“S” is for Sampson
“S” is for Sampson. Enslaved person, medical practitioner. Although little is known about him, Sampson was a healer of some renown in colonial South Carolina, with an apparent specialty in curing those who had been poisoned. The Commons House of Assembly appointed a committee to investigate “the most effective way to procure…a Cure for the Bite of Rattle Snakes from Sampson, a Negro fellow belonging to Mr. Robert Hume.” The committee investigated the matter, deemed the discovery of a snakebite cure to be a “General Benefit to Mankind,” and recommended the enslaved Sampson be freed. In 1755 Sampson was freed by the Commons House and awarded an annuity of £50 currency. His master was paid £300 in compensation for Sampson’s manumission. By order of the Commons House, Sampson’s cure for snakebite was printed in the South-Carolina Gazette.