Dolly [Troup]

Dolly is a mystery. She travels alone with no conceivable relatives in the Book Of Negroes. She has no last name recorded so here she has been given the last name 'Troup' after the person she claims was her former owner. Like Dolly, Troup is also a mystery. There is no record of him in the tithables for the Norfolk area even though she identified Portsmouth as his location. It is probable she is referring to the place where she worked, possibly in the port of Portsmouth or connected with shipping in some way, and Troup was actually resident elsewhere. Alternatively this might be a mishearing or refer to another individual entirely, a throw-away name she gave to authorities in New York. Dolly is not listed in the Birchtown Muster, but there is a Polly Roberts who is the same age and like Dolly traveled alone. It is a strong possibility that 'Dolly' is really Polly Roberts and that sometime after arriving in Nova Scotia she passed away. As she passed through two companies before ending in Capt. Coffin's company her death must have come just before the Muster was recorded. The Roberts were a large family of slave owners in the Norfolk County area, particularly on the east side. In 1773 Thomas Roberts acquired (or listed) 'Penelope', who is listed again in 1774 for the last time. It is our belief that Penelope is Polly/Dolly.
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Tithables for the Eastern Division - 1773 - Eastern Division

Source for this event: Norfolk County Virginia Tithables, Volume 3, 1766 - 1780
Name Owner
Penelope Thomas Roberts - Norfolk


Tithables for East Side of Church Street - 1774 - East Side of Church Street

Source for this event: Norfolk County Virginia Tithables, Volume 3, 1766 - 1780
Name Owner
Penelope Thomas Roberts - Norfolk

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
Master: Daniel Adnitt
St. John Dolly 24 Stout squat wench James Morrel Formerly Slave to Robert Troup, Portsmouth. Left 7 years ago. Certificate from General Birch.


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
Polly Roberts (DEAD) 24 Sandy Mun Cameron Arrived in Jul 83 and has drawn to 24 May with him Captain John Coffin's Company
Remarks:[It is an assumption that Polly is Dolly based upon their ages and the fact that both have no relatives and travel alone.]