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Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies


Robert & Richard Darrell


Robert Darrell is listed in the Slave Registers for the Bahamas in 1822, 1825, 1828, and 1831 (National Archives United Kingdom,  T/71 456, no. 886; T/71 457 no. 379; T/71 458 no. 263; and T/71 459, no. 285). His son Richard is also listed. Even though Robert died in 1821, leaving





"Old" Daniel is mentioned by Mary Prince in her narrative. He was treated cruelly by Robert Darrell, because he was "lame in the hip" (Prince 11) and couldn't keep up with the other enslaved members of the salt gang. Robert Darrell beat Daniel with a rod of rough briar and then flung salt on his raw wounds. Mary relates that Daniel's wounds never healed and were often full of maggots. "He was an object of pity and terror to the whole gang of slaves, and in his wretched case we saw, each of us, our own lot, if we should live to be as old" (Prince 11). The individual listed here was ten years older than Mary. Perhaps he is the "old" Daniel of Mary's story, or "old" Daniel may have been another enslaved man who had been sold, or was deceased, at the time of this slave register. Mary was gone from Grand Turk Island for ten years by the time it was taken.




his salt business in Richard's hands, the "Estate" of Robert Darrell continued to be listed on the Slave Registers. At the time Mary Prince was working in the salt ponds on Grand Turk Island, and when these Slave Registers were taken, the Turks and Caicos Islands were part of the Bahamas.


The identity of Robert Darrell was concealed by Thomas Pringle. In the slave narrative, he was referred to as Mr. D–. The identities of two other slave-owners were also concealed. These were Captain Ingham and his wife Mary Ingham. In the slave narrative, Captain Ingham was referred to as Captain I–. Thomas Pringle explained in his preface to the slave narrative, that he concealed the identities of these three slave-owners because each displayed a "conduct of peculiar atrocity" (Pringle, preface in Prince iii) and that, although they were dead at the time the slave narrative was published, their relatives, who might be innocent, could be affected adversely if the three slave-owners' identities were known .


Richard Darrell was referred to as Dickey in the slave narrative. Dickey is a form of the name Richard. Robert and Richard Darrell are the only father and son salt proprietors in the Slave Registers for Grand Turk Island whose surname begins with the letter "D." Therefore, it is very plausible that Robert and Richard Darrell are the Mr. D– and Dickey of Prince's testimony.


Molly "Quitted My Service"


Wood registered Prince as Molly and listed her as “black” in the Slave Registers of Antigua for 1817, 1821, 1824, and 1828 (National Archives United Kingdom, T/71 244, p. 814; T/71 247, p. 329; T/71 248, p. 823; T/71 249, p. 801). She is not registered in the 1832 Slave Register, but Wood’s declaration says, “and except Molly who accompanied me to England, and there quitted my service” (National Archives United Kingdom, T/71 250, p. 702). “Quitted” is an interesting word choice for Wood to use. By her own volition, Mary discontinued her service to Wood and his family. She walked away, releasing herself forever from Wood's ownership—without his permission.






Molly Wood


Mary Prince first appears in the Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies for Antigua in November 1817 (National Archives United Kingdom, T71/244, p. 814). This date works with her recollection that by 1828, when she left the Wood family and, thereby, was freed by self-manumission, she had “lived with them for thirteen years” (Prince 20), and that by 1830, when the slave narrative was compiled by Susanna Strickland, “it was about fifteen years” (Prince 14) since “Mr. Wood took me with him to Antigua, to the town of St. John’s, where he lived” (Prince 14).


About ten months after Mary Prince’s arrival in London with the Woods, abolitionists presented a petition to Parliament on her behalf. Presented 24 June 1829, they hoped for a ruling that would allow Prince to return to Antigua a free woman. The petition named her in three ways: Mary Prince, Mary James, and Molly Wood. She went by Mary Prince. When she married Daniel James at “about Christmas 1826” (Prince 17), she was then known as Mary James, but she was also “commonly” known as Molly Wood. The informal name, “Molly,” first appears in the Antiguan section of The History of Mary Prince. “Molly, Molly, there’s your dinner” (Prince 14), the Woods’ cook says as she shoves Prince’s food in the door of the little shack on the Woods’ property, where Prince lay ill with rheumatism and with St. Anthony’s Fire in her left leg. 



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