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The Revolutionary World of a Free Black Man: Jacob Francis 1754-1836
Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Hunterdon County Historical Society will host a free virtual program on African-American patriot Jacob Francis, who fought alongside Continental soldiers during the American Revolution.
Author, historian and Crossroads Advisory Board member William “Larry” Kidder will discuss Francis’s life on Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. To reserve a space, visit the historical society’s website at www.hunterdonhistory.org.
The program will explore Francis’s life during the time of slavery and its abolition in New Jersey. Early in life, Francis was indentured out until the age of 21. While this was not enslavement, it wasn’t far from it. After a series of interesting circumstances, Francis ended his indenture in 1775 in Salem, Massachusetts, after living there between 1768 and 1775 during the build-up to the Revolution. In late 1775, he enlisted in a Massachusetts Continental army regiment and fought in the siege of Boston, the New York campaign and the Battle of Trenton.
He not only dealt with problems of race during the war but also experienced the physical and mental hardships common to all soldiers. After his enlistment expired, he served in the Hunterdon County militia for the remainder of the war.
After the war, he became a farmer and married an enslaved woman, who then became free, raising his family in Amwell Township and later Flemington. Struggling with discrimination and aware of their father’s commitment to fighting for the rights of all men, several of Francis’s children became active in the abolition movement.