Edith Cumbo (born ca. 1735) was born to a free black woman in Charles City County, Va. across the James River from Williamsburg. Because children inherited the status of their mother, Edith was also free. She grew up with five brothers.
ON HER OWN
In the mid-1750s, Cumbo lived in Halifax County, where her son Daniel was born. She remained unmarried, but was successfully found not guilty when she was accused of having a child out of wedlock. By the late 1770s, Cumbo was living in Williamsburg as one of only a handful of free blacks living within the city. Independent and resourceful, Cumbo headed her household and may have used her housewifery skills to earn a living, perhaps as a domestic servant, laundress or seamstress.
PROUD AND PROTECTIVE
In 1778, Cumbo took steps to protect her property and household when she took the initiative to sue Adam White for trespass, assault and battery. Her story illuminates the lives of free blacks during the American Revolution.
Meet a Nation Builder
Across the Board
Over a game of chess Thomas Jefferson and his manservant, Jupiter, challenge and amuse each other.
Witness imagined conversations between Thomas Jefferson, John Locke and King George 3 to discover the ghosts behind Jefferson’s drafts of the Declaration of Independence.
Art Museums Admission
Visit a Nation Builder- Aggy of Turkey Island
Step into the past with Aggy of Turkey Island, Entangled with her master; fighting for her family's freedom.