BLACK SEAMAN - Pre war of 1812
Document certifying "That Noah Brown, an American Seaman, aged Twenty Four Years, or thereabouts, of the Height of Five Feet, Four & half Inches, Black Complexion, has a scar on his right leg, and one on his left arm, and marks of the small pox in his face".
William J. Brown was born in 1814 into a free African American family in Providence, Rhode Island. His father's parents had been slaves owned by Rhode Island's greatest mercantile family, the Browns; his mother was the daughter of an African-American slave and a Narragansett Indian woman. Brown's father had been a sailor and laborer; William worked at these occupations as well, but became a shoemaker and a prominent member of the African-American community in Providence. His autobiography, published in 1883, is one of the fullest records of black life in New England in the years before the Civil War.