From Slave to Soldier to Man of God: The Story of Boston King



Boston King was born in 1760 near Charleston, South Carolina. He was the son of a plantation driver or Black overseer and a medically trained woman. Young King worked as a carpenter, but he was frequently the target of his master’s rage. He would flee to British-held Charleston and join the Black Loyalists shortly after the Revolutionary War began.

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King was said to be an effective messenger as a soldier. He was also skilled at escaping situations, having eluded slavery on several occasions. During his time in the Navy, he escaped once more and lived in New York until the war’s end. After the British were defeated, he was relocated to British-controlled Canada and settled in Birchtown.

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Violet, Boston King’s wife, reintroduced him to religion. He was dedicated and an important member of the town’s Wesleyan congregation, but he wasn’t completely devoted. It wasn’t until the 1789 famine that he fully accepted religion and began preaching, touring Nova Scotia the following year.


He had left Canada as part of the Black Nova Scotian settlers by 1792. Violet had the idea to leave, but fever would take her soon after they arrived. The Sierra Leone Company sent Boston King to England two years later to train as a teacher and missionary. He wrote his book “Memoirs of Boston King” while in England. It was published in 1794, two years after he returned to Sierra Leone.


In 1802 he died while serving as a missionary to the Sherbo people, about 100 miles from Freetown. Three children were left behind by King, possibly from his first marriage to Violet.



Written by How Africa News

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