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Elizabeth Swain Bannister

Another free coloured woman, Elizabeth Swayne Bannister, whose freedom was secured by Susannah Ostrehan, acting in collaboration with a mariner, Captain James White also exhibited the proverbial 'rags to riches' story. Manumitted in 1806, her will of 1828 leaves property in Berbice, British Guiana, £3,000 'to be applied to the maintenance, education and support of my daughter Jane Fraser who is at present at school in Glasgow. Another £2,400 was left to other relatives. Such growth clearly sent a message. If some free coloured women could, within a few years of manumission, accumulate enough economic resources to rival those of wealthier whites then, others could achieve similar success.

"Unhappy and Afflicted Women?”: Free Colored Women in Barbados: 1780-1834
Pedro L.V. Welch

After gaining her freedom in Barbados, Elizabeth went to Berbice where, as a 'free coloured' woman, she became the 'mistress' of the Scots plantation owner William Fraser.

In 1817 Elizabeth made a return for 30 slaves she owned in Berbice. By 1822 William Fraser had sold her some of his slaves, so that she then owned 66.

When Fraser died in 1830 he left half of his estate to her three children George, John and Jane Fraser. Elizabeth had died by this date.

Transfer of property in New Amsterdam to Elizabeth Swain Bannister in 1824.

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