Thomas Johns and Evaristo Muchovela

Evaristo Muchovela

Evaristo Muchovela (c.1830-1868):
St Wendrona’s Church, Wendron TR13 0EA

In St Wendron’s Church, Wendron, a former master and his slave share a grave. Thomas Johns, a copper and tin miner from Porkellis, decided to move to Brazil to try his luck. There he bought a seven-year-old slave, Evaristo Muchovela, originally from Mozambique.

More than two decades later, in 1860, Johns’ health was declining and he was keen to return home. He offered Evaristo a deal: to remain in Brazil as a freeman or accompany him to Cornwall as a paid servant. Evaristo chose the latter. Very shortly after they arrived, however, Johns died of tuberculosis and was buried in the village churchyard. Evaristo found lodgings with a retired farmer, Joseph Gundrey, and was apprenticed to a local cabinet-maker, William Wales, who judged him to be a first-rate apprentice. A photo survives, taken at a local studio, showing Evaristo smartly suited and casually leaning against a cabinet.

However, seven years later, Evaristo also died, probably of consumption, and was in buried in his former master’s grave.

Sacred to the memory of Thomas Johns of Porkellis who departed this life January 28th 1861 aged 61 Years.
God my redeemer lives
And ever from the skies
Looks down and watches my dust
Till he shall bid it rise
born in Mosambique, South Africa,
died at Redruth February 19th 1868,
Aged 38 years.
Here lie the master and the slave
side by side within one grave
distinctions lost and caste is o’er
the slave is now a slave no more

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