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Sam Francis


The Francis farm was linked to the farms of Porter, Edwards, and Travis. Sam Francis most likely grew up near Nat Turner and the rest of the core conspirators. They were probably old friends.


Who were Sam's owners?

Sam Francis was legally given to Nathaniel Francis in the will of Mary Pope in 1820. Francis would remain Sam's master until the rebellion.


  • “I give to my cousin Nathaniel Francis one negro man named Sam to have and be his forever.”

- Will of Mary Pope


What did Sam do during the revolt?

When Sam Francis went to meet with Nat Turner on August 21, 1831, he was not alone. He brought along Will Francis. Besides recruiting Will, Sam would participate fully in the rebellion.


  • “Marched them off to Mr. Salathul Francis', about six hundred yards distant. Sam and Will went to the door and knocked. Mr. Francis asked who was there, Sam replied, it was him, and he had a [p. 13] letter for him, on which he got up and came to the door, they immediately seized him, and dragging him out a little from the door, he was dispatched by repeated blows on the head; there was no other white person in the family.”

- Thomas R. Gray, The Confessions of Nat Turner, 1831



What happened to Sam?

Sam Francis was captured at one point during the revolt and sentenced to death by hanging.


  • “Levi Waller a witness for the Commonwealth & being sworn says that the prisoner Sam was one of the insurgent negroes that came to the witnesses house on Monday the 22d day of August last, the witness is positive that the prisoner was present for he saw him there and has known him well for several years and he saw the prisoner go with others in the house in which the witness’s family was murdered.”

- Trial of Sam Francis, September 3, 1831



Information about Sam Francis was retrieved from David F. Allmendinger, “The Inner Circle,” in Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2014), 90.



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