Sam arrived in New Orleans aboard the schooner “Charles” on July 29, 1820, from Savannah, Georgia. The ship manifest described Sam as 23 years old, the height of 5’9”, and gave his owner as Francis Glavarry. Five days after landing, a bill of sale dated August 4, 1820, showed that Glavarry sold Sam to Philippe “Flagy” Duparc, who acted as an agent for his mother Nanette Prudhomme Duparc. Duparc paid $825 to Glavarry in the transaction.
Sam was an English-speaking, American Negro who did not adjust easily to life on a French-speaking, Creole plantation. He attempted to run away and was caught and branded as punishment. A poster advertising a $10 reward for his capture, along with fellow runaway Munday was published in the Courrier de la Louisiane, dated December 17, 1824. Although the ad was only four years after the bill of sale, Sam was listed as 32 years old, his height 5’6” and,”…his face is but [sic] small and his legs are a little bent, he has on his breast the letters VDR.” The initials “VDR” are a typographical error. It should have read “VDP ” for the Veuve Duparc Prudhomme. Veuve is the French term for widow.
In all likelihood, Francis Glavarry bought Sam from another owner before shipping him to New Orleans. It is unknown who that owner was, but Sam took the last name O’Brien later in life and this may hint to the individual. Sam remained on the plantation for decades and was sometimes referred to as “English Sam.” He was found on inventories from 1829, 1852, 1855 and 1860. No occupation was listed, but given his devaluation to $300 in 1852, it is assumed he was a field hand. A final entry was found for “Sam Bryan” in the Comptes des Nègres, a plantation journal. It read in French, "Mort de la Petite Vérole le 15 février 1864"; Sam had died of smallpox on February 15, 1864. It is unknown if he had a wife or children.
Note: There is a separate profile for Munday.