Once Upon a Time

by Emory King

Adam Flowers, together with eleven other Black men and two White men, walked into a Public Meeting at the Courthouse on June 1st, 1797 and changed the history of Belize forever.

To a man they voted against a resolution to abandon Belize to the Spaniards and return to the Mosquito Shore.

The motion was defeated by those 14 votes and, in spite of the support for evacuation by almost half the members, no one left the Settlement. All prepared for the attack by the Spanish authorities in Mexico. It came the following year, 1798, in the month of September. The Spanish Army and the Navy were finally defeated on the 10th of September. They sailed away, never to return. Adam Flowers's faith in Belize had been justified.

Adam Flowers had been a slave in the Mosquito Shore together his entire family and other Africans. His owner, William Flowers of Bristol, England, freed all his slaves in 1756 and went home.

For more than 30 years the Flowers Negroes lived as free people at the Shore, known and respected by all. Then, in 1787 William Flowers died in England and his heirs claimed the slaves had never been freed and offered to sell them.

This so alarmed the Flowers people they decided to run away to the bush or perhaps even to Honduras or Nicaragua. They broke into several houses, stole food, guns and tools and left for the forest.

Colonel James Pitt Lawrie, Superintendent at the Shore, called a meeting of the Council, declared the Flowers Negroes free, confirmed they had been free for more 30 years and gave them amnesty for their thefts.

The Flowers people returned the goods they had taken and agreed to come to Belize with the rest of the British subjects in the great evacuation of 1787.

Adam Flowers and his family probably lived up the Belize River at Flowers Bank Village. There they fished, planted crops and lived in peace and freedom. It is no wonder they voted against running away.

Besides Adam Flowers the names of those 14 men were William Flowers, Caesar Flowers, Joseph Toney, William Scott, William Pindar, George Grant, James Hercules, William Crofts, David Dawson, John Dawson, Joseph Smith, Thomas Robertson and George Raybon.

Robertson and Raybon were the two White men.