Gabriel2009 Stratford


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  • Prosser owned about 1500 acres near I-95 & Hwy 1
  • Late August 1800 – plan was to gather on North side of Brook and head South to Richmond. Massive storm kept from gathering.
  • New Quarter – slave quarters – old one probably near
  • Richmod at the end of the road- 6miles away
  • A Platte mao
  • 25 hanged one supposedly committed suicide (?)?
  • Gabriel2009 Stratford

    2. 2. Background <ul><li>American Revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Saint Domingue & </li></ul><ul><li>Virginians were moving steadily westward </li></ul><ul><li>Family separation, voluntary and involun-tary </li></ul><ul><li>Slavery was doing more than survive </li></ul><ul><li>Gabriel and Thomas Henry Prosser </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contemporaries, yet divided </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Neighborhoods </li></ul>
    3. 11. Today’s U.S. 1 over Brook Run
    4. 12. Brook Run (under today’s U.S. 1)
    5. 14. Modern street, towards Brookfield site
    6. 15. Brookfield site
    7. 16. Later house at Brookfield site
    8. 17. Looking towards quarters and towards Richmond
    9. 20. Background <ul><li>People </li></ul>
    10. 21. Gabriel's Rebellion Background <ul><li>Cast of characters: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Gabriel : born ca. 1776. Belonged to Thomas Prosser from at least 1782; inherited by Thomas Henry Prosser in 1798. 6' 2&quot;-3&quot; tall. Skilled blacksmith; could read and write . Married to Nanny. Convicted of assaulting a white man in 1799. </li></ul>
    11. 22. <ul><li>Called &quot;General Gabriel.&quot; Hanged, October 1800. A. No eighteenth -century OR nineteenth-century record attributes the name &quot;Prosser&quot; to Gabriel. B. Claimants as descendants. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Solomon : Gabriel's brother . A blacksmith. Hanged. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Martin : Gabriel's brother. Religious. Hanged. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    12. 23. <ul><li>Ben : like Gabriel, Solomon, and Martin, a slave of Thomas Henry Prosser in 1800. Turned commonwealth's evidence. Ben was emancipated. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Jack Bowler , or Ditcher : a key conspirator. 6' 5&quot; tall. Transported. </li></ul>
    13. 24. <ul><li>Pharaoh , slave of Mosby Sheppard , Tom , slave of Elizabeth Sheppard, and an unnamed slave of Benjamin Harrison in Petersburg informed on the plotters to Mosby Sheppard and to Benjamin Harrison. </li></ul><ul><li>Mosby Sheppard promptly wrote to Governor Monroe. </li></ul>
    14. 25. <ul><li>Co-conspirators : 25 other slaves in Richmond and surrounding counties hanged. Many other slaves were involved as well. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas Henry Prosser : born November 1776. Inherited Brookfield plantation from his father, Thomas Prosser, in October 1798. Accused by James T. Callender of behaving with &quot;great barbarity&quot; towards his slaves. Virginia paid him $1500 for his executed slaves and over $300 for the emancipation of Ben. </li></ul>
    15. 26. <ul><li>Prosser moved to Mississippi before 1820. </li></ul><ul><li>James Monroe : politician; governor of Virginia in 1800; U. S. President, 1817-1825. Buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Justices of the peace and of the courts of oyer and terminer; patrollers; militiamen; citizens. </li></ul>
    16. 27. Dates <ul><li>Spring and summer 1800: planning. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>August 30, 1800: &quot;Death or liberty&quot;; flooding; betrayal Sept. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Oct. 1800: trials and executions Gabriel's plot, cont. </li></ul>
    17. 28. Setting <ul><li>Henrico County </li></ul><ul><li>Richmond </li></ul><ul><li>Manchester </li></ul><ul><li>James River basin </li></ul><ul><li>Caroline, Charles City, and Hanover </li></ul><ul><li>Petersburg and Norfolk </li></ul>
    18. 31. Gabriel’s Motivation <ul><li>Revolutionary? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Whites’ revolutionary idealism. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>23 or 24, skilled, literate, 6’ 3-4” tall, and formidable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1799 incident </li></ul></ul><ul><li>His situation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing value of slaves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manumission, 1782 and later; Sheppard manu-mission </li></ul></ul>
    19. 32. Gabriel’s Motivation, cont. <ul><li>1. Year: 1800. Place: Richmond, Virginia. </li></ul><ul><li>I have nothing more to offer than what general Washington would have had to offer , had he been taken by the British and put to trial by them. I have adventured my life in endeavouring to obtain the liberty of my country men, and am a willing sacri-fice in their cause: and I beg, as a favour, that I may immediately be led to execution. I know that you have pre-determined to shed my blood, why then all the mockery of a trial? </li></ul>
    20. 33. Immediate Causes <ul><li>The physical situation of Richmond and envi-rons </li></ul><ul><li>The “downsizing” of revolutionary rhetoric </li></ul><ul><li>Quasi-War with France, 1797-1800 </li></ul><ul><li>Toussaint L’Ouverture, Saint Domingue </li></ul><ul><li>Political divisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Democratic Republicans vs. Federalists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Merchants vs. artisans </li></ul></ul>
    21. 34. What happened? <ul><li>Tactics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Form at Brook Run and elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keys to Capitol, arms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diversionary fire near Rocketts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hold merchants hostage and dine with them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hold Governor Monroe hostage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Death or Liberty” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spare Quakers, Methodists, and Frenchmen </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rain; Brook Run impassable </li></ul>
    22. 36. What happened? (cont.) <ul><li>Pharoah informed on the plot </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gabriel Sheppard, 1798 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Family? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Available alternatives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Militia called out for roundup </li></ul><ul><li>Gabriel fled and was captured in Norfolk </li></ul>
    23. 37. <ul><li>Over 60 slaves were tried for capital offense of conspiring to rebel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Richmond and surrounding counties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>September to November 1800 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some found not guilty </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>26 executed; one “committed suicide” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jefferson’s counsel: Slave rebels “ are not common malefactors, but persons guilty of what the safety of society, under actual circumstances , obliges us to treat as a crime, but which their feelings may represent in a far different shape.” </li></ul></ul>What happened? (cont.)
    24. 38. Prosser’s Compensation for Gabriel and Tom
    25. 39. Courtesy of Eliz. Kambourian
    26. 44. Aftermath <ul><li>Abolition of abolition societies in Virginia </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation law, 1801 </li></ul><ul><li>Some legal change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manumission proviso, 1805 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prosecution of Ben and other Prosser slaves, 1806 </li></ul>
    27. 45. <ul><li>Year: 1802. Place: Virginia. Black men if you have a mind to join me , now is your time for freedom. All clever men that will keep secret these words I give to you is life. I have taken it upon myself to put the country at liberty. This lies on my mind for a long time. Mind men I have told you black men I mean to loose my life in this way if they will take it. I have been under great exertions. I have escaped. Now I will live at a palace. . . . </li></ul>Aftermath, cont.
    28. 46. <ul><li>If you make known these words to black or white people from county to county, these words will make against you at the day of your death. I think that this is the only way that we black people can take the country of Virginia. . . . The white people have had the country long enough. </li></ul><ul><li>Boxley Plot, 1816 </li></ul><ul><li>Nat Turner, 1831 </li></ul><ul><li>John Brown , 1859: treason, murder, and conspiracy </li></ul>Aftermath, cont.
    29. 47. Gabriel’s World <ul><li>Women and insurrection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enslaved women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nanny </li></ul></ul></ul>
    30. 48. Gabriel’s Plot <ul><li>Douglas Egerton, Gabriel’s Rebellion </li></ul><ul><li>James Sidbury, Ploughshares into Swords </li></ul><ul><li>Gerald Mullin, Flight and Rebellion </li></ul><ul><li>Gabriel’s Rebellious Conspiracy: Schwarz, editor: 2010. </li></ul>