The Lost Souls Public Memorial Project

The memorial will center the 177+ Lost Souls whose freedom was stolen by the corrupt Van Wickle Slave Ring, ensuring that whatever names we are able to recover are not lost to history again, but are memorialized here.

The memorial will be informative, respectful, and engaging. We intend for it to convey an artful sense of remembrance and function as a source of community-building. We intend for it to include information about the history of the slave ring and how it was shut down.

We are deeply thankful to the Township of East Brunswick for partnering with the LSP, supporting our efforts to build this memorial. The Township and LSP have agreed to site the memorial near the East Brunswick Community Arts Center main building.

Ongoing aspects of the LSP include

  • community education through events and the upcoming publication of educational materials for different ages;
  • developing a juried design competition to solicit design proposals and ultimately choose a final design;
  • raising sufficient funds to build the actual memorial through grant applications and fundraising; and
  • construct the actual memorial.

The Van Wickle Slave Ring

Abusing his legal authority and using his home in what is now East Brunswick, Middlesex County Court of Pleas Judge, Jacob Van Wickle conspired with family members and oversaw the “abominable business” of kidnapping free and enslaved Blacks and selling them into the Deep South and permanent slavery. This Slave Ring operated from February until October of 1818.

Historical records reveal his home was used to hold people captive until they were sent on three ships, sailing out of Perth Amboy, down to New Orleans, where these human beings were sold further, or delivered to the plantation of his son-in-law, Charles Morgan.

The Victims

Centering the Lost Souls, the memorial will be informative, respectful, and engaging. We intend for it to convey an artful sense of remembrance and function as a source of community-building. We intend for it to include information about the history of the slave ring and how it was shut down.

Men and women of all ages, as well as children as young as just a few days old, are included among the Lost Souls, we will make every effort to honor their humanity as individuals with stories and realities, helping us to remember them fully.

  • Peter, 15
  • Simon, age unknown (a free person)
  • Margaret Coven, age unknown (a free person)
  • Sarah, 21
  • Dianna, 7 months
  • Rachel, 22
  • Regina, 6 weeks
  • Hager, 29
  • Roda, 14
  • Mary, 2
  • Augustus, 4
  • Florah, 23
  • Susan, 7 months
  • Harry, 14
  • James, 21
  • Elmirah, 14
  • George, 16
  • Susan Watt, 35
  • Moses, 16
  • Lydia, 18
  • Betty, 22
  • Patty, 22
  • Bass, 19
  • Christeen, 27
  • Diannah, 9
  • Dorcas, 1
  • Claresse, 22
  • Hercules, 2
  • Lidia 22
  • Harriett Jane, 3
  • Bob
  • Rosanna
  • Claus
  • Ann
  • Rosino, child
  • Jenette
  • Charles, child
  • Elias, child
  • Robert, child
  • Leta, 21
  • Dorcus, 16
  • Sam Johnson, 32
  • Margaret, 21
  • Jane, 25
  • John, 4
  • Mary Davis, 23
  • Phyllis, 25
  • Charles, 1
  • Jack, 16
  • Harvey, 22
  • Elizer, 19 (female)
  • Frank, 21
  • Hester, 18
  • Peter, 21
  • Susan Silvey, 30
  • Jacob, 18 months
  • Betsey, 22
  • Jonas, 16 (a free person)
  • Sam, 16
  • William, 22
  • Henry, 21
  • Amey, 22
  • Juda, 26 (female)
  • Samuel, 2
  • James, 22
  • Sam, 32
  • George Bryan, 18
  • Hannah, 16
  • Nancy, 22
  • Joseph, 2 days
  • Peter, 17 (a free person)
  • Hannah, 14
  • Jack Danielly, 21
  • Jude (no judicial certificate)
  • Caroline, 18
  • Ann, 18
  • Jeanette, 12
  • Mose
  • George, 35
  • Cain, 22
  • Frank, 21
  • Lewis, 22
  • Elijah, 31
  • Mary, 27
  • Law, 21
  • Phebe, 21 (a free person)
  • Susan, 23
  • Charles, 43
  • Pettes, 14
  • Jane, 23
  • William M Clare, m, 25, 5’ 8”, light negro
  • John C Marsh (?), New York,
  • John C Marsh, on board
  • Jafe Manning, m, 21, 5‘ 5¾“, black, same
  • Robert Cook, m, 17, 4’ 9½”, light, same
  • Ben Morris, m, 22, 5’ 1”, black, same
  • Sam Prince, m, 19, 5’ 10”, light, same
  • Sam Peter, m, 30, 5’ 4”, black, same
  • George Phillips, m, 18, 5’ 3”, black, same
  • James Thompson, m, 5’ 5¼”, light, same
  • Edward Gilbert, m, 22, 5’ 3½”, blk, same
  • Dan Francis, m, 20, 5’ 1”, light, same
  • James, m, 15, 4’ 11”, black, same
  • Charles, m, 19, 5’ 2¾”, black, same
  • Susan Wilcox, f, 36, 5’ 2”, light
  • Nelly, f, 18, 5’ ¼”, black, same
  • Betsey Lewis, f, 28, 5’ 1”, black
  • Jane Clarkson, f, 23, 5’ 5”, black, same
  • Eliza Thompson, f, 21, 5’ 1¾”, light, same
  • Jane Cook, f, 15, 5’ ¾”, light, same
  • Ann Moore, f, 29, 4’ 9½”, black, same
  • Julian Jackson, f, 21, 5’ ¼”, dark, same
  • Jane Smith, f, 33, 4’ 10 3/4”, light, same
  • Peggy Boss, f, 21, 5’ 3”, dark, same
  • Mary Harris, f, 21, 4’ 10½”, light, same
  • Sally Cross, f, 20, 5’ 1”, blk, same
  • Rosanna Cooper, f, 22, 5’ 3”, blk, same
  • Mary Simmons, f, 18, 4’ 11”, dark
  • Hannah Jackson, f, 18, 5’ 1¼”, dark
  • Hanna Crigier, f, 18, 4’ 10¼”, black
  • Harriet Silas, f, 15, 4’ 11”, light
  • Fanny Thompson, f, 14, 4’ 7”, dark
  • Elizabeth Ann Turner, f, 16, 4’ 8”, black
  • Susan Jackson, f, 20, 4’ 8”, black
  • Hanna Johnson, f, 20, 4’ 9”, black
  • Hannah, f, 18, 4’ 9¼”, dark
  • Cane, m, 22, 5’ ½”, dark
  • William Stone, New York, consigned to John C. Marsh, on board
  • Jack, m, 22, 5’ 6”, dark, same
  • Lewis, m, 22, 5’ 8”, black, same
  • Peter, m, 14, 4’ 6¾”, black, same
  • Frank, m, 21, 5’ 2”, dark
  • Caleb Groves, m, 50, 5’ 2½”, dark
  • John, m, 21, 5’ 3”, black
  • Collins, m, 35, 5’ 3”, black
  • Othello, m, 16, 4’ 10”, light
  • Anthony Fortune, m, 21, 5’ 2¼”, dark
  • Joseph Henricks, m, 19, 5’ 5”, dark
  • Jane, f, 23, 5’ 5¼”, light
  • Susan, f, 21, 4’ 10 ½”, light
  • Lena, f, 38, 5’ 2”, dark

Timeline Of Events

July 4, 1804

Gradual Emancipation Act of 1804

The Gradual Emancipation Act of 1804 freed children born slaves. However, the children remained servants to their parents’ master until the age of emancipation.

February 1, 1812

NJ Supplement to 1804 Act

In 1812, NJ supplemented the 1804 act. It reiterated that the enslaved must consent to emigration and be examined by two impartial local officials to affirm consent.

March 1818

First Group is Sent South

1st group departed from Sandy Hook on March 10, 1818 on the brig Mary Ann, and arrived in New Orleans on May 22, 1818.

May 1818

Second Group is Sent South

2nd group departed on May 25th for New Orleans on the sloop Thorn.

July 1818

Third Group is Sent South

3rd group departed in late July of 1818 on the Bliss.

October 1818

Fourth Group is Sent South

4th group departed from Perth Amboy on the Schoharie, October 26, 1818.

November 5, 1818

NJ Petitions

Citizens of Middlesex county successfully petitioned the New Jersey state legislature to bring an end to exportation of people out of the state and enforce penalties by fine or imprisonment against individuals engaged in selling, transferring or assigning slaves or servants.

November 7, 1818

Fifth Group is Sent South

5th group transported by land through Philadelphia to destination unknown.

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