History for Lunch on June 19 featuring Barbara Snowden

History for Lunch: Currituck Jack, African American Revolutionary Hero


Barbara Snowden, Currituck County historian, will provide an informative talk on Currituck Jack.

In 1780, a ship, the Polly, headed out to break the British Blockade but was captured by a privateer, the Fame.  Leaving five British sailors on board, the Polly headed to New York to the Admiralty Court during one of the worst winters on record.  Currituck Jack, an enslaved man owned by Henry White, was tied on the deck while the owners were tied up under the deck.  Currituck Jack got free, freed the owners, and recaptured the ship.  They sailed into Annapolis, where the British sailors were turned over to the Continental Congress.

Caleb White, Henry White’s son, freed Currituck Jack in his will on Jack paying $100 in Spanish gold.  In 1792, the North Carolina General Assembly gave Jack his freedom and included in the record his actions during the American Revolution in the record.  Currituck Jack took the name, John Jasper White.  He went on to own his own ship, marry, and have two sons.  He became a well-respected man in his community.