Precious little is known about the intimate lives of Nassau’s Liberated Africans. They were settled from captured slave ships – but after that – it is regrettably for the most part, an historical puzzle of many tiny, irregularly honed pieces.
Over a span of some thirty years, they were brought – naked, sick, starving, brutalised, chained and diseased – all caused by atrocious, but common conditions, in which slaves were held in the belly of ships.
Many would never leave the slaver alive. Many had to be quarantined where they were in Nassau Harbour. The local doctor was brought to them. Many were apprenticed out, learning a trade, language and customs of the Bahama Islands Colony. The rest were settled as free people in Grant’s Town, Carmichael, Gambier, Adelaide and Fox Hill.
Pitiful they were for sure, but consider that they were the lucky ones. If the slave ship they had been on, had not been intercepted, and captured, their fates would have been exponentially worse.
We meet some of them, some of The Bahamas’s Liberated Africans, now, in death.
America Perpall, Yoruba Governor of Sandilands Village, died on Monday morning 28th January 1889
Exact age is unknown, however America Perpall was more than 90 years old. Arrived in Nassau from a seized slave ship in 1849. Apprenticed to a Perpall, hence the last name.
The death of America Perpall, the old Yoruba Governor of Sandilands Village, occurred on Monday morning last. This old man was a native of Africa, and arrived in the Colony about 50 years ago. For the past 15 years he was in a crippled and helpless condition, but he continued to hold the position of Governor of the Yoruba society which he occupied from its formation. His funeral took place yesterday morning, and was attended by large number of the members of the various Societies of this Island with their Presidents and Officers. The Burial Service was conducted by Mr. Moses Rahming. Leader at Mt. Carey Baptist Chapel, in the absence of the Rev. D. Wiltshire who was unable to be present. The old man is said to have attained the age of ninety years.
Guilleam Rahming made two attempts to return to his native Africa, died Saturday 20th August 1898
DIED. —- At Fox Hill, August 20th, GUILLEAM RAHMING, a native of Africa, a resident of this settlement since 1836. He was deeply attached to his native country and made two attempts to return —one in 1858 and another in 1876. He leaves 5 sons, now living, and numerous grandchildren. The funeral was attended by a large gathering of the inhabitants of the Village, testifying to the respect in which he was held.
Chance Harvey, Liberated African, died 25th April 1903 at 56 years old.
Chance Harvey was liberated from a slave ship bound for Cuba in the year 1858. He and others were brought to Nassau. Chance Harvey was apprenticed out to Mr. T. C. Harvey, a Surveyor General of Nassau.
DIED. —- On the 25th April, 1903, Chance Harvey, aged 56 years.
The deceased was a native of Africa and was among the number being conveyed to Cuba on a vessel which was wrecked at Abaco in the year 1858. He was apprenticed to Mr. T. C. Harvey, a former Surveyor General in Nassau, and upon his arrival at manhood, through his deportment, and intelligence, won the respect of men of his race. He was President of the Congo No. 1 Burial Society in 1891 which office he held until 1902, when he vacated it with the regret of the member of St. Agnes Church, Grant’s Town. His funeral was attended by a large number of persons.
Alliday Adderley, liberated from a captured slave ship, died on Sunday 27th September 1885.
Alliday Adderley, Liberated African, successful planter and landowner was the father Joseph Richmond Adderley, who was the father of William Parliament Adderley, Barrister at Law, who became a Member of the House of Assembly. William Parliament Adderley was the father of Alfred Francis Adderley, Barrister at Law, who became a Member of the House of Assembly and appointed to the Legislative Council. Alfred Francis Adderley was the father of Paul L. Adderley, Barrister and Member of the House of Assembly.
The Members of the Bahama Friendly and Yoruba Societies paid a last tribute of respect by attending on Monday afternoon the funeral of Mr. Alliday Adderley, one of their fellows, whose death occurred on Sunday afternoon . Mr. Adderley was a native of Africa and came here in a captured slaver. By industrious habit he obtained for himself quite a comfortable position, and the regard which his friends possessed for him was manifested by the large numbers forming the procession which marched, from the residence of the deceased, first to Wesley Chapel Grant’s Town, and from there to Potter’s Field Cemetery.