, a recognized African “traditional” doctor, a conjurer, and a sorcerer believed to possesses supernatural powers. Slaves were organized based on American- or African-born into legions with leaders from their particular nation. Many believed that this movement would have transformed slavery in South Carolina by replacing the slave regime with a regime ran by ex-slaves. On the appointed day, a slave revealed the plan. A total of 131 were arrested; Denmark Vesey along with 37 others were executed, 43 transported and 48 discharged [Carroll, 100; Higginson, 274, and Aptheker, 295; Drewry, 28; T.R. Gray, The Confessions of Nat Turner].
SLAVES MUTINIED ON THE MISSISSIPPI AND KILLED 5 WHITES
In Mississippi on a riverboat steamer, 77 slaves mutinied, killing five white men on board, and then successfully escaped to Indiana.
ENSLAVED AFRICANS OF SAMPSON, BLADEN, AND NEW HANOVER COUNTIES, NORTH CAROLINA BECOME UNCONTROLLABLE
Citizens of Sampson, Bladen and New Hanover requested the General Assembly for military assistance because slaves had “become so uncontrollable as to go and come when and where they please,” and that white patrols hesitated to act for fear of having their houses burned by the slaves [MS Legislative Papers, 1830].
THE NAT TURNER SLAVE REVOLT
Nat Turner and six slaves including Will started out on August 21, 1831, on their holy crusade to end slavery in Southampton, Virginia. The first to be killed was Nat Turner’s master Joseph Travis and his whole family. Within twenty-four hours Nat had approximately seventy slaves and by August 23rd, they had killed at least fifty-seven whites—men, women, and children. They left a trail of ransacked plantations, decapitated bodies and heads all across Southampton. Nat Turner declared, “That the indiscriminate slaughter was not their intention, after they had obtained a foothold. Women and children would afterward have been spared and men too, who ceased to resist.” But at first they had to resort to indiscriminate slaughter in order to strike terror and alarm, so that people would panic and run to other countries, giving them time to reorganize if they had to.
The Whites retreated but were also reinforced with the local militia, which dispersed them, and by Tuesday the 23rd the Turner revolt was over. Nat Turner tried several times to round up his men in order to continue the struggle, but this attempt was hopeless, and the battle at Parker’s plantation was the crucial one for Nat. Turner was able to successfully elude his pursuers for about thirty days. On October 30, he was caught armed only with an old sword. He was turned in by a Mr. Benjamin Phipps. Nat Turner reveals his life story in his Confession published by Thomas Gray in 1831. [The Confessions of Nat Turner, the leader of the late insurrection in Southampton, VA, as fully and voluntarily made to Thomas R. Gray, in the prison where he was confined, and acknowledged by him to be such when read before the Court of Southampton; with the certificate, under seal of the Court convened at Jerusalem, November 5, 1831, for his trial. Also, an Authentic Account of the Whole Insurrection with lists of the Whites who were murdered, and of the Negroes brought before the Court of Southampton, and there sentenced &c. Baltimore: published by Thomas R. Gray, Lucas & Deaver, 1831].
SLAVES KILLED MASTER AND ENTIRE FAMILY
In October there was an insurrection among the slaves on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. Dr. Bain and his entire family were murdered, and the rebels attacked Seaford [Reported in The Liberator, October 15, 1831].
SLAVE PLAN TO REVOLT AND MASSACRE WHITES
There was an attempted insurrection among the slaves at Shelbyville, Tennessee. The purpose of the revolt was to set fire to buildings and in the confusion seize as many guns as possible and begin a general massacre of the white population. A female slave betrayed the plan and many slaves were arrested, whipped and discharged [Niles’ Weekly Register, XLI, pp. 340-41].
INSURRECTION IN KENTUCKY
There was an insurrection by the slaves of Louisville, Kentucky, and surrounding areas. Several were arrested
INTENDED SLAVE INSURRECTION IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
There was an intended slave insurrection in Memphis, Tennessee. A female slave revealed the plan to her master. What happened to the slaves was not recorded [Patterson, The Negro in Tennessee, p. 108].
WHITE MAN RUN OUT OF TOWN FOR INCITING SLAVE REVOLT
At Fairfax Court House, Virginia, a white man named John Windover, a carpenter by trade, was run out of town on suspicion of inciting an insurrection among the slaves [The Liberator, December 6, 1833].
LUMBERMAN INSTIGATOR OF REVOLT
In Georgia, northern lumbermen were believed to have been the instigators of a plan for slaves to revolt against their masters. Georgia counties of Monroe and Jones were the centers of disaffections and a “considerable number” of slaves were arrested. One ringleader was put to death, and the other was “whipped, branded” [Emily P. Burke, Reminiscences of Georgia, p. 157].
WHITE OVERSEER AND SLAVES PLAN REVOLT
In Virginia, on Christmas Eve two white men including an overseer, along with 40 slaves planned to rebel, but the plot was discovered. The whites were hanged immediately followed by he slaves [Niles’ Register, XLIX, p. 331].
SLAVES REBEL IN TEXAS AND ATTEMPT TO ENSLAVE WHITES
Enslaved Africans rebelled in Brazos, Texas and divided up the cotton farms and had planned to ship the cotton to New Orleans making “the white men serve them in turn.” Major Sutherland put down the uprising. Nearly 100 whipped to death and some hanged. [Barker, Eugene C. ed., The Austin Papers, vol. III. Austin, 1926. Stephen F. Austin to Mrs. Mary Austin Holley, August 2, 1860.]
SLAVES IN MISSOURI PLAN A REVOLT
Some slaves of Missouri were overheard in the spring of 1836 “communicating their designs to other Blacks" and by this means were detected before their plan could be executed. The plan was to murder their masters and make their escape to Canada [St. Louis Republican; New York Observer, May 7, 1836].
SLAVE REVOLT NEAR ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA
Near Alexandria, Louisiana, an insurrection of the slaves occurred. The plan was to kill all the white men, but spare the women and children. The leader had planned the revolt as revenge against his master, who had changed him from a house servant to a field slave. However the insurgents could not agree on the plan of action and a slave named Lewis, belonging to Mr. Compton of Rapides Parish, reported the plan to his master, and was granted his freedom and $1,500. It took two companies of the United States troops to completely subdue the revolt [Report of State Treasurer, December 9, 1837 to December 31, 1838; Carroll: 1938, 179; Aptheker: 1943, 330].
FREE BLACK INSTIGATES REVOLT
Alabama discovered a planned revolt in January, 1837, that was believed to have instigated by a free Negro, named M’Donald [Wish, Harvey: 318].
HUNDREDS OF SLAVES INVOLVED IN CONSPIRACIES
In September and October large scale conspiracies involving hundred of slaves were reported from seven parishes in Louisiana, Avoyelles, Rapides, St. Landry, Lafayette, Iberville, Vermillion, and St. Martin. Several African Americans were arrested, others lashed, and a large number lynched, and two of the Black ring leaders committed suicide [Aptheker, Herbert. American Negro Slave Revolts. New York: International Publishers, 1943, 333].
SLAVE REVOLT PUT DOWN IN IBERVILLE, LOUISIANA
Enslaved Africans in Iberville rose against their masters, but the revolt was put down. Forty were placed in confinement and 20 sentenced to be hung. Six slaves were sentenced to death in Lafayette and Eugene. The leader committed suicide by drinking poison. Two whites who were implicated were lashed and asked to leave the state [The Liberator, September 18, 25 and October 30].
MASS ESCAPE TO MEXICO PLANNED
In Rapides and Avoyelles Parishes in Lousiana enlaved Africans planned a mass flight to Mexico. Mexico had passed a decree that all slaves who arrived were to be immediately emancipated by Mexican law. Once all the preparations were made the leader, Lew Cheney, “in order to curry favor with his master” betrayed the revolt. The insurgents were surrounded, carried to Alexandria in chains and hanged [Aptheker: 1943, 334].
SPONTANEOUS REVOLT IN MARYLAND
In October a large number of slaves on a plantation in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, rebelled. The rebellion appears to have been spontaneous. The overseer was seriously wounded and the slaves resisted the local police. All the rebels were captured except one, and one slave was shot. What happened to them is not known [Solomon Northrup, Twelve Years a Slave, pp. 246-48].
NINE SLAVES HANGED FOR INSURRECTION
A slave woman named Lecide was freed by her master for revealing plans in Lafayette and St. Landry Parishes. Nine slaves were implicated and hanged. Four white men were also convicted, but the law excluded the testimony of blacks against whites, so they were severely flogged under a lynch law sentence and exiled from the state [Puckett, E. P. “Free Negroes in Louisiana”].
BRIG CREOLE MUTINY AND REVOLT
On October, 1841 the brig Creole, under the command of Captain Ensor of Richmond, Virginia, sailed from Hampton Roads bound for New Orleans, with a cargo of tobacco, and 130 thirty slaves. They rose and wounded the captain and took charge of the ship, and sailed for Nassau, where they were freed by the British authorities [Coffin, op cit., 33-34].
PLANNED INSURRECTION FOUND OUT
In Augusta, Georgia, a planned slave insurrection was discovered. The plan was to seize the arsenal and burn the city, and massacre the whites. The leaders were arrested and one was hanged [Phillips, Ulrich B., American Negro Slavery. D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1918]
LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI REBELLIONS
Slaves and whites were discovered involved in a plan for slaves to rebel in Louisiana and Mississippi. One white man and a large number of slaves were hanged [Carroll: 1938, 180].
HOUSTON TELEGRAPH REPORTS A SLAVE INSURRECTION
In Nacodoches the conduct of the slaves has been such as to excite fears that an insurrection was contemplated by the slave population. [Houston Telegraph and Texas Register, September 15, 1841.]
A BLACK MAN AND WOMAN HANGED FOR POISONING MASTERS
In July, a Black man and woman were hanged in St. Augustine, Florida after having confessed to poisoning their masters—the Hyde family. There were several others slaves executed around the same time, but the causes are not known. [Smither, Harriet. Ed., “The Diary of Adolphus Sterne,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXXII.]
ARMED SLAVES MARCH TO PENNSYLAVANIA
Seventy-five slaves from three Maryland counties armed themselves and began marching toward the Pennsylvania state line. They were caught and surrounded by whites near Rockville, Maryland. Several slaves were killed and 31 recaptured.
INSURRECTION OF SLAVES AND FREE BLACKS
In Charles County, Maryland there was an insurrection of slaves and free Blacks. One slave was hanged, several others sold out of the State, and the free Blacks were given 40 years in prison [Brackett, The Negro in Maryland, pp.95-96].
SLAVES REBEL AT CAMPTI
In the summer of 1845 there were two attempts at rebellion of slaves of Louisiana in the neighborhood of Campti some 15 miles south of Sligo. Slaves were armed. The revolt was quickly suppressed.
OVERSEER SAVED BY NEIGHBORS
In Arkansas a white overseer was attacked by slaves and was only able to save his life with the help of several neighbors who came to his aid with firearms and were able to end the revolt with the use “powder and ball.”[Arkansas Southern Shield, August 1, 1845]
WHITE COLLEGE STUDENT LEADS A REVOLT
In Kentucky, a white college student led a group of 75 slaves toward the Ohio River. On Sunday, August 5th , about 75 slaves from Fayette County, led by a young white man named Patrick Doyle, a student at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, armed themselves with guns and crude weapons and set for the Ohio River with freedom from slavery as the objective. The slaves and their white leader fought two pitched battles against the local authorities before being defeated. Most of the insurgents were captured. Three Black leaders, Shadrack, Harry and Prestley, were hanged, and Patrick Doyle was sentenced to 20 years in prison. [Aptheker: 1943, 338; William E. Connelley and E. M. Coulter, History of Kentucky, II, p. 807].
SLAVES ATTEMPT TO SEIZE STEAMBOAT, ESCAPE TO FREEDOM
Three hundred slaves in the areas of St. Mary’s Georgia close to the sea and at the Florida border planned in July to rebel and seize a steamboat, the William Gaston. The rebels intended to reach the British West Indies, but a delay in the boat’s arrival at St. Mary’s led to its exposure and suppression [Jacksonville, Fla., Republican, July 12 the Wakulla, Fla., Times, 18, in The Liberator, August 3, 1848].
SLAVES ARM THEMSELVES AND MARCH TOWARD FREEDOM
Thirty slaves in Missouri armed themselves and began marching toward freedom. They were surrounded, held out for a while and then surrendered.
PLANS FOR UPRISING DISCOVERED
On June 14 an intended slave uprising was discovered in New Orleans. The insurgents had planned to attack the city simultaneously in several places, taking possession of the powder magazine, the mint, and the major banks. They planned to set fire public buildings as a signal for other slaves to join them from the surrounding counties. Several slaves were arrested and many more hanged [The Liberator, June 24, 1853}.
SLAVE SHOT DEAD BY OVERSEER FOR REBELLING
An unruly slave on a plantation below New Orleans when threatened with punishment rebelled, seized an axe and attempted to kill the overseer but was shot dead by him [Phillips, Ulrich B., American Negro Slavery. D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1918, p. 464].
A SLAVE REVOLTS IN NEW IBERIA, LOUISIANA
In August, 1856, an uprising took place in New Iberia, Louisiana [Moody, Alton V. Slavery on the Louisiana Sugar Plantations, University of Michigan Press, 1924, p. 41].
TWO SLAVES EXECUTED FOR ATTEMPTED INSURRECTION
Two slaves were whipped to death in Texas for attempted insurrection at Columbus, Colorado County [Olmsted, Frederick Law. A Journey Through Texas, New York, 1857, pp. 513-514].
SEVERAL SLAVES AND ONE WHITE MAN HANGED FOR PLOT
In Kentucky, in December, 1856, several slave ringleaders and one white man were hanged for an attempted insurrection at Hopkinsville [Wish, Harvey: 320].
“CONTEMPLATED SERVILE RISING IN TEXAS”
Report of an intended insurrection in Columbus, Colorado Co., Sept. 9. 1856.
. . .Our suspicions were aroused about two weeks ago, when a meeting of the citizens of the county was called, and the committee of investigation appointed to ferret out the whole matter, and lay the facts before the people of the county for their consideration. . .The facts are follows: a well-organized and systematized plan for the murder of our entire white population, with the exception of the young ladies, who were to be taken captives, and made the wives of the diabolical murderers of their parents and friends. . .a number of pistols, bowie-knives, guns, and ammunition were found in their position. 200 slaves were found to have violated law, were spared the death penalty. Two slaves were whipped to death; three more hung, and the Mexicans implicated were ordered to leave the country. [Austin State Gazette, September 27, 1856.]
SLAVES PLAN TO KILL MASTERS THREE WHITES IMPLICATED
In October, another large-scale plan was discovered. The postmaster at Halletsville, in Lavaca County, reported that the slaves had planned to rise up on October 31, killing their masters, seizing arms and ammunition for their flight to Mexico. Three whites were implicated, one captured and given one hundred lashes. [Austin Southern Intelligencer, November 19, 1856.]
GENERAL PLAN FOR INSURRECTION BETRAYED
In November an “extensive scheme of negro insurrection” was uncovered, this time in Lavaca, DeWitt, and Victoria counties in Texas. The “negroes had killed off all the dogs in the neighborhood, and were preparing for a general attack” when their plans were betrayed. Several white men were “severely horsewhipped” and some were banished. What happened to the slave insurgents was not recorded. [Aptheker, Herbert. Essays in the History of the American Negro, New York, 1945, p. 56.]
WHITES AND SLAVES PLAN REVOLT
In November the Clarksville Standard reported that “It seems that the seeds of a plot have been germinating in our midst.” It urged that the slaves involved be “severely dealt with” and the whites hanged. [Clarksville Standard, December 20, 1856.]
SLAVE INSURRECTION DISCOVERED IN LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
An elaborate plan by slaves and free Blacks aimed at capturing the army arsenal at Little Rock was discovered. “It appears that the plot at Little Rock is a part of the same conspiracy which was detected recently in Texas, and in Union County in this state. Said an Arkansas newspaper. [Fort Smith Herald November 22, 1856.]
SLAVES HANGED FOR ATTEMPTING INSURRECTION
There was an insurrection of slaves in Tennessee. The plan was discovered among slaves of the Cumberland Iron Works before it was executed. More than 60 were implicated. They were hunted down, and nine were hanged, four by the State of Tennessee and five by the mob [Patterson, The Negro in Tennessee. University of Texas Bulletin, No. 2205, pp.49-50].
SLAVES OF EX-FIRST LADY MRS. POLK REBEL
In August about 55 slaves on the plantation of the ex-First Lady, Mrs. James K. Polk, near Coffeesville, Mississippi, decided they were no longer going to submit to whippings, and became unmanageable. The overseer assisted by neighbors tried to subdue the group but the slaves armed themselves with axes, hatchets, clubs, scythes and stone. One white man was severely injured in attempting to end the revolt. The revolt was ended after a few days when 75 armed men came to the plantation from surrounding communities and overpowered the slaves. The leaders of the revolt were held for tried, and Giles and Emanuel were scheduled for execution.
JOHN BROWN’S RAID ON HARPER’S FERRY
On October 16, 1859, John Brown led 12 other white men and five African Americans [four of whom were escaped slaves, Copeland, Leary,
Anderson and Green], and a free Black in an attack on the armory in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. The armory was taken, but John Brown and his insurgents were trapped and besieged. On October 18 a force of U.S. marines, led by Colonel Robert E. Lee, overpowered the rebels, seriously wounding John Brown. The seven survivors of the revolt were tried, convicted and hanged; Brown was executed on December 2, 1859.
WHITE MAN PLANS A SLAVE INSURRECTION
A slave insurrection was planned in Winston County, Mississippi, led by a white man. The plan was to poison all the whites in the county on Election Day, take possession of the arms and fight a war of extermination of the whites. A slave girl, the property of C. D. Kelley, betrayed the plan. Forty slaves were arrested, one white man and one slave were hanged [Carroll: 1938, 198].
HUNDREDS OF SLAVES HANGED FOR INSURRECTION
Mrs. Laura S. Haviland witnessed hundred of slaves hanged in Natchez, Mississippi at the beginning of the Civil War for planning insurrection. According to her diary, a large number of slaves were hanged, owned by the following persons: Frank Susetts, 26, James Susetts, 7; Dr. Stanton, 8; Dr. Moseby, 26; widow Albert Dunbar, 48; Mrs. Brady, 12; Widow E. Baker, 28; Mrs. Alexander, 16; Dr. George Baldwin, 8; Stephen Odell, 5; G. Grafton, 5; James Brown, 3; Mr. Marshall, 1; Mr. Robinson, 2; Melon Davis, 1; widow Absalom Sharp, 3; Miss Mary Dunbar, 3; Joseph Reynolds, 3; Baker Robinson,m 3; Lee Marshall, whipped to death 1; Mrs. Chase, whipped to death 1; and total of 209 [Woman’s Life-Work: Labors and Experiences of Laura S. Haviland. Chicago: C. V.” Waite & Company, 1887. pp. 295-298].
SLAVE REVOLT DISCOVERED IN TENNESSEE
Congressman John H. Reagan wrote his brother regarding a plot by the slaves: "A plot has been discovered in Tennessee colony, and extending out from there, between some white men and negroes, similar to that in Dallas, Ellis and Tarrant counties. Indeed, it is regarded as a part of the same plot—to poison as many people as they could on Sunday Night before the election, and on the day of the election to burn the houses and kill as many of the women and children as they could while the men were gone to the election, and then kill the men as they returned home. On last Sunday two white men, who lived up near Catfish Bayou, were hung as the ringleaders of the plot in this county. Our vigilance committees and patrol have been active here in guarding against other dangers and in investigating this matter. One negro has been hung in Henderson and one in Cherokee County, and we are informed that the town of Henderson has been burned—supposed by incendiaries—but no particulars yet. …" [John H. Reagan to Morris Reagan, August 18, 1860, in John Townsend, The Doom of Slavery in the Union: Its Safety Out of It, Charleston, S.C., 1860. p. 34f].
TWO WHITES HANGED FOR TAMPERING WITH SLAVES
A store and post office at Lavernia were burned. Two whites, both named Boardwright, were hanged in Robertson County for “tampering with slaves." [Northern Standard, September 22, 1860].
3 SLAVES HANGED AND WHITE MAN IMPLICATED IN PLOT
In Fannin County, three slaves named Jess, Ruben, and Emma were hanged for killing their masters. “They confessed that a general uprising of the negroes of the neighborhood had been planned, and that a white man was at the head of it. [Matagorda Gazette, January 4, 1860.]
FIVE WHITES AND FIFTY SLAVES HANGED FOR INSURRECTION
Two hundred slaves were involved in an insurrection plot. They were to meet at LaGrange with other slaves and then fight their way to freedom and escape to Mexico. Over five whites and 50 slaves were hanged in Fayette County since July [New Orleans Picayune, September 13, 1860]
THREE SLAVES HANGED FOR INSURRECTION
Over two hundred slaves arrested and questioned and punished by the “Committee of Vigilance.” Three leaders of the insurrection Sam Smith, Cato, and Patrick were hanged. All three met their death with composure “worthy of a better cause.” [Austin State Gazette, July 12, 1860.]
WHITE MAN BURNT TO DEATH FOR GIVING SLAVES PISTOLS
A white man was hanged for allegedly distributing pistols to slaves. The white man was burned to death on July 29 for his actions. [Matagorda Gazette, August 22, 1860.]
A WHITE MAN AND HIS SLAVE HANGED FOR BURING TOWN
The town of Henderson was set on fire by an incendiary and the damage was reported at over $200, 00. A local white man, Green Herndon, and a slave of his were hanged. [Matagorda Gazette, August, 22, 1860].
SEVERAL WHITES AND BLACKS CHARGED WITH INSURRECTION
The Washington County Vigilance Committee arrested several slaves who were charged with planning, along with several whites, a “general insurrection to take place on August 6, 1860. What happened to them is not recorded. [Brenham Enquirer, August 11, 1860.]
SLAVES REVOLT WITH THE ASSISTANCES OF 5 WHITES
In Greensboro, Alabama, there was an insurrection of the slaves assisted by five white men. Four whites were killed and 16 African Americans hanged on the charge of making insurrection [Moore, The Rebellion Records, I, 12, (Poetry and Incidents].
TWO SLAVES AND A GIRL HANGED FOR INSURRECTION
Early in June of 1861, a plan of insurrection was reported among the slaves in Monroe County, Arkansas. The plans called for the murder of all whites and in the case of resistance, the women and children were also to be killed. Several slaves were arrested. Two men and one girl was hanged [Georgia Lee Tatum, Disloyalty in the Confederacy. Chapel Hill, 1934, p. 38].
SECOND CREEK PLOT AT NATCHEZ TO KILL THE WHITES
The Second Creek plot at Natchez to kill white males and take the women as wives. When authorities learned what slaves were plotting they acted quickly and decisively by hanging every individual implicated. At least 27 slaves were hanged. The Confederate provost marshal at Natchez reported early in 1862 that 40 slaves had been hanged within that year for insurrectionary activities. Scholars will never know the exact number of insurrections just before and during the Civil War, because state governments did not reimburse owners of slaves executed at the orders of the extralegal courts. There was no official accounting because the “vigilance committees” kept quiet, and no one involved shared information on the counting of the bodies.
SERIOUS SLAVE REVOLT NEAR THIBODEAUX, LOUISIANA
About fifteen miles from Thibodeaux, Louisiana a serious slave insurrection occurred in November, which had initiated fears of a general uprising [Brigadier-General G. Weitzel to Asst. Adjutant-General G. C. Strong, November 6, 1862 in Official Reports of the Rebellion, Series I, vol. XV, p. 172].
GENERAL BUTLER REPORTS SLAVE INSURRECTION
General Butler, while stationed in New Orleans reported a slave insurrection on August 2, 1862: “An insurrection broke out among the negroes, a few miles up the river, which caused the women of that neighborhood to apply to an armed boat, belonging to us, passing down, for aid; and the incipient revolt was stopped by informing the negroes that we should repel an attack by them upon the women and children.” [New York Daily Tribune, August 14, 1862].
FIVE SLAVES HANGED FOR KILLING THEIR MASTER
In Lynchburg, Virginia, five slaves were hanged for murdering their master General Dillard [The Richmond Sentinel, June 25, 1863}.
SLAVES REBEL IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
In May of 1863, a revolt occurred among slaves working at iron works in Richmond, Virginia. Only the leaders were punished [Aptheker: 1943, 366; also in Kathleen Bruce, Virginia Iron Manufacture in the Slave Era, p.399].
18 IMPRISONED FOR ATTEMPTED INSURRECTION
In October in Hancock County, Georgia 18 slaves were imprisoned for attempting insurrection. Few details are known about this plot
SLAVE BURNT YAZOO CITY, MISSISSIPPI
In June, 1864, slaves burnt a section of Yazoo City, including 14 houses and the courthouse. It was with great difficulty that the slaves were prevented for burning the entire city [The Richmond Sentinel, June 2, 1864].
SLAVES GIVE MASTER FIVE HUNDRED LASHES
On a plantation in Choctaw County, Mississippi the slaves rebelled and turn the table of their master Nat Best, giving him 500 lashes [The Richmond Sentinel, June 2, 1864].
SLAVE REBELS AND RUN TOWARD UNION LINES
Early in 1864 in South Carolina an uprising of slaves occurred with the aim of getting to the Union forces. The revolt was suppressed by detachments of the Confederate Army [Letter of Major T. W. Brevard, dated Camp Finnegan, East Florida, April 2, 1863; Major W. P. Emanuel, dated between Ashepoo and Combahee, June 6, 1863 in Official Records of the Rebellion, Series I, vol. XIV, pp. 303, 401].