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The full text of

William S. Drewry, 

The Southampton Insurrection 

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The Internet Archive

William Sidney Drewry, The Southampton Insurrection, 1900




The Southampton Insurrection



William Sidney Drewry, Ph.B., B.A.

(University of Va.)

Honorary Scholar in History, Johns Hopkins University









This attempt to separate truth from fiction has been exceedingly difficult, owing to the numerous misrepresentations and exaggerations which have grown up about the subject. I have studied slavery, slave legislation, and the condition of the negro in every phase that might throw light upon slave insurrections. Citizens of all classes, former slaves as well as masters, have been interviewed. The scenes of this and other insurrections have been visited in company with persons thoroughly acquainted with the country and with the facts and conditions under which they occurred. Among those interviewed were members of every family that suffered at the hands of Southampton insurgents. Persons who had guarded the prisoners and seen them executed, relatives of Nat Turner, Hark Travis, Nelson Williams, Jeff. Edwards, and other negroes who had known the insurgents personally and labored with them, all furnished me information. These oral traditions I have endeavored to verify by comparison with each other, with official letters, proceedings of legislatures, county records, proceedings of county and superior courts, and other historical sources. . . .



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