African-Americans in Hampton's History

Notes from a variety of sources

A work in progress

From "Black Portsmouth: Three Centures of African-American Heritage" by Mark J. Sammons and Valerie Cunningham (Durham: Univ. of NH Press, 2004)

p. 42: "On June 16, 1699, Captain Tobias Langdon of Portsmouth bought from Christopher Posell, a tanner in Hampton, an unnamed Black youth about sixteen or seventeen years of age." (Source: Langdon Papers, Strawbery Banke, box 1, folder 2, series 2. Purchased for 30 pounds.) No further information on this individual. The tanner's name should read "Christopher Pottell".

p. 91: "Dinah Chase Whipple was born into slavery and was owned by Reverend Chase of New Castle. During the Revolutionary War Chase moved to adjacent Hampton, New Hampshire, taking Dinah with him. There, at the age of seventeen, Dinah was admitted to the church under the theological tutelage of the Reverend Dr. Thayer. At the age of twenty-one Chase freed her, and she moved to Portsmouth, where she married Prince Whipple." (Sources: Brewster's "Rambles" 1:155 ; Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics, February 14, 1846, obituary.) Prince Whipple was one of New Hampshire's most famous African-Americans.

From "History of the Town of Hampton : from its first settlement in 1638 to the autumn of 1892" by Joseph Dow (Salem, Mass. : Salem Press, 1893), pp. 287-8

In 1809, John Dow, James Leavitt and Jonathan Marston, Jr., were chosen a committee, to take the whole matter of the condition and support of the poor into consideration. They reported at some length on individual cases, one of which is as follows: "As it respects Mrs. Burdoo, considering her advanced age and her exposedness to take cold, if she continue in her house, and the expense of hauling her wood, we think it best to put her in a family, where she can be taken proper care of till spring. Mr. Josiah Dearborn has offered to take her at four shillings per week. She has been at Mr. Dearborn's house about a fortnight."

This Mrs. Burdoo was Dinah, widow of Philip Burdoo, among the last of the old-time negroes in this town. Dinah Small, perhaps widow or sister of Cæsar, who died from exposure in the army, in 1777, was married, on the 9th of January, 1783, to Philip Burdoo, of Moultonbourough. It has been asserted that they were slaves of Gen. Jonathan Moulton, which may have been true of Philip, who came from one of the townships granted to the General; but Dinah, certainly, was a slave of William Godfrey, of North Hampton, whose granddaughter, Mrs. Fanny Lane, now above ninety years of age, knows of her service there. Philip was afterwards employed at Dearborn's tavern. He died January 6, 1806. Dinah had a little house a few rods east of the centre school-house, where she spun and knit and lived contentedly. When she became enfeebled by age, she was cared for by the town, and died at Dea. John Lamprey's, January 11, 1825, aged ninety-two years.

Shirk, the negro of Stephen Hussey, found dead-inquest March 17, 1672.

A "Negro woman of Mrs. Freese's" died, January 15, 1736, aged 30 years.

A "Negro girl, her daughter," died January 16, 1736, aged 6 years.

"Cæsar, ye Negro of Widow Godfrey," baptized March 7, 1736.

"Prince, a Negro boy of Mr. Griffith's," died February 4, 1738, aged 10 years.

"Simon, ye Negro boy of Dr. Jackson," baptized April 23, 1738.

A negro boy of Mrs. Toppans died March 11, 1740, aged 2 years.--"fitts."

"Flora, a Negro girl of Widow Toppan's," baptized June 7, 1741.

"Jenny, a Negro girl of Ward & Joanna Cotton's," baptized June 7, 1741. Jenny died April 5, 1751, aged 40 years.

"Jock, ye Negro Servant of Doctor Sargent," baptized June 14, 1741.

"Fortunatus, a Negro lad of Abner Fogg's," baptized October 11, 1741.

"Flora, a Negro girl of Dr. Emery," died March 27, 1756.

"Cæsar, a Negro man of Capt. Jeremiah Marston," died of old age, April 10, 1766.

Cæsar Small, a mulatto, died April 21, 1777, aged 50 or 60-"camp disorder."

Neb Miller, a negro slave of Col. Christopher Toppan.

Ben Thompson, slave of Capt. Jonathan Marston. It is said that Capt. Marston's father (Elisha) gave each of his children a slave.

"Phillis White, colored, widow of Archelaus, died August 14, 1830." The graves of Phillis White and three other negroes, probably her family, are in a field belonging to Mr. Aiken S. Coffin.


New England Chronicle (Boston)
From Thursday, January 18, to Thursday, January 25, 1776

FIFTEEN DOLLARS Reward.

RUN AWAY from Col. Jonathan Moulton of Hampton in the colony of New Hampshire, in October last, a negro boy named Cato, about 18 years old, and about 5 feet and an half high, or something more; a more likely strait limb'd, well built and active a boy is seldom to be seen, and plays well on a fife ; he is very apt to scowl, or knit his brows, and has had the small-pox by inoculation, which he shows but little in his face, but the place on his arm where he was inoculated is plain to be discovered. Since he ran away he was taken up at Durham, and in conveying him to his master he made his escape ; since that he was at headquarters, and offered to inlist, but not meeting with success, he went from thence to Lexington, where he offered his service to Mr. John Buckman, innholder in that town, and called himself Elijah Bartlet, and said that he was free born ; Mr. Buckman suspecting him to be a runaway, which the boy perceiving, he stopped but a few days, and went off privately, which was some time in November last, and his master has had no intelligence of him since. He had on when he went away, a blue duffel round jacket, with cuff, and without lining, a blue large jacket, both almost new, and a pair of leather breeches, and carried with him 3 check shirts, 2 of which were cotton & woolen, and the other linen, with large checks, &c, but it appears he has exchanged some of his outside cloaths for other of another colour.

Whoever will take him said runaway and convey him to his master, or secure him in any way of the colony goals, so that his master can have him again, shall have fifteen dollars, and all necessary charges paid by                JONA. MOULTON.

Hampton, January 1, 1776

N. B. As the boy was born at New-York, and from some other reasons it's likely he is thence making his way ; but it's more likely he will offer himself to work by the month or year, in some part of the colony of Massachusetts Bay or Connecticut, and whoever may have the opportunity of taking up said runaway is cautioned to take particular care lest he makes his escape again as he is so artful and cunning a boy.