Luke Wilson 28 is in the Book of Negroes on the L'Abondance, and in the Birchtown Muster where he is said to be a sailor aged 29. We assume he is much older. With him is his wife Dolly Wilson 45, who was owned by Henry Singleton. She is said to be 39 at Birchtown.
Luke Wison said his owner was the Loyalist merchant James Parker. He is not listed in Parker's tithables but seamen were not listed if they were absent at sea. He is could be the Luke owned by Willis Wilson and his son James from 1750 to 1772. This would make him in his late 40s in 1783. His wife Dolly is listed by Singleton in his tithables in 1765 through to 1774 and he may also be a Loyalist as he disappears from the tithables after 1774. Luke Wison appears to be a friend of Cato Ramsey from Norfolk who left at the same time.
They may be connected to Betsey Wilson, 27, (husband unknown) and her children (aged 5 and 1) with whom they travel on board L'Abondance who is not listed in the Birchtown muster. Betsey was the property a Mrs Ransberry, (Rumsberg) another Loyalist who died in New York.
There is an interesting notice from the Royal Gazette in New York in July 17, 1782 that suggest that Luke Wilson had been working with Cato Ramsey on board a loyalist privateer, The Fair American, which had been involved in a firefight off Baltimore in June 1782 viz: “Ten Guineas Reward. RUN AWAY from their master’s service, and are known to be lurking about this city the four following Negroes, viz, CATO RAMSEY, a stout able bodied man, formerly lived with Mrs. Willoughby Morgan, in Dover-Street. DANIEL FISHER, a tall stout man somewhat marked with the Small Pox, and of a yellowish complexion ‘tis said he lives on Staten Island where he has a wife and children. LUKE WILSON, a short man, has a wife somewhere in town, and is well known among the blacks. – The above three Negroes were all of them out in the privateer brig Fair American on her last cruise. SAM, a short chunky man, about twenty five years of age, and has often been seen at Ellis’s Island. --- Whoever will secure the above Negroes, and gives information to the Printer, that they be had again, shall receive the above reward, or in proportion for either of them.” This notice is ambigous as the the status of the men, but it implies they are regarded as freemen, and that they have deserted from indentured service.
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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.”
|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||Luke Wilson||28||stout man||Formerly Slave to James Parker, Norfolk. Left 7 years ago.|