Postell, Birchtown, was the slave of a wealthy South Carolina
planter when the war began. She managed to get herself and her children
away from him, and they claimed freedom behind the British lines.
Her certificate of freedom was taken from her, however, by a White
person who pretended he wanted to see her papers. When Charleston
surrendered to the Americans, she went to St. Augustine, Florida,
with her husband and family, as servants to Jesse Gray. There, Gray
claimed she was legally his slave, and sold her to his brother Samuel.
Samuel and Jesse Gray emigrated to Nova Scotia, taking Mary and
her daughters along. At some point, Samuel sold Mary back to Jesse.
She became very afraid that Jesse Gray would sell her away from
her children. One night, she escaped with them from his house. Gray
went to court to prove he owned her; then, to punish her, he took
her down the coast to Argyle, where he sold her to William Maugham
for one hundred bushels of potatoes. Ignoring Mary's desperation
and heartbreak, he sold her daughter Flora to John Henderson,
keeping another daughter, Nell, as his own property. Such was the
terrible reality of slavery in Nova Scotia.