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Old Settlers
Sunday, 5 June 2005
Molly Welsh or Walsh (immigrated as indentured servant abt 1683)
SOURCE Benjamin Banneker book by Bedini: pg 7 "It was in this region that our story begins, with the arrival of an Englishwoman named Molly Welsh, at about the turn of the century. There is no certainty about the correct spelling of Molly`s last name inasmuch as no documents relating to her have survived. Both "Welsh" and "Walsh" have been used, but it is likely that the former is the correct version. Young Molly, a servant or milkmaid on a cattle farm, said to be in Wessex County, England, was doing her chores at milking time, when a cow knocked over a pail of milk. Her employer accused her of stealing the milk." pg 8 "The voyage from England to the New World was a terrible experience for anyone, but for the transported convicts it was almost unbearable." pg 9 "The great uncertainty about the length of the voyage invariably caused problems in providing sufficient food and water for passengers and crew. Since the food consisted chiefly of bread or ship biscuit, salt meat, peas, and cheese, the difficulty arose primarily from lack of space for storage. The passengers generally received the same rations as the sailors, consisting of a weekly allowance of seven pounds of bread, cheese and butter, and a weekly allotment of one half pound of pork, with peas on five days...Shipmasters disposed of the felons and indentured servants as their vessels moved up the Chesapeake Bay to the river landings, their planned arrival duly announced in the local newspapers...their contracts were sold, and they became indentured servants. Molly Welsh arrived in the provence of Maryland around 1683...which may have been Providence (later renamed Annapolis) or Londontown...Purchased by a tobacco planter with a plantation on the Patapsco River." pg 11 "Molly worked out the period of her indenture faithfully and without incident. She was reasonably well treated by her master, and she made use of her time by learning as much as she could about this new country, so different from her own...Finally, around 1690, Molly won her freedom...She had neither money nor other forms of legal tender...Her only prospect was to rent a small farm for a modest fee, to be paid annually in tobacco...Her new home was in the midst of wilderness...At first she worked alone...She had no friends...She was evidently very industrious, and became a successful farmer." Molly was against slavery but had no alternative. pg 13 "She finally selected two young male Negroes from those offered. One of them looked particularly healthy and strong, and she quickly visualized his usefulness on the farm. The other lacked those characteristics, but there were qualities about him that she could not identify but which appealed to her...Molly`s hopes were quickly realized in her first choice, and her fears were confirmed with the second...The strong slave, whose name has not survived, proved to be extremely energetic and willing to work...The other slave was otherwise inclined...he was not disposed to work willingly." pg 16 "After several years had passed, Molly Welsh gave her two slaves their freedom." pg 17 "Molly Welsh`s unnamed diligent slave joined the Christian faith, but Bannka held to the beliefs of his African ancestors, as well as his name, which eventually was changed by popular usage to "Banneky". Soon after Molly`s slaves became free, she married Banneky, probably in about 1696. She did so at considerable risk to her own freedom." They have 4 children and then Bannka dies at a young age. This leaves Molly with raising her 4 young children alone. pg 24 "According to the testimony of one of her grandsons, Molly Welsh was not only a white woman, but also had a very fair complexion and blonde hair. Yet every member of her family, including children and grandchildren, were of black complexion, some of the darkest hue."

Posted by bneson at 11:41 PM EDT

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