Cato Mead – African Americans in the Revolution


Cato Mead (ca. 1761–1846; also spelled “Meed”) is the only known black Revolutionary War veteran buried west of the Mississippi River. He is buried in or near Montrose, Iowa.

According to historian Barbara MacLeish, who is researching a book on Mead, he joined the 4th Connecticut Regiment commanded by Col. John Durkee of Norwich, Connecticut in 1776 or 1777. It is not entirely clear if he was a former slave. He served at Valley Forge from December 1777 through June 1778, where he contracted smallpox, spending two months in a Pennsylvania hospital. It is not known why he migrated to Iowa. While his exact grave location is unknown, a marker stands at the Montrose Cemetery.