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Richmond, Bill  

Michael L. Krenn

bare-knuckle boxer, was born William Richmond in Staten Island, New York. Both Richmond's mother and his father were Georgia-born slaves whose master eventually took them north to live near New York City.

In 1777 during the early stages of the American Revolution, New York City was occupied by British forces. In a manner not entirely clear from the historical record, Richmond, then only fourteen years old, attracted the attention of Major General Earl Percy, who later became the duke of Northumberland. Legend has it that Richmond impressed Percy by taking on and soundly beating several British soldiers in a fight at a New York tavern. After witnessing Richmond's prowess with his fists, Percy began to arrange other fights against British soldiers to entertain his fellow officers.

Percy sent his young protégé back to England where he was apprenticed as a carpenter After a few years of school and learning ...