john punch

John Punch date of birth is unknown, but in was listed as living in Colony of Virginia in 1640.

Punch was a indentured servant to a wealthy landowner and Virginia planter Hugh Gwyn. Gwyn was also a member of the House of Burgesses, representing Charles River County (which became York County in 1642).

Some time in the 1630’s Punch married a white woman, likely she was also an indentured servant. By 1637 he had fathered a son called John Punch I. Punch and his wife are known as the first black and white couple in the Virginia colony who left traceable descendants.

In 1640 Punch along with two European indentured servants ran away from Gwyn’s plantation to Maryland. The three men were caught and returned to Virginia. On July 9, 1940 the Virginia Governor’s Council. Which served as the colony’s highest court at the time, sentenced both Europeans to have their terms of indentured extended by another four years each. Punch received the harshest punishment because he was Negro. He was sentence to life of servitude. In addition, the council sentenced the three men to thirty lashes each.

As written:

“Whereas Hugh Gwyn hath by order from this Board brought back from Maryland three servants formerly run away from the said Gwyn, the court doth therefore order that the said three servants shall receive the punishment of whipping and have thirty stripes apiece. One called Victor, a Dutchman, the other a Scotchman called James Gregory, shall first serve out their times with their master according to their Indentures, and one whole year apiece after the time of their service is expired by their said indentures in recompense of his loss sustained by their absence, and after that service to their said master is expired, to serve the colony for three whole years apiece. And that the third being a negro named John Punch shall serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural life here or elsewhere.”

Gwyn_Before_VA_Council_1640

Punch and his wife children was consider free negro’s due to the Slave Code of Virginia of 1662 that stated:

” Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishmen upon a Negro shall be slave or Free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present Grand assembly, that all children born in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother”

John Punch was an eleventh-generation grandfather of Untied States 44th President Barack Obama II.

John Punch death is like his is date of birth Unknown.

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