You are here

Scottish slave's story of voyage to, live in America

Peter Williamson was born about 1730 in Scotland to a poor but respectable family. At a young age, his mother died and he was sent to live with an aunt in Aberdeen. Though little acknowledged, this was a time of an active slave trade in stolen children, most of whom were taken to North America. In 1743, Peter was approached by two men from a nearby ship who lured him away with promises of a life of ease and plenty. In fact, they were recruitment agents for a local merchant who "kidnapped" youths and sold them into plantation service. These merchants employed gangs to discover and procure victims either by false promises or by force. After boys and girls had been taken, they appeared before local justices to undergo a parody of "indenturing." It was a common sight to see youngsters being driven with through the streets of Aberdeen by men wielding whips to an assembly point to await loading on the next ship to America.

Shipped to the Colonies

In July 1743 Peter and other youngsters were put aboard a ship bound for the American Colonies. The ship landed in Philadelphia, and Peter was sold for seven years' service to another Scotsman, Hugh Wilson, who himself had been kidnapped as a young man and sold into slavery. Wilson was humane, honest and sent Peter to school but died before the end of the indenture. He left money, a horse and saddle and all his clothes to Peter.

Peter did odd jobs around the countryside for several years. He married the daughter of a planter and was given 200 acres of land in Berks Co., Pa., where he settled down to life as a farmer.

Indian captivity & military service

In October 1754, while his wife was visiting relatives, Indians broke into Peter's home, tied him to a tree and burned down his house. They took Peter with them and he was forced to act as a pack mule on a long march. While with the Indians, he witnessed other atrocities on white settlers.

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK
Classifieds: (580) 357-9545
Circulation: (580) 353-6397
Switchboard: (580) 353-0620