In Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 197 (for page 87, note 5) it states that "...as with many of the ships of the day, the South Carolina's crew cut across racial lines, having perhaps as many as half-dozen blacks. See appendix entries for Anthony Porcy (or Povey), Hector McKenzie, Dublin Gillon, Pompey Gazer, Premius Griffen, and South Carolina". The section of the work entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", pages 135-170, cites the following names of men and their "positions" on board the frigate South Carolina:
Carolina, South Black?
Gazer, Pompey ---------
Gillon, Dublin Black slave
Griffen, Premius Landsman
McKenzie, Hector ----------
Porcy, Anthony Black sailor?
These are exactly how the entries appear in the appendix of Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia. In an initial search of the section, entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina, one only runs across the individual's names that are cited as being "Black", "Black slave", or "Black sailor" as evidence that there were indeed men of color on board the frigate South Carolina. In the above list, only the first, third and last citations carry anything that would indicate that the individual named there is an African-American.The other three individuals have to be identified as being African-American to be known as such. In fact the fourth listing on above list is that of Premius Griffen who has his "position" listed as being a "landsman". Certainly, it is possible that he was a free African-American, and possibly even a man of property, before signing on board the frigate South Carolina.
This blog writer has run across another reference to African-Americans, both slave and free, as being part of the crew of the frigate South Carolina. A Yahoo.groups.com entry for Revlist of December 10, 2002 (48096), written by Patrick O'Kelley of North Carolina provides a list of all the names and services of African-Americans that he has collected over the years past. He does include in his list the following citations:
South Carolina - black slave who served on board the South Carolina State Navy Frigate South Carolina.
Dublin Gillon - black slave sailor on board the South Carolina State Navy Frigate South Carolina.
Anthony Porcy - black sailor on board the South Carolina State Navy Frigate South Carolina.
There is no mention whatsoever of the other three individuals of African-American descent - Pompey Gazer, Premius Griffen, or Hector McKenzie. But, these three individuals are positively identified as being African-Americans on board the frigate South Carolina by means of the note on page 197 (page 87, note 5) in Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia.
The writer of this blog would like to make a generalization/observation at this point. Many of the African-Americans in the colonies at this point in history were either enslaved individuals or free individuals who had once been enslaved. Usually, when these persons arrived in the colonies, their African names were deliberately replaced with names that were easier for the English-speaking portions of the white population to pronounce. Often, these names came from Greek or Roman mythology or were otherwise colorful names. The names of Pompey Gazer, Premius Griffen, Hector McKenzie, and Anthony Porcy all would fit into the Greek/Roman mythology category. The names of South Carolina and Dublin Gillon would be more "colorful" names. After the selection of their first names, often their last names were those of their current or former masters/mistresses or owners. Hence, the last names of these individuals could easily reflect the last names of their current or former owners - Gazer, Gillon, Griffen, McKenzie, or Porcy. In the case of South Carolina, the entire name, both first and last names, is colorful and may well indicate that this individual was owned by someone who lived in the state or otherwise had a connection with it.
The final remaining African-American - Dublin Gillon- is an interesting one. His last name is the identical last name of the Commodore - Gillon. It is also spelled in the same manner. He could conceivably be the personal slave of Commodore Alexander Gillon. Or, he could have been a slave of the Gillon family but, had received his manumission by the time he signed on board the frigate South Carolina. It is known that Alexander Gillon did own slaves. The following information comes from the "RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Family Tree", entry for Gillon, last updated 2010-08-20. In the 1790 census, he is listed as owning property in Charleston, SC and owning thirteen slaves. In the 1790 census, he is also listed as owning property in Orangeburg District, Calhoun County, SC and owning one hundred and eighteen slaves there. This is where his country home, Gillon's Retreat, was located. In his will, written in 1792, makes mention several times of his leaving "...Negroes..." and "...Domestic Negroes..." to his wife along with the remainder of his estate. Frequently, this writer has experienced the names of individual slaves written into a will as being specifically given or bequeathed to someone. None of that appears in the will of Alexander Gillon.
Unfortunately, this is all that can be ascertained concerning the African-Americans that served on board the frigate South Carolina. That they were members of the crew, there is no doubt. What their circumstances or situations would have been, we may well never know what their lives and experiences had shown them before they signed on as a crew member of the frigate South Carolina.