1784: Wheatley's husband imprisoned for debt. 1778: Wheatley marries John Peters. Wheatley’s precociousness became apparent quickly, and the entire Wheatley family taught young Phillis to read and write (though she continued her household duties as well). In 1782 she moves back from Wilmington, Mass. Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784) and her Sovereign God Small, frightened and skinny, she looked too frail to do much work. She was born in Senegambia (now Senegal) in west Africa. Phillis Wheatley, as illustrated by Scipio Moorhead in the Frontispiece to her book Poems on Various Subjects #2 Wheatley was named after the slave ship that brought her to U.S. She was sold to John Wheatley, a wealthy Boston merchant and tailor, who bought her as a servant for his wife Susanna. - The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. A list of poems by Phillis Wheatley Born around 1753, Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in America to publish a book. In accordance with John Wheatley's will, Phillis is freed upon her master's death. When her book of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, appeared, she became the first American slave, the first person of African descent, and only the third colonial American woman to have her work published. to Boston, Mass. In 1773, Phillis Wheatley accomplished something that no other woman of her status had done. Wheatley marries black grocer John Peters. History is not clear about John Peters' story. Wheatley suffered from asthma (a legacy of the Middle Passage) and the death of three children, before dying in poverty and obscurity, aged 31, in 1784. Wheatley is freed. Although she was an enslaved person, Phillis Wheatley Peters was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. From 1779-1782 she has three children, although two died in infancy and the other as a toddler. Phillis Wheatley's elegy for Whitefield changed her life, transforming her from a young enslaved woman with a small readership among friends of the Wheatley family to an author with an international readership. During her early adulthood Phillis became more ... John Wheatley dies, and her teacher Mary Lathrop dies. The couple lives in very poor and impoverished conditions, likely contributing to the death of two infant children. A month after the death of John Wheatley, Phillis Wheatley married John Peters, a free Black man of Boston. Marriage and Children . Mary Wheatley, the daughter of the family, died that same year. and works as a maid there. 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