by Daniel L. Schafer
This file contains notes on the first edition a short pamphlet
about the life of Anna Kingsley, a Senegalese woman who was
brought to Spanish Florida as a slave in 1806. For further
information or a copy of the Revised and Expanded Edition
, contact the St. Augustine Historical Society, 271 Charlotte
Street, St. Augustine, Florida, 32084.
Daniel L. Schafer Anna Kingsley (St. Augustine, FL: St. Augustine
Historical Society, 1994), 44p.
p1 Anna lived in a village in Wolof country, a dry, barren
region north of Cayor. In April 1806, near the end of the
dry season, she and other members of her family were
enslaved by tyeddo horsmen with "long, braided hair and
p1 The Tyeddo warriors were royal slaves of Amari Ngoone
Ndella, the king of Cayor. They formed a professional army
loyal only to the king, whose job was to protect Cayor and
raid enemy villages to obtain slaves to sell along the
coast. The European traders provided cloth, liquor, guns
and powder, horses and luxury goods in exchange for slaves.
p1 Tyeddo slave raiders operated during the winter and spring
p1 Cayor was one of the four parts of the legendary Wolof
kingdom, but Cayor was unstable since 1790 when it became
divided by a series of religious wars.
p1 The Tyeddo were only supposed to attack non-Wolof people,
but when supplies of slaves from other sources ran low, they
sometimes attacked Wolof villages too.
p2 As the situation deteriorated 1790-1806, many residents of
Cayor fled south and west to Cape Vert, where they built
independent walled cities for protection against the Tyeddo.
p2 The Tyeddo attacks spread in all directions, and even
involved the Muslim state of Futa Toro. When they captured
slaves, they conveyed them to the coast at Rufisque for sale
p2 In the raid on her village, Anna's father was killed. The
raid began before dawn and lasted until the late morning.
After looting, they burned the village and led the captives
p2 Unlike many of the captives in the column that marched to
the coast, Anna and her family were not already slaves.
Most of the surrounding villages were "slave villages" whose
mostly Bambara inhabitants belonged to local Wolof owners.
p3 Anna's family was distinguished. Her father's side was
Ndiaye, descended from the legendary Njaajaan Njaay, founder
of the Jolof Empire. Her mother's lineage, Majigeen, had
already produced two Burbas Jolof (Jolof leaders). Her
family was free, and owned both land and slaves.
p3 The route to Rafisque led from Wolof through Cayor. As they
marched, Tyeddo warriors left some of the captives in their
home villages as "spoils of war."
p3 Anna's slave column was unusual because it contained more
female slaves than male slaves. Most slave convoys had 2-3
males per female because the American market preferred male
slaves for agricultural work. On the other hand, the
African market preferred female slaves who could be easily
incorporated into their lineage group.
p3 Anna's column was also unusual because it contained Wolof,
who were rarely enslaved and brought to the coast. Is this
evidence of increased demand for African slaves in 1806,
that induced slavers to get all of the "product" that they
p3 One unusual factor was that Ndella's Tyeddo warriors had
recently crushed Muslim resistance in Cayor and sent them to
the coast. ...
p4 ... As the war widened, Ndella's warriors began to obtain
slaves from neighboring regions including Wolof and Futa
Toro. The European posts at St. Louis and Goree did a
booming business in slave trading.
p4 In Rufisque, the captives were offered for sale at the
central market to mulatto buyers from Goree. They were the
descendants of European men and African women who controlled
the sale of slaves along the coast.
p4 Ndella controlled all of the slave trading at Rufisque, and
used agents to handle his "product."
p4 Late in the afternoon, after all of the trading was done,
Anna and others were transported in long canoes along the
coast towards Cape Vert and Goree Island.
p4 Goree Island in 1806 was small with few buildings. One was
an "imposing two-story building flanked by several long and
narrow one-story structures." The one-stpry buildings were
holding pens for slaves--dark, with manacles hanging from
p4 Except for daily delivery of food and occassional exercise
sessions, Anna remained imprisoned for days. On the first
occassion when she was taken out for presentation to
European buyers, Anna was sold.
p5 Some days after that, she and others were loaded into long
canoes for transport out to a larger vessel offshore. It
was the "Sally," a Danish vessel, which sailed with nearly
150 people in May 1806. A few of the other slaves were
known to Anna, so she had some comfort as she traveled
through "the Middle Passage."
p6 The demand for slaves was high in Cuba in 1806, because new
sugar plantations had opened to take advantage of the loss
of Haiti's sugar production following the revolution of
1789-1803. JJ: Instead of sugar, Zephaniah Kingsley planted
cotton. Perhaps Zephaniah Kingsley chose cotton, which was
in demand by English textiles mills.
p6 The demand for slaves was increased further by the
expectation that a number of nations, including England and
the United States, would outlaw the slave trade in 1807.
p6 The "Sally" was captained by a man named Gisolfo, who had
sailed with this vessel to Havana several times already.
This was the first time that he carried a cargo with more
females than males. In this cargo of 120 Africans, there
were 99 women and 22 teenager females. (From the info on
page 5, the ship's crew must have been about 30, or a ratio
of 4 slaves per crewmen.)
p6 New, unacculturated Africans were known as "bozales."
p6 Anna and the other slaves were in bad condition when they
reached Havana, after subsisting on inadequate food and
water in the tightly-confined, overheated (120°F) hold of
p6 Medical precautions were minimal. Cuban doctors examined
each slave and ...
p7 ... quarantined them briefly to prevent the spread of
epidemic disease. They were fed good food, bathed, and
oiled to give them a healthy appearance for the market.
p7 The Havana slave market was a major center for commerce in
Spanish America. It attracted buyers from all over the
Caribbean and North America, and as far away as France and
Norway. Major exports included sugar, rum, pork, and
p7 By coincidence, Zephaniah Kingsley was in Havana the day
that Anta went up for sale. Although he had come to buy
molasses and rum for resale in North America, he had
experience as a slave trader (sold 250 slaves in Havana in
1802), and he outbid everyone else for Anta.
p7 Zephaniah Kingsley and Anta remained in Havana for three
months while he waited for his ship to return from the
Danish West Indies. His ship, the Esther, was captained by
Henry Wright, and returned to Havana in October. Kingsley
added his Havana purchases to the cargo, including four
hogsheads of molasses, 28 half pipes and 12 whole pipes of
rum, and "tres negras bozoles," one of whom was Anta.
p7 The Esther left Havana on 1806/10/10 and reached St.
Augustine, Florida, in 14 days (1806/10/23). After clearing
customs, the ship continued and reached the St. Johns River
p8 The Esther anchored at Doctor's Lake, about 40 miles from
the mouth of the St. Johns River. Anta saw another, similar
vessel already anchored there when they arrived.
p8 Kingsley took Anta to live with him in his own house, not in
the slave quarters. She was already pregnant with his
child, and would live with him for the next 37 years as
husband and wife. She added his name to her own, becoming
Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley. (Zephaniah Kingsley must have
died in 1843).
III. Laurel Grove
p9 AK was sold in Havana in 1806/07 to Zephaniah Kingsley, who
impregnated her and took her to his Eastern Florida
plantation within the next three months, by 1806/10. Anna
Kingsley was thirteen years old, so she must have been born
p9 Everyone at Laurel Grove was African except for Zephaniah
Kingsley and an occasional craftsman hired to work in the
shipyard. Africans performed both unskilled and skilled
labor, including blacksmithing and carpentry.
p9 The more than 100 slaves at Laurel Grove came from all over
Africa. Two field laborers, Jacob and Camilla, lived as a
couple with their son Jim. Jacob was an Ibo from Nigeria
and Camilla was a Susu from Rio Pongo (Guinea). Jim was
born at Laurel Grove.
p9 Jack and Tamassa were from East Africa, from a place called
"Zinguibara" by Kingsley (Zanzibar). Jack was one of the
plantaiton carpenters, and by 1812, he and ...
p10 ... his wife Tamassa were the parents of four children.
p10 Laurel Grove plantation had separate slave quarters behind
the house and at a nearby location called Springfield.
Besides houses and slave quarters, there were barns, poultry
houses, carpentry shops, mill houses, and corn and pea cribs
at each location.
p10 The manager of Zephaniah Kingsley's plantation at Laurel
Grove was Abraham Hannahan Kingsley, a mulatto deeded to
Zephaniah Kingsley by his father, Zephaniah Kingsley Sr., a
Quaker in Charleston, SC. He arrived in Florida in 1804 so
presumably, Zephaniah Kingsley arrived there the same year.
He probably borrowed his first money from his father, and
used it to transport slaves to Charleston in 1802. With
that money, plus additional help from his father, he bought
a plantation in Florida.
p10 An African named Peter was in charge at Springfield,
directly under Abraham's command. Kingsley referred to
Peter as a "mechanic and valuable manager" worth at least
$1000 in 1812. The workers under Peter's direction produced
800 bushels of corn and 400 bushels of field peas in a year,
and cared for hogs, poultry, and cattle. Peter also
supervised a mill house.
p10 At Laurel Grove, Zepheniah Kingsley's workers farmed 200
acres of Sea Island cotton. They also had 760 Mandarin
orange trees and 2000 feet of other edible orange trees.
They also grew potatoes, beans and corn to feed the
p10 Kingsley also operated a general store that sold to families
in the neighborhood.
p12 Zephaniah Kingsley bought another Wolof woman named Sophia
Chidgigine around the same time as Anta. (see page 31) ...
p13 ... Sophie became the wife of Abraham Hannahan Kingsley.
p13 Other white plantation owners had African wives. John
Fraser married Phenda from the Rio Pongas River, where
Fraser owned a "slave factory." Fraser also operated his
own ships to bring slaves from Africa to the Americas.
After the USA outlawed the importation of slaves in 1808,
Fraser moved to East Florida and brought 370 slaves to farm
rice and cotton on his plantations.
p13 Molly Erwin was the African wife of James Erwin, who owned
fifty slaves on a plantation on the St. Mary's River.
p13 George Clarke, an important official in the Spansih
government of East Florida, had two African wives and
p13 Francis Richard, Francisco Xavier Sanchez and several other
men all had black wives or mistresses, and interracial
p13 Kingsley, Clarke and Richard were all planters who hoped to
strike it rich in East Florida and believed that slavery was
essential to their prosperity. "Yet they felt race did not
automatically and permanently consign persons to either
slavery or freedom. According to Kingsley, `color ought not
to be the badge of degradation. The only distinction should
betwen slave and free, not between white and coloured.'"
p13 Kingsley justified African slavery by claiming that they
were better suited to work in the semi-tropical climate than
whites were. In his mind, whites either had to employ
slaves or else give up in East Florida.
p13 In order to reduce the likelihood of slave rebellion,
Kingsley proposed liberal manumission laws, encouraged
humane treatment, and encouraged slaves to live as families.
For instance, Kingsley freed Abraham Hannahan Kingsley in
p13 During the nearly forty years that the Kingsleys were
together, Anna held the position of first wife in a
polygamous household--familiar in Africa but controversial
p14 Zephaniah Kingsley emancipated Anna Kingsley on 1811/03/04,
along with their three children, George (3y9m, born 1807/06,
so probably conceived in 1806/09, after Zephaniah Kingsley
had owned Anna Kingsley for more than a month), Martha (20m,
born 1809/07), and Mary (1m, born 1811/02).
p15 Zephaniah Kingsley also emancipated his general manager,
Abraham Hannahan Kingsley, on 1811/03/04.
p15 Zephaniah Kingsley entered the slave trade in 1802 at age
39, and by 1811, he was a rich man. He owned at least eight
ships between 1802 and 1817. He also hired men to captain
his ships when he had other responsibilities. His ships
traded between Cuba, Jamaica, St. Thomas (DK), Puerto Rico,
Charleston, Wilmington, New York and Fernandina (north of
p16 In 1812, soon after Anna Kingsley received her freedom, she
moved off of Zephaniah Kingsley's land and established her
own farm at Mandarin, on five acres across the St. Johns
River from Laurel Grove (South Jacksonville). She owned 12
slaves of her own. She raised corn, poultry and "farm
animals," and at one point had 50 bushels per slave stashed
in her storage area. How much corn was a bushel?
p17 Spain resumed control over East Florida in 1784, following a
deal that exchanged St. Augustine for occupied Havana in
1762, at the end of Seven Years War.
p17 Following a series of border skirmishes between 1784 and
1812, an American invasion reached eastern Florida in 1812.
Raiders from Georgia and South Carolina who called
themselves "Patriots" invaded Florida and besieged St.
Augustine. They left Anna Kingsley alone but kidnapped
Zephaniah Kingsley and held him for ransom.
p17 In 1812/07, the Seminole Indians joined the struggle by
attacking the rebel siege lines at the request of the
Spanish governor of St. Augustine. That forced the patriots
to withdraw, and as they went, they burned and looted the
plantations in the area, including Zephaniah Kingsley's
Laurel Grove. This showed Anna Kingsley tht she had to
leave, because had she been captured, she would have been
sold into slavery in the USA.
p18 Between 1812/07-1814/01, the Kingsley's lost most of their
property al_ng the St. Johns biver. In 1814/01, they moved
the remainder to Fort George Island, near the mouth of the
V. Fort George Island
p19 In a description of the Kingsley's voyage from Fernadina to
Fort George Island, the author revealed that Fernandina was
located on Amelia Island.
p20 The order in which they performed the tasks needed to start
up life at Fort George Island gives a clue to the priorities
of plantation life. The first requirement was shelter and
the second was to clear the fields for planting. They
planted corn, beans, potatoes and cotton--the same as they
had done at Laurel Grove.
p20 Zephaniah Kingsley's slaves worked 5.5 days per week. They
had the remainder of their days, plus Saturday afternoons,
Sundays, and two annual holidays to work on their own garden
p21 George became the owner of the Kingsley plantation in 1831,
the same year that he married Anatole Françoise Vauntrauvers
p21 The family plantation at Fprt George Island was just across
a causeway from Pilot Town, where pilots lived who guided
the ships into the St. John River.
p21 Using local sea shells, lime, sand and water, the Kingsley's
constructed buildings out of a concrete-like material called
p29 In 1823, Zephaniah Kingsley served a term in the Florida
Teritorial Council, where he learned that the new government
(USA since 1819) intended to pass stricter laws separating
the races. Since Zephaniah Kingsley and his children had
been citizens of Spanish Florida, they were protected from
the changes, but Anna was not, and neither would any
children born after 1819.
p29 John Maxwell Kingsley was born in 1824. That convinced
Zephaniah Kingsley to get his family out of Florida.
p31 In order to tidy up their affairs in Florida, the Kingsley's
transferred title of all lands to George and his wife, his
two daughters Mary and Martha, and Flora Hannahan and her
son Charles. Flora was the daughter of Abraham Hannahan
Kingsley and Sophia Chidgigine (see page 12), who later
became one of Zephaniah Kingsley's mistresses. If Sophia
and Anna were contemporaries, then Flora was a generation
younger. Zephaniah Kingsley must have been about 45-50
years older than Flora, but she still bore him children.
p31 Zephaniah Kingsley had lived in Haiti for three years during
the 1790s, so he was interested in an offer made by
President Boyer to attract planters to rebuilt the Haitian
economy. As a free black republic, Haiti seemed unlikely to
offer any racial difficultues.
p32 Anna Kingsley moved from Fort George Island to Haiti in
1837, after nearly a quarter century in residence.
p32 Martha Kingsley married a northern immigrant named Oran
Baxter, a shipbuilder and planter. Mary Kingsley married
John S. Sammis, a planter, sawmill operator and merchant.
Both men were of Scots descent.
p32 In 1829, John Maxwell Kingsley was baptised a Catholic on
Fort George Island.
p32 Zephaniah Kingsley converted to Catholicism before 1803,
because that was when he took his oath of loyatlty in order
to receive permission to live in Spanish Florida.
VI. Return to the St. John's River
p33 Zephaniah Kingsley visited Haiti several times between 1835-
1837, and once rode over the mountains to visit President
Boyer, even though by this time, Zephaniah Kingsley was over
70 years old.
p33 Beginning in the 1820s, Boyer invited free blacks from other
countries to come to Haiti to rebuild its economy after the
independence war. In 1835, he purchased land near Cabaret
Harbor on the north coast of the former Spanish part of
p34 George Kingsley established a plantation named "Mayorasgo de
Koka" along Cabaret Creek. Anna lived there for two decades
from 1837 to 1857.
p34 Zephaniah Kingsley died in 1842/09 at age 78 while preparing
to return by ship from New York to Haiti. He had recently
had his fifth child with Flora Hannahan, Roxanne Marguerite
p36 In 1846, while sailing to Florida to look after the
execution of his father's will, George Kingsley's ship was
wrecked by a storm and he died. John Maxwell took over the
planatation in Haiti.
p36 AK made several subsequent visits to Florida on legal
business and to visit her family.
p37 The Kingley family in Haiti received exellent, honest
representation from Mary Kingsley's husband, John Sammis,
based in Florida.
p37 In 1860, Anna Kingsley moved back to the St. johns River in
Florida, despite rising racial tension in that state
throughout the 1850s. Although her motives are not clear,
she was able to live near he daughters, who were two of the
wealthiest women in Duval County. Anna was accompanied by
Bella, the illegitimate daughter of John Maxwell Kingsley.
p38 The area along the St. Johns River between Mary and Martha's
land was unique in northeastern Florida because it had eight
free black familes, in addition to all the relatives of the
p38 In 1861/04, Florida joined the Confederate States of
America. The Union occupied Jacksonville in 1862/04 and
evacuated Anna Kingsley to Hilton Head SC, and then on to
Philadelphia and New York. The Kingsleys were Union
sympathizers and John Sammis accepted a position with the
Union administration in Fernandina. After the war, the
Union permanently occupied Jacksonville and Anna was able to
come home to Florida again.
p39 Ia 1870, Anna was 77 years old. Her daughter Martha died in
1870/02, and Anna herself died in 1870/07. She was survived
by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, one of
whom, Egbert Sammis, entered the Florida state legislature