Graham Trust tells a horrific story relating to slavery
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 5th August 2011 by Liam Physick
John Moss and his family owned slaves on Crooked Island in the Bahamas, and Graham Trust here recounts a truly shocking story of how one slave was treated by Henry and Helen Moss, John’s brother and sister-in-law (and of the ludicrously lenient punishment they received). Graham insists that the Mosses were not involved in slavery “in a sinister way”, and makes a suggests that the culprit was not, in fact, John Moss’s brother. Graham also mentions from the trial transcript that Kate was confined in stocks: however, it is in the pillory, not the stocks, in which the head is confined (in the stocks it is the legs which are confined).
Interviewee: Graham Trust
Interviewee Gender: Male
Date of Interview: 16th November 2010
Graham: Moss was heavily involved in slavery as well, not in a, in a sinister way . . . of course, slavery itself is, is sinister . . .
Graham: . . . we view it as sinister, in the modern age, it wasn’t viewed as quite so sinister in those days, our, our views have been shaped by the passing of a century, a couple of centuries, but it’s undoubtedly true the Moss family were connected with Crooked Island in the Bahamas, Moss’s uncle James was the owner of 1000 slaves on Crooked Island, but in 1826, there was a Henry Moss, who it was said was the nephew of Uncle James, and Henry Moss was John Moss’s brother, so, yes, he was the nephew of James and this, this guy, what happened was, there was a slave girl called Kate, a domestic servant – slave – who, for whatever reason, had steadfastly refused to do her duties to carry out her duties and, they tried to – Henry and his wife, Helen Moss – tried to persuade her to do her duties, and she kept on refusing, and eventually, that had her locked in . . . what do they call them?
Graham: Yeah, what do they call those things that they put around your head? Stocks.
Graham: They locked her in, in stocks, and she was flogged, not just be people under the supervision of Henry and Helen Moss, she was actually flogged by her own father as well, and no matter what punishment was meted out to her, she refused to carry on with her duties, she had read, there was some Capsicum, I think, which is red chilli or something, rubbed in her eyes, which you, make, make you think you were going blind, and it would be very . . . it doesn’t actually make you go blind, it was a, a punishment, which apparently came from Africa, that was one thing they used to do to punish their children and, you know, very unpleasant, but not . . . not so much that you would lose your eyesight. Anyway, she still, despite several days in, in the stocks, and all the punishment that was meted out to her, refused to co-operate and she was released from the stocks and sent into the fields to work with the gangs, that was in, at, at, in the early morning, and by midday, she collapsed and died, and Henry and Helen Moss spent two or three months in prison in the Bahamas. But, the implication is that was John Moss’s brother, and I’ve set out a case in the, in the appendix that it wasn’t him, but I can’t be absolutely sure it wasn’t him.
Categorised under: The Station & Railway Pioneers