Technically born free in West Hartford, CT, but bound into service until age 21. (His father was an enslaved man kidnapped from Africa, his mother a Scottish immigrant.) He enlisted as a Minute Man, fought in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, served at the Siege of Boston, and became one of three African American men who fought in the Green Mountain Boys unit led by Ethan Allen when they seized Fort Ticonderoga.

After the war, Haynes became a Congregational Church pastor and the first African American clergyman to minister to white congregations in Vermont and New York.

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