In Honor of Black History Month 2012 | Virginia Slavery

The Binga’s & Cotillier’s

Was Virginia The Mother Of Slavery

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Rev. Anthony Binga Sr. 2

Anthony Binga Sr., Escaped Slave, UGRR Misson Founder, Cousin Binga Branch

My Binga ancestors are thought to have been originally enslaved in Virginia. In the book, “Migrants Against Slavery: Virginians and the Nation” it states:

“Mrs. Binga had escaped from Tennessee and the Reverend Mr. Binga from Kentucky.  Anthony Binga Sr. was a leader of Baptists in Western Ontario and provided constant assistance to fugitives there, until slavery ended in the United States.  Binga Sr. was born about 1817 or 1818 in Kentucky.  His Father was born in 1785.  Where did his parents come from?  The migration patterns of post-Revolutionary (War) slave owners make it entirely possible that they lived in Virginia and had even been born there.  Binga Sr. lived his last few years with his son in Richmond (VA) and is buried there.”  Migrants Against Slavery, Phillip J. Schwarz, 2001, p. 169

I find it very interesting that two maternal branches of my family were at some point  in the state of Virginia. I suspect that my Binga ancestors may have been among the first Africans brought to the New World as slaves and most likely came from the Congo, Angola regions of West Central Africa, unless they were indigenous to the Pacific Islands, Mexico or ancient America. For more information on the Angolan connection and slavery in Virginia click here.  For more information on indigenous blacks of ancient America click here, here and here.

Thomas B. Cotillier, 2nd Great Grandfather, Born 1833 in Richmond, VA. He married Adelaide Binga, daughter of escaped slave William W. Binga

The Courtillier family tree states that the original ancestors were traveling  merchants, from France who settled in Quebec, CA. Later, their sons Thomas and John explored the New World Colonies and settled in Virginia about 1609. A later ancestor, Edward Catillier is said to have married a mixed African and Portuguese woman named Anna sometime during the late 1640’s. I haven’t found any documentation to support these claims.

From the late 1660’s, the Cotillier family members are listed in Jamestown court, indenture/slavery and taxation records as mulattoes or free Negroes. Abraham Cuttillo (born abt. 1733 in Virginia) a cotton and tobacco planter at Bears Element Creek, Lunenburg County, VA owned slaves during the 1780’s. I was shocked and saddened by this information. The following is from the website Free African Americans:

Abraham2 Cuttillo, born say 1733 (The Courtillier Family Tree States that he was born in 1652), was taxable in the Lunenburg County household of (his father) Edward Cuttillo in 1752 [1748-52 Tithables]. He was witness to a Lunenburg County deed for land on Flat Rock Creek, bounded by John Evans, which James and Mary Loman sold on 12 October 1769 [DB 11:303]. In 1774 John Drew was taxable in his Lunenburg County household [Bell, Sunlight on the Southside, 330]. He purchased 171-1/2 acres in Lunenburg County on Bears Element Creek from (his father) Edward Cuttillo on 11 February 1779 [DB 13:185]. He was taxable in Lunenburg County on one free tithe, one slave over sixteen years of age named Suck, 4 slaves under 16, and 12 horses in 1782 and taxable on 3 slaves under 16, 9 horses and one head of cattle in 1785 [Personal Property Tax List 1782-1841]. His 7 March 1790 Lunenburg County will named his wife Sarah as executrix and named his sons: John, Abraham, and Edward, and his daughters: Mary, Sally, Jane Lowman, and Betsy Cuttillo, who were to receive their share of his estate when they came of age. Mary Loman was a witness to the will [WB 3:365]. 

The Jamestown Beginnings of the Cotillier Family

On the website, Virtual Jamestown the Cotillier family begins with a free white woman Katherine Jewell-Pond born about 1639 who had 3 illegitimate mulatto children called by the surname Cattilla including Mary born 1669, William born on 3/6/1670 (the date of his indenture) and Matthew (my direct ancestor) born 1672.

The Courtillier Family Tree states that Abram Catillier born 1652 was the father of Katherine Jewell-Pond’s three mulatto children. I find this information a bit disconcerting, because Katherine had her first mulatto child when she was about 30 and Abram Catillier would have been a 17 year old minor at that time (1669). Also, Katherine lived in York County and Abram lived in Lunenburg County.

The excerpts below are from:

Virtual Jamestown |The Practice of Slavery | Selected Virginia Records relating to Slavery

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (7) 61, 24 March 1684/5.

March 23, 1684/5-Deed of Gift from William Booth to William [Cattillia].

[William was one of three children born to a white woman named Katherine Jewell and an unknown black father before her marriage to Stephen Pond, a white planter. Jewell bound out her son to William Booth, one of the leading planters in Charles Parish. In this deed of gift Booth conveyed a heifer to William.]

Mr Jenings I would desyer you to Record It as followeth

Whereas William a Mulatto boy sonn of Katharine Jewell is bound to me by a certaine Indenture beareing date the 6th of March 1670[/1] for the tearme & time of thirty yeares In Consideration whereof I am to give him his bringing up and Corne & Cloathes at the Expiration of his time and a heifer of a yeare old when he attaines to the Age of fowerteen about which age he is now I doe therefore acknowledge to have marked a pied yeareling with a figure of three under the right Eare having browne Eares & a browne Mussell her & her Increase to run and be for the use and behoofe of the sd Malattoe boy & him onely serveing out his full time accoarding to the sd Indenture otherwise to returne to me & this I doe acknowledge to the Records of York County Given under my hand this 23d March 1684/5 Wm Booth.

Source: York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills (9) 341, 24 May 1694.

April 1695-William Cattilla’s Petition [For Freedom From Indenture].

[William Cattilla, mulatto son of Katherine (Jewell) Pond, successfully petitioned for his freedom from his mistress, Margaret Booth, the widow of William Booth. Cattilla’s success indicates that his identity as a free black man was based on social relationships in addition to the colony’s laws.]

Willm Catillah servant to Mrs Margrett Booth haveing sumonsed his sd mistres to this Court to answer his complainant who saith that whereas he was the son of a free woman & was baptized into the Christian faith haveing honestly & truly served his mistres aforesd to his full age of 24 years praying order for his freedom together with his corne & cloathes accord. to law with costs the same is accordingly granted & the next Court to be confirmed if the dft his sd mistress then faile personally to appear & shew just cause to the contrary.

The following excerpt is from: A Study of the Africans and African Americans on Jamestown Island and at Green Spring, 1619-1803, by Martha W. McCartney with contributions by Lorena S. Walsh

Tightening of the Restrictions on Blacks

During Governor William Berkeley’s second term in office, numerous changes were made in the laws regulating the conduct of servants. In December 1662 the legislature, which was faced with the question of whether “children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman should be slave or free,” declared that “all children borne in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother.” Moreover, if any Christian were to “committ ffornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the ffines imposed by the former act”
(Hening 1809-1823:II:170). This suggests that inter-racial liaisons had become relatively common and that the government was determined to discourage them.

That the race of the mother determined whether a child was classified as enslaved or free
is evident in a York County court record that dates to 1685. It states that in 1670 Katherine Jewell, a free white woman, who had had a child with a black man, bound her mulatto son, William, over to William Booth, a prominent planter, for 30 years. When the boy reached age 14 he was to be given a heifer and its increase. When he had served out his term, he was to be freed. York County records reveal that in 1695, William (known as William Cattilla) asked the county justices to free him, for he had faithfully served until age 24. The justices agreed to his request and his master’s widow (Margaret
Booth) was ordered to provide him with corn and clothes (York County Deeds, Orders, Wills 7:61; 10:137). Thus, William, whose mother was white and free, also was considered free. Katherine Jewell’s daughter, Mary, who was mulatto, had a child with a white man named John Berry and was fined (York County Deeds, Orders, Wills 9:341).  READ MORE, p. 69

Source |


About C. Rae White

I'm a proud 6th generation Detroiter, a creative who loves working with my hands and a fashion fanatic with a thing for shoes, bags and jewelry. I'm a family researcher who loves discovering the details of my ancestors lives. Thanks for stopping by!
This entry was posted in African American History, Family Research, Genealogy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to In Honor of Black History Month 2012 | Virginia Slavery

  1. k Elizabeth says:

    It’s horrifying to consider that this was common so recently. My oldest son is African American and you’ve inspired me to search out his roots. Thank you, C. Rae. Beautiful photos, also.

    • C. Rae White says:

      Thanks so much! Finding my roots has been a wonderful experience. I’ve been able to better integrate the various aspects of my ancestry/DNA into a more harmonious existence. Finding my ancestors (and their stories) gives me a deeper understanding of our purpose for living. I’m very thankful for the ancestors upon who’s shoulders I stand. I deeply respect what my people went through and how they triumphed over circumstances to make a better life for themselves and for countless others.

  2. Liza Vassallo says:

    It must be a chilling experience to come to find where your roots came from; I don’t really know beyond my grandparents. I know my grandparents were poor but happy; they had their own farm. My grandparents just had way too many children and now they are scattered all over the world. When I think of my grandparents; I can only imagine their struggles of having 14 or 8 children.

  3. Wow! You had slave owners in your family? You just never know where your history will go once you start tracking down stuff. Good find

  4. Pingback: The Underground Railroad and the Legacy of Black Resistance | The Wright Museum, Detroit | Life is Good

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