When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Thomas Blue
Finding Freedom: Deborah - Birch Pass
In the terms of the surrender to the Americans, the British were to return all captured property—including human property. The British did not adhere to this stipulation, and instead evacuated thousands of free and formerly enslaved men and women to Canada. Birch Passes, named for British Brigadier General Samuel Birch, were given to those who could prove they sought the protection of the British forces during the war. The passes, such as this example, guaranteed a place on a departing ship. According to the 1783 “Inspection Roll of Negroes,” Deborah received a Birch Pass that allowed her to go to Nova Scotia as a free person. Cato Rammsay, an enslaved man who escaped from Norfolk, Virginia, received this Birch Pass that allowed him to go to Nova Scotia as well.
Passport for Cato Ramsay to emigrate to Nova Scotia, 21 April 1783; NSA, Gideon White fonds, MG 1 vol. 948 no. 196
Finding Freedom: Andrew - Claim for Increase in Revolutionary War Pension Payment
Andrew Ferguson traveled west to Knox County, Indiana, in 1844 to apply for an increase in his Revolutionary War pension payments due to the growing pain of his wartime injuries. This written record documents his testimony given at the county courthouse and the support Ferguson’s application received from a fellow Black veteran named Daniel Strother. According to his testimony, Ferguson was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Camden in 1780 and in the head at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781. Two doctors examined Ferguson following his testimony and agreed that his injuries prevented him from earning a living from manual labor. The doctors supported his claim for an increase in his pension payments, but the United States Government denied Ferguson’s request.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Fold3.com
Meet the Figures: Oneida Nation Theater: Skenandoah
Skenandoah was born in 1706 as a Conestoga but became Oneida soon after through a “requickening” (absorption and reidentification) ritual. After an embarrassing episode in Albany in 1755, he abstained from alcohol for the rest of his life. According to one observer, he “possessed a vigorous mind, and was alike sagacious, active and persevering.” In 1775, he accompanied a Presbyterian missionary friend to the new army camp outside Boston, where they met Washington and the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Because of his allegiance to the Revolution, he was imprisoned by the British at Niagara in 1779-1780 and under a sort of house arrest until 1784. His engagement in the treaty negotiations with the British in this period was something for which some Oneida people never forgave him. He died in 1816, aged about 110.
When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Elizabeth Dudley
When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Sabillah Pearson
Finding Freedom: Andrew - United States Census, 1830
Andrew Ferguson moved to Indiana (which became a state in 1816) after the Revolutionary War. The 1830 United States Census, shown here, documents Ferguson’s residence in Monroe County. Ferguson is listed as a “Free Colored” man between the ages of 55 and 100. A “Free Colored” woman between the ages of 36 and 55, possibly his first wife, is listed in Andrew’s household. No other family members are documented in their household.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Ancestry.com