Sayward-Wheeler House Parlor
The portrait of Sally Sayward usually hangs in the parlor of the Sayward-Wheeler House (c. 1718) in York Harbor, Maine. The house and its contents are a remarkable survival, with many of the furnishings still in place as they were in the eighteenth century. While it’s easy to see surviving links to the family who owned the house for generations, it’s not easy is to see evidence of the enslaved people who lived and worked there, Boneto, Prince, and Cato. Boneto, an Indigenous enslaved person, was held at the house in the early eighteenth century. Later in the century, Prince and Cato were there. Prince was married to Dinah, an enslaved “servant” of a tavern owner in York. He served in the Continental Army until 1781 when “Friends of Prince Sayward, a negro servant and slave” paid for Prince’s freedom. Also in 1781 Cato appears to have purchased his own freedom. Jonathan Sayward recorded the transaction in his diary: “July 3, 1781: I sold Cato my negro his time for 275 Dollars.”
Click the hot spots in the image to learn more. Learn more about Sayward-Wheeler House and Historic New England’s new interpretation in the section below.