Charles Myners (Miners)
Captain John Ingham
Robert Darrel (Darrell)
John Adams Wood Jr.
Mary Prince's first slave-owner was Charles Minors. She was an infant, and her mother worked as a domestic in the Minors' household.
Mary was born in 1787 or 1788 at Brackish Pond, Bermuda. Early Bermuda maps indicate a "Brackifh Pond," a small cove suitable for anchorage, on the north shore of Devonshire Parish. Brackish Pond is also the name of a marshy area of Devonshire Parish, and when Mary was young the name Brackish Pond also referred to the entire parish. When Mary says she was born at Brackish Pond, she could have meant the cove, the marsh, or the entire parish.
When Mary was an infant, “old” Captain George Darrell purchased Mary and her mother from Charles Minors, and he gave both of them to his granddaughter Betsey Williams as a “gift.” Mary was about the same age as Betsey. She was Betsey’s playmate, and her mother worked as a domestic in the Williams' household.
Captain George Darrell may have been called "old" by Mary because he had a son whose name was also George. The designation "old" was a way to indicate the difference between father and son.
Betsey’s mother was Sarah Williams. She was Captain George Darrell’s daughter from his first wife. Betsey’s father was Captain John Williams, who was often away in the West Indies.
Mary had several siblings. They were all younger than she was. Her sisters were Hannah, Dinah, and Rebecca. She doesn’t relate the names of her brothers, but there were seven. Rebecca was the youngest of all the children.
Sarah Williams died when Mary was 12 years old. Captain John Williams wanted to remarry. Against Betsey’s wishes, Mary, Hannah, and Dinah were sold at an auction in Hamilton. This was to raise money for the wedding.
Captain John Ingham
Captain John Ingham purchased Mary at the auction in Hamilton for £57 Bermudian currency. His son Benjy (Benjamin) took her to the Ingham farm, located in Pembroke Parish. Pembroke Parish was once known as Spanish Point, after a point of land on its western tip.
Captain Ingham’s wife was Mary Spencer Albouy. The Captain was a privateersman, and he had a store in Hamilton. Mary’s work was to care for the children, tend to the farm animals, and do the household work.
The Captain and his wife were very cruel taskmasters. Mrs. Ingham pinched Mary and the other people she and her husband claimed as property on their cheeks and arms, and she pinched Mary on her neck. She also whipped Mary with rope, a cart-whip, and a cow-skin. A cow-skin is a thong of twisted hide. Once, Mary was tied to a ladder and Captain Ingham gave her 100 lashes. She was injured terribly. Another time, he hit her repeatedly with his boot and injured her back.
Because of the Inghams’ cruelty, Mary ran away to her mother, who was living at Richard Darrell’s residence. When Mary's family had been divided after Sarah Williams’s death, Mary’s mother had gone to live there. Richard Darrell was the half brother of Betsey’s mother, Sarah.
Mary's father Prince was a sawyer, and he was claimed as property by two brothers, Daniel and Francis Trimingham. They had a shipbuilding yard at Crow Lane, and they both lived in Paget Parish, nearby to Richard Darrell's residence. Daniel Trimingham's wife was Catherine Darrell. She was Richard Darrell's sister, and Betsey's aunt.
Therefore, Mary's mother and father were claimed as property by a brother and sister of the Darrell family: her mother was claimed by Richard Darrell, and her father was claimed by by Catherine Darrell, although it was Catherine's husband Daniel Trimingham who listed Prince in the Paget Vestry Assessments as “1/2 Prince £50.”
Daniel Trimingham indicated a shared "ownership" of Prince in the Paget Vestry Assessments. He shared Prince's "ownership" with his brother Francis Trimingham, who also listed Prince as “1/2 Prince £50." Prince was valued at £100. Please see Government of Bermuda Archives in the Primary Sources section of this website for details.
Eventually, Mary had to go back to the Ingham farm. Her father Prince took her. A few years later, Captain Ingham put her aboard a sloop headed for Grand Turk Island.
Robert Darrell (Mr. D—) had two residences. One was in Bermuda, and the other was on Grand Turk Island. He was a salt proprietor in the Grand Turk Island salt industry. His son was Richard, known as Dickey in the slave narrative.
Although Robert Darrell shared his surname with the Richard Darrell where Mary's mother lived after Sarah Williams had died, the two were not closely related. They would have had a common British male ancestor, but that ancestor had probably lived more than a few generations earlier. However, they may have done business together.
When Mary Prince arrived at Grand Turk Island, she was taken to Robert Darrell's house. He was to be the next person to claim her as property. The next day, she was put up at auction to find out her value. Robert Darrell purchased her for £100 Bermudian currency.
She worked as a member of a gang of enslaved workers who made solar-evaporated salt. Her tasks were raking salt, measuring salt to load on vessels, and turning machines that drew water out of the sea into the ponds.
Salt was a very valuable commodity before refrigeration. It was used to preserve meat and fish. Bermudian salt merchants traded salt with other British colonies, such as Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. They also sold salt to Americans.
When it wasn’t the salt season, Mary Prince and other enslaved people were set to build a stone wall. Mary dove in the ocean nearby the shore for rocks to build the wall with, and she cut mangroves. The mangroves were set ablaze to heat shells that would convert into quicklime. When water is added to quicklime, it boils and becomes lime putty. Lime putty was used as mortar to build the stone wall.
Robert Darrell was a cruel taskmaster, and his son Richard followed in the path of his father. Mary and other enslaved people who were claimed as property by the Darrells were frequently flogged for not keeping up with the gang. They also suffered from poor nutrition. The main staple of their diet was Indian corn. Sometimes, Indian corn was all they had to eat. They were starving.
After about ten years on Grand Turk Island, Robert Darrell returned to his Bermuda residence, and he took Mary with him. His son Richard was left on Grand Turk Island to carry on the family’s salt business.
Back in Bermuda, Mary was put out to work at Cedar Hill, where she did laundry. She was paid for her work, but all of her earnings were turned over to Robert Darrell.
Please see the Slave Registers located under the Primary Sources tab for more information about Robert and Richard Darrell.
John Adams Wood Jr.
When Mary Prince was employed at Cedar Hill, she learned that John Adams Wood Jr. was going to Antigua, where he lived. She wanted to get away from Robert Darrell, so she asked if she might go in Wood’s service. Although Wood did not want to purchase Mary, it was agreed that she could go.
John Adams Wood Jr.'s wife was Margaret Gilbert Albouy. He was a rentier, or jobber, which means he rented enslaved people to other slave-owners as well as to people who did not "own" enslaved people. Often these enslaved people were let out to sugar plantations where they worked in the fields. Perhaps Mary would have been placed on a sugar plantation to work in the fields, had it not been for Mrs. Wood. She saw that Mary was a good worker, and she wanted to purchase her.
The Woods purchased Mary from Robert Darrell for £100 Bermudian currency. She worked for them as a domestic in Antigua for 13 years.
In July, or early August, 1828 the Woods left Antigua for London, England. They took Mary with them. Soon after they arrived, Mary walked out of their residence and was free—but only in England. She could not return to Antigua and remain free.
Read more about John Adams Wood Jr. and Mary's time in London on the Home tab of this website. Also, the Slave Registers located under the Primary Sources tab give more information about this slave-owner.