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Waterbury's African Americans
goback to Waterbury's African Americans List


Mingo is often stated to be the first enslaved African American to come to Waterbury. When he was a boy, sometime around 1730, he was purchased by Deacon Thomas Clark. Clark hired out his services for daily farm labors to other Waterbury residents.

Mingo was probably not the first person to be enslaved in Waterbury, as there were many Pequots and other native peoples held as slaves throughout Connecticut since the 17th century. Mingo was also probably not the first African American slave in Waterbury. The 1737 estate inventory of Capt. William Hickcox lists “Lewis the negro man,” valued at £140, and “Filis the negro woman,” valued at £100. Lewis and Filis could very well have arrived in Waterbury before Mingo. The author of the History of Waterbury published in 1858 believed, however, that Mingo was the first slave in Waterbury.

Mingo lived in Waterbury for roughly 70 years. Upon Deacon Clark’s death in 1764, Mingo was allowed to choose which of the Deacon’s sons to live with. He chose to remain in the family home with the Deacon’s son Thomas, but when Thomas turned the house into a tavern, Mingo moved to Timothy Clark’s home in Town Plot.

Mingo had a family and owned property. In 1795 he was listed as a member of the Congregational Church. He died in 1800.

Another African American man named Mingo appears in the 1777 estate inventory of Caleb Humaston, a farmer and town treasurer who lived in the Northbury (now Thomaston) section of Waterbury.

Related Biographies

Church Membership List
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Members of the First Congregational Church, Waterbury, 1795
An alphabetical listing of the church members; Mingo appears last on the list. Collection of the Mattatuck Museum.

Caleb Humason's Estate Inventory
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Caleb Humason's Estate Inventory, 1777
Humaston lived in Waterbury. His estate inventory included an African American man named Mingo. Collection of the Mattatuck Museum.

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