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


The 1810 census of Waterbury shows a free African American woman named Time living with a free African American man named Dick. Both were listed as head of household. Dick Freeman is known to have had a long history in Waterbury, but this is the only known reference to Time in Waterbury.

On October 16, 1772, two enslaved African Americans, named Time and Dick, were married in Wallingford, Connecticut. Both were then enslaved by Capt. Moses Rice. They may or may not have been the same couple that lived in Waterbury in 1810.

In 1789, Time filed for divorce. She still lived in Wallingford but was now free, not enslaved. In her petition, Time stated that Dick's "affections were alienated" from her eleven years earlier and that he left her for another woman with whom he lived "in a state of adultery" in Cheshire. Time's divorce was granted.

In the 18th century, Dick had been enslaved by two Waterbury residents, Rev. James Scovill and Stephen Bronson. Bronson's grandson wrote, in his 1858 History of Waterbury, that Dick had been sold several times by either Scovill or Bronson with the understanding that “he might return when he chose.” Wallingford is approximately 20 miles and Cheshire 10 miles from Waterbury. It seems possible that the Dick and Time who were married in Wallingford could be the same couple who appear in the 1810 census of Waterbury, 21 years after their divorce.

Related Biographies

Marriage Certificate
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Marriage Certificate, 1789
Certificate written by Elisha Whittelsey verifying that Time and Dick were married in 1772. Collection of the Connecticut State Library, State Archives.

Time's Petition for Divorce
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Time's Petition for Divorce, 1789
Collection of the Connecticut State Library, State Archives.

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