Friday, March 2, 2012

1800: Gabriel Prosser's rebellion

You may find this interesting, I found it very interesting for personal reasons. Momma Starr

1800: Gabriel Prosser's Rebellion©starr
Gabriel Prosser 1776-1800
Gabriel was born in 1776, on Thomas Prosser's tobacco plantation in Henrico County, Virginia. When he was about ten, Gabriel and his brother Solomon began training as blacksmiths. There is no information about their parents, or I should say very little is found. His father may have been a blacksmith because the skills of the father were usually passed on to the son. Gabriel was also taught to read and write. He was very intelligent and folks liked him; by the time he was in his 20’s he had even earned the respect from his elders and at that young age was looked upon as a leader.
Everything went well until the old Master Prosser died in 1798, at that time his son Thomas Henry Prosser took over. It is said that young Prosser only cared about making money; unlike his father he was very cruel. He began to hire hi slaves out to other folks so he could make more money. Gabriel was one of those folks who were allowed to leave the plantation to work elsewhere.  There were laws set in place to stop the hiring out of slaves but they were not enforced because local merchants relied on the cheap labor rather than having to pay white tradesmen to do the work. They went the cheapest way by hiring slaves.
Gabriel and his brother Solomon went from place to place working, so they came into contact with a lot of other slaves. Gabriel was very religious, it is said he was very influenced by the Jewish peoples plight in the Bible. He could understand how they wanted to be free. He didn’t like the way that white folks and blacks folks were becoming accustomed to their roles of master and slave. Gabriel Prosser would prove that not all blacks were satisfied with a life of being a slave. In the spring of 1800, Prosser at the age of {25} laid plans for a slave uprising. His goal was to take over and make himself king of the first black own state. His plan was to attack Richmond the slaves would then seize the arsenal and kill all the white people except Quakers, Methodists, and Frenchmen, all of whom Prosser considered friendly .
On the night of August 30, 1800 Gabriel's army, estimated at about 1,000 slaves, met {6} miles outside Richmond. He might have succeeded if a violent rainstorm that night hadn’t washed away bridges and flooded the roads. Before they could get reorganized, it is said that a black informer alerted the white authorities of the plan. You may be thinking why would he do that?
The answer is simple MONEY!
There was a $300 reward offered for the capture of Gabriel and his men. Gov. James Monroe ordered the state militia to round up any suspected slaves. The joke ended up being on him; because in the end all he got for his betrayal was $50. The betrayer thought he would be able to buy his own freedom with the $300 reward. The salves were then put on trial; Prosser and about 34 of his followers were convicted and hanged.
Funny how things today aren't much different money seems to rule the actions of some! Momma Starr

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