Sam Godfrey

Sam Godfrey travels with his wife Sucky/Sukey Godfrey and their three children, Sally, James and Robert on board the Ranger in the Book of Negroes. Sam was formerly owned by Matthew Godfrey of Norfolk County. He claims to have run in 1779, four years prior to the evacuation of New York, but he appears in Godfrey's tithables for the Norfolk area for the last time in 1773. The fact that he is not listed in the 1778 tithables may indicate that he, like his wife Sukey, who left her former owner in 1776 and joined Lord Dunmore, actually ran at an earlier date. All her children were 'born free within the British lines' after she ran and it seems possible they may be Sam's children even though he may have run much later. This family travels with others who were also connected to Matthew Godfrey in Norfolk: Jenny and Moses Kelly; Henry Givin and Bridget Godfrey; Joseph and Peggy Brown; Kate Godfrey and Lewis Church. These individuals are further connected by service in the Royal Artillery Department and certificates from General Musgrave, which they all share. These families continue to travel together and are all in Captain Read's Company in the Birchtown Muster.






Tithables for the South Side of Tanner's Creek - 1772 - South Side of Tanners Creek

Source for this event: Norfolk County Virginia Tithables, Volume 3, 1766 - 1780
Name Owner
Sam Matthew Godfrey - Norfolk


Tithables for the North Side of Tanners Creek - 1773 - North Side of Tanners Creek

Source for this event: Norfolk County Virginia Tithables, Volume 3, 1766 - 1780
Name Owner
Sam Matthew Godfrey - 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


The Burning of Portsmouth - Portsmouth

  • The Burning of Portsmouth 1779 -

    In May 1779 the British detached a fleet of ships under Admiral Collier with a army detachment under General Matthew to make a putative raid into the Lower Chesapeake and destoy the tobacco warehouses. This fleet was supported by a smaller fleet of privateers owned by John Goodridge. After destroying much of Portsmouth, the British took away a large contingent of runaways from the Portsmouth and Norfolk area. A group consisting of 256 men, 135 women and 127 children.




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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: James Duncan
Port Mattoon Sam Godfrey 26 stout fellow Formerly Slave to Matthew Godfrey, Norfolk. Left 4 years ago. Royal Artillery Department. Certificate from General Musgrave.
Sam Godfrey'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
Samuel Godfrey (DEAD) 27 Labourer Captain James Read's Company
Samuel Godfrey (DEAD)'s Relationships


Patriot claims for losses to the British

Source for this event: Patriot claims for losses to the British
[We have assumed that Matthew Godfrey claimed Sam Godfrey]