FortuneWaterbury in the 18th CenturySlavery in WaterburyReligion and SlaveryWaterbury's African AmericansWaterbury's Slave OwnersResources
Waterbury's African Americans
goback to Waterbury's African Americans List


Africa was Fortune's eldest son. He was born September 16, 1772. His birthdate was entered into Waterbury's town records, possibly by Preserved Porter, sometime after 1788. Porter was required by a 1788 law to record the births of any children of his slaves, because those born after 1784 were to be granted their freedom upon reaching adulthood. Africa did not qualify for this gradual emancipation and was considered a slave for life.

Africa lived with his family on a farm owned by Dr. Porter east of the town center. He and his father Fortune probably worked on Dr. Porter’s 75-acre farm, perhaps operating the farm while Porter tended to his medical practice. The farm produced rye, Indian corn, onions, potatoes, apples, beef, hogs, cider, hay, oats and buckwheat. He may also have been hired out to work for other Waterbury residents on occasion.

Africa was given the responsibility of ringing the town’s morning school bell for three months in 1790, when he was 18. It is unlikely that he was ever allowed the opportunity to study in that school.

Related Biographies

© Copyright 2004, Mattatuck Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.