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John Gilmore

Domestic servant to Samuel Johnson. He was born a slave in Jamaica, but his date of birth and original name are unknown. He was brought to England by Richard Bathurst, formerly a planter in Jamaica, who had him baptized and who gave him the name by which he is known. Bathurst sent him for some time to a school at Barton in Teesdale in Yorkshire, and his will (dated 1754) left Barber his freedom and £12.

By this date, probably in 1752, Barber had entered the service of Samuel Johnson, who was a friend of Bathurst's son (also Richard). The exact date, and how old Barber was at the time, are uncertain, but he was probably still a young boy. In 1756 he ran away and worked for about two years for a London apothecary though he returned to visit Johnson regularly during ...


Leyla Keough

Born in Jamaica around 1745, Francis Barber was baptized, educated and brought to England by a West Indian slave owner, Colonel Bathurst, in 1752. Bathurst died shortly after their arrival, but not before freeing Barber. Bathurst's son found Barber work with the British author Samuel Johnson, who opposed the slave trade. At a time when black pages in their twenties were commonly deported because it was unfashionable to employ them after adolescence, it was particularly unusual that Johnson and Barber sustained a long and affectionate relationship.

Johnson, who had no children of his own, treated Barber as a son. From 1767 to 1772 he sent Barber to school where he proved himself bright and articulate Barber served Johnson for nearly thirty years acting as Johnson s manservant and receiving and answering Johnson s letters Barber left the Johnson household only twice once to work for a ...


Jessica Swanston Baker

was born on 26 August 1767 on Mountravers plantation, in the Leeward Caribbean island of Nevis. Like many African slaves in the Americas, Coker left no written accounts of her own, and all that is known about her has been derived from business and personal records left by her owner and later employer John Pinney (1740–1818), who inherited Mountravers in 1762. It should be noted that the vast majority of information currently known about Frances Coker has been gathered via archival research of the Pinney family records, carried out by Christine Eickelmann and David Small. Eickelmann and Small’s larger project aimed to provide a revisionist history that shed light on slavery’s role as integral to the prosperity of John Pinney. Pinney was a British plantation owner and important figure in the history of Bristol, one of the most active British slaving ports of the eighteenth century.

Frances ...


David Owusu-Ansah

Asante royal servant and military leader, led expeditions in Gyaaman in 1817–1818 and against the Danes and their local allies in the Accra Plains (in present-day Ghana) in 1826.

Opoku Frefre was born at the village of Anyatiase that belonged to the Oyoko Abohyen Stool of Kumasi. There is no information about Opoku Frefre’s father, but his mother is identified as one Ama Nyaako Pakyi. In the Asante Collective Biographical Project (1979 the historians Ivor Wilks and Thomas McCaskie identified Opoku Frefre s three wives as Abena Twewaa of Kumasi Apirade Abena Aninwaa of Kumasi Apentansa and Ama Nifa of Adwoko Buoho By these marriages Opoku Frefre fathered sixty three sons and an unknown number of daughters one of whom was said to have become a favorite wife of Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame d 1823 Opoku Frefre served the Golden Stool of Asante in both civil and ...


Lucy MacKeith

Coachman painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. His portrait hangs in the home of Sir John Quicke just outside Newton St Cyres near Exeter, Devon. The oil painting on board shows a smiling African wearing a greeny‐brown velvet jacket, a white cravat, and a black trimmed hat with gold braid over a conventional wig of that time. The handwritten paper label on the back of the portrait reads: ‘Joe Green, Black Coachman for many years to Mrs Quicke. Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds’.

Records on the Quickes are scarce. In 1739 Mrs Quicke inherited £40,000 from her father, Thomas Coster, a merchant in Bristol with interests in the slave trade who was a mayor of that city and an MP. John Quicke was Jane's second husband and we know that she lived in Bath as a widow.

As to Joe Green searches so far have not revealed any records ...