J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Death at Deacon Tudor’s

Here’s a notable entry from the diary of John Tudor (1709-1795), a merchant and deacon of Boston’s Second (Old North) Meeting-House in the North End:

1772 March 16th

This Morning died my old faithfull Servant, a Negro Man, that Lived with me about 34 Years. But the last 10 Years of his life he was Useless, more espesaly the last 7 Years. We supposed him to be between 90 & 100 Years Old. He Kept’d his bed, but one Day & Died very easey.

It ’tis remarkable throw the goodness of God, tho’ we have had a larg Famaly of Children & servants for near 40 Years til of late, and never had till this Morning, but one person that Died under my Roof: my Sons & other Relations Died abroad. Bessed be God for a helthy Famely & all other Merceys.

£3 coffin.
“Servant” was colonial Boston’s euphemism for a slave. The deacon was clearly affected by his old slave’s death, but not enough to record the man’s name.

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