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The Death of Johnny Newcome

Countless new arrivals to the island who were unable to a acclimatize quickly enough to the climate of the island, then fell ill and passed away soon after arrival. This section is dedicated to those many who did manage to survive, be they the proverbial White Planter, Overseer, Carpenter, Wheel wright or the lowly Book Keeper, and the numerous enslaved Africans who weather the seas, in those dank cargo hold's, survived the cruelty of slavery managing to leave behind descendants today, to them all sinner and sinned, your descendants stand strong as testaments to your strength, courage and will.

The First signs that something is amiss

Johnny Newcome notices he is feeling feeble with fever and is having a severe headache, his illness has begun, he has contracted the Yellow Fever, from those darn Mosquito's he ignored to his peril, the scourge of the Tropical climes.

Johnny's bowels open wide

As the symptoms of Yellow Fever progress Johnny is seized by violent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.  Many newbies to the islands found themselves in the deadly grip of this illness or one of the several other illnesses which plagued the land, claiming both the lives of enslaver and the enslaved alike.

The Doctor knows his Days are but numbered

Doctors in the 17th -19th Century had very few tools which could fight these mosquito borne illnesses, regardless of whether they were viral or bacterial in nature. Apart from a few mostly noxious concoctions, ointments and in the case of the West Indian doctor a few adapted bush remedies from their fellow African herbal practitioners were privy to. There was nothing to be done except hope for the best and threat the symptoms as they presented themselves. 

Johnny regrets his decision to come to this accursed land

Here the writer of the cartoon takes full aim at life in the tropics, and his biases towards Jamaica and all the tropical colonies are laid bare. There was a prevailing  belief among many persons in England at that time, that the colonies were places of sin and debauchery, a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah. Their inability to understand the hybrid society which grew up around slavery, sugar cane and racial admixing was oftentimes too alien for them in England to rationalize in a context where these were in fact not the norms they were accustomed to, but were adaptations to the Caribbean environment and it's societal structures, centered around colour, monetary gain, slavery and individual human worth. So here the cartoonist has Johnny Newcome echoing his regret for having chosen to ever come out to colonies in the first place, for if he had not done so, his life would not have come to this sad end indeed.

Fearing the end is near Johnny has his Will written

Johnny calls for the attorney to help transcribe his last Will and Testament, as he consigns his soul to the Lord God, and his worldly belongings he bequeaths to his various women and children, in their order of importance. 

To my Dearly Beloved wife Rosa, I bequeath 'Imperimis' my estate called Merryment and Joy with its one thousand five hundred acres along with its Great House, tenements and hereditaments and appurtenances, and to my children by Mimbo Wampo, I bequeath each and everyone of them to share and share alike my mountain lands called Silver Sand Hills which I have named after their mother's home land, all of three hundred acres more or less. I hereby leave 500 pounds sterling money of this island to be devoted to the freeing of my said nine children of the body of Mimbo Wampo, my negro slave woman, from all forms of slavery and servitude, as soon as possible after my decease by my chosen Executors, Mr Bartholomew Bowleg of Bagsville in the Parish of St Andrews and Mr George Sandwich of Glittering Waters also in the Parish of St Andrews. It is also my wish and desire that Mimbo Wampo, my negro slave woman, should be freed from all manner of servitude and bondage's and given three acres of land to hold until her death along with sufficient land to have as a planting ground on the said mountains lands called Silver Sand Hills, for here sustenance and her maintenance. I give and bequeath all my books along with 150 pounds sterling money of this island to my loving nurse, Samboese Milly, a free woman of colour, and also to her may she be granted sufficient money's under the supervision of my said Executors to purchase a suitable brick and mortar house in the town of Kingsbridge in the parish of that same name, to have and to hold to her and her heirs and assigns from that day forward. This be my Last Will and Testament signed by my hand this day of the 10th of April 1804.


Though the above is a fictional Will its written in the very style which was common at the time for men of Johnny Newcome's status. However it must be stated here that not all men freed their mixed race children or their enslaved concubines, though some did.

The Delirium Comes as Johnny nears life's end

The fitfulness of the last stages of this dreadful illness takes hold, many of his enslaved servants try their very best to hold him still but to no avail. The end is coming near now, Johnny cries in pain as he realizes there is no coming back from death's door, he is a fearsome sight to behold and Quashie is astonished by the sight. 

It is over now Johnny Newcome is no more

The Attorney bears witness to his demise and calls on the Rector to say the last rights, alas Johnny Newcome is dead. Samboese Milly can do no more than sob uncontrollably.

Dear old Johnny Newcome is prepared for burial

As was customary bodies of the deceased were usually dressed and prepared for burial in the home, by members of the family, in this case possibly by his enslaved servant. Then it would be laid out in house for friends and family to pay their respects. Bodies did not fear well in the hot climate so it was usually prudent to have them buried the following day after death, to reduce the negative effects of putrefaction and its attendant unpleasant odours.

His body would be sent off to the Penn, a word used interestingly at the time for livestock farms, and for stately suburban properties and their mansion houses which could be found close to major towns and cities, but the word Penn also referenced to a centralized Burial ground, like the May Pen in Kingston.

Here Lies John Newcome

The funeral is had at the Burial Penn, last goodbyes are said with only a lone child of Mimbo Wampo present to bid him farewell. The Rector reads his last rights as his Attorney bears witness.

The End