Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Carnival of African-American Genealogy -- First Edition


Wow! What a great idea to have a Carnival of African-American Genealogy, and I am proud to be a part of it! First of all I want to thank and commend Luckie for her Open Letter To The Genealogy Community, and bringing to my attention that any slave information I run into needs to be put out there and shared. Since I don't have any ancestors from the south, it didn't occur to me that I could descend from slave owners. Then I kicked myself in the head and said, "Wait a minute, there were slaves in the colonies."

Like Gwen, I too want to be the best 'friend of friends' I can be. I have started sifting through hubby's file first, and then I will look through my own, and my x's, and my sister-in-law's, etc. I will set aside a day to post what I have found. Most of what I have now is second hand information and may be posted on the web somewhere else, but I figured if posted here, it may be found more easily.

Today I want to talk about Captain George Cannon, my 4th great-grandfather. About 25 years ago, give or take a few, when I started delving into my mom's ancestors I learned about the stories of Captain Cannon, the Manx mariner. He was a merchant mariner who dabbled in privateering and smuggling. Captain Cannon's house (still standing today) had as many rooms below ground as above (I imagine that is where he kept his booty). He died at sea in 1811 as the result of a mutiny aboard his ship. Never have been able to find the reason for the mutiny.

At one point several years ago I was considering writing a book about him, maybe an historical fiction based on true events of course, about swashbuckling and what not (I could imagine watching it on the big screen). I mean, who doesn't love a good pirate romance, right? As I started doing research on the old Captain I discovered that his logbook dated 1798-1800 still exists today. I was able to download a copy of it here.

In the logbook the Captain keeps track of weather conditions, location, and anything notable. On the entry for June 22, is the following reference: "Cooper making tubs for the slaves." (What?!) Then again on September 3: "Messed 420 slaves," adding "expended 200 yams, 13,945 remains, also beans and rice." He narrates some cases of sickness and a couple of deaths among the slaves.
I had come to the sad realization that my captain was a slave trader.

I was heart broken. My infatuation with Captain George seemed to lessen after I learned the ugly truth. I mean, I can't even watch a movie or television show about slaves being mistreated without getting upset. My teeth and fists become clenched, breathing becomes erratic and I just want to kick the whip wielding bastard's ass!! (Can I say that?) I can't really explain the feeling that comes over me (past life memories?). Now I had to deal with the fact that ggg great-grandpa had a part in transporting slaves and trading some of them for goods. I can only hope that he was humane with them.

I have had a few years to let this all sink in, I have never really talked about it. I can't even remember if I told mom. But now, I tell myself that this is the past, it is all part of history and I can't change it. After all, we all have relatives (no matter how distant) that do things we disapprove of, but we still love them. I don't know if any of this babbling has helped anything or anyone other than being therapeutic for me, but there it is.

In 2007 the Isle of Man marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of trade in slaves by British vessels. At their annual film night in the Manx museum they had a public screening of a new dvd called " Manx slave Traders", produced by Frances Wilkins. (He published the book in 1999.) Captain Cannon's logbook played a significant roll in producing this video.

I was able to find record of 3 slave voyages that he captained at the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

Voyage 81918, Iris (1798)
Voyage identification number: 81918
Voyage in 1999 CD-ROM: Yes
Vessel name: Iris
Flag: Great Britain
Place constructed: Liverpool
Year constructed: 1783
Rig: Ship
Tonnage: 285
Standardized tonnage*: 285
Guns mounted
Vessel owners: Fisher, Ralph
Wedderbourne, James
Particular outcome of voyage: Voyage completed as intended
Outcome of voyage for slaves*: Slaves disembarked in Americas
Outcome of voyage if ship captured*: Not captured
Outcome of voyage for owner*: Delivered slaves for original owners
Place where voyage began*: Liverpool
First place of slave purchase: Bonny
Principal place of slave purchase*: Bonny
First place of slave landing: Kingston
Principal place of slave landing*: Kingston
Place where voyage ended: Liverpool
Region where voyage began*: England
First region of slave purchase: Bight of Biafra and Gulf of Guinea islands
Principal region of slave purchase*: Bight of Biafra and Gulf of Guinea islands
First region of slave landing: Jamaica
Principal region of slave landing*: Jamaica
Region where voyage ended: England
Year arrived with slaves*: 1798
Date voyage began: 1798-06-08
Date vessel arrived with slaves: 1798-11-04
Date vessel departed for home port: 1799-02-12
Date voyage completed: 1799-04-12
Voyage length, home port to slaves landing (days)*: 149
Captain's name: Spencer, John
Cannon, George
Crew at voyage outset: 40
Crew deaths during voyage: 9
Number of slaves intended at first place of purchase: 419
Total slaves embarked*: 452
Number of slaves arriving at first place of landing: 414
Total slaves disembarked*: 414( John Spencer was the Captain in the beginning of this voyage, but he died while on the ship so George Cannon took over as Captain.)

Voyage 81919, Iris (1800)
Voyage identification number: 81919
Voyage in 1999 CD-ROM: Yes
Vessel name: Iris
Flag: Great Britain
Place constructed: Liverpool
Year constructed: 1783
Rig: Ship
Tonnage: 285
Standardized tonnage*: 285
Vessel owners: Fisher, Ralph
Wedderbourne, James
Fisher, Ralph (Jr.)
Aspinall, John Bridge
Aspinall, James
Voyage Outcome: Abandoned or condemned for unseaworthiness in the
AmericasOutcome of voyage for slaves*: Slaves disembarked in Americas
Outcome of voyage if ship captured*: Natural hazard
Outcome of voyage for owner*: Original goal thwarted (natural hazard)
Place where voyage began*: Liverpool
First place of slave purchase: West Central Africa and St. Helena, port unspecified
First place of slave landing: Kingston
Region where voyage began*: England
First region of slave purchase: West Central Africa and St. Helena
First region of slave landing: Jamaica
Year arrived with slaves*: 1800
Date voyage began: 1799-07-05
Date vessel arrived with slaves: 1800-08-06
Voyage length, home port to slaves landing (days)*: 397
Captain's name: Cannon, George
Crew at voyage outset: 44
Crew deaths during voyage: 10
Number of slaves intended at first place of purchase: 419
Total slaves embarked*: 447
Number of slaves arriving at first place of landing: 409
Total slaves disembarked*: 409
(These two voyages on the Iris are referred to in Captain Cannon's logbook.)

Voyage 82740, Minerva (1803)
Voyage identification number: 82740
Voyage in 1999 CD-ROM: Yes
Vessel name: Minerva
Flag: Great Britain
Place constructed: Lancaster
Year constructed: 1795
Place registered: Liverpool
Year registered: 1802
Rig: Brig
Tonnage: 186
Standardized tonnage*: 186
Vessel owners: Pickop, Thomas
Ackers, James
Grundy, John
Ackers, William
Lawrence, Henry
Particular outcome of voyage: Completed as intended
Outcome of voyage for slaves*: Slaves disembarked in Americas
Outcome of voyage if ship captured*: Not captured
Outcome of voyage for owner*: Delivered slaves for original owners
Place where voyage began*: Liverpool
First place of slave purchase: Bonny
First place of slave landing: Bahamas, port unspecified
Place where voyage ended: Liverpool
Region where voyage began*: England
First region of slave purchase: Bight of Biafra and Gulf of Guinea islands
First region of slave landing: Bahamas
Region where voyage ended: England
Year arrived with slaves*: 1803
Date voyage began: 1802-09-29
Date vessel arrived with slaves: 1803-04-19
Date voyage completed: 1803-08-15
Voyage length, home port to slaves landing (days)*: 202
Captain's name: Cannon, George
Crew at voyage outset: 24
Crew deaths during voyage: 1
Number of slaves intended at first place of purchase: 216
Total slaves embarked*: 231
Number of slaves arriving at first place of landing: 212
Total slaves disembarked*: 212
Unfortunately there are no slave names associated with these voyages.



Leslie Ann

3 comments:

  1. Interesting post and I was fascinated to read your reactions to your discovery. That would be disconcerting, wouldn't it? Perhaps more so than finding out that my husband's ancestral line included slaveowners in Alabama before the Civil War. The existence of the logbook, though, is a wondrous find, even if the story it tells is upsetting. But it is all part of history, the good with the bad (I also have a bigamist great-great-grandfather in my line!).

    So you're in Jacksonville? I'm in Middleburg!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow -- you are not too far away. Actually I am in Bryceville. We need some Family History expos or something around here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very interesting post. I had to smile, just a bit, at your choice of words and your reactions to televised mis-treatment. First I smiled, then I realized, you are a kind soul who cares, deeply. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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