In the late 1700s, David Bush, who lived in what is now the Bush-Holley House in Cos Cob, was one of the wealthiest residents and the largest single owner of slaves in Greenwich. African Americans were an integral part of the Bush household. David Bush was born in 1733, and made his fortune as a gentleman farmer and merchant in Greenwich, leaving a wealthy estate to his family at his death in 1797. A slave owner throughout his life, at his death he distributed his personal property, including his slaves, to specific family members.
In 1790 the household included nine African Americans, eight slaves, plus one free person. The slaves Jupiter and Charles probably worked on Cos Cob Landing where David Bush operated a grist mill , store and a sloop that engaged in the coastal trade. Cull appears to have been David Bush's personal servant. The female slaves in the household included Patience, her baby Phillis and two teenagers, Candis and Peggy (one slave has not yet been identified). The women worked primarily at household tasks and assisted David's wife, Sarah Bush . David and Sarah Bush were the largest slave holders in their family. The probate inventories and wills of David Bush's family members indicate that they too were slave owners, but had fewer slaves than David. These documents also indicate that the Bush family bequeathed their slaves to family members including their son, Dr. Ralph Isaacs Bush.
Image: Bush-Holley House , The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich.