Capt. Paul Cuffee

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Captain Paul Cuffee (Slocum)

Also Known As: "changed name in 1778 from Slocum to Cuffe"
Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: Cuttyhunk Island, Dukes, Massachusetts, United States
Death: September 7, 1817 (58)
Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Cuffee "Kofi" Slocum and Ruth Slocum
Husband of Alice Cuffe
Father of Naomi Howard; Mary Phillips; Ruth Howard; Alice Cuffee; Paul Cuffee, Jr. and 4 others
Brother of Fear Cuffee; David Cuffee Slocum; Jonathan Cuffee Slocum; Sarah Cuffee Durfee; Mary Cuffee Wainer and 5 others

Occupation: businessman, Sea Captain, patriot, and abolitionist
Managed by: Kenneth Kwame Welsh, (C)
Last Updated:

About Capt. Paul Cuffee

Paul Cuffee (January 17, 1759 – September 9, 1817) was a Quaker businessman, Sea Captain, patriot, and abolitionist. He was of Aquinnah Wampanoag and African Ashanti descent and helped colonize Sierra Leone. Cuffee built a lucrative shipping empire and established the first racially integrated school in Westport, Massachusetts. He died on September 7, 1817. His final words were "Let me pass quietly away." Cuffee left an estate with an estimated value of almost $20,000.

Paul Cuffe, Sr., one of the most important and least known of the anti-slavery leaders in the United States, was the son of a freed African slave and a Wampanoag Indian woman from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He rose from poverty to become one of the wealthiest men of color in the United States by the first decade of the nineteenth century, his fortune based on skill as a shipbuilder and merchant-captain.

That Nantucket's combination of Quaker abolitionism and mercantile savvy was an inspiration to blacks throughout the region at this period is indicated by the life of Paul Cuffe (1759-1817). A black sailor from Westport, Massachusetts, Cuffe based his own highly successful business practices on those of the Rotches, and by the beginning of the nineteenth century he had become one of the wealthiest black entrepreneurs in America.


  1. Memoir of Captain Paul Cuffe, A Man of Colour: To Which is Subjoined The Epistle of the Society of Sierra Leone, In Africa & c. York, England: C. Peacock. 1811
  2. Wikipedia
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Capt. Paul Cuffee's Timeline

January 17, 1759
Dukes, Massachusetts, United States
March 8, 1783
Age 24
Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
October 5, 1785
Age 26
Age 26
August 10, 1788
Age 29
New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
September 10, 1790
Age 31
December 20, 1792
Age 33
Westport, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
March 29, 1795
Age 36
Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
June 19, 1799
Age 40
Westport, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA