Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Banneker, Benjamin

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BANNEKER, Benjamin, mathematician, b. at Ellicott's Mills, Md., 9 Nov., 1731; d. in Baltimore, in October, 1806. He was of African descent, and learned to read from his grandmother, a white woman who had freed and married one of her slaves. He studied mathematics and astronomy while working in the field, when past middle life, and prepared and published almanacs for Maryland and the adjoining states in 1792 and subsequent years until his death. He assisted Ellicott in surveying the site of Washington and the boundaries of the District of Columbia. His biography, by J. H. B. Latrobe, was published in 1845, and another by J. S. Norris in 1854.