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New York: Slaves freed before ratification of the 13th amendment

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  • Sojourner Truth (aft.1797 - 1883)
    Sojourner Truth (/soʊˈdʒɜːrnər truːθ/; born Isabella "Belle" Baumfree; c. 1797 – November 26, 1883) was an American abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, ...
  • Kate Osborne (1818 - 1870)
    " Peter Suffern ( Mulatto ), was the Son of Andrew Suffern ( White ) and Betsy Ritter ( Black ). Andrew was often called 'Judge'. He was the Son of Judge John Suffern, an actual Judge from Orange/Rockl...
  • Samuel Piggery (c.1768 - aft.1850)
    the following tree on ancestry follows out to the current generation (2015 Bridgewater) but so much is kept privatetwo of Samuel's daughters be shown at the church record shown in the photo at : Caty M...
  • Anthony Portugis (1641 - d.)
    Maria (Maritie)'s twin. ostensibly freed as a member of his father father's family, along with siblings. aka Anthony Antonisse needs to be checked... Was this the Amthony the Negro who lived b...
  • Antonio D'Angola (bef.1643 - d.)
    Baptized in New Amsterdam at the Dutch Reformed Church*officially declared free: March 11, 1661 ( Year book of the Holland Society of New York) *1643 Aug 30; Cleyn Anthony van Angola; Anthony ; Dorothe...

Sub Project to Slaves freed in America before the Emancipation Proclamation

Freed in New Netherland or New York before January 1, 1863


Slavery was brought to the Hudson River area in the early 1600s, if not before. The first known slaves to be freed, that is, the first ones known by me, worked for the DWIC. For the few that were freed, the path was gradual. But they are included here to provide context for the processes of manumission under the Dutch West India Company, the British and then the governments of the various states of the US.


  • 1628 : "The first blacks to arrive in New Amsterdam were Paul d' Angola, Simon Congo, Anthony Portuguese, John Francisco, and seven other males in 1626. Their names indicate that they may have been slaves on Portuguese or Spanish ships captured at sea. Three women were brought in from Angola in 1628. These fourteen blacks formed 5.2 percent of the 270‑person population of New Amsterdam in 1628. " ~• Most of these salves were at least partially freed having worked long years for the DWIC
  • 1644 : DWIC director frees Company slaves (see below)
  • 1664 : British take over for the first time from the DWIC. Freeing of slaves stops with the repression of people of color by James II of England
  • 1781 : The state legislature voted to free those slaves who had fought with the rebels during the Revolution
  • 1790 : By 1790 one in three blacks in New York state were free
  • 1799 : In 1799, the legislature passed a law for gradual abolition. It declared children of slaves born after July 4, 1799, to be legally free, but the children had to serve an extended period of indentured servitude: to the age of 28 for males and to 25 for females. Slaves born before that date were redefined as indentured servants but essentially continued as slaves for life.
  • 1869 : "As late as 1869, a majority of the state's voters cast ballots in favor of retaining property qualifications that kept New York's polls closed to many blacks. African-American men did not obtain equal voting rights in New York until ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870."

The first freed Africans

The following list below gives us the names of the ten Africans, all "Company Slaves", who benefited from the 1644 ordinance of the Council of New Netherland (spelling may vary):

~• Note that many of these men had wives whom they married in Dutch Reformed church' ceremonies. Land granted them passed to their heirs. These women should be considered "freed" as well.'


Black Loyalists (UEL site)