Basil Norman came to Marietta, Washington County, Ohio around 1800 and received 25 acres of land in Marietta for his
Revolutionary War service. Between 1810 and 1820, he sole his land in Marietta and moved to Roxbury Township, Washington
County Ohio. Roxbury Township later became part of Morgan County, Ohio. This Revolutionary War Maker for Basil
Norman is in Historic Mound Cemetery, Ohio. Mound Cemetery is noted as the burial site for the highest number of Revolutionary War officers of any cemetery in the United States.
Jane ‘Molato’ Norman was
born in 1715. Jane gave birth to Bazeel (Bazil/Basil) while living at Richard Keen’s place in Prince
George County, Maryland. His father was a free Mulatto person. Dorothy Harris-Allen says, “My (6th)
sixth Great Grandmother Elizabeth Norman, born approximately 1695 and was the servant of Benjamin Belt in 1715 when both she
and her ‘mallatoe’ child were sold to Richard Keene.” Most free African Americans descended from White women who had children by African American men.
There were a number of marriages between White women and slaves by 1664 until Maryland passed a law that made free people
and their children slaves for life.
The Prince George’s County, Maryland Court ordered Belt to keep Elizabeth and her “Mallatoe” child
until the November court date. Elizabeth Norman had three children in Prince George’s County between 1715 - 1722
and was convicted of “Mulatto Bastardy.” The court sold Elizabeth and her child to Richard Keene, the constable
for £3,600 pounds of tobacco later
that year on 22 November. Five years later on 22 November 1720, she confessed to the court that she had another illegitimate
child by a “Mullato man belonging to William Digge.” The court sold her to her master for seven years and
sold the child to William Maccoy until the age of thirty-one. On 28 August 1722, she confessed to having another “Malatto”
child, and the court ordered her sold to Richard Keene for seven years and gave her child to William Harris until the age
of thirty-one. In March 1749/50 the court allowed her £200 of tobacco a year for her support [Court
Record 1710-5, 693, 721, 790; 1715-20, 4; 1720-2, 20-1, 84, 622-3; 1748-9, 133]. She was the mother of Jane (1715), Edward
(1720), and Bridget (5 May 1752) [DB H-1, 329-30].
born say 1715, was referred to as “a Mallatto woman named Jane (no last name) living at Mr. Richard Keen’s”
on 23 August 1737, when she confessed to the Prince George’s County court that she had an illegitimate child by a “free
Mallatto.” The court ordered that she receive twenty lashes and serve her master an additional year and a half and sold
her two-month-old son James to Edward Swann until the age of twenty-one. She had another child by a free person before 28
November 1738, when the court ordered that she receive fifteen lashes and serve her master twelve months for the trouble of
his house, bound her male child to Keene until the age of twenty-one years, and ordered Keene to give the boy a year of schooling
and a decent suit of clothes at the end of his indenture. She was called “Jan Molato Norman” on 26 November 1745
when the court bound her son Joseph to her master until the age of twenty-one.
28 June 1748 and 28 March 1748/9 she was convicted of having illegitimate children by a free person. On 27 November 1750 she
confessed to having another illegitimate child named Bazil (Basil) who was bound to her master until the age of twenty-one
[Court Record 1736-8, 497, 505; 1738-40, 192, 200; 1744-6, 248, 279; 1747-8, 168; 174; 1748-9, 181; 1749-50, 244]. She was
the mother of James (June 1737), Henrietta (1745), Catherine (1790), George (1790), Delpha (1810), Bazil (Basil) (1750), head
of a Frederick County, VA household of 7 “other free” in 1810 (Reprinted from www.freeafricanamericans.com)
the American Revolutionary War through Desert Storm, African Americans have answered the call to military duty. Here
in Washington County, Ohio the share of young men were sent to win and maintain America's freedom. One of the early African
American military veterans in Washington County, Ohio, was Bazeel Norman. He was one of 5,000 African American colonists to
fight against Britain in the War of Independence (1776-1783).
Bazeel was born "free" in Frederick County, Maryland on July
12, 1760. He was raised in a rural setting on a prosperous but modest tobacco plantation. Preceding the war, Bazeel had often
heard debates about the English Colonies separating from England and the principles of freedom excited him. Quite possible
he thought, as many free mulattos of that time did, that all the slaves in the English Colonies would be freed if the Americans
won independence. At the onset of the war, General Washington had declared freedom for any slave that fought with the Americans.
In 1777, at the age of seventeen,
Bazeel joined Col. John Gumby's Infantry Regiment. The year 1777 also marked the turning point of the war in favor of the
American cause. Bazeel served in many campaigns. As the prospects for winning grew, many of the colonists that owned slaves
began to fear that all their slaves would join the Continental Army and thus secure their freedom. They voiced their concern,
and the numbers of slave enlistments were curtailed from that point on.
On August 14, 1781, Washington
received word that deGrasse was bringing the French fleet to Chesapeake Bay. He immediately decided to attack Cornwallis at
Yorktown, Virginia. The troops of Washington and Rochambeau marched south, leaving a containing force to watch Clinton
in New York. De Grasse's fleet arrived at the Chesapeake Capes on August 30, drove off a British fleet under Admiral Thomas
Graves, and established a tight blockade of Cornwallis's army. Some 16,000 American and French troops and Virginia militia,
under Washington's command, laid siege to Yorktown. Cornwallis made several vain attempts to break through allied lines, but
on October 19, 1781, he was obliged to surrender.
Bazeel was discharged from
military service in 1781 and returned to his home in Maryland. He married Fortune Stevens in 1782 and moved to Virginia for
a while, where he worked on a tobacco farm. A provision of the Ordinance of 1787 allowed for land grants in the Northwest
Territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War. Bazeel was granted land in 3rd Ward of Marietta and settled here.
Eventually Bazabeel settled
on a farm in Roxbury Twp., Washington County, Ohio where he died in 1830. (The area of Roxbury Twp., Wash. Co. is now part
of Morgan County). Bazeel is probably buried there, but the Daughters of the American Revolution have placed his marker among
his fellow Revolutionary War Veterans in Mound Cemetery, Marietta, OH.
Bazeel has many descendants
in Ohio today, including Mr. Wilbur Norman of Zanesville, Ohio, who did the Norman family’s genealogy. Another branch
of Bazeel's descendants moved to Michigan, where they settled around the town of Remus.
Friday - July 13, 1996
"Windows to the Past"
by Henry Robert Burke