Bob Ryan
Bob Ryan

The First Slave Owner in Virginia was not Jewish or European

There has been a growing belief that all Jews are of European decent and all Europeans who came to the Americas owned African slaves. Historically, there is no basis for the belief other than desire to believe it is true. Racial justification is based on an old hatred that alters form while remaining hatred. Jews, as historical records prove, are not of European origin and most have no lineage in Europe, but that does not stop them from being classified as white by those who are inclined to base things on race.

In 1619, shortly after the first laws were passed by representative government in Virginia, the English privateer ship, The White Lion, arrived in Virginia with what was noted as ‘twenty and some odd Angolans.’ The number is believed to be closer to thirty. They had been taken from a Portuguese ship who had intended to take them to Mexico to be sold as slaves.

Upon arriving in Virginia, the Angolans were traded for supplies and became indentured servants, since there was no law allowing for slavery. Indentured servitude was the standard for the British, which was harsh and resulted in short life spans. Most, regardless of origin, did not survive their contracts, but none were held beyond what the contract allowed without violation of the law.

One of the Angolans was a man named John Gaeween, who changed his name to Gowen. He was the first to be free of the contract, since he saved up the money he needed to pay for his freedom.

Following his freedom, he married Margaret Cornish, who was born somewhere in England, but the exact location is not known. What is known is that she was a white woman who violated no law and did not marry in secret. The obsession the people of this time were supposedly to have has no historical fact to support it, since there were no laws based on race.

The Angolan born John Gowen arrived at a time when no one cared about race in Virginia. Mixed marriages and children had already been happening with the local tribes with no negative societal impact of any kind. The only thing the Virginians cared about was they were Christian.

John Gowan’s occupation, according to, an invaluable resource for those interested in genealogy, was, “a magistrate, auditing and ruling over smaller filings. In York County, in his later years, John judged Europeans and Africans alike until his death.” In other words, he was a judge who ruled over people equally under the law.

Anthony Johnson, another Angolan born indentured servant, was brought to Virginia two years after John Gowan, and served out the entirety of his contract before becoming a successful and wealthy farmer. Being born in Angola had no bearing on his achievements that would come later in his life.

As the owner of a farm, he had indentured servants work the crops. Among those indentured servants was African born, the country of origin is not known, John Casor. After the expiration of the contract, Johnson refused to give Casor his earned freedom.

The case was taken to court and initially ruled in favor of Casor. Casor indentured himself to another farmer and the entire matter should have been settled. The same judge, a year later in 1655, reversed his own ruling to enable Johnson to become the owner of Casor for life without a single law to support the ruling. Slavery had not been added into the laws of Virginia and Casor more than fulfilled his contract.

It was not until 1662 that a law was passed to enslave people based on the status of their mothers, over four decades after the first Africans arrived in Virginia.

“WHEREAS some doubts have arrisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman should 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, And that if any christian shall commit fornication with a negro man or woman, he or she so offending shall pay double the fines imposed by the former act.”

Through the bastardization of history, there is an attempt to return to eugenics by another name. Eugenics brought about the rebirth of the Klan in the United States before reaching its full ugliness in Germany. There were increased attacks on Jews and blacks in the United States as institutions, like segregation, were put into place.

Eugenics fell out of fashion following the end of WWII, but never fully let go. Today, rather than have the white race superior to all, which was the belief of the eugenicists of the past, it is white people who sit at the bottom with the Jews included through the erroneous belief that all Jews are of European decent.

This current round of eugenics is far worse than the original that swept through the Europe and the United States, since they never pushed the idea of racism attributed to birth. Those who push the CRT narrative, complete with distorted history and happen to be white, are saying they are racists with the expectation that everyone is just as racist as they are. Children are not born racist, but those who become racist learn it over time.

The violence spreading across the world is a return to the belief that Jews are a lesser race not deserving of a home or their lives. Vicious attacks by those who are racially motivated are running rampant in the major cities in and out of the United States and the various colleges and universities, which are not conservative, by American standards, bastions.

History should be taught as it happened, not as it was perceived to be. The United States is new enough to have many documents still intact from the colonial days. We know when the laws were written which legalized slavery and textbooks should reflect the facts of who the colonialists were from the first generation on to show the changing attitudes that did come to impact every colony.

John Gowen lived a remarkable life in Virginia. His story is being ignored as the idea of him enslaved upon arrival as the first Angolans is a sorry bastardization of what he did. His accomplishments, including becoming a judge, show just how truly little the first settlers cared about race and how much they valued the equality of the law.

The case of John Casor is truly egregious. To claim slavery started in 1619 is to take away his story, which should be known. For the first time in the colonies, a man was enslaved without violating a single law. His name should be known, and his story taught in every school in the United States.

About the Author
Bob Ryan is a novelist of the future via science-fiction, dystopian or a combination of the two, and blogger of the past with some present added in on occasion. He believes the key to understanding the future is to understand the past, since human nature is an unchanging force. As any writer can attest, he spends a great deal of time researching numerous subjects. He is someone who seeks to strip away emotion in search of reason, since emotion clouds judgement. Bob is an American with an MBA in Business Administration. He is a gentile who supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. He is a Christian Zionist who knows God is calling His chosen home as foretold in prophecy.
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