Moses Wilkinson

Known as 'Daddy Moses', this man was the leader of the large Methodist congregation that settled at Birchtown. Moses was blind and crippled, probably as a result of contracting smallpox in 1776. This made him appear an old man when he was only in his thirties. His owner was the Suffolk merchant Mills Wilkinson, son of Willis Wilkinson of Pigs Point Nansemond. He was the first wave of Wilkinson slaves to defect to Lord Dunmore in December 1775. The records of the Committee of Safety for Virginia show other slaves owned by Mills Wilkinson were captured at Great Bridge in Dec 1775. Another large group of slaves from Wilkinson (father and son) went in 1779. Moses may have run with another Methodist preacher, Jack Jordan. The Wilkinson runaways are closely connected with the Jordan runaways. The Wilkinson family were originally Quakers, like the Jordan family.

Moses travels alone in the BON and is alone in the Birchtown muster. He led his entire congregation to resettle Sierra Leone in 1791 and he had a wife when he goes to Sierra Leone. It is not clear who was his wife.

Related Background Information

  • Small Pox -

    In January 1776  smallpox made an appearance in Virginia. Although smallpox had been present in the colony at times before there had never been such a serious and widespread outbreak.

  • The Radical Methodist Congregation of Daddy Moses -

    Quite a few Methodists made it to Dunmore between December 1775 and May 1776. Mary Perth and others came from Willoughby's plantation in Princess Ann County,  Nathaniel Snowball absconded from a plantation in neighboring Norfolk County, his wife Violet came with her son Nathaniel from Princess Anne County, while his brother Timothy, slipped away from another master in Norfolk.

  • From Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone -

    A rich spiritual experience was the only consolation for a life of appalling poverty in Nova Scotia. 





7/ Nov

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Lord Dunmore's Proclamation - Norfolk

  • John Murray, Lord Dunmore -

    John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1732 – 25 February 1809), was the  colonial governor of Virginia at the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Source for this event: Lord Dunmore's Proclamation


Small Pox outbreak - Gwynn's Island

  • Small Pox -

    In January 1776  smallpox made an appearance in Virginia. Although smallpox had been present in the colony at times before there had never been such a serious and widespread outbreak.




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Treaty of Paris - Paris France

  • Treaty of Paris -

    In November 1782 a provisional peace treaty was hammered out between the British and the Americans in Paris.

Source for this event: Treaty of Paris


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Evacuation of New York - New York

  • Evacuation of New York -

    In April 1783 the first evacuation fleet left for Nova Scotia. A week later  the British Commander, Sir Guy Carleton, sailed up the Hudson River to Orangetown for a conference with General Washington to discuss the evacuation. As the victorious commander, Washington opened the meeting by reiterating the resolution of Congress regarding “the delivery of all Negroes and other property.”

Source for this event: The Book of Negroes
Vessel Names and their Commanders Where Bound Names Age Description Names of the Person in whose Possession they now are Remarks
L'Abondance - July
Master: Lt. Philips
Port Roseway Moses Wilkinson 36 Blind and lame Formerly Slave to Mills Wilkinson, Nansemond. Left 7 years ago.


Birchtown Muster - Birchtown

Source for this event: Birchtown Muster of Free Blacks
Name Age Occupation Families they lived with Companies they belong to Remarks Company They Are Now With
Moses Wilkinson 32 Blind Man Captain Francis Jones' Company


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List of those wishing to go to Sierra Leone - Sierra Leone

Source for this event: List of those wishing to go to Sierra Leone.
Name Age Where Born Number Of Children Age Of Eldest Occupation Property
Moses Wilkinson 50 Carpenter 2 town lots improved. 40 acres lot govt