In the months and years after the rebellion was suppressed, residents of Southampton and the surrounding counties moved on with their lives as best they could.
Two slaveholders, named John O. Donnelly and Edwin Gary, were tried in court for murdering a slave. Ultimately, they were acquitted.
One convicted insurrectionist from Sussex County, a slave named Boson, escaped sometime after his trial and successfully evaded authorities for over three years. In 1835, he was recaptured, and residents of Sussex involved with the case wrote to the governor, asking that Boson’s sentence be reduced to transportation out of the state.
The slaveholders who had come closest to the revolt used a variety of strategies to cope. Harriet Whitehead, whose family had been killed by the rebels while she hid in a closet, claimed to have turned to “stimulating medicines, drinks and the like” to deal with the trauma she had experienced. Nathaniel Francis, in the meantime, focused on property acquisition, including that of the evidently debilitated Harriet Whitehead. As the Census Records of 1840 show, others seemed to return to ways of making a living typical in antebellum Virginia - buying and selling slaves and consolidating their family’s property holdings through carefully chosen marriages.
After the revolt, many free African Americans from Southampton County emigrated to Liberia through the American Colonization Society. Ships with free black Southampton residents aboard sailed for Monrovia in January and June of 1832, as did the ship the Saluda in March of 1840.
Murder of a Slave
Recapture of Convicted Rebel, Sussex County, 1835
Slaveholders, Selected Families, 1840
Free African Americans, Selected Families, 1840
Harriet Whitehead v. Nathaniel Francis
Thomas R. Gray
James Strange French
Free Black Emigrants to Liberia