Gabriel Prosser 

Gabriel Prosser was executed for inciting the first large scale slave uprising in the United States; however, details were leaked and the revolt did not come to fruition.

See below for more information about Gabriel Prosser.
Date of Birth:
Gabriel Prosser was born in 1776 Henrico County, Virgina. There is no evidence that the man we refer to as Gabriel Prosser ever took his master's surname; Gabriel Prosser is simply referred to as Gabriel in the documentation that has survived.

Date of Death:
Gabriel Prosser was executed on 10 December 1800, Virginia.

Gabriel Prosser was hired out to anyone who required his services as a blacksmith. This allowed him more freedom than other slaves at the time; giving opportunity to spread the word of the uprising to others. Gabriel was also literate and considered above intelligence for a slave.

The Rebellion:
With followers recruited from neighbouring towns, Gabriel Prosser and his brothers Martin and Solomon stole weapons and refashioned scythes in to swords and daggers in to pikes. Intent to take over the armoury, it was decided that they would then dispose of their white masters, but let Frenchmen, Quakers and Methodists go.

The first person that Gabriel intended to kill was his own master along with neighbour Mosby Sheppard and Absolom Johnson; a man Gabriel stole a pig from in 1799. Absolom was wrestled to the ground and his left ear was partially bitten off. Though maiming a white person was punishable by death, Gabriel was familiar with a loophole which enabled him to escape with branding if he could recite a verse from the bible.

However, on 30 August 1800, the day of the rebellion, the wweather was poor and the bridges and main roads flooded. Intending to carry out their mission the following afternoon, their pan was foiled when two slaves betrayed them.

Gabriel initially escaped on a schooner called the Mary Richard, the captain purposefully turning a blind eye when his slaves advised him of the fugitive. However, a hired slave turned him in for a reward and Gabriel Prosser was soon captured.

The Aftermath:
Gabriel, his brothers and twenty-three other slaves and freemen were guilty though Gabriel maintained that he was innocent. Others were pardoned or outlawed.

Main Menu

Famous American Abolitionists
Click here to learn about American abolitionists and their fight to end slavery.

Famous American Slaves
Visit this page to read about the ordeals of famous African American slaves and their impact on history.

Famous Slave Escapes
Visit this page to learn about some of the most daring slave escapes.

Famous Slave Rebellions
Click here to read about slave rebellions and the effects they had on nineteenth century America.

Slavery Glossary
Visit this page for definitions about slavery and abolition.

State Slave Laws
Click here to learn about the slave codes and laws governing the United States of America.