Monday, April 3, 2017

Slaves in the Family: Quom and Cloe

Soldiers at Yorktown, including a black
infantryman from the 1st Rhode Island Regiment.
When he died in January 1777, Francis Tanner of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, owned an enslaved man and woman named Quom and Cloe. He left Quom to his son Joshua Tanner, later the father of John Tanner. Since Quom became the property of Joshua and not one of his older half-brothers, he probably came into the Tanner household through an inheritance from the family of Joshua's mother and Francis's second wife, Elizabeth Shelton Tanner.

"Also I give and bequeath to my said son Joshua Tanner my negro boy Quom"
The year after Francis died, Quom signed up to fight for Rhode Island against the British. Joshua served in the war as well. Quom would have been a strong young man, since his value was given as £120. He served as a private under Captain Elijah Lewis in the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, or "Black Regiment." Quom was captured by the British on May 21, 1779, on the Narraganset shore of Rhode Island. He was a prisoner of war for the duration of the war and was returned to America after the Peace Treaty of 1783. Joshua Tanner should have been paid Quom's market value of £120, so Quom probably did not return to the Tanner family after the war. Joshua Tanner did not own any slaves in 1790.

Quom Tanner (1761-1852) received bounty lands from the United States government for his service in the war, and he settled in Rensselaer County, New York, and raised a family with his wife, Charity (-1852). There was also a Chloe Tanner living in Rensselaer County, and I will continue to do research about their families.

Note: When faced with this situation, a number of families have added slaves as children in a family. Do not add Quom or Cloe as children in the family. They were not members of the family; they were chattel slaves and members of the Tanner household. They should be remembered honestly in the family histories, but history is what it is, and we cannot repair it by trying to alter it to match our twenty-first century views, as many families have tried to do over the years.

• • •

Here are the sources.

Bartlett, John R. Census of the Inhabitants of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations . . . 1774. Providence, Rhode Island: Knowles, Anthony & Co., State Printers, 1858, 225.
Hopkinton, Rhode Island, page 225
Francis Tanner
Above 16: 2
Under 16: 1
Above 16: 1
Under 16: 1
Indians: 0
Blacks: 2
Total: 7

TANNER, Francis – PR 2:64 Will written – 22 October 1776, Proved 20 January 1777
Wife, Elizabeth Sons: Josiah, Isaac, William, Joshua
Daughters: Amy, Dorcas, Susannah
Mentions a farm that he formerly lived on in South Kingstown he gives to his son Nathan which
partially abuts his brother Benjamin’s farm, a farm he bought from his brother Nathan that was in South Kingstown and gives to son Isaac, gives his wife items that her father gave to her, mentions a negro girl, Cloe and a negro boy, Quom.
* Land Description
Witnesses: William Tifft, Francis West, Abel Tanner
Codicil: Witnesses, Abel Tanner, Nathan Tanner
Inventory: PR 2:72 9 January 1777 Appraisers: Abel Tanner, Joseph Witter Jr.
This abstract of Francis Tanner's will is from the Hopkinton Historical Association

[Date] April 2 [1778] [Name of slave] Quam Tanner [Owner of slave] Joshua Tanner [Residence of owner] Hopkinton [Value of Slave in £] 120

Private Quam (Quom) Tanner, BLW 1636-100, S42445 (Enlisted March 8, 1778 (Muster Roll); Slave of "Joshua Tanner" of Hopkinton (Rider, Rhode Island Historical Tracts No. 10, p. 53))

1840 Census
Name: Quam Tanner
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Nassau, Rensselaer, New York
Birth Year: abt 1762
Age: 78
Free Colored Persons - Males - Under 10: 1
Free Colored Persons - Males - 10 thru 23: 1
Free Colored Persons - Males - 55 thru 99: 1
Free Colored Persons - Females - 10 thru 23: 1
Free Colored Persons - Females - 36 thru 54: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Total Free Colored Persons: 5
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

The primitive 1781 watercolor by Jean-Baptiste-Antoine DeVerger shows American soldiers at Yorktown, including a black infantryman from the 1st Rhode Island Regiment. From copy at Wikipedia, originally World Digital Library.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a short history of slavery in Rhode Island.

    Slavery in Rhode Island

    Also, it was customary for freed slaves to take the name of a former owner. It did not imply relationship.