Why the Freetown Cotton Tree is important to the Creole People of Freetown


‘Freetown Cotton’ has become part of Creole-Heritage since the early settlers from Britain (black poor) arrived at Granville Town, now Freetown in 1787. We set sailed from Nova Scotia and arrived at Freetown in 1792- we were put on shore, of the West Coast of Africa (Freetown), we brushed through the thick rainforest and assembled beneath the cotton tree- all settlers gathered and, we held the first baptist service in Africa. One of the free-settlers, Rev. David George and a white preacher Nathaniel Gilbert, preached the first baptist sermon in Africa at the cotton tree where we prayed tirelessly for God’s blessings upon our “promise land”.-

Freetown. We (Creoles) all held hands- young, old, the strong and the weak, white, blacks and sang… “AWAKE, AWAKE, AND SING THE SONG OF MOSES AND THE LAMB, THE DAY OF JUBILATION HAS COME, RETURNED HIS RANSOM SINNERS HOME”… We hoisted the British Union Jack Flag- “GOD SAVE OUR GRACIOUS KING”…… The Nova Scotian settlers often used the cotton tree as a place of prayers. One significant event in the history of the world took place at the Freetown cotton tree- the results of the first democratic election in the world were women first cast votes in 1792 were announced at the cotton tree by Governor Clarkson.

The colonial bell rang, calling all adult settlers to assembled at the cotton tree to settle disputes between Thomas Peters (creole leader) and Governor Clarkson- Thomas Peters wrote a letter to Clarkson saying…DEAR MR. CLARKSON, THE NOVA SCOTIAN PEOPLE DO NOT WANT YOU TO BE OUR LEADER AND GOVERNOR ANYMORE, WE’’VE APPOINTED MR. THOMAS PETERS AS OUR NEW LEADER AND GOVERNOR OF THIS FREE COLONY, HOPE THIS LETTER WILL PUT YOU ON YOUR GUARD. Clarkson was furious, saying-IF THIS LETER SPEAKS THE TRUTHS, I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT YOU’VA BETRAYED ME, MR. PETERS. BUT, BEFORE I LEAVE THIS COLONY, ITS EITHER YOU OR ME WILL BE HANGING ON THIS TREE.

Another important Creole evens also took place at the Cotton Tree- on the 30 – December- 1792 when Governor Clarkson summoned every Creole- men, women and children to assemble for prayer “THE GOVERNOR CLARKSON PRAYER”. ( this was how the famous Governor Clarkson’s prayer came about in 1792). He left the colony the following day- 31- Dec- 1792 and return to England as a pious English Countryman…Freetown Cotton Tree is part of our Creole history and heritage. By burning down ‘Freetown Cotton’ is tantamount to an attack on the history and heritage of the Creole people of class and standing………….Ajoti Morgan

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