African American News and Genealogy

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Slave holder's heir finds descendents of slaves

By PAUL DAVISThe Providence JournalFebruary 28, 2005 - No one knows her real name. As a little girl she sang and played games in a village 100 miles from the West African coast. Beneath a grass roof she slept on a bed of clay. In 1756, slave traders raided her village. The little girl may have been sold to an African trader, a middleman operating along a river route. She may have been delivered to an African, European or Afro-European buyer stationed at a coastal trading post, where a dozen or more men lived in mud huts. Or she may have been ferried to Bunce Island, a British slave-trading fort in the Sierra Leone River. Employing between 50 and 75 whites, it was one of 40 slave castles on the African coast, and the only major British fort along the Rice Coast, a region stretching from modern Senegal in the north to Liberia in the south. On June 30, 1756, rice grower Elias Ball Jr. bought the little girl and four other children for 460 pounds. Mild-mannered, in his mid-40s, he owned two plantations, Comingtee and Kensington, both on the Cooper River, north of Charleston, S.C. Ball gave the children English names, Peter, Brutus and Harry ... He called the little girl Priscilla and marked her age in his ledger as 10. Priscilla lived for another 55 years as a slave on the Commingtee plantation. She took a mate, Jeffrey, and they had 10 children. She died in 1811 and was buried in a clearing on the plantation, near the Cooper River. Full Story:


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