Thomas Ruffin Gray (1800 – ?) was an attorney who represented several enslaved people during the trials in the wake of Nat Turner's slave rebellion.
Nat Turner's Rebellion was a slave rebellion that took place in Southampton County, Virginia, in August 1831, led by Nat Turner. Rebel slaves killed from 55 to 65 people, at least 51 being white. The rebellion was put down within a few days, but Turner survived in hiding for more than two months afterwards. The rebellion was effectively suppressed at Belmont Plantation on the morning of August 23, 1831.
Thomas Ruffin Gray was born in 1800 in Southampton County, Virginia. He graduated from the College of William & Mary.
Southampton County is a county located on the southern border of the Commonwealth of Virginia. North Carolina is to the south. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,570. Its county seat is Courtland.
The College of William & Mary is a public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693 by letters patent issued by King William III and Queen Mary II, it is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, after Harvard University.
Gray was a lawyer. Although he is commonly thought of as Nat Turner's lawyer, James Strange French is the person listed in official records as Turner's lawyer.Neither assertion is correct- William C. Parker was assigned by the court to represent Nat. Though educated in law at William and Mary early in life, he had only recently begun practicing law. There is some speculation that he had lost much of his property through gambling and that is what caused him to begin practicing law, which appears to be confirmed in a pamphlet Gray prepared discussing a dispute with a Southampton County physician, Orris A. Browne. There is also recent speculation on Gray's relationship with a well-known gambler in Virginia.
James Strange French (1807-1886) was a lawyer, novelist, and later hotel keeper.
Gray published The Confessions of Nat Turner, which purports to be Turner's confession and account of his life leading up the rebellion, as well as an account of Turner's motives and actions during the rebellion.
In the 1960s, William Styron published a fictional and controversial account of the Nat Turner rebellion using the same title as Gray's pamphlet, The Confessions of Nat Turner .
William Clark Styron Jr. was an American novelist and essayist who won major literary awards for his work.
The Confessions of Nat Turner is a 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by U.S. writer William Styron. Presented as a first-person narrative by historical figure Nat Turner, the novel concerns the slave revolt in Virginia in 1831. It is based on The Confessions of Nat Turner: The Leader of the Late Insurrection in Southampton, Virginia, a first-hand account of Turner's confessions published by a local lawyer, Thomas Ruffin Gray, in 1831.
A slave rebellion is an armed uprising by slaves. Slave rebellions have occurred in nearly all societies that practice slavery or have practiced slavery in the past. A desire for freedom and the dream of successful rebellion are often the greatest objects of song, art and culture amongst the enslaved population. The events are often brutally opposed by slaveholders.
Charles Lee was an American lawyer from Virginia. He served as United States Attorney General from 1795 until 1801 and Secretary of State ad interim from May 13, 1800, to June 5, 1800.
William Henry Cabell was a Virginia lawyer, politician and judge aligned with the Democratic-Republican party. He served as Member of the Assembly, as Governor of Virginia, and as judge on what later became the Virginia Supreme Court. Cabell adopted his middle initial, which did not stand for anything, in 1795, to distinguish himself from other William Cabells, including his uncle William Cabell Sr. and first cousin William Cabell Jr. (1759-1822)
Events from the year 1831 in the United States.
William J. Gaston was a jurist and United States Representative from North Carolina. Gaston is the author of the official state song of North Carolina, "The Old North State". Gaston County, North Carolina is named after him, as are Lake Gaston, the city of Gastonia, North Carolina, and Gaston Hall within Healy Hall at Georgetown University.
Thomas Roderick Dew (1802–1846) was a professor at and then president of The College of William & Mary. He was an influential pro-slavery advocate.
James Trezvant was a U.S. Representative from Virginia.
Thomas Gray was an English poet, classical scholar and professor of Cambridge University.
George Lewis Ruffin was an American attorney and judge. In 1869, he was the first African American to graduate from Harvard Law School, and was elected as the first African American to serve on the Boston City Council. Ruffin was elected in 1870 to the Massachusetts Legislature. In 1883, he was appointed by the governor as a judge to the Municipal Court, Charlestown district in Boston, making him the first African American judge in the United States.
William Blount Rodman was an American lawyer and politician from North Carolina. He was a justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1868 to 1878.
Events from the year 1798 in the United States.
Alfred L. Brophy is an American legal scholar. He holds the Paul and Charlene Jones Chair in law at the University of Alabama.
William H. Brodnax, was a nineteenth-century American militia Brigadier General and American politician from Virginia.
Cherry Turner was an enslaved American Indian in Southampton, Virginia in the early 1800s. She was the wife of slave rebel, Nat Turner.
NegroHead Road is a place outside Wilmington, North Carolina with similar displays in other Southern towns, where body parts of slaves or blacks were displayed in consequence of a purported crime. It is modeled after displays like Blackhead Signpost Road in Southampton County, Virginia. It was here, in 1831, where the head of a slave, Alfred, was displayed on a stake for being part of Nat Turner's slave rebellion, as a warning for any future rebels.