Famous Families

Battis

Like the Newells, the Battis is another family whose African origins and genealogy were openly acknowledged by the historian of a local New England town.

In his two volume work on Canterbury, New Hampshire, published in 1912, James Lyford described how Sampson Battis (b.1750) won his freedom for the action he saw during the Revolutionary War. Colonel Moore, his master, not only released Battis but awarded him 100 acres of land. Because of his numerous progeny, the locality was for a while known as "New Guinea".

From Chandler Potter's "Military History of Hew Hampshire" we learn that Battis achieved the rank of Major when he was given command of a battalion by Governor Gilman in 1800. This probably makes him the first African American to be put in charge of a white troop and to be officially awarded this particular military title; a fact historians have not yet flagged.

Other families in this particular area of New Hampshire who, by 1912 could claim descent from Sampson Battis were the following:

Robinson
Hilliard
Hoyt
Haskell
Moody
Jones
Davis
Hickey

Wiggins
Blanchard
Bland
Morrill
Paul
Dowes
O'Leary



Researched and Written by Mario de Valdes y Cocom.

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