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Portsmouth in Rockingham County, New Hampshire — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Siras Bruce

Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail

 
 
Siras Bruce Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 28, 2017
1. Siras Bruce Marker
Inscription.  
Siras, in 1783, contracted with John Langdon to serve as a “domestic servant." Among Langdon's papers, itemized bills for "Siras de Bruce" confirm descriptions of his resplendent, even dazzling attire: white breeches, blue or black coats, silk threads and metal buttons. Siras, paid in cash, goods, and housing on the property, stayed on until 1789.

In 1785 Siras married Flora Stoodley, who had earlier been enslaved by the owner of Stoodley's Tavern.
 
Erected by Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCommunicationsIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1783.
 
Location. 43° 4.508′ N, 70° 45.376′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in Rockingham County. Marker is on Pleasant Street south of Court Street, on the left when traveling south. Marker is a metal plaque mounted on the white fence in front of the historic Governor John Langdon House. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth NH 03801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking
Siras Bruce Marker (<i>wide view; marker visible on fence, near center</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 28, 2017
2. Siras Bruce Marker (wide view; marker visible on fence, near center)
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distance of this marker. The South Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Joseph & Nancy (Cotton) and their children, Eleazor & James (about 400 feet away); Temple Israel (about 500 feet away); Haven Park (about 500 feet away); On this site was born Fitz John Porter (about 600 feet away); Treaty of Portsmouth 1905 (about 600 feet away); Nation's Oldest Bank (about 700 feet away); Negro Pews (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portsmouth.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail
 
Also see . . .
1. Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. Website homepage:
Siras Bruce was emancipated by John Langdon, after which he worked for him as a paid servant. This arrangement was underway by 1783, when Langdon was building this mansion on Pleasant Street. Siras received part of his pay in cash, part in goods, and by 1797 part in housing. Siras and his wife, the former Flora Stoodley, lived behind the mansion in one of two houses Governor Langdon owned on Washington Street. Siras was no doubt present when George Washington had dinner at the Langdon’s in November 1789. (Submitted on April 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Did NH Governor John Langdon Own Slaves?. Seacoast NH website entry:
Siras Bruce (Langdon spelled his name “Cyrus de Bruce”) was likely enslaved at some point. At least
Governor John Landon House (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, June 28, 2017
3. Governor John Landon House (wide view)
one historian claims he was sold out of New Jersey to John Langdon. No documents show that Siras Bruce was enslaved or freed here in New Hampshire. What we have instead are contracts, beginning in 1783, stating that he was a paid domestic servant of the Langdon family. Bruce was a handsome black man clearly of African origin, but not enslaved. (Submitted on April 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 235 times since then and 58 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 7, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 4, 2022