STRAWBERY BANKE MUSEUM

Enslaved Africans
In the Puddle Dock neighborhood, people from Africa and the Caribbean were enslaved by several prominent families.

  • There were two enslaved Africans who lived and worked at the Sherburne House. Joseph Sherburne was a mariner, merchant, and farmer, whose 1744 estate inventory listed one Negro man valued at 200 pounds and one Negro woman valued at 50 pounds. Material evidence of their origins on the African continent include a cowrie shell recovered during archaeological excavations in 2019.
  • Frank and Flora lived and worked at the King's Arms Tavern (c. 1766). They were enslaved by tavern keeper James Stoodley. Frank and Flora were also included in the pews Stoodley owned at North Church. Stoodley's estate inventory at the time of his death in 1779 included Frank and Flora, valued at 20 and 100 pounds, respectively. 
  • James and Fortune lived and worked at the William Pitt Tavern (c. 1766). They were enslaved by tavern keeper John Stavers.  Fortune emancipated himself as a “run-away” when he was 16 years old, which was recorded in an advertisement in The New Hampshire Gazette on May 11, 1764.
  • Adam, Mercer, and Bess lived and worked at the Marshall Pottery (c. 1736-1749). They were enslaved by Samuel Marshall. Adam and Mercer likely worked alongside Marshall, making and shipping redware pottery for sale locally and along the Atlantic coast. A redware jar manufactured in the West Indies was recovered by archaeologists from the Marshall Pottery site in the 1970s, linking the household to the Caribbean.
  • Nero, Jane, and Cato lived and worked at the Wheelwright House. They were enslaved by Cooper Jeremiah Wheelwright (d. 1768). Nero was a cooper himself, acquired by Wheelwright through marriage. Wheelwright purchased Cato prior to 1752 for 200 pounds, a price equal to some houses at the time. Nero and Jane were listed in Wheelwright's estate inventory, valued at 30 and 20 pounds, respectively.