Richard Pierpoint was born in 1744 in the Bondou region of present day Senegal of Africa. His original name given to him at birth is unknown. While on a military raid at the age of 16, Richard Pierpoint was captured by slave traders and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to be sold in North America. Young African males were often the targets of military Officers looking for servants to serve as aids and symbols of status and wealth.
In 1760 the French-Indian War, part of the North American Seven Year War, was being fought. Richard Pierpoint would have been a perfect candidate to fight in such a War and it is believed that he may have been purchased as a slave to do so. It is alleged that during this period Pierpoint acquired his name from an influential family in Conneticut that was greatly involved in the colonial militia. At the close of the war Pierpoint was resold. It is understood that he remained in the northern colonies for some time, but eventually escaped captivity and fled to Canada.
At the beginning of the American Revolution, Pierpoint served as a member of Butler's Rangers, a company of the British military notorious for their deadly raids on northern American States. Pierpoint's involvement with Butler's Rangers is noteworthy considering few Blacks were permitted to join their ranks. After serving in the Revolutionary War Pierpoint was given a land grant in July of 1784 near Fort Niagara in present day Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is believed that Richard Pierpoint never settled on this piece of land.