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Slocum (or Slockum, Slocombe, Slokum), Anthony

by Mattie Erma E. Parker, 1994

ca. 1592–ca. 1689

Anthony Slocum (or Slockum, Slocombe, Slokum), Council member, Assembly member, judge, and leader in Culpeper's Rebellion, was born in England, probably in Somersetshire, where members of the Slocum family were numerous in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A deposition that he made about 1682 indicates that he was born about 1592.

Slocum came to America before 1637, arriving in New England, where he remained for thirty years or more. He is thought to have lived at Plymouth for a time and probably to have gone from there to Dorchester. In 1637 he was one of a group of forty-six colonists who purchased a tract of land that two years later was incorporated as the town of Taunton in what is now Massachusetts. He moved to Taunton soon after the purchase.

Slocum is thought to have married before leaving England. His wife appears to have been the sister of another "first purchaser" of Taunton, William Harvey. Two other relatives, Giles and Edward Slocum, arrived in New England about the same time as Anthony. Genealogists have disagreed as to whether they were Anthony's sons, his brothers, or more distant relatives. Edward, like Anthony, settled at Taunton, but Giles made his home in an area that became Portsmouth, R.I.

Slocum lived in Taunton about twenty-five years. He held no high office there but performed such civic duties as jury service and overseeing road maintenance. In 1652 he subscribed to stock in a company formed to establish a local ironworks. The foundry was established and operated several years by the company, which later leased it. In a list of Taunton residents dated 28 Dec. 1659, Slocum is recorded as holding fifty-three acres of land and heading a household of six.

Genealogists have speculated as to the identity of the members of the 1659 household. Some have considered Edward Slocum a member, believing him to have been Anthony's son, but Edward appears to have died or left Taunton about 1647. Slocum's daughter, Winifred(?), her husband, John (?) Gilbert, and one or two Gilbert children also have been counted as members of the household, but that supposition probably is erroneous also. John Gilbert, of Taunton, who probably was the husband of Slocum's daughter, died about 1657, leaving four sons. Although the daughter and her sons could have been living with her parents in 1659, the household would have numbered more than the reported six if that were so. Slocum had only one son who is so identified in Taunton records. That son, John, became lost in some woods and died in 1652, when he was nine years old. Slocum, however, had other sons, who appear not to have come to the attention of family historians. At least two sons accompanied him to North Carolina and are mentioned in records of that colony—John, namesake of the child lost in the woods, and Joseph. North Carolina records also mention a Josyas Slocum, who probably was Anthony's son, although he is not so identified in surviving records. It is likely, therefore, that the Slocum household in 1659 included John, Joseph, Josyas, and a fourth child whose name is not known, or perhaps a servant.

The last date on which Slocum is mentioned as a resident of Taunton is 3 June 1662. Soon afterwards he sold his interest in the town and moved to the area that in 1664 was incorporated as the town of Dartmouth. He was accompanied in that move by one Ralph Russell, who previously had been employed in the operation of the Taunton ironworks.

All of Slocum's children and grandchildren appear to have moved to Dartmouth with him. In an undated fragment of a letter that he wrote in Dartmouth to his brother-in-law William Harvey, who had remained in Taunton, Slocum sent greetings from "myself wife and sons and daughter Gilbert who hath four sons." He also wrote, "My sons are all married." The Slocum and Russell families are said to have been the first settlers of Dartmouth, but nothing is known of their stay there, for early records of the town have not survived.

It is known, however, that Slocum remained in Dartmouth less than a decade, for he moved to the North Carolina colony, then called Albemarle, before September 1670. Although he was nearly eighty upon his arrival, he achieved prominence in Albemarle and apparently was more active in public affairs than at any other time of his life.

Slocum arrived in Albemarle in a period marked by bitter factional rivalry, which culminated in late 1677 in the uprising called Culpeper's Rebellion. Despite his being a newcomer, Slocum affiliated with a faction supported chiefly by the early settlers, who previously had controlled the government, or largely so, but whose dominance was then being challenged by a competing faction. Slocum's participation in the struggle appears to have begun in 1677, when one Thomas Miller, a leader of the challengers, seized power as acting governor, claiming legal authority on questionable grounds.

Slocum, who had settled in Chowan Precinct, was elected burgess from Chowan and served in an Assembly called and held by Miller in the fall of 1677. In early December, however, he was among the leaders of the uprising in which Miller and his chief supporters were seized and imprisoned. In a new election called by the "rebels" and held after Miller's imprisonment, Slocum again was elected to the Assembly. He apparently was a member of the "rebel assembly" until the Proprietors restored de jure government in the summer of 1679.

Slocum was yet more prominent in the government established in 1679, as he was a Council member serving as a Proprietor's deputy. He sat on the Council in August 1679, when the new government, headed by John Harvey as acting governor, appears to have begun operation. He remained a Council member at least through November 1684, serving under John Jenkins, acting governor after Harvey's death, and subsequently under Governor Seth Sothel.

As a Council member Slocum was ex officio justice of several courts, including the General Court and the Palatine's court. In his capacity as magistrate he conducted marriage ceremonies. Among the couples that he married were Thomas Harvey, who later became deputy governor of the colony, and Joanna Jenkins, widow of John Jenkins.

It is not known whether Thomas Harvey and John Harvey of Albemarle were related to Slocum's wife and her brother, William Harvey of Taunton, Mass. Such a connection, if it existed, would help account for Slocum's move to Albemarle and his rapid rise to prominence there. No relationship, however, is indicated by the available records except the sharing of the Harvey name.

Slocum may have remained on the Council, at least nominally, until the banishment of Governor Sothel in 1689. He probably took no part in the revolt against Sothel, for his long life was then drawing to a close. He made his will on 26 Nov. 1688, but he may have lived as long as a year afterwards, for the will was not proved until 7 Jan. 1689/90. It is possible, however, that probate was delayed by disruptions attending the banishment of Sothel.

Slocum held at least six hundred acres of land, for which he received a patent in 1684. The land was in Chowan Precinct on Mattacomack Creek and Mirey Swamp. In the same year his sons John and Joseph patented adjoining tracts of four hundred and two hundred acres respectively.

Genealogists of the Slocum family have thought that Anthony was a Quaker, basing that belief on circumstantial evidence, particularly the fact that Anthony's relative, Giles Slocum of Portsmouth, R.I., was an early Quaker convert. Anthony's name, however, does not appear in the records of North Carolina Quakers, nor does the name of any member of his family. Moreover, his participation in Culpeper's Rebellion and in the "rebel" government that resulted was inconsistent with Quaker religious beliefs and with the political position held by Albemarle Quakers.

Only two of Anthony's children, his daughter and his son John, are known to have left descendants. Although Joseph Slocum is believed to have married Ann Blount, daughter of James Blount, and to have had a daughter, Ann, it appears that Joseph, his wife, and their child died before November 1688, for none of the three is mentioned in Anthony's will. Josyas Slocum, who probably was Anthony's son, is not mentioned in surviving records after 1683. The few references to him do not mention a wife or child.

John Slocum apparently was the only son living when Anthony made his will. His wife, Elizabeth, appears to have been the sister of William Munday of Albemarle. John probably was the father of all four of the Slocum grandsons to whom Anthony made bequests—John, Samuel, Josias, and Joseph. Although Anthony wrote in Dartmouth that all his sons were then married, no other information has been found respecting marriages of the sons before they moved to Albemarle.

Slocum also made bequests to his Gilbert grandchildren—John, Thomas, Joseph, and Sarah. It is likely that Sarah was a great-granddaughter, probably the daughter of Anthony's grandson Giles Gilbert, who is not mentioned in Anthony's will and presumably had died. The Gilbert grandsons and their mother appear to have remained in Dartmouth when Anthony moved to Albemarle.

Slocum's son John died about 1696, and John's widow, Elizabeth, married Richard Smith. She and her sons, who were then minors, moved with Smith to the county of Bath. The sons remained in that section when they were grown, settling in the Pamlico and Neuse areas.


J. Bryan Grimes, ed., Abstract of North Carolina Wills (1910).

J. R. B. Hathaway, ed., North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 1 (1900).

Margaret M. Hofmann, comp., Chowan Precinct, North Carolina . . . Abstracts of Deed Books (1972).

New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vols. 5, 34, 38, 70.

North Carolina Land Grants, vol. 1 (Land Grant Office, Secretary of State, Raleigh).

North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh: various papers, particularly Albemarle Book of Warrants and Surveys (1681–1706), Council Minutes, Wills, Inventories (1677–1701), and Wills of James Blount (9 July 1683), William Munday (3 Dec. 1688), and Anthony Slockum (26 Nov. 1688).

Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1670–1696 and 1697–1701 (1968, 1971).

Charles Henry Pope, comp., The Pioneers of Massachusetts  . . . (1900).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1886).

Charles Elihu Slocum, A Short History of the Slocums in America (1882).

Additional Resources:

McIlvenna, Noeleen. 2009. A very mutinous people the struggle for North Carolina, 1660-1713. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. (accessed July 28, 2014).

'Culpepers Rebellion." N.C. Highway Historical Marker A-21, N.C. Office of Archivies & History. (accessed July 28, 2014).

UNC libraries. "Affidavit of Henry Hudson concerning the cases of Thomas Miller and John Culpeper. Hudson, Henry, ca. 1626-1682. January 31, 1680. Volume 01, Pages 272-274." Documenting the American South: Colonial and State Records. (accessed July 28, 2014).

Weatherall, Helen. 2010. 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles Including Coastal and Interior Regions, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. New York: Menasha Ridge Press. (accessed July 28, 2014).