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More African American Patriots of the Revolutionary War

African American Patriots of Revolutionary War

As we reported in December, Paul Heinegg’s new book, List of Free African Americans in the American Revolution: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware (Followed by French and Indian Wars and Colonial Militias), presents the service or pension records of nearly 1,000 free African Americans who served in the War for Independence from one of the five states referred to in the book’s title.

According to Mr. Heinegg: “Over 420 African Americans who were born free during the colonial period served in the Revolution from Virginia. Another 400 who descended from free-born colonial families served from North Carolina, 40 from South Carolina, 60 from Maryland, and 17 from Delaware. At least 24 from Virginia and 41 from North Carolina died in the service.” At the back of the book, Paul Heinegg identifies an additional 75 free blacks who served in colonial militias and the French and Indian Wars in Virginia and the Carolinas.

Our previous excerpt from p. 99 of this new book referred to Patriots named Franklin, Freeman and Garnes. Following are additional descriptions of African American selected from random pages in the volume. Remember, if you find your Revolutionary War forbear in List of Free African Americans in the American Revolution, there’s a good chance that even more family information awaits you in Mr. Heinegg’s  “parent titles” on early Free African Americans of Virginia and the Carolinas, and Maryland and Delaware, respectively. 

“Charles Hood, a “Man of Colour,” enlisted in Caswell County in Captain Thomas Donoho’s 6th Regiment in 1780 and served until the close of the war according to an affidavit from Donoho included in Charles’ pension application in Orange County on 27 May 1820. Charles (signing) testified that he was in the Battle of Eutaw Springs and the Siege of Charleston but was not taken prisoner because he was marched onto Ashley Hill before the surrender [NARA, S.41659, M804, Roll 1320, frames 70-78;]. He was head of an Orange County household of 5 “free colored” in 1820.”

“James Lucas was listed as a seaman who had served three years in the Revolution and was due bounty land [Brumbaugh, Revolutionary War Records, 69, 216]. He was taxable in King George County from 1786 to 1793, called “free Jim Lucas” [PPTL, 1782-1830, frames, 28, 48, 100, 111, 118]. He registered on  1 May 1800: a dark Mulatto man aged about ___ years, and about five feet ___ Inches, was bound to Thomas Massey, Senr. of this County to serve till the age of thirty-one years [Register of Free Persons 1785-1799, no. 12].”

“William Anderson appeared in Lebanon, Ohio court, to apply for a pension. He stated that he enlisted in the 6th Maryland Regiment under Captain Carberry. His name did not appear on any roster, but Jeremiah Collins, a captain of horse of the French troops, testified that he knew William Anderson, a “black man,” who was a servant to Captain West and served part of the time with the French troops and part with the Americans. He received a severe wound to his thigh [NARA, R 203, M804, roll 59, frame 104 of 693;].”