Author Archives: 21jed

Titus Kent’s Narrative and Driving Questions

Samuel Kent’s Probate, 1772 NB: “Negro Titus” bequeathed to his son Elihu

Titus Kent was an enslaved individual who lived in Suffield, Connecticut from 1733-18xx. His Owner was Elihu Kent who was also an officer in the town’s militia. Titus served in the American Revolution for the Connecticut militia. We do not have any documents describing the relationship that Titus had with Elihu. Nevertheless, we do have documents showing Titus’ first enlistment in the Connecticut State Militia and other regiments throughout the entire Revolutionary War. 

Titus appeared in Samuel Kent’s 1772 probate record when Samuel Kent, father of Elihu, bequeathed Titus and Cato to his son Elihu. Elihu was a captain at the start of the Revolutionary War and led Suffield’s large contingency to the Lexington alarm in 1775. He later became a major.

Fold3 document, Connecticut’s Third Regiment: https://www.fold3.com/image/20744718

Suffield’s nineteenth century town historian, Hezikiah Spencer Sheldon, interviewed older residents in the late 19th century who recalled Old Ti, Titus Kent’s son, and learned that Titus married Rose, who was a slave for the minister, Reverend Ebenezer Gay. Titus Kent and Rose had three children who were manumitted in 1814 by Reverend Ebenezer Gay’s two sons, Reverend Ebenezer Gay jr. and William Gay. 

Titus Kent fought throughout the American Revolution, and our preliminary research discovered him serving in the Third Regiment and was notably getting paid for his service. This is an interesting fact because we do not have any documented evidence of his freedom. Did he keep this money for himself or was he obliged to give some or all of the money to the Kent family?

View Interactive Map at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington: https://tinyurl.com/ydeeqbg2

George Washington, a significant leader during this colonial time period, captures most of the attention and light written in history books throughout the years. He was the symbol for our country, and at this time Titus Kent was enslaved by the Kent family in Suffield. When George Washington passes through Suffield in 1775 on his way to become General of the Continental Army in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Titus Kent likely attended this parade through town. Titus Kent must have been impressed with Washington’s height, manner, and presence as many of his fellow colonists were at the second Continental Congress in Philadelphia when the appointed Washington to lead the army. Was this encounter a factor that motivated Titus Kent to join the fight on the Patriot side? What inspired Titus Kent to fight along side of other African American in his units for the Patriot cause? Or was he fighting for his freedom?

Here are more documents that the class curated from Fold3.

More documents regarding Titus Kent’s military records discovered in Fold3.

Places Where Enslaved People Lived in My Hometown

Van Cortlandt Mansion

Coloniel Slavery in the Northen Colonies was an important occurence . Slavery was every where whether we knew it or not.An important story of slavery was in my neighborhood. Van Cortlandt Park, which is about 15 min away from where I live in Riverdale. The Riverdale Press, and Manhattan College and many others decided to go deeper in the slavery that occured in this period. There is a book even written called Blacks in Colonial Bronx. One example was in 1698 when a man named Antone was freed. He also had a wife and there three sons. This family was the first ever to freed in the Bronx. However slavery didnt end until 1827. There was a lot going on throughout those 200 years of Colonial History in the Bronx.

Slavery in Van Cortlandt started in October 1749 when a man named Fredrick Van Cortlandt signed the deed of the “plantation”, which was said to be a large dwelling house to bring the locals. The estate that he bought included six slaves. Later that year his will shows eleven or 12 slaves 6 men and 5 women. One of the female names is Hester, which is listed twice on the will, we aren’t sure as researchers weather or not that was a mistake or if it actually is two different people. Another slave was named Leville who was a boatman. There was also Piero a miller and married to one of the Hesters had a child named Little Pieter. There was Caesar. This was just some names of the slaves in the Van Cortlandt House at this time.

Source:https://www.google.com/search?q=van+cortlandt+park+mansion&sxsrf=ALeKk02zOcOhzWbvnurrNgJhIzgXe_KnIQ:1586899737938&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjr4LGZ7ujoAhUyU98KHYG6Dx0Q_AUoAXoECCsQAw&biw=1440&bih=679#imgrc=Y6rojlxDluFAhM

Stephan Blucke: The Black Loyalist

Stephan Blucke, 1795

Stephan Blucke was a slave in the Revolutionary War from Barbados. He fought for the British side and was known as a “black loyalist.” During his life he not only fought in the Revolutionary War but also the Province of New Jersey. Stephan was a mullato man like most slaves. This means that he is both black and white. Blucke also had a big part in the war because he was considered as the leader of all the blacks on the British side. A little after the war Blucke decided to move to New York City. Here he will marry his wife Margaret Coventry, Margaret eight years later will later leave her husband.

Signature: Nova, Scotia

Sources:

Image Source: http://blackloyalist.com/cdc/people/secular/blucke.htm .

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Blucke

Winter in the City that Never Sleeps


I love being in NYC during Christmas time. The cold air making my toes and hands freeze, and the smoke coming out of my breath, as the temperature drops to below freezing. As much as I love to live NYC, my favorite part about the holidays is Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center  is a place for my family and other families to go and see the lights and the decorations around and the beautiful light show shimmering at me as the sound of the delightful music enters my ears . Visiting the tree allows my family to bond over the overwhelming view of lights we see shining high above us, and despite all the people, we are actually allowed to get some awesome pictures and enjoy ourselves. It also allows us to take a breath from everything that has been going on around and take in the beauty of the city that never sleeps.

Every time I look up at the bright lights and seeing them it makes me happy and gives me hope in the world. It also shows how families and people can come together over such a small thing like a christmas tree and have the best time with their friends and families. My family and I respect our tradition and  make a memories and start a tradition of this amazing experience given to us in our very own city. Our tradition is that every year on December 22nd we go and see the tree and take pictures.

The uniqueness and diversity of the tree every year is different and has a different story; it gets cut down and decorated and takes a long time to set up. The tree reminds me a lot of people. Since there is a uniqueness and a different story behind everyone background and everyone has a story. The first tree to ever be created was in 1931 during the depression area. It was about 20 feet and was decorated with strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even tin cans. This occured on Christmas Eve. Then they have a set schedule of when the tree is arriving to when it is going to be lit. Every year the christmas tree lighting event has gotten bigger and bigger, and people from all over the world have come to see it and enjoy the bright lights glaring back at them.

The Rockefeller Center tree should not be removed from New York City because it brings money into the state because of the amount of people that it attracts into the city. It also brings together families and couples to enjoy the gorgeous lights of the tree and experience it first hand. Everyone enjoys this time in the city because of this tree. This tree brings people together and takes out hate in the world even if its for certain hours during the holidays. Personally, I like that i can go there with my family every year and seeing the tree. It allows my  family to have a family tradition and to have great christmas card photos, and more memories.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockefeller_Center_Christmas_Tree