Basil (Bazeel) Norman (1750 – 1830) fought in the
Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783)
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].
Jane Norman, born 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. On 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)
From the American Revolutionary War through Desert Storm, African Americans have answered the call of military duty. Here in Washington County, Ohio, the share of young men was 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 number of slave enlistments was curtailed from that point on.
On August 14, 1781, Washington received word that deGrasse was bringing the French fleet to the 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 the 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.
Harve & Mary Phillips-Norman
Direct Descendants of Basil Norman
Wilbur Norman - Direct Descendant
Denver Norman, a direct descendant of Bazil Norman and member of the Sons of the American Revolution in both the Marietta and Zanesville, OH Chapters.
Source: Friday - July 13, 1996 - MARIETTA TIMES, "Windows to the Past" - by Henry Robert Burke
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