Author Archives: hykshannon

Obstacle…Being Rejected by Wikipedia

After the public presentation, our class started to publish parts of our work done on different interest sites in order to expand the unknown knowledge of the Underground Railroad in our area. Each of us were divided into groups for different works to be done since there is lots of branches to our project. Vicky, CoCo, Frank and I were responsible for recognizing John Hooker on Wikipedia. CoCo and Frank were responsible to finalize the contents to Hooker’s page whereas Vicky and I were to learn and explain the Wikipedia skills (how to put all information together and design the page). Since we were both new to Wikipedia, we did not know it would be that hard to format a page: there are many codes to learn and memorize. It took us a while to get used to all these formatting skills. At last, although our draft was rejected by the organization, we were not giving up on this prose and will make changes that they recommend on their suggestions on acing a not only satisfying but perfect page for John Hooker.

What is Captain Jonathan Buttolph’s Relation with Oliver Hanchett?

I discovered these ads in the special Early American Newspaper digital collection at the State Library. The class is now trying to figure out what these two colonial newspaper ads suggest about the relationship between Captain Oliver Hanchett of West Suffield and Captain Jonathan Buttolph of Granby. After some Internet research, we learned that the local paper of Granby, The Granby Drummer, found these ads and posted them on their blog, yet there was no historical commentary to shed light on what was the conflict that began this conversation in the newspaper in the first place. Can anyone shed light on this? Has anyone observed the phrase, “levied an execution on my body” before in print? We would appreciate your insights.

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We also found that the Granby Historical Society wrote about it on their blog.

The following information below is from a genealogical page about the Buttolph lineage.

140.Jonathan6 Buttolph (JONATHAN5, JONATHAN4, DAVID3, JOHN2, THOMAS1) was born November 10, 1747.He married Lois Viets 1768 in Resided in North Granby, CT, daughter of JOHN VIETS and LOIS PHELPS.She was born January 29, 1745/46.
More About Jonathan Buttolph:
Name 2: Jonathan (Buttles) Buttolph
Fact 1: Lived in North Granby, CT.

Children of Jonathan Buttolph and Lois Viets are:

402 i. Lois7 Buttolph, born Bet. 1769 – 1771; died January 17, 1775 in age 5.
More About Lois Buttolph:
Burial: Lee Cemetery, North Granby
+ 403 ii. Annis (Agnes) Buttles, born 1773 in or September 29, 1771 in Granby, Hartford County, CT; died 1852 in or January 11, 1853 in Mt. Vernon.
404 iii. Elihu Buttles, born Abt. 1775; died in Orwell, Bradford County, PA.
More About Elihu Buttles:
Fact 1: Resided in Orwell, Bradford County, PA
405 iv. Jonathan Buttles, Jr, born June 09, 1778 in Granby, Hartford County, CT; died September 15, 1851 in Lee, MA.He married Lucy Whitney November 28, 1798 in East Granville, MA; born May 01, 1779 in Simsbury, Hartford County, CT; died November 05, 1848 in North Lee, MA.
+ 406 v. Lois Buttles, born March 18, 1782 in Granby, Hartford County, CT; died August 19, 1875 in Montville, OH.

Basil Dorsey: Involvement on UGRR in Florence

Lot #12 of Bensonville Village Lots

Lot #12 of Bensonville Village Lots

On our forth focused research endeavor, the class brought attentions back to David Ruggles, which we did not previously touch based in depth. Given the fact that we used “David Ruggles” as our Twitter account name, it is explicit that he played a key role in the UGRR. Therefore, while waiting for John Hooker’s letters, and other resources to come in, we worked on the relations with David Ruggles as Mr. Sullivan provided us with the website of the David Ruggles Center in Florence, Massachusetts, which we will go for a tour in the near future.

From the experience of investigating John Hooker’s history, I chose to research on Basil Dorsey, who was also an abolitionist. What was special about Dorsey was that he was being enslaved, and as he gained his freedom, he started on supporting the Underground Railroad. After some online research, I found an article, written by Steve Strimmer, which provided a great deal of brief but important information regarding Dorsey. This included Dorsey’s early life, where he met a benefactor who bought his freedom, and over many twists and turns, Dorsey got to meet David Ruggles in New York, then moving to Massachusetts with the help of Ruggles and before finally settling in Florence, MA.

bill of sale basil dorsey

The Bill of Sale Of Basil Dorsey (Friends Intelligencer 55 by Edward Magill)

The article also explained that Dorsey appeared in the 1850 federal census so we should certainly make good use of our communication skills and seek for these records. There were also other readings suggested, for sure it will be beneficial if we can look into those resources as well. Last but not least, it was shown in one of the sites Mr. Sullivan sent us that Dorsey had a house in Florence in sheltering runaway slaves. I think exploring this historical site will give us more clues about Dorsey and Ruggles. I am sure Strimmer, being our tour guide, could answer much more parts of Dorsey’s later life, especially about his house.


Looking for Aid from the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

hbsc icon.gifJohn Hooker mentions Hemengway’s letter in his memoir. Do you have this or other similar letters?

During our early researches, the class found out that John Hooker (1816-1901), as an abolitionist, served a vital role with Reverend Hemengway in the case. After some brief online research, I found out his relations with Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford, and that indeed John is the grandson of him. Also, he worked as a lawyer and judge in Farmington, a significant stop for the underground railroad, and as an advantage for his abolitionist activities. Significantly, a breakthrough came when we learnt about Isabella Beecher Hooker, a women suffragist, who was indeed his wife. We went on from that direction and learnt much more information of Hooker, including from Susan Campbell’s book, Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker.

After that, the class focused on the book Love of Freedom, so we changed directions on finding sources relating to Oliver Hanchett, Flora’s owner and Exeter, Flora’s husband’s court cases. Recently, we brought our attention back to Hooker and found out more about him. We contacted Susan Campbell on Twitter and she suggested us to make use your organization in digging out Hooker’s history. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s website indeed aided a lot on our research. First, we get to know a lot more about Hooker in his career being a judge from hyperlinking to the CT State Library page. Then, we connected the dates to branch out much more data regarding his family and life. For example, I found a book written by Thomas Hooker that recorded all descendants of him including John, as well as notes John wrote about his father Edward, and properties of the Hooker family passed on to John. Despite all information found, realizing the center is keeping over 1000 letters of John Hooker’s from a manuscript collection guide became the biggest breakthrough throughout our research on him.

This project requires lots of research skills and critical thinking skills, and it’s hard to find and see original paper form documents. It had taken us a good deal of effort to be in the position we stand right now, and we hope the center will be able to provide the letters or just any clues of John Hooker relating to our case, especially the conversations between Hooker and Reverend Hemengway. We believe any documents relating their partnership will bring us a big step forward.

Extended Research: Exeter v. Hanchett Court Case


After getting the big picture of our research, we started to focus on different tiny parts of details. We utilized the source Love of Freedom by Catherine Adams. I discovered something very useful and largely related to the project from the footnotes: a book named Seventeen Eighty-Three: The Turning Point in the Law of Slavery and Freedom in Massachusetts by Emily Blanck. Blanck guided us through the change in slavery law mainly in the state of Massachusetts during the late 18th century. More importantly, Blanck used Flora’s trial as one of the three major historical events in supporting her book’s thesis. After analyzing the booking, I found that Blanck gave us a clearer image on how exactly Flora’s case was like, from Exeter’s perspective and the responses of both lawyers. For example, she described the process of how Exeter and Flora married as “servants” when ruled by Benjamin Scott and both remained enslaved. While Exeter was set free before, and that became the main supporting evidence to the court case- Flora should be Exeter’s property under their marriage. In conclusion, Hanchett was only found guilty for stealing the couple’s personal items but not for kidnapping Flora. Other than that, Blanck left some clues for us to solve as well, which include if the Supreme Court did inappropriately infringe upon the property rights of a Connecticut slaverowner (42) or not and to find out the actual copies of documents filed in the appeals of the trials (39). I see that a lot more things were being solved from this document and it helped us take a big step forward towards solving our mystery.


Seventeen Eighty-Three: The Turning Point in the Law of Slavery and Freedom in Massachusetts, Emily Blanck,

Solving the Mystery of Underground Railroad

276002v.jpgIn the very first American Studies class, we, students, received a very complicated puzzle to be solved- the mystery of the Underground Railroad. Not even a finished picture given, we planned to collaborate for the next six months in order to put these small pieces into a fine image.

9780819573407.jpgTo start with, we first analyzed the Flora’s Slavery Case. Each student researched a separate person, law or movement that was involved with the case I was given with an abolitionist, John Hooker. After some brief online research, I found out his relations with Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford, and that indeed John is the grandson of him. Also, he worked as a lawyer and judge in Farmington, a significant stop for the underground railroad, and as an advantage for his abolitionist activities. Furthermore, Hooker married Isabella Beecher, a member of the famous Beecher political family, in 1841. Hooker somehow transformed Beecher to start her activism career as she happened to read a case of legal standing within woman’s rights during the times when she was visiting his office. After that, Beecher eventually influenced Hooker, who previously was not paying much attention to such a serious matter at all, to join her activist activities and led him in becoming one of the heroes with regards to woman’s suffrage. He then wrote the “A married women’s property bill” and worked on it with Isabella until a similar bill was being passed in 1877. I also found a case that strongly proved Hooker’s commitment to the anti-slavery movement. When someone granted him a slave, he only owned him for a day as he paid one-hundred fifty dollars for a doctor of divinity and wrote the slave a writ of manumission the next day for the slave’s freedom. Finally, other than just getting to know the actual information related to the project, I also learnt organization skills and the importance of team spirit through working on an individual outline then combining the sources of my peers on the Google drive.

Now that we put some pieces of the puzzle together; however, there are still a majority of parts to be jointed. For my part, I am going to investigate more on the book found online which I gathered the information of Isabella and John Hooker above: Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker by Susan Campbell, published just in 2014. Now that I have the actual book in my hand, I can look into more details of John Hooker through the life of Isabella Beecher, as she is his wife, the most closely related person to John. Moreover, our class as a whole has learnt about David Ruggles, an African-American abolitionist who actively participated in the anti-slavery movement, but this hero is still not being widely promoted to the public with his vital works yet. I believe our class should and will attempt to find out more about him then help raise attention for this remarkable role model of us.

Regarding to skills, the class will make the best usage of technology, such as a cooperation of Google docs and Twitter, in order to group information and to get our knowledge exposed to the rest of the world. Last but not least, except only sitting in the classroom and learning, exploring sources from the limited multimedia world, the class will go on field trips once in a while to hopefully find some brand new evidences and information to be added into the underground railroad history.


Isabella Beecher Hooker, Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame,

446, Labor, Slavery, and Self-Government, Volume 11, Herbert Baxter Adams,

Tempest- Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan Campbell,