The Remarkable Story of Cuff Slocum
By David C. Cole
Brought to New England around 1720 as a 12 or 13-year-old African slave, Cuff Slocum managed to earn his freedom, marry a Native American woman and, together with her, raise ten healthy children and purchase two large farm properties before his death in 1772. Three deeds and a will provide critical reference points for this story, but there is much more to be gleaned from his own records, the records of those with whom he interacted and various documents that give insight into the conditions of the times in which he lived. All of these provide us with a fascinating and inspiring story.
The first recorded document about Cuff Slocum is the bill of sale in 1742 transferring his ownership as a slave from Ebenezer Slocum to John Slocum. The next records are the registration of his intentions to marry Ruth Moses in 1746 and their marriage in 1747. The Dartmouth Vital Records record the birth of their first child, David in 1747 in Dartmouth, but there are no official records beyond that. Family records, however, show the rest of their nine children born between 1748 and 1766 but do not indicate where those births occurred. Other evidence suggests that the second son, Jonathan was born in Dartmouth and that the other eight children were born on Cuttyhunk Island.