and other merchants and mill owners of the Piscataqua needed labor to run
their operations. In part their turned to indentured servants and slaves
to fill this need, though these people rarely show up in surviving records.
Humphrey Chabourne’s 1667 probate inventory includes “five
servant men & mades” valued at 40 pounds. These almost certainly would
have been indentured servants, though the 1688 probate inventory of Lucy
Chadbourne’s second husband, Thomas Wills includes a “negro man” valued
at 12 pounds (York County Probate vol. I fol. 7). Nicholas Shapleigh
was Lucy Chadbourne’s uncle. He lived in present-day Eliot, Maine and was
one of the wealthiest merchants in the Piscataqua. His 1682 probate
inventory includes indentured servants, “Two Irish boys, one to serve about
two yeares, & one 3 yeares” valued at 10 pounds. It also includes
“4 Neagers 3 men one woman & one little Neager” valued together at
90 pounds. (York Deeds Vol. V, fol. 15-16). Presumably one of these
slaves was Coffee, whose deed of sale is below. This rare document may
be the earliest surviving deed of sale for a Maine slave.
Edward Bushell to Nicholas Shapleigh, May 4, 1676,
Suffolk County, Massachusetts Deeds, Volume 9, folio 336. Published in
Suffolk Deeds (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1897), IX, 336.
To all People to whome
these presents shall come Greeting &c. Know yee that I Edward Bushell
Mercht. now resident in Boston in New England for good causes and Considerations
mee thereunto moveing Have bargained & Sould unto Major Nicholas Shapleigh
of Kittery in sd. New England a Certaine Negro man Called Coffe now
in the Custody of John Holder Sr. Liveing in Scotland on the Island of
Barbados To Have and and to hold the sd. Negro called Coffe to the use
benifitt & behoofe of him the sd. Shapleigh his heires & assignes
during the terme of the natural I life of him the sd. Coffe And I
the sd. Bushell hereby promise to warrant & defend the Sale abovesd.
against any pson or psons claimeing Lawfully any right title or Intrest
to the abovesd. Negro In Witness whereof I have heereunto Set my hand &
Scale in Boston abovesd. the fourth day of May 1676.
Bushel & a sea le
Sealed & Delivd. In presence of
of Sale was acknowledged by E d w a r d Bushell as his act &. deed
this 26th : may 1 676 before mee Joseph
Recorded & compared 26th : May 1676 p Freegrace
back to Emerson
Baker's Home Page | back to History
Department Home Page
back to Salem State College