Letter: The buying and selling of Pompe


To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I am glad to see that the 1765 document of the sale of the slave Pompe has been purchased by the Great Barrington Historical Society (Eagle July 20). Perhaps those interested might like to know something about the seller and purchaser of the slave.

The seller was Warham Lee, son of Samuel Lee, an early settler of Great Barrington. From 1757 to 1764 Samuel operated an inn on the road to Sheffield. In 1762 he gave 80 acres on the Green River to his son, Warham.

Then in April 1765 he sold his 7-acre house and home lot to Warham, who worked the property as a farmer (yeoman). At this point Warham sold the black boy to Truman Wheeler, the agreement witnessed by Warham’s sisters, [Mrs.] Rachel King and Bethiah Lee.

Wheeler, the buyer of the slave, was a "retailer of spirituous liquors" from 1769 to 1775. Apparently he and Warham Lee were close friends for they participated in a double wedding in 1771, Warham marrying Lydia Noble and Truman marrying Huldah Cadwell.

Two young men anxious to further their economic positions in society saw the value of a helpless 8-year-old black boy named Pompe as a house-worker and sold him as a commodity.

The fate of Pompe is unknown.




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