TURNER, NAT (c.1800.31). An American negro slave and insurrectionist, who was born and lived in Southampton County, Va. From his childhood he fancied himself set apart from his fellows for some great purpose, and claimed to hear voices and see visions. In 1828 he declared he had a command to rise and slay his enemies, when a sign should he given. The eclipse of the sun in February. 1831. was accepted as the sign, but nothing was done until after a peculiar solar appearance on August 13th. With four or five companions, he began near Cross Keys, on Sunday night, August 21st, by killing five mem bers of his master's family in their beds. The conspirators proceeded. being joined by recruits until the number reached 53, killing all, even in fants, in every house in the neighborhood. On the next morning they killed all the pupils at a school. By noon the news had spread and the hand was routed by a party of white men. The excitement was intense. United States troops from Fortress Monroe and the militia from vari ous counties of Virginia and North Carolina gathered and the conspirators were hunted like wild beasts. Turner kept himself concealed for
six weeks. When his hiding-plaee was discovered he fled, but was captured near Cross Keys Oc tober 30th, was tried and convicted at Jerusalem, and on November 11th was there hanged. In all only 17 negroes were executed, as it was proved that some in the party were there under com pulsion. Fifty-seven whites were slaughtered and more would have been killed but for the faithfulness of slaves, who in several instances defended their masters. The results of the mas saere were immediate. More stringent slave codes were passed in many States, free negroes were deprived of their privileges, and the Manu mission movement, which had considerable strength previously, was effectually checked. Consult: Weeks, "The Slave Insurrection in Vir ginia," in Magazine of American History (New York, June, 1891) ; Drewry. The Southampton Insurrection (Washington, 1900).