of Elizabeth Norman
by Mr. John Sunami of Columbus, Ohio.
We are fortunate that
much of the family of Bazabeel Norman is well documented. Normans were among the first black settlers in the United States Northwest Territory,
Ohio and Michigan. Normans
have been soldiers in American wars since the original War of Revolution. The Normans
are said never to have been slaves.
The only information from the Maryland
court records about the children’s fathers is for Edward, whose father is mentioned as a “Mullato man of William
Digge’s.” It is possible that Elizabeth could have had a stable relationship
with someone she could not marry. This would have been of advantage to Richard Keene, her master after Benjamin Belt, who
was able to keep her indentured by buying her from the court after each child. When she was about 55 she stated she could
no longer work and was granted a pension by the court.
Bazabeel (Basaleel, Bazil,
Bazel, Bazzell, Basil, Bazlo, Bazael) Norman was born 12 July 1750 in Prince George’s County,
MD and he died 17 July 1830 in Roxbury Township,
Washington County, OH.
The name Bazabeel, though uncommon, is an English name used in the 18th century.
Elizabeth Norman (b. about
1695) was probably an indentured English servant of Benjamin Belt in Prince George’s
County, MD when she had a “mallatoe”
child, Jane, in 1715. When she had her other illegitimate mulatto children Edward and Bridgett, her indenture was extended
for seven years each instance and the children were indentured to the age of 31, so we may assume similar arrangements in
The only information from
the Maryland court records about the father or fathers of Elizabeth Norman's
children is given for Edward, whose father is mentioned as a “Mullato man belonging to William Digges.”
It is possible that Elizabeth could have had a stable relationship with Edward,
but could not marry. This would have been of advantage to her masters Richard Keene and Benjamin Belt, who were able
to keep her indentured by buying her from the court after each child. When she was about 55 she stated she could no longer
work and was granted a pension by the court.
Of the other children
is also stated to be free, Richard Keene is instructed by the court to provide to one of the sons a year of schooling and
a decent suit of clothing at the end of his indenture, so it is possible that Basil also received similar treatment.
The Maryland State Archives
show Basil Norman as enlisting in the Revolutionary Army on 6 June 1778
and being discharged on 31 July 1783. He served with the Seventh
Maryland Regiment, commanded by Colonel John Gunby,ina company of Light Infantry commanded by Captain Beatty
until 12 March 1781, when he transfers as a “waiter to Captain
Anderson”. His listing in the payroll of 1783 is with Lieut Bonham’s Company in the Northern Division. He is listed as having fought at the Battles of Cowpens and Camden.
There is also a notation that on 11 December 1781 he received “one
suit of Cloaths, one pair of Shoes and one pair of Stockings”
In September 1782 he married
Fortune Stevens (Stephens b. abt. 1755) in Frederick, Maryland.
They had six sons and one daughter, all of whom were probably born eitgher in Maryland or Virginia
: James (b.1785) , Grandison Pewinkle (b.7 May 1788), Joseph (b.abt.1794), Rebecca (b.1795), Aquilla
(b.11 July 1797), Bazil Jr. (b.1800), and Samuel (b.1802). Bazabeel
and his wife owned 40 acres of land in Frederick County
which they sold 1 October 1814 for $250 to George Shamblin. This is after they had moved to Ohio.
According to a roster published by the Daughters of the American
Revolution of Ohio, Bazabeel Norman enlisted as a private in 1777
and served four years under Colonel John Gunby. Henry Burke, a Norman descendant and historian living
in Marietta, says Bazel was an artilleryman. Captain Richard Anderson commanded
the 12th Company.
From the Frederick County Deed
1 October 1814 - Indenture
between Bazlo Norman and Fortune his wife ... and Geo. Shamblin
[sic] of [Frederick] County ... for $250 paid by the said
Geo. Chamblin [sic] ... tract of land lying on the head waters of Isaac's Creek a branch of Back Creek 1 [adjoining McGinnis, Alexander Henderson, Charles Simmons, John Capper] it being part of a
tract of 97 acres made for the said McGinnis and Patented in
his name the above said land supposed to Contain about 40 acres ... 36-424
3 November 1814 - Indenture
between George Shamblyn [sic] and Mary his wife of Frederick
County and Thomas Hook of Hampshire County
$1 ... a certain tract of land on the head waters of Isaacs
Creek [as in 36-422] ... The within indenture is given upon this special trust ... that whereas the within named Geo. Chamblyn is indebted to Bazel Norman in the sum of $140 to be paid in manner following ... $28 on 12/23/15,
$20 [sic] on 12/23/16,
$28 on 12/23/17, $28 on 12/23/18
and $28 on 12/23/19, and
the said Geo. Chamblin being desirous of securing the payment
the several sums of money to the said Bazel Norman. Now therefore
if either of the above mentioned sums shall remain Unpaid
when the same shall severally become due then ... it
shall ... be lawful for the said Thomas Hook after advertising
the same for three weeks successively
some News Paper printed in Winchester, to sell the ... Premises at Public Auction for ready Money to the highest bidder ... 51-187
[release for the above tract: RI the said Thomas Hook do hereby declare that my name was only used in trust for the said Bazel NormanS]39-365
1 April 1817-
Indenture between George Chamblyn and Mary his wife of Frederick
County ... and Thomas McGraw
of the County of Hampshire ... for $200 ... parcel ... on the head waters of Isaacs Creek
a branch of back Creek and being the same purchased
by the same Chamblyn of Basil Norman and Fortune
his wife as per Deed [of 1 October 1814] ...
|Dad (John Burke) Mom (Anna Norman Burke)