Government of Bermuda Archives
August 1806, Paget Vestry Assessments, 1805-1824, p. 8
Note: The different parishes in Bermuda began keeping assessments, or records, in about 1800. Parish taxes were based on these assessments, which were taken every few years, and were kept in books. Slave-owners listed their assets, including their slaves, in these books. The Paget Vestry Assessments and the Devonshire Parish Records are two of these books. They are kept in the Government of Bermuda Archives.
Two brothers, Daniel and Francis Trimingham, shared the ownership of Mary Prince’s father, Prince. Prince is listed in the Paget Vestry Assessments, 1805-1824 in the August 1806 assessment for Daniel Trimingham. He is valued by Daniel Trimingham as “1/2 Prince £50,” Bermudian currency. In the same book, and for the same month and year, Francis Trimingham also valued Prince at “1/2 Prince £50,” Bermudian currency. Prince’s total value was £100 Bermudian currency.
Daniel and Francis Trimingham shared the ownership of six other male slaves, as well. These men were Thya, Jobson, Will, Joe, Tom, and Kitt, and they were probably put to work in the Trimingham shipbuilding yard, along with Prince. The brothers also listed female slaves and children, but they did not share the ownership of these individuals.
Between them, and including the seven male slaves whose ownership they shared, the Trimingham brothers listed 33 slaves for their Bermuda holdings. The total reported value of these slaves is £1850 Bermudian currency. The value of the shared male slaves is £660 Bermudian currency, about one-third of the total value of all the Bermudian-based Trimingham slaves.
The Trimingham brothers’ wealth was gleaned from their Bermuda holdings, but also from part ownership of a West Indian sugar plantation called the Adelphi Estate on the Island of Mustique, which was under the Government of the Island of St. Vincent. In their wills, Francis and Daniel Trimingham left their shares to their sons, first cousins Francis and George Trimingham.
The 1817 Slave Register of Former British Territories for St. Vincent indicates 59 slaves at the Adelphi Estate, with 19 of these individuals located at associated Trimingham properties at Kingston, St. Vincent (United Kingdom, National Archives, Slave Registers, St. Vincent T71/493 p. 404). It seems that between them, the Trimingham brothers owned, shared, and partially owned upwards of 100 slaves.
These enslaved individuals would have performed a variety of occupations. Female household slaves would have done laundry, cooked, and kept gardens. Skilled male slaves, like Prince, who was a sawyer, would have worked in the maritime economy as coopers, carpenters, and sailors, for example. Still others would have been field slaves, working on the Adelphi Estate.
Daniel and Francis Trimingham were merchants. They owned shares in vessels that traded between colonies. The Seaflower, for instance, of which Daniel indicates having a three-eighths share in the Paget Vestry Assessment, 1805-1824 for August 1806, made 13 trips to Newfoundland between 1807 and 1811. The vessel carried sugar from St. Vincent to Newfoundland, and left Newfoundland with cod.
1806 PAGET VESTRY ASSESSMENTS, BERMUDA
Richard Darrell, October 1812, Devonshire Parish Records, 1798-1839, p. 100.
Richard Darrell was Betsey Williams’s uncle. Her mother Sarah and Richard were half siblings. Though they had different mothers, Captain George Darrell was their father. Captain George Darrell was Betsey’s grandfather. He was the man who had purchased Mary Prince and her mother from Charles Miners, and given them both to Betsey for a “gift.”
When Mary ran away from the Ingham farm, she went to her mother who was living at Richard Darrell’s. A plausible assumption is that a slave listed as Dinah in the assessments for Richard Darrell in the Devonshire Parish Records, 1798-1839, is Mary Prince’s mother.
The Devonshire Parish Records, 1798-1839 for July 1800, August 1803, November 1808, and October 1812, consistently list and value Dinah at £50 Bermudian currency. In 1816, she is given the decreased value of £5, indicating that she is elderly and not as valuable as she had been.
The only other enslaved woman listed consistently is Ruth, but she is younger than Dinah. In the July 1800 assessment, Ruth is valued at £20 Bermudian currency; in the August 1803 assessment £30 Bermudian currency; and in the November 1808 assessment £50 Bermudian currency, which is her valuation right through to the 1816 assessment. Because Ruth was young in 1800, reaching maturity by 1808, she was not Mary Prince’s mother.
The October 1812 assessment for Richard Darrell also lists a young female slave, Beck. Beck is a shortened form of the name Rebecca, which is the name of Mary Prince’s youngest sister. Beck is valued at £25 Bermudian currency in 1812.
Some, or all, of the young enslaved men listed in the assessment may be Mary’s and Rebecca’s brothers, especially Brown, Yorick, Sam, and Dick, who are given higher values than Beck. Mary was the eldest of 11 siblings, seven brothers and four sisters. Her sisters were Hannah, Dinah, and Rebecca. She does not give the names of her brothers, but Rebecca is the youngest child in the family.