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Flake, Green (1828-1903)

Born enslaved on January 6, 1828 on the Jordan Flake Plantation in Anson County, North Carolina, Green Flake at the age of ten was given as a wedding gift to James Madison Flake, Jordan’s son who married Agnes Love in 1838 in Anson County, North Carolina.  The couple moved shortly thereafter to Mississippi with their three-year-old son as well as Green and their other slaves.  In 1844 the Flake family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) after begin converted by missionary Benjamin Clapp.  The baptism included Green and the other slaves on April 5, 1844 by Elder Clapp.

Shortly afterwards the James Flake family made the decision to leave Mississippi to participate in the largest religious migration in American history, the gathering of LDS members from across the United States to what is now Utah.  They migrated first to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the church accepted Green’s labor as part of the Flake family tithing.  

Green Flake who weighed nearly two hundred pounds at the age of sixteen, was chosen as one of three “colored servants” (Oscar Cosby and Hark Lay were the others) in the vanguard LDS pioneer company of 143 men, three women, and two children who made the journey from Winter Quarters, Nebraska to Utah in 1847. When the western trek began on April 17, Brigham Young, President of the LDS Church, assigned Flake to be a member of the fourteen-member advance party.  Flake was also Young’s personal driver on the journey. When Young became ill in early July, Orson Pratt was assigned to lead the advance party to find the trail to the Salt Lake Valley.  Green was with Pratt and on July 22 rode in the first wagon that entered the Valley.  

Upon settling in Utah Territory Green built a log cabin in what is now the Cottonwood area and planted crops in anticipation of his owner’s arrival.  When James and Agnes Flake arrived in 1848, Green Flake greeted them.  Around 1850 Green married Martha Crosby, also a slave of Mormon pioneers and half-sister of Hark Lay. The couple had two children,

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