One of the most feared runaway “slaves” throughout Jamaica’s history was Jack Mansong, known as ‘Three Fingered Jack”.
He was also the first fugitive in Jamaica’s history to have a £300 bounty placed on his head.
The very mention of his name drove fear into the hearts of white plantation owners.
Jack fled the slave plantation and at first holed up at a spot at the Cane River, where he waylaid communities traversing the Windward Road.
He then settled in the Blue Mountains from where he robbed passers-by, raided nearby plantations and launched war against the authorities.
The area in St Thomas between Bull Bay and Grant’s Pen was where Jack reputedly carried out many daring hold-ups, robberies and kidnappings.
Government officials and slave owners were his main targets but he did not harm women, children or slaves.
In fact, some writings suggest that Jack freed a number of slaves during his reign of terror.
By the end of 1780, the colonial government had become frustrated that all efforts to rid the society of Three Fingered Jack had failed.
They then offered full freedom to any slave who could bring the feared rebel to justice, dead or alive.
In 1781, Jack was surprised near the entrance of his cave by a slave Quashie and a small boy called “A Good Shot”.
Quashie had converted to Christianity. Jack grabbed his cutlass, but was shot three times. He died after the slave boy bashed in his head with a rock.
Both of them cut off Jack’s head, took it to Spanish Town and claimed the £300 reward. Jack’s head and hand were preserved for 20 years at Spanish Town.
By Neo Makeba