Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail
The Whipple Home (private residence)Ground
& North Burial
In the mid 1700s, two African boys were sent by their wealthy royal family from Amabou on the Gold Coast of West Africa to be educated abroad. A deceitful sea captain brought them into American slavery. They were enslaved by William Whipple who raised them in his Portsmouth home, the Moffatt-Ladd mansion. The older boy was re-named Prince. Cuffee [or Kofi] kept his African name. In 1777, the NH legislature made William Whipple a brigadier general and sent him to drive General Burgoyne out of Vermont. Prince was reluctant to assist in fighting for freedom he himself would never enjoy. The general promised Prince manumission in exchange for service, so Prince accompanied him through the Revolution. Though most states (including NH) had statutory prohibitions against black militiamen, Prince was among many black men who served. Prince was said to be with George Washington at his Christmas Eve crossing of the Delaware River in 1776. Whipple freed Prince seven years later, in February 1784.
In 1781 Prince married Dinah Chase, emancipated by New Castle minister Reverend Chase. In 1786, Cuffee married Rebecca Daverson. Like many newly freed people, they chose to stay in the area that was familiar. General Whipple's widow loaned them a lot at the back corner of her garden. They moved a small house onto it and raised their families there. Prince worked as the chief steward at assemblies, balls and weddings. Cuffee played fiddle at many of these events. Dinah did cash work for North Church and conducted a school for black children sponsored by the Ladies Charitable African Society. In 1796, after enjoying freedom for only twelve years, Prince died, leaving Dinah and several children. Cuffee died in 1816, Rebecca in 1829. In 1832 the white Whipples' successors moved Dinah to a property on Pleasant Street where she lived out her life in near poverty. Esther Whipple Mullineaux, one of Prince and Dinah's children, died in 1868 and is buried near her father and her daughter. Dinah's burial site is believed to be nearby.
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Read also: Brewster's Rambles
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