Nat Turner Timeline
Timeline Description: Nat Turner (born October 2, 1800) led a successful and bloody slave revolt, driven by his own religious visions. With the support of six other men, Nat was responsible for the death of 55 slave owners and others. His Confessions were published not long after his execution.

Date Event
January 1800 Nancy Turner Raped(January or February 1800)

Turner's mother was a recently arrived slave girl of 16 or 17 years, named Nancy by her owner, likely from West Africa. She was most probably raped by her owner, Benjamin Turner.
October 2, 1800 Nat Turner Born

Nat Turner was born to young Nancy on October 2. She tried to kill the baby, and he was given to a slave couple, Harriet and Tom, to raise.
1803 Harriet Deems Young Nat a Prophet or Miracle Child

When Nat was only three, his adoptive mother, Harriet deemed him a religious figure, aware of events before his birth.
1805 Nathaniel Learned to Read

By 1805, Nat Turner could read, but no one had taught him. His learning grew quickly, even with few resources.
1808 Harriet Met with White Church Leaders

In 1808, Harried met with the leader's of her owner, Benjamin Turner's, home church. They agreed that the bright boy was not suitable for slavery. Harriet, and later Nat, believed he would be freed at 21.
1809 Benjamin Gave Ownership of Nat Turner to His Son

In 1809, nearing his own death, Benjamin Turner gave ownership of then nine-year-old Nat to his white son, Samuel Turner.
1810 Benjamin Turner Died

Benjamin Turner died in 1810. Nat Turner was sent to work in the fields. His adoptive father, Tom, escaped slavery around this time.
1817 Nat Turner's First Revelation

In 1817, at around 17 years old, Nat Turner experienced his first religious revelation. The message was, "Seek ye the kingdom of heaven."
1819 Revelation Repeated

Again, in 1819, Nat Turner experienced the same revelation. He had continued his studies of religion, but had not yet found the answer to these revelations.
1821 Asked for Freedom

At 21, Nat Turner asked for his freedom and was whipped. He escaped, but returned after 30 days voluntarily, citing religious reasons.
1822 Samuel Turner Married Nat to a Slave, Cherry

After his return, Samuel married Nat to a slave, Cherry. Nat never acknowledged a wife in his later writings, and may not have thought this marriage valid. Cherry did have children, but they were likely Samuel Turner's.
1823 Samuel Turned Died

Following the death of Samuel Turner, the Turner family sold many of their slaves, including Nat.
1825 Nat Turner Again Sold(1825 and 1828)

Nat Turner was again sold in 1825 and 1828 to other members of the community. This intensified his religious visions. The second of these is specifically a vision of Christ.
1827 Requested Freedom

In 1827, Nat again asked for his freedom and was again whipped, this time by his owner, Thomas Moore.
1828 Moore Died

Thomas Moore died in 1828. Nat became the property of his six-year-old son, Putnam Moore and was part of Putnam's stepfather's household by 1830.
February 12, 1831 Religious Vision of Holy War

In a seventh vision, Nat Turner saw a holy war and believed he was commanded to take up arms against his oppressors.
August 13, 1831 Holy War(August 13-14, 1831)

Nat viewed an eclipse on August 13, 1831 as a sign that it was time for the holy war to begin. On August 14, he preached a sermon at church, expressing this.
August 21, 1831 Bloodshed(August 21 to 23, 1831)

Seven men dined together, planning the onslaught of their holy war on August 21. Between the 22nd and 23rd, they killed some 55 people, primarily slave owners.
October 30, 1831 Nat Allowed Himself to Be Captured

After 70 days on the run, Nat allowed himself to be captured. He was tried and convicted. While awaiting sentencing, he wrote the Confessions of Nat Turner.
November 11, 1831 Nat Turner Died

Nat Turner was executed at noon on November 11, 1831. His Confessions were published the following month.