Hit and Run History

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The Refugee: Samuel Brown

This webisode of Hit and Run History shows the tenacity it takes for historians to bring the past to light, as the crew tirelessly hunts for details about the elusive Samuel Brown, a merchant from Newport, Rhode Island, and one of the many men involved in the Columbia Expedition—the first American voyage around the world.

The Hit and Run History crew come to many dead ends as they set out to uncover more clues about the life of Samuel Brown. But following a hunch about Brown's involvement in the slave trade, their dogged determination leads to the Massachusetts Archives at Columbia Point in Dorchester, Mass., and later, down to Newport, Rhode Island, where they enlist the help of John B. Hattendorf, "one of the most widely known and well-respected naval historians in the world."

Hattendorf explains the effects the British occupation had on Samuel Brown and his place in time during the Revolution—which forced him to live as a refugee in Boston, and ultimately rendered him a man without a past or a future.
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