Boston King: From Slave to Soldier to Man of God

2 Posted by - November 23, 2022 - BLACK MEN, BLACK RELIGION

Boston King was born 1760 close to Charleston County, South Carolina. He was the son of a driver or Black overseers on a plantation and a woman skilled in medicine. Young King’s trade was carpentry but he was often the target of his master’s rage. He would escape shortly after the Revolutionary War broke out and fled to British-held Charleston joining the Black Loyalists.

As a soldier, King was said to be an effective messenger. He was also adept at escaping situations having slipped out a few close returns to slavery. It was during his time in the Navy, that he escaped once more and resided in New York until the end of the war. With the British losing, he was moved to British-held Canada and resided in Birchtown.

Boston King’s wife Violet reintroduced him to religion. While he was committed and an important member of the town’s Wesleyan congregation, he wasn’t wholly devoted. It wasn’t until the 1789 famine that he embraced religion fully and began preaching, going throughout Nova Scotia the following year.



By 1792 he had left Canada as part of the Black Nova Scotian settlers. The idea to leave was Violet’s but fever would take her not long after they landed. Two years later the Sierra Leone Company sent Boston King to England to train as a teacher and missionary. During his time in England, he wrote his book “Memoirs of Boston King.” It was published two years after he returned to Sierra Leone in 1794.

He would pass in 1802 while serving as a missionary to the Sherbo people some 100 miles from Freetown. King left behind three children, possibly from his first marriage to Violet.

-Memoirs of Boston King:

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