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Venture Smith: The Man

Who: Venture Smith was born Broteer Furro in 1729. He was the eldest son of a West African Prince and spent his early years in what

would be present-day Guinea. At age six, Broteer was captured by an enemy tribe and sold into slavery and sent to New England. Upon arrival, Broteer's first owner changed his name to Venture. For over thirty years, Venture worked under three different masters before purchasing his freedom for 71 pounds and 2 shillings - an enormous sum for the time, enough money to purchase hundreds of acres of land. Once free, Venture adopted the last name Smith, in honor of his final owner, amd began his new life as a successful business man in Haddam Neck, CT. Venture was sometimes called a “black Paul Bunyan” because of his impressive size. It is recorded that he was 6’2”, weighing 300 pounds with a 6 foot diameter waist.


  • 1729 – Broteer Furro, the first son of the prince of “Dukandarra,” is born
  • Fall 1738 or early 1739 – Broteer’s father is killed by a raiding army and Broteer is captured
  • 1739 – Broteer is taken to Anomabu District on Gold Coast of West Africa (present-day Ghana). There he was kept in a slave castle for an indeterminate amount of time
  • mid- 1739 – Broteer and other slaves are purchased by American slavers
  • fall 1739 – Ship carrying Venture arrives in Rhode Island. Robinson Mumford gives Venture to his sister in Newport, RI to learn some English and colonial customs. Mumford’s sister also teaches
    Saint, Chandler B., and George A. Krimsky, Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith

Venture English, which improves worth as a slave. It also enables him to make connections and later

establish himself as a successful business man after he buys his freedom.

  • 1740 – Venture is taken from Rhode Island to the Mumford homestead on Fishers Island
  • 1754 – Venture marries Meg
  • March 1754 – Venture runs away with two other slaves but later returns voluntarily
  • 1754 – Meg gives birth to their first child, Hannah
  • end of 1754 – Venture is separated from his wife, Meg, and sold to Thomas Stanton of Stonington, CT
  • 1756 – Their first son, Solomon, is born
  • 1758 – Their second son, Cuff, is born
  • 1759 – Venture is hired out by Hempstead Miner of Stonington to work for Daniel Edwards of Hartford
  • 1760 – Venture is sold the last time to Oliver Smith Jr. Smith agrees to permit Venture to purchase his freedom for 71 pounds and two shillings
  • 1762 – Venture begins farming a plot of land near Stanton’s Stonington farms to earn money to buy his freedom
  • 1765 – After five years of saving money from side jobs, Venture earned enough to buy his freedom from Oliver Smith. Around this time, Venture adopts Smith’s last name: officially becoming Venture Smith.
  • 1767 – Venture moves to Long Island
  • 1769 – Venture purchases his two sons, Solomon and Cuff
  • 1770 – Venture buys 26 acres in Stonington
  • 1773 – Venture purchases Meg’s freedom. That same year, Venture’s first son, Solomon, dies at sea
  • 1774 – Meg and Venture’s third son is born and named Solomon
  • 1774 – Venture sells his land in Stonington
  • 1774-1775 – Venture leaves Long Island for Haddam, CT
  • 1775 – Venture purchases his daughter, Hannah. He also buys 10 acres on Haddam Neck
  • 1777 – Venture buys 70 additional acres from Abel Bingham and builds his home. Later that year, Venture and Stephan Knowlton buy 48 acres of adjoining land
  • 1778 – Venture buys Knowlton’s share of the land
  • 1798 – Venture dictates his narrative to Elisha Niles and is published later that year
  • September 1805 – Venture Smith dies at age 77 in Haddam Neck


Saint, Chandler B., and George A. Krimsky, Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith



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