Black History Month – Feb. 21: Wentworth Cheswell

Wentworth Cheswell is said to be the first African-American to be elected to office in America.  He was one quarter Black and three quarters White.  He was elected as town constable of Newmarket, New Hampshire, in 1768 and served in some government position thereafter until his death – well, to be precise, every year but one.

Wentworth’s grandfather is thought to be the first African-American to own land in New Hampshire after gaining his freedom. The date on the deed is 1717. Wentworth’s grandmother was a free white woman. Her son, Hopestill was born free because she was free.  (The law said that children took on the status of their mother.)

Author: MIH

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