The ship, the Black Abigail, swayed in the wind back and forth, as the crew finished. The captain, Robert Abbey of London and his wife Mary lay dead on the deck of the ship. Their daughter Anna Sophia sits within her mothers now limp grasp, crying and whaling for her now dead mother. The crew had killed them both, and in their haste had forgotten little Anna Sophia, not completely forgotten though. They were aware of the little girl, but now had more important issues. Who was to run the ship? Six of them were willing to, more then willing to, and over the captain's dead body each of them started to state their case to the others. Robert Mole, Thomas Bard, Samuel Rickin, Avery Charles, William Dove and Ebenizer Post all started to fight. However, John Black, 1st mate, who, leading the rebellion now found it in his duty to lead the slave ship the rest of the way, and settled them down quickly. For John Black was one who, although he had nothing to do in the killing, was their leader.

'Now, gentlemen, I will become your leader. Is there any dispute about that?'

Each hand mumbled their willingness to let him lead them. 'When we get back, they will not know. None of them. Robert Abbey is dead! Nevertheless, none of them will ever know. None of them can know. Abbey owned the ship, the cargo, us, but now we are free, the cargo is free, free to sell for a profit to us. Now, are their any disagreements? Good. If there were Abbey would have some company, right now. However, since there is none, we will sell the cargo at market, and make the dollar profit. I will get seventy present of the profit, you all six of you sniveling bums will get thirty, which makes five present each. Any disputes? Good. Now make sure that all of them are dead. Abbey?'

'We got him, sir.'

'Ah, you did?' John Black took three steps to stand over the captain and pulled out his gun. He shot one shot into his chest, which echoed through the storm. 'And so dies Captain Robert Abbey!' He returned his revolver to his holster. 'Mrs. Abbey?'

'I'm sure we've got her sir.'

'The girl?'

'What girl?'

'Anna Sophia! What's happed to the girl?' Anna Sophia had rocked with the boat, tumbling over the side into the open cargo drop and into the holding, luckily landing on a bed of hay, which broke her fall. A slave woman had crawled over the three piles of hay that separated the baby from her. She had taken Anna Sophia into her arms and rocked her. 'If that girl got away for the sake of God I hope that she fell over.'

'What was that?' Mole asked John Black.

'What was what?'

'I just heard a noise.'

'It couldn't be anything.'

'It sounded like a baby.'

'Sounded like a baby?' An empty chest, only about three feet in length fell over board at that point. The black woman put her hand quickly over Anna Sophia's mouth to stop the crying. 'There, it's stopped. She must have fallen over board.'

'But sir.'

'She's gone, that's all I care about.'

'Yes sir.'

'Now, let's get rid of Abbey's body.' They pushed the two remaining Abbey bodies off the edge of the ship. 'None of you have ever seen any of this. If they ask, which I'm sure they will, about Abbey and his family, they died falling overboard.'


'That's what you say. Now is everything clear?'

They each mumbled that it was.

Over the next few days the black woman took care of little Anna Sophia Abbey, as if she were her own little girl. The crew only heard the cries a few times, and they suspected that it was the ghost of Abbey and his wife and Baby Anna Sophia.

On August 3, 1809, they reached port in Charleston, South Carolina.

The black woman carried her off shipboard and on to the docks. Mole and Post each looked over the slaves before they were to go to auction. Mole stopped when he saw the woman. 'Captin' she has a baby. She didn't have one before,' Mole cried up to John Black as he stood talking with a newspaperman.

'So, it's another slave. Sell them together, but get twice the pay.'

'Yes, sir.'

He continued looking over the slaves, but the child of the black woman puzzled him. He was sure that there had been no children that young when they left Africa but she did have a child, that he could not deny.

One by one the each went to the selling block, and one by one they were each sold. When the auctioneer got to the woman he noticed to that in his records no baby was on the selling block, none that was that young at least, but he continued. 'Here we have a woman,' he started, 'only looks to be thirty-five. A marvelous woman she looks to be, and she has with her a new child. Two for the price of one, huh! Start the bidding at thirty-five English dollars! Thirty-five! Anyone to raise it?'

The bidding continued until it reached seventy-five dollars and then stopped. They were sold to Nathaniel Riske, a slave owner of a Charleston plantation. He bought six other slaves that day and took them away in his cart pulled by two mules to his plantation. The woman, named Brecka latter Becky, still hugged Anna Sophia in her arms, never letting go.

He drove them off into the sunset, to a place called Black Raven.