Monday, February 26, 2024

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Wentworth Cheswell: First Black Person Elected to Public Office in 1768

Wentworth Cheswell was an extremely honorable Black man of [esteemed] reputation. He was an African-English colonist born in 1746 in Newmarket, New Hampshire. Wentworth served in several positions in the local government of Newmarket, New Hampshire — faithfully and honorably. He became the first Black person to be elected to public office in 1768; however, his burial plot had been unmarked and forgotten until one man made it his mission to make sure his legacy would be remembered for generations to come.

Wentworth Cheswell served in public office in every year of his adult life except one year. It’s not too far fetched to say that he was the “busiest” Black man of His era. Some of his most notable accomplishments are: town constable, auditor, historian, assessor, archaeologist, judge, and a coroner.

View this quick video below that spotlights this Black Patriot’s life, and see how one man made it a point to give Wentworth Cheswell his due respect. Video time: 5:40

When the American Revolution broke out, the citizens of Newmarket proved zealous supporters of the Patriot cause, and Cheswell was among them.  Wentworth Cheswell and three others rode north to bring more militia south toward Boston to assist in engaging the British. All four were a part of the Committee of Safety – an intelligence operation, organized by an underground resistance group of Patriots to relay information among the Patriots. It’s refreshing to look at this important event in history and spotlight one of the average noble Patriots that played such a significant role.

Needless to say that the Patriots won the Revolution; with the help of unknown brave and under appreciated Black People like Wentworth Cheswell. I don’t think we give the ordinary Patriots enough credit. We usually focus on George Washington, Samuel Adams and other more prominent leaders. Which is why I wanted to write this quick blog about Cheswell.

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