On this day in 1776, a Wednesday, Landon Carter entered the following into his diary:
Last night after going to bed, Moses, my son’s man, Joe, Billy, Postillion John, Mulatto Peter, Tom, Panticove, Manuel and Lancaster Sam, ran away, to be sure, to Ld. Dunmore, for they got privately into Beale’s room before dark and took out my son’s gun and one I had there, took out of his drawer in my passage all his ammunition furniture, Landon’s bag of bullets and all the Powder, and went off in my Petty Auger new trimmed, and it is supposed that Mr. Robinson’s People are gone with them, for a skow they came down in is, it seems, at my Landing. These accursed villains have stolen Landon’s silver buckles, George’s shirts, Tom Parker’s new waistcoat and breeches; and yet have not touched one thing of mine, though my door was open, my line filled with stockings and my buckles in my shoes at the door […]
Carter’s slaves ran away after a proclamation by the royal governor, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, promised them freedom if they joined British forces during the American Revolution. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll follow Carter’s diary and his preoccupation with his lost slaves—led, so symbolically, by a Moses—as well as (in no particular order) the weather, his hatred of Patrick Henry, and his disappointment with his son.
If you’re interested in reading more, then find these two books:
- Greene, Jack P., ed. The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752–1778. 2 Vols. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1965.
- Isaac, Rhys. Landon Carter’s Uneasy Kingdom: Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
IMAGE: Landon Carter (Virginia Historical Society)