PAUL CUFFE Biography - Military related figures


Biography » military related figures » paul cuffe


Name: Paul Cuffee                                                                     
Born: 1759                                                                             
Died: 9 September 1817                                                                 
Paul Cuffee (1759-September 9, 1817) is most commonly known for his work in           
aiding free Negroes who wanted to emigrate to Sierra Leone. With the help of his       
shipping company Cuffee launched his first expedition to Sierra Leone on January       
2, 1811. While in Sierra Leone, Cuffee helped to establish The Friendly Society       
of Sierra Leone, a trading organization. He had faith that the Friendly Society       
would help to establish a far more powerful Sierra Leone economy as well as self-help 
projects for the residents of the colony. He envisioned a mass emigration of           
Negroes to Africa.                                                                     
Paul Cuffee was born free on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, the youngest of         
ten children. His father, Kofi (also known as Cuffee Slocum and "Cuffee Cuffee"),     
was a member of a West African Ashanti tribe who had been captured and brought         
to America as a slave at the age of 10. Paul's mother, Ruth Moses, was a Native       
American and a member of a local tribe. Kofi was a skilled carpenter who               
educated himself and earned his freedom. Cuffee's father died when he was a           
teenager. He and his brothers refused to use the name Slocum, which his father         
had acquired from his owner, and adopted his father's personal name Hosie Cuffee       
The closest mainland port to Cuttyhunk was New Bedford, Massachusetts, the             
center of the American whaling industry. At the age of 16, Paul Cuffee signed on       
a whaling ship and later on cargo ships, where he learned navigation. During the       
American Revolution he was held prisoner by the British for a time. At the age         
of 21 he refused to pay his taxes because he did not have the right to vote.           
Cuffee believed that he should not have to pay taxes if he was not being               
represented. In 1780 he petitioned the council of Bristol County to end taxation       
without representation. The petition was denied, but it was one of the                 
influences that led the Legislature to grant voting rights to free male citizens       
of the state in 1783.                                                                 
Because Cuffee had grown up on an island he developed a lifelong love for the         
sea. At age 24 he became part owner of a small vessel and married Alice Pequit.       
She was a member of the same Native American tribe as Cuffee's mother. The             
couple settled in Westport, Massachusetts, where they raised their eight               
children. As Cuffee became more successful he invested in more ships and made a       
sizable fortune for the day and especially for a Black man of this era. In the         
1790s he made his money in cod fishing and smuggling goods from Canada. With his       
money Cuffee bought a large farm along the Westport River and was able to invest       
in the expansion of his fleet.