our research of Claypit, we discovered that African Americans may have
been laid to rest there including Barzillai Lew who served during the
Revolutionary War. We then decided to learn more about the African
American community that existed back then in Dracut. According to
census records, there were several free colored families living in
Dracut. The first African American family to settle within Dracut’s
borders was the family of Anthony Negro.
to Martha Mayo, archivist at the Center for Lowell History, Anthony
Negro was born around 1680. We found it interesting that a free African
American family was living in Dracut at this time. It is likely that he
had been an indentured servant and was granted his freedom at the end
of his contract. About 250,000 indentured servants reached America in
the colonial era. 
In 1706 Anthony married a woman by the name of Margaret. However, she
died in September of 1712 and Anthony then married Sarah “Sary” Mingoe.
The Negro family became known as the Anthony family and all of the
children’s names ended in “Anthony Negro”. There are records of nine
children of Anthony and Sary. They are:
- Margret – born: August 27, 1716
- Robert – born: April 15, 1719
- Jonathan – born: August 8, 1721
the 1790 census there were five possible categories people could be
counted under. These categories were free white males 16 and older,
free white males under 16, all other free persons, and slaves. The
members of the Anthony Negro family would have fell under the category
of “all other free people.” However, no one appears on the 1790 census
at all with the surname Negro or Anthony Negro. According to the 1800
census, five families by the name of Negro appear but none were living
in Middlesex County. It is unknown whether any of these Negro families
were descendents of Anthony Negro.
to Martha Mayo, prior to settling in Dracut, the Anthony Negro family
previously lived in Concord, Massachusetts. There are records of
Anthony Negro in Concord, by the name of “Antoner”. Together the family
traveled to Dracut between the years of 1712 and 1716. Anthony was
granted several lots of land throughout the town. In 1721 Anthony
purchased one lot of land in Dracut. Unfortunately, there are no records of land transactions made by Anthony Negro in the Middlesex Registry of Deeds.
northeast area in Dracut, where most of his land was located, was
referred to as “Black North” probably because he owned so much land
This land was located on Marsh Hill and beyond Dracut’s border into
Pelham. A brook in Pelham bears the name “Tony Brook” after Anthony
Negro. He passed away on June 10, 1741, when he was in his sixties.
Negro’s probate record listed Josiah Richardson as executor of his
estate. His probate also lists that he owned ninety acres of land in
Dracut, £25 in cash, a table, an ax, and other old irons.
On his probate it states that he had in his possession a bond, which
entitled him to £15 due from Caleb Dalton. The executors of his estate
found this bond to be of no value. They do not explain why they came
to this conclusion. According to Anthony Negro’s will, he left his
estate to his children:
- Joseph – five shillings and £30 from the sale of some of Anthony’s land
- Robert – £24
- Margret – £12
- Hannah – as much money or cows that her master would allow at the age of eighteen
- Sarah –£5 at the age of eighteen
- David – £24 at the age of twenty-one
- Jonathan and Peter – evenly divide the remainder of the estate
We have been unable to locate any further records of
the Negro family. This is due to the fact that as an African
American family in colonial America, they often did not always appear
in towns’ vital records and left very few other records. Anthony Negro
still holds an important place in the town’s history and the history of
the African American community in Dracut.
There are records of similar situations taking place in Jamestown,
Virginia, where African Americans gained freedom after working for as
long as their contract called for. Oscar Reiss, Blacks in Colonial America, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1997, p. 9.
Sary died on January 20, 1740-1 according to the Dracut Vital Records.
We know he remarried after his first wife died because according to the
Dracut Vital Records, the births of three of his children are recorded
and their children’s parents are listed as Antony and Sary. According
to Martha Mayo, Sary’s maiden name was Mingoe. We also obtained the
date for his marriage to his first wife, Margaret, from Martha Mayo.
The names of the nine children were recovered from his will. He may
have had other children but we have records of no others. The dates of
his children’s births were taken from the Dracut Vital Records.
 Silas R. Coburn, The History of Dracut Massachusetts, Lowell: Press of the Courier-Citizen Company, 1922, pp. 331-332.
Wilbert H. Seibert, “The Underground Railroad in Massachusetts.”
Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 45 (April 1935-October
1935), p. 24. accessed from:
 Silas R. Coburn, The History of Dracut, Lowell: Citizen Courier Press, 1922, pp. 331-332.
 There were more items listed under his estate, however, we were unable read them.
 According to her father’s will, Hannah’s master was Nathan Blodget. She was probably his indentured servant.
 We found Anthony Negro’s probate at the Massachusetts State Archives.