Harry Washington

This man was the groom at General George Washington's Mt Vernon plantation. He was purchased by Washington in 1763 to work in the Great Dismal Swamp, but in 1766 was transferred to Mt Vernon. There is a conflict about the time he ran to the British. Harry reported it was 1776. A letter from the manager at Mt Vernon dates the defection at 1781 when the British army called at the estate. There is evidence from the log book of HMS Roebuck, the lead ship in Dunmore' fleet, that supports Harry’s claim to have run in 1776. He travels alone in the BON. In the Birchtown muster he is with a wife called Jenny. This person could be Jenny Coddamus who is twenty four and travels on board the Clinton with two small children. Harry and Jenny and their children relocated to the British colony of Sierra Leone in 1791. In 1800 he was one of the leaders of a failed rebellion in Sierra Leone.

Harry Washington Relationships
  • Shared Owner: Daniel Payne, Common Owner , Source: The Book of Negroes
  • Shared Owner: Deborah [Squash], Common Owner , Source: The Book of Negroes

Related Background Information

  • Evacuation of New York -

    In April 1783 the first evacuation fleet left for Nova Scotia. A week later  the British Commander, Sir Guy Carleton, sailed up the Hudson River to Orangetown for a conference with General Washington to discuss the evacuation. As the victorious commander, Washington opened the meeting by reiterating the resolution of Congress regarding “the delivery of all Negroes and other property.”

  • Washington's Runaway Slaves -

    On July 19, 1776 eight vessels from Dunmore’s fleet made a foray up the Potomac River for the purposes of gathering fresh water. On July 24, while entangled in an armed skirmish with the local militia, the British ships were joined by another small craft that had come down the river from Fairfax County. Those on board offering their services to the British were “three of General Washington’s servants” who were taken aboard HMS Roebuck.

  • From Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone -

    A rich spiritual experience was the only consolation for a life of appalling poverty in Nova Scotia. 

  • Washington’s Revolution (Harry that is, not George) -

    As Harry Washington faced a British military tribunal on the west coast of Africa, charged with rebellion against the colonial government of Sierra Leone, did he appreciate the cruel irony of his situation?  Fourteen years earlier he had fled his enslavement to the commander-in-chief of the rebel forces in colonial America to find freedom with the British military and a return to his African homeland.

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Timeline

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1740

Born

7/ Nov
1775

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Lord Dunmore's Proclamation - Norfolk

  • John Murray, Lord Dunmore -

    John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1732 – 25 February 1809), was the  colonial governor of Virginia at the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Source for this event: Lord Dunmore's Proclamation

1776

Small Pox outbreak - Gwynn's Island

  • Small Pox -

    In January 1776  smallpox made an appearance in Virginia. Although smallpox had been present in the colony at times before there had never been such a serious and widespread outbreak.

1776

Ran

1782

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Treaty of Paris - Paris France

  • Treaty of Paris -

    In November 1782 a provisional peace treaty was hammered out between the British and the Americans in Paris.

Source for this event: Treaty of Paris

1783

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Evacuation of New York - New York

  • Evacuation of New York -

    In April 1783 the first evacuation fleet left for Nova Scotia. A week later  the British Commander, Sir Guy Carleton, sailed up the Hudson River to Orangetown for a conference with General Washington to discuss the evacuation. As the victorious commander, Washington opened the meeting by reiterating the resolution of Congress regarding “the delivery of all Negroes and other property.”

Source for this event: The Book of Negroes
Vessel Names and their Commanders Where Bound Names Age Description Names of the Person in whose Possession they now are Remarks
L'Abondance - July
Master: Lt. Philips
Port Roseway Harry Washington 43 fine fellow Formerly Slave to Gen. Washington, Mt Vernon, Fairfax Co.. Left 7 years ago.

1784

Birchtown Muster - Birchtown

Source for this event: Birchtown Muster of Free Blacks
Name Age Occupation Families they lived with Companies they belong to Remarks Company They Are Now With
Harry Washington 44 Labourer Captain Francis Jones' Company
Harry Washington's Relationships

1791

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List of those wishing to go to Sierra Leone - Sierra Leone

Source for this event: List of those wishing to go to Sierra Leone.
Name Age Where Born Number Of Children Age Of Eldest Occupation Property
Harry Washington 45 Farmer 4 town lots improved 40 acres not improved