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Rhode Island African American Data

 

HANNIBAL COLLINS

This hero was born on the Governor Collins farm just outside the Newport line. He secured his freedom by enlisting in the Continental Army. He fought and was injured in the Battle of Rhode Island and came to Newport to recuperate. At the outbreak of the War of 1812 he enlisted in the Naval forces and accompanied Commodore Perry to Lake Erie and helped construct the fleet that drove British naval power from the Great Lakes forever. He was in charge of the Commodore's barge during the famous engagement fought at Put-in-Bay September 13th, 1810, and commonly called the Battle of Lake Erie. In this fight a large number of the American forces were negroes, some writers say more than half. Several Newport men of color made the Supreme Sacrifice in this engagement, among them being John Braenmer, Alexander Jones, and Cuffee Pedro. At the close of the War, Collins re-enlisted and in later years accompanied Perry on his ill-fated diplomatic voyage to South America, and when that gallant officer, whe fell a victim of fever, breathed his last, he was resting in Hannibal Collins' arms. He was an industrious citizen and accumulated considerable property. His residence, still standing, was at the southwest corner of William and Thomas Streets. Like his wife, Mehitable, he was a member of the Colored Union Church.

 

Source: Negroes of Rhode Island, by Charles A. Battle, 1932 - Transcribed by C. Anthony