The Drock Story (Second Edition)

Posted in History, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Slavery, United States on 2013-10-04 02:40Z by Steven

The Drock Story (Second Edition)

Our Family Tree – Ancestors of Donald W.L. Roddy and Related Family Lines
August 2005
29 pages

Donald W. L. Roddy (From Research by: Daryl Y. [Hooper] Holmes and Donald W. L. Roddy)

1730 – Norwich, Connecticut:

My great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Guy Drock, was probably born sometime between 1726 and 1742, most likely around 1730, give or take a few years. He may have been born in Norwich, or born elsewhere and brought to Norwich as a child. Guy officially became a Christian on 31 July, 1742, when he was baptized in the First Congregational Church in Norwich, New London County, in the Colony of Connecticut in New England. Nothing is said about his age in the baptismal Record, other than that he was a boy, so we don’t know if his was an infant baptism or a voluntary baptism sometime in his later childhood.

As a boy, and young man, Guy worked for Captain Benajah Bushnell, who was a wealthy, influential land speculator, and one of the original settlers of what became Norwich in New London County in the Colony of Connecticut in New England. He got the title “Captain”, not from any association with seafaring, but because of his involvement with the local militia which conducted drills at least once a year, whether they needed it or not. Sometime around 1755, Sarah Powers, a young woman from Newport, on the Colony of Rhode Island, also started working for Benajah Bushnell. We do not know whether Sarah Powers was a voluntary employee of Bushnell or an indentured servant legally obligated to work for him for a specified period of time. In fact, we know very little about Sarah …. we do not even know for sure that she was born in Rhode Island, only that she had lived there prior to appearing in Norwich.

While working for Bushnell, Sarah apparently fell in love with Guy, and probably married him sometime around 1757 or before. It is likely that she also had a child by Guy between 1757 and 1759, perhaps Simon. In June, 1759, Guy and Sarah probably stopped working for Benajah Bushnell, and set about trying to make a new life for themselves. The so called French and Indian War was raging at the time. Guy opened a small blacksmith shop in downtown Norwich. He may have learned his blacksmith’s skills while working for Bushnell, or perhaps he became self taught after he left Bushnell’s service. During the war, inflation ran rampant. After the war, of course, came an economic depression. Guy and Sarah must have been hard pressed indeed to keep body and soul together. Then, to make matters worse, the British parliament started passing the series of acts that eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

Read the entire paper here.

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Descendants of Norwich slave, owner meet

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2013-10-03 05:00Z by Steven

Descendants of Norwich slave, owner meet

Norwich Bulletin
Norwich, Connecticut

Adam Benson

Norwich, Conn.—When descendants of Norwich slave Guy Drock and the man who owned him met  for the first time Thursday, they weren’t sure what would happen.

Grant Hayter-Menzies’ fifth-generation great-grandfather, Capt. Benejah Bushnell, owned Drock for a decade in the mid-1700s in Norwich.

Hayter-Menzies, of British Columbia; Daryl D’Angelo, of Amherst, N.H.; and her cousin, Donald Roddy, of Spokane, Wash. — all of them white — came to Karen Cook’s U.S. history class at Norwich Free Academy with a story they said had to be told.

“I don’t have any of the cultural and social legacies of someone who grew up identified as an African-American, and I still had a moment of, ‘What does this guy want from me,’” D’Angelo said of meeting Hayter-Menzies.

Hayter-Menzies was apprehensive, too…

… Roddy, a retired airline pilot, said he stumbled across his Drock lineage several years ago, while doing genealogical research on his family.

“I had no idea I had African ancestors until a few years ago,” Roddy said. “No one in my living family had a clue about that.”

Hayter-Menzies said he’s forged a unique bond with D’Angelo and Roddy, and quickly felt a kinship with them once they finally met.

“My first reaction was to reach out and hug you,” Hayter-Menzies told D’Angelo. “We feel like friends already.”…

Read the entire article here.

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“Slavery, Freedom and Reunion in a Colonial Connecticut Town” with Grant Hayter-Menzies, Daryl D’Angelo and Donald Roddy

Posted in Audio, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2013-10-03 03:25Z by Steven

“Slavery, Freedom and Reunion in a Colonial Connecticut Town” with Grant Hayter-Menzies, Daryl D’Angelo and Donald Roddy

Research at the National Archives and Beyond
BlogTalk Radio
Thursday, 2013-10-03, 21:00 EDT, (Friday, 2013-10-04, 01:00Z)

Bernice Bennett, Host

In June 1759, Norwich, Connecticut businessman Benajah Bushnell sold Guy Drock, a slave of African ancestry, to Sarah Powers, the Caucasian woman Drock had possibly married. Ironically, this deed freed Drock from Bushnell’s control but not from slavery. In March 2012, descendants of Guy and Sarah Drock and of Benajah Bushnell came together in Norwich for the first time in over two centuries. Drock descendants Daryl D’Angelo and Donald Roddy—who when they began their research years earlier did not know they had African ancestry, and Bushnell descendant Grant Hayter-Menzies—who thought only his Southern ancestors were slave owners—met to try to understand a legacy they did not know they shared. In the town where their past began, they sought to explore the personal impact of their ancestors’ intertwined histories, how the past has shaped them, their research and their interactions with one another today, and the relatively unknown institution of slavery in early New England.

  • Grant Hayter-Menzies is an internationally published biographer and journalist .
  • Daryl D’Angelo is a wife and mother, photographer and writer, and lives in a small town [Amherst] in southern New Hampshire.
  • Donald Roddy is a 78 year old retired Airline Pilot.

For more information, click here.

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