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A Brief History of African Americans in New Milford

Researched by Proud Heritage Association

Frances Smith, Founder 203-743-0420

The first recorded history of African-Americans in New Milford was in 1707 when the Nobles, a white family, arrived in New Milford and subsequently bought a slave for their daughter. Although there is no documentation before that time, obviously there were slaves in the area. Later, we read in the Orcutt History of New Milford that William Taylor had Negro servants (slaves) that descended from slaves secured by his family.

Following is the recorded history from New Milford's records:

1707 - John Noble, a white man, gave his daughter Ratchel a Negro slave man named Rabben.

1716 - A slave named Premus was owned by Daniel Boardman, pastor of the Church of Christ, New Milford.

1713 - Church of Christ Baptismal records show 5 slave children.

1737 - Slave boy was baptized by Reverend Boardman.

1749 - Tarmar Boardman, Reverend Boardman's daughter, owned one slave.William Taylor's third grandson owned 3 slaves.

1749 - Patridge Thatcher owned slaves named Jacob, 11 years old, and Dinah June, 10 years old. They were married at ages 14 and 13 by Capt. Nathaniel Boswick, Justice of the Peace.

1756 - New Milford had a recorded population of 16 slaves.

1757 - The first slave, Dan, was freed (along with a horse, saddle and other possessions) by New Milford resident Mary Roberts.

1774 - One slave freed

1774 - Patridge Thatcher liberated his slave Sibyl on her marriage to Amos Lewis, a Negro man.

1780 - Jacob and Diannah Gratis

1780 - Captain Sherman Boardman liberated his Negro slave, Nehemiah.

1780 - John Treat liberated his slave, Mingo.

1780 - Elisha Boardman was the largest slave owner in New Milford. He appears on the U.S. Census as owning six slaves.

1784 No Negro or Mulatto child that shall after the first day of March, 1784 be born within this state shall be held in servitude longer than until they arrive to the age of twenty five years, not withstanding the mother or parent of such child was held in servitude at the time of birth, but should child, at the age aforesaid, shall be free, any law, usage custom to the contrary.

1790 - Twelve families owned a total of 25 slaves. The records that trace the fate of the 25 are non-existent. In the case of Patricia, the emancipated slave of Elisha and Samuel Bostwick, there are no dates available. The records are incomplete; recording as Kate, a black female born of Pegg, a slave girl of Col. Samuel Canfield.

1808 - Edward, a slave, was set free by Sherman Boardman on April 11. At that time a slave was worth between $300 and $500 depending upon his or her age and physical health.

1858 - Up to this time, slaves were sometimes referred to as servants. From this time forward when referring to the historical records, if Africans were owned by others they were to be classified as slaves not servants

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