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Waterbury's African Americans
goback to Waterbury's African Americans List


Luke was a young African American enslaved by Dr. Preserved Porter. It is not known where he came from, or when he came to Waterbury. The census of 1800 shows two people enslaved in the Porter household; one of them may have been Luke.

Luke and Fortune's widow Dinah were the only people enslaved in Porter's household when Preserved died in 1803. Luke may have been purchased by Dr. Porter to replace Fortune as a farm laborer.

Porter's estate inventory valued Luke's "services till of age" at $166.67, indicating that Luke was born after March 1784 and would become free upon reaching his 21st birthday. Preserved Porter's daughter, Hannah Bronson, inherited Luke in 1804. Luke most likely would have been expected to help work the Bronson farm until he was free. The 1810 census shows no African Americans, free or enslaved, in the Bronson household.

Related Biographies

Preserved Porter's Estate Inventory
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Preserved Porter's Estate Inventory, 1804
A page from Porter's estate inventory. At the bottom of the page, Luke is included as "Negro man's services till of age" valued at $166.67. Collection of the Connecticut State Library, State Archives.

Preserved Porter's Estate Distribution
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Preserved Porter's Estate Distribution, 1804
The thirteenth page of the estate distribution. Luke is included in the list of items given to Porter's daughter Hannah Bronson. Collection of the Connecticut State Library, State Archives.

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