Newspaper/ Magazine Articles

A Chance for Freedom

By Mike Bezemek

Ned Simmons and dozens of others were asked to line up on shore by their former owner. Until the middle of January of 1815, he’d been an enslaved carpenter at the Dungeness plantation on Cumberland Island, but Simmons and other enslaved laborers had jumped at the opportunity when British soldiers took over the island and offered them freedom.

Now Louisa Greene Shaw, Dungeness’ owner, made a desperate attempt to convince them to change their minds. “She gave them a long talk,” a friend of the Shaw family wrote later. “Told them how kind they had been treated by all the family. All this had no effect.”

Not one of them heeded Shaw’s call. Many reboarded British ships, while others stayed on the island, either resuming their civilian duties to assist the occupiers or performing drills with Britain’s Colonial Marines.   

Mike Bezemek, “A Chance for Freedom,” National Parks Conservation Association, accessed November 6, 2021,