Prince Whipple was royalty in Amabon, Africa, but later on came to be a slave in the British Colonies in America. He had wealthy parents who sent his cousin and him to the Americas to obtain an education. Prince Whipple had an older brother who had gone to the Americas earlier and received great benefits. His parents wanted to do the same for their younger son. Instead, the parents unknowingly sent him off with a treacherous sea captain, who took them to Baltimore, Maryland, where they were sold into slavery. Portsmouth men, in present-day New Hahampshire, bought them. Prince ended up with General Whipple of New Hampshire and took his name, as was customary.
Prince Whipple was much loved and trusted by everyone, including his master. Once General Whipple asked Prince to take a big quantity of money from Salem to Portsmouth. On the way there, two men attacked him. Later on, one was hit with a loaded whip and the other was shot. Whipple earned his freedom by serving in the American Revolution with his master. He had entered the services of the army as a bodyguard to Gen. Whipple, who was an aide to Washington. A Iocal newspaper calIed him: "New Hampshire's foremost, if not onIy, colored representative of the War for Independence."(Robinson, D.) Prince married Dinah, an emancipated woman from New Castle, in1781. They eventually lived in a two-story house with their children. Ester Mollenoux was one of their children who was welI known in Portsmouth. Prince Whipple died when he was 32 in Portsmouth, where he was known as the "CaIeb Quotom."(Robinson, D.)
General WilIiam Whipple was a prominent white who owned slaves. During the war, he was ordered to drive British General Burgoyne out of Vermont and accompanied George Washington for the famed crossing of the Delaware River. He later on represented New Hampshire by signing the Declaration of Independence. He lived in his wife, Catherine Moffatt's, father's mansion in Portsmouth.(Robinson, D.)
In the painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware, Prince Whipple is shown in the boat along with other men. This painting was done bv Emanuel Leutze in 1851. There have been several replicas of this painting. Leutze was born in Germany but went to America when he was young. He Iived in Philadelphia, but also traveled about. He went to a fine school in Dusseldorf where he learned his artistic techniques for creating historicaI paintings. His painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware depicts Washington pushed across the jagged cakes of ice and frigid water of the Delaware River on Christmas of1776 to surprise the British at Trenton, New Jersey. It illustrates Prince Whipple manning the oars of the boat. It is believed that that one face is the symbol of thousands of African-Americans who fought for freedom.(Robinson, D.) This successful surprise attack helped the Patriots in their quest for victory. Leutze used live models to depict the drawing as accurately as possible, since there were no exact records of costume, boat, and the weather in historical records.
In the painting, there are 12 men in a little wooden boat. Eleven men are soldiers, including George Washington, who is standing with one Ieg up on the ledge. There's an American flag behind him being held by another soldier. All the other 11 soldiers either rowing or looking out beyond. The 12th man is believed to be Prince Whipple, the only African American aboard. There are giant chunks of ice floating on the water. In the background there are dozens of soIdiers on land. This painting became a major success for Leutze, and garnered him $10,000. It is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
There is another painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, done by Currier & Ives in the 19th century.(Robinson, D.) It was sharply adapted. In their replica of the painting, the river is covered with more icebergs, and George Washington's face looks more like the one dollar bill instead of his younger face, and the crew is much smaller.
Robinson, J. Dennis. "Prince Whipple in American Painting," <http://www.seacoastnh.com/blackhistory/prince.html> Accessed: 3-19-98.