Dated July 4, 1776: Earliest Known Document Naming an African-American Soldier in the New United States

Dated July 4, 1776: Earliest Known Document Naming an African-American Soldier in the New United States

YONKERS, N.Y., June 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — A 6×8″ manuscript dated July 4, 1776, relating to black soldier Cuffee Dole’s plight near George Washington’s Cambridge headquarters, will appear in a New York auction on July 24.

It is the earliest located document of the newly-independent United States which identifies an African-American by name.

Born free, Dole was sold into slavery by his treacherous nurse.  Confessing on her deathbed that he was in fact freeborn, Dole’s patriotic service was also dramatic and heartrending.

Accused in this document of taking an 8-dollar bill from a fellow soldier – in the house later immortalized in a Longfellow poem – the charges were dropped.  Serving honorably, Dole likely crossed paths with Washington.  A sought-after cook, he became known in the finer homes of Boston for his sumptuous banquets.

Over two centuries, the life of Cuff Dole has become a legend in his corner of Massachusetts, encompassing freedom to slavery, freedom restored, patriotism, and forgiveness.  His tombstone reads, “White man, turn not away in Disgust, Thou art my brother.”  Dole’s land is today a park.  (Opening bid $30,000; estimated market value $100,000-up)  Lot 5-1; image and full description at

Offered separately:

Among 430 other historical documents and collectibles in 31 categories:

Bids are accepted up to July 24, 2018, 9:00 P.M. E.S.T.  All items are fully described at

Bob Snyder
Cohasco, Inc.
P.O. Drawer 821  •  Yonkers, NY 10702   •

SOURCE Cohasco, Inc.

Read on The Source


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