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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Huntington, Benjamin (1736-1800) [Certifies Cuffee Wells's purchase of freedom]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00318 Author/Creator: Huntington, Benjamin (1736-1800) Place Written: Norwich, Connecticut Type: Document signed Date: 30 April 1781 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: John Nutter and Richard Lamb sign, attesting that in May 1777 they "Belonged to a Class in the town of Norwich to Procure a soldier for the Continental Army, of which Mr. Elihu Hyde was head, and that Said Class hired Cuffee Wells, a Free Negro, to Enlist Into the Continental Service During the War, and Gave him Besides the Publick Bounty Thirty Pounds for Inlisting..." Part of the sum was paid to Wells's old master "for his Time." Signed by Huntington as Justice of the Peace, who confirms that Wells's former commander, Captain Jedediah Hyde of Norwich, "always understood that the money that was given to Wells at his Enlistment Purchased his Freedom."

People: Huntington, Benjamin, 1736-1800.
Lamb, Richard, fl. 1781.
Nutter, John, fl. 1781.
Hyde, Jedediah, 1738-1822.
Wells, Cuffee, fl. 1781.

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Keywords/Subjects: Military African American History, African American Troops, Revolutionary War, Continental Army, Emancipation, Freemen, Slavery, Recruitment, Law, Government and Civics

Sub Era: The War for Independence