Cesar & Lowis Peters
In 1787, the Reverend Samuel Peters, a former Hebron resident living in England, arranged to have many of his assets sold, including his slaves, to help make financial ends meet. On September 27th of that year, Peters’ Hebron slaves, Cesar and Lowis Peters, and their children were taken forcibly from Hebron by a slave trader and brought to Norwich to be loaded on a ship headed for South Carolina.
Cesar & Lowis’s white neighbors felt that the abduction of their friends was unfair and devised an ingenious scheme to get them back from the slavers. They made up a story that Cesar had stolen some goods from a local tailor and got the local justice of the peace to issue an arrest warrant. They presented the arrest warrant to the slaver, and succeeded in bringing Cesar and Lowis back to Hebron.
This event, one of the most dramatic freedom stories in our state’s history, earned the town of Hebron a designation by The Amistad Committee in 2007 as part of the Connecticut Freedom Trail.
Cesar & Lowis Peters: Articles & Exhibits:
This well researched history of Rev. Peters, his slaves and their attempted abduction was written by F.C. Bissell, Hebron Historian. Mr. Bissell also wrote the history of Hebron’s first 100 years in the report of the Hebron Bicentennial Celebration of 1908.
This 2009 film, written and directed by local Hebron resident, Matthew Troy, portrays the abduction of Cesar and Lowis Peters, the creation of an arrest warrant for theft to secure their return to Hebron, and the subsequent trial in 1787 to nullify their sale by Samuel Peters’ attorneys, John and Nathaniel Mann to a South Carolina slave owner. To pay their fine for the theft, Cesar and Lowis were sentenced to provide 2 years of service of Elijah and Patience Graves. At the end of that servitude, Cesar & Lowis successfully applied for emancipation from the Connecticut General Assembly.
Depositions given to Connecticut General Assembly in January 1789 in support of Cesar and Lowis's emancipation
In 1789, Cesar & Lowis applied for emancipation from the Connecticut General Assembly, sitting in New Haven at that time. According to the 1789 deposition of David Sutton, their “guardian”, Cesar had been unable to do much work since his rescue, “being badly hurt as I understood by irons being put on his wrists.” The following documents are related to that application.
Deposition of Elijah Graves – Original Document
Deposition of Joseph Case – Original Document
Deposition of Patience Graves – Original Document
Hebron Board of Selectmen Resolution of Peters Emancipation Effort – Original Document
Testimony of Silvester Gilbert – Original Document
Testimony of David Sutton – Original Documents
Cesar Peters' Lawsuit Against John and Nathaniel Mann
Cesar Peters vs. John and Nathaniel Mann, November 14, 1789 – Original Document