John Brown [Simmons]

John Brown is the husband of Peggy Brown. They have similar stories and are together in both the Book of Negroes and the Birchtown Muster, along with their three children; Jenny, James and Nancy. John Brown's owner is Dr Joseph Simmons. 'Dr Seaman' is a mishearing of this name. Peggy Brown's owner is Matthew Godfrey. The Godfrey and the Simmons families were linked through marriage.

Curiously in the Birchtown Muster John Brown lists his occupation as 'Doctor'. This is probably referring to his former owner Dr Simmons. That 'Dr' was written next to his name reflects on the speed with which the details of the Muster were recorded.

Joseph Simmons was a loyalist who left Norfolk with Lord Dunmore's fleet in 1776.

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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

John Brown 45 Ordinary Fellow Formerly Slave to Dr Seaman [Simmons], Norfolk. Left 7 years ago. Royal Artillery Department. Certificate from General Musgrave.
John Brown's Relationships


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
John Brown 39 Doctor Captain James Read's Company
John Brown's Relationships