The brigantine "Othello"
is documented as being in the
slave trade. She is listed
for at least three voyages; 1765
carrying 56 slaves, 1769,
carrying 90 slaves, and 1774
carrying 54 slaves.
Samuel and William
Vernon were the sons of Samuel
Vernon, (Dec 6, 1683-Dec 5,
1737) a noted Newport silversmith
and Elizabeth Fleet. A third
brother, Thomas was also
engaged in trade, but not in direct partnership with Samuel and William.
For additional Vernon Family
History & Biographical Information SEE:
1867 letter from
London to Samuel & William Vernon
Samuel Vernon was born
on September 6, 1711 in Newport,
Rhode Island and died in 1792.
He married Amy Ward on December
29, 1739 and they had two children Elizabeth,
(April 24, 1738) and Samuel
S. (February 17, 1745).
William Vernon was born
in 1719 and died
in 1806. Samuel
and William were 3rd
generation descendents of Daniel
Vernon (born in England on
September 1, 1683 - died 1715 in Rhode Island).
William and Samuel
formed a partnership that included trade
in rum, molasses,
slaves and privateering.
Their first venture into the
slave trade was in 1737
with their ship "Olive Branch"
under the command of Captain John Godfrey.
One of the most thoroughly documented slave
voyages in history was a voyage by the Vernon's
under Captain Caleb Godfrey
doing online research, I noted that a direct descendent, (Mrs. Thomalind
Martin Polite) of a slave named Priscilla taken on the 1756
voyage of the Hare, is a
teacher in Charleston, South Carolina today and will be returning to her
ancestors homeland in Sierra Leone in 2005.
SEE: Priscilla's Story at
Captain George Buckmaster
was born on October
6, 1720 and is listed
as living in Newport, RI in 1782.
He was a fourth generation
descendent of Zachariah Buckmaster
1623 Lancastershire, England - died 1691 Roxbury, Massachusetts).
The Willock family name is
still quite common on Antigua
and there is a village on the island today known variously as Willock
Village and Cedar Grove.
The content of the letter
deals with a shipment of sugar
and rum from Willock to the Vernon
brothers aboard their brigantine,
"Othello," under Captain
George Buckmaster. It also appears from the letter that
they were expecting lower prices
and Willock has lowered the price
to what he says is, "at the price they
cost me." (I feel sure
that Willock made his profit on the cargo and probably fudged his
numbers to show a higher cost than he actually paid.)
The letter also mentions
a previous request for information
from the Vernons concerning the number of
slaves held by a Captain
Rogers. It is not clear from the letter if the Vernons
wish to purchase them, or if they were just checking up on a competitor
in the trade.
In the annals of the Triangle Trade,
the partnership of William and Samuel Vernon rank
the DeWolf family of Bristol
in the number of slave voyages made
by their ships.
DeWolf Family Letters for
further information on the Rhode Island Slave Trade.
The Complete Text of Letter Follows Below: