Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
Sall, an eleven-year-old girl, was taken from her mother.
The year was 1760.
Sall's heart-wrenching story starts a reprisal of a series delving into the "Lost Lives of London Town." We originally ran this series in 2018 on our Facebook page, but it’s an important part of our history at London Town, so we wanted to return to it again. In each post, we'll share the stories of people enslaved in the area and what we know of them. The stories aren't always easy to read, but they are always important.
Stripping children from their parents was distressingly common in the eighteenth century. Slavery undermined families, and tried to split mothers, fathers, and children from each other by erasing their last names from history. It made it easier to sell children away from their parents when the enslavers could pretend those connections didn't exist or were fictional concoctions of the enslaved.
We believe Sall was the daughter of Sue, who was owned by Thomas Tilley. William Brown, whose tavern still stands at London Town today, purchased Sall from Tilley for "fifteen pounds current money [of Maryland]..."
A few years later, when William Brown sought a loan, he listed Sall as part of his collateral.
We don't know what happened to Sall after that. When William Brown sought another loan in 1785, he no longer had any enslaved people listed as security, indicating that Sall was no longer part of his household. Nor do we know if she was able to continue any relationship with her mother.