NorthShore Slavery

People of African Descent in 18th Century Essex County

Cases | Participants | Court Sessions | Timeline

Essex County Massachusetts Freedom Cases 1760 - 1783

Jenny Slew vs. John Whipple, Jr. (1766)
In 1766, Jenny Slew sued John Whipple, Ipswich (Hamilton), on basis that her mother was white. She lost her case in the ECCP case but appealed and won in the SCJ in 1766.

Violet vs. Mark Howe (1766)
Violet was born in Newburyport in 1735, the daughter of a free "Negro woman" (who herself was born of "free Negroes") and an enslaved African. At some point she was sold as a slave, along with her "mulatto" son, Edward "Ned" Lewis, to a family in the Linebrook Parish of Ipswich. John Lowell Esq. of Newburyport negotiated her freedom and she received twenty shillings from her enslaver in 1766. Three years later, she sued her son's enslaver, again with John Lowell as her attorney, and was successful in freeing him. See also Lewis vs. Dodge (1769).

Jude vs. Daniel Hale (1769)
Jude, identified as a "Molatto Singlewoman", sued for her freedom in 1769 claiming to be a "Woman born free." She won her case in the ECCP; her enslaver claimed he would appeal in the SCJ but no record of an appeal has been found.

Kate vs. Moody Bridges (1769)
Along with her brother, Peter, Kate based her suit on her mother's status as a free Indian. Both their cases were sent to arbitration; the arbitrators ruled for in their favor.

Peter vs. Moody Bridges (1769)
Along with his sister, Kate, Peter based his suit on his mother's status as a free Indian. Both their cases were sent to arbitration; the arbitrators ruled for she and her brother. See also Kate vs. Moody Bridges.

Lewis vs. Dodge (1769)
Edward "Ned" Lewis was 16 years old when his mother, Violet (see Violet vs Howe, 1766) sued for his freedom. Violet submitted documentation to show that her mother's mother was a "free Negro" and her mother was a "free Negro." Based on two generations of free maternal descent, Violet argued that she was legally free all her life and so too was Lewis. The case was lost at the ECCP level but won on appeal to the SCJ.

Nancy vs. James Parker Jr. and Dinah Parker (1771)
Nancy Parker was bequeathed to James Parker by his father before James turned twenty-one. When he did come of age in 1771, Dinah sued for her freedom on the basis that she was freeborn. Both parties agreed to arbitration and the arbitrators ruled in Nancy's favor. They also awarded damages and costs to Nancy who had to sue again in the following ECCP term to collect them.

Casar vs. Samuel Taylor (1772)
A captive who arrived in New England directly from Africa speaking no English, Caesar, twelve years old, was purchased at dock side by Timothy Fuller of Middleton. Taylor sent him to Samuel Taylor of Reading to be taught leather-dressing. At the end of three years, Fuller sold Caesar to Edward Hircum. Caesar negotiated an oral contract with Taylor that, in return for Taylor buying Caesar from Hircum, Caesar would earn enough in six years to repay Taylor at Taylor's profit and Taylor would free Caesar. Taylor broke this oral contract by selling Caesar after the second year. Caesar sued for his freedom on the basis of the broken contract and, with John Lowell as his attorney, won his freedom from an ECCP jury and in Taylor's SCJ 1772 appeal.

Bristol vs. John Osgood (1773)
Case continued from March 1772 to December 1773 when both parties defaulted.

Casar Hendrick vs. Richard Greenleaf (1773)
ECCP Sept. 1773 Second Jury found for Casar Hendrick, Plaintiff, and awarded 18 pounds in money damages and court costs. Greenleaf declared appeal but did not file.

Juno vs. David Larcom (1775)
No judgment in case as David Larcom died in May 1775.

Sampson vs. Caleb Dodge and Josiah Batchelder (1775)
Case is sent to arbitration but no report is submitted. Case appears as continued in July 1775 after which it no longer appears.

Pomp Somerset vs. Richard Greenleaf (1776)
Pomp Somerset gives his attorney, Theophilus Parsons, a power of attorney before the case is called. Greenleaf fails to appear and Pomp, through Parsons, forgoes damages and costs but wins his case.

Timon vs. Peter Osgood (1777)
Sham demurrer per pre-arranged agreement. Two year indenture agreement between Timon ("free negro") and Osgood.

Booso vs. Samuel Chickering (1778)
Defendant defaulted. Booso "recovers his liberty" and "no longer held in Servitude."

Prince vs. Thomas Osgood (1778)
Osgood defaulted. Prince "recovers his liberty" and is "no longer held in servitude."

Kimball vs. Kimball (1779)
Continued from December 1777 to May 1779. Defendant's Plea judged bad and Seir awarded one penny damages.

Rose vs. Joseph Osgood (1779)
Defendant defaulted. Rose "recovers her Liberty."

Adventurer vs. Vanderhoaf (1782)
Defendent's Plea judged bad. Case continued for one term to determine money damages. Plaintiff agreed to one penny in damages.

Cloe Hale vs. Nathaniel Hale (1782)
Cloe Hale "singlewoman, negrowoman" plea of trespass against Nathaniel Hale. Defendant defaulted. Cloe awarded one penny money damages.

Scipio Freeman vs. Josiah Ober (1783)
Plaintiff nonsuit, no defendant.

Essex County Cases involving Enslaved People

John Oliver vs. Capt. John Sale (1762)
Buyer sues Seller for selling two "free Mulattoes" as slaves. Decision for Seller.

Freedom Cases Outside of Essex County

Prince (Negro) vs. David Bull (1763)
Hampshire County freedom suit.

William Benson et al vs. Joseph Collins (1764)
Three men found guilty of enslaving Joseph Collins. MIddlesex County.

Swain vs. Folger (1769)
Sherburn County freedom suit.

Cato vs. Conant (1777)

Salem Orne vs. Darby (1777)
Case filed in Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas

Cases Outside of Essex County Involving Enslaved People