Author Archives: Nadezda

The Boston Committee of Correspondence

My English class and I are researching freedom and slavery in 1774 in our town of Suffield, Connecticut. We have been working hard to tell the “untold” history of 1774. For over two months all of the thirteen students in our class were going in different directions on behalf of the same question: What happened after the Boston Tea Party?

In order to understand our very specific question, we have to know a big picture, that is why I decided to go ahead and look for what led to the Boston tea Party.

I have been working with the New York Public Library for almost a month and with NYPL cooperation I was able to find a lot of information on the Boston Committee of Correspondence.

 

The Boston Committee of Correspondence was formed in 1772  on the verge on the American Revolution by Samuel Adams in response to the British government’s decision to pay the governors and making them and America fully dependent on the crown. Adams and other leaders wrote all the colonists’ rights and proposals and sent them to other Massachusetts’ towns in order to get approval, advice and support. Similar committees were formed in other colonies in America, including New York, making this a strong network that helped communication across the thirteen colonies in order to gain independence from Great Britain.

Forming the Boston Committee of Correspondence was the first step against the British Crown.

The committees were responsible for the atmosphere in the Colonial America on a particular issue or law. Most of the correspondents were members were active in Sons of Liberty organizations. The committees lasted for twelve years, 1772-1784.

 

Sources:

http://archives.nypl.org/mss/343#overview

http://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/committees-of-correspondencehttp://www.rutgersprep.org/kendall/7thgrade/cycleA_2013-14/09_ZO/samueladams_ZO.html

http://www.rutgersprep.org/kendall/7thgrade/cycleA_2013-14/09_ZO/samueladams_ZO.html

 

 

 

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A Breakthrough For Our Research. What Secondary Source Will Help?

Can you please help us locate a secondary source to help us appreciate the significance of the document? The document was created in Suffield, Connecticut, in August of 1774. The town created a committee, and the committee composed these resolves and sent the document to the Committee of Correspondence in Boston. The town also sent a wagon of food to the residents of Boston. We are researching freedom and slavery during 1774 in our town of Suffield, Connecticut. Below are the resolves from the New York Public Library page.

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Resolves from NYPL page

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Transcription of Resolves, Suffield Historical Society

My class and I are trying to tell the «untold» history of Suffield, Connecticut. What happened in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party? How did it affect its citizens? What was the town’s reaction? These are the questions we hope to answer within ten weeks. There is no other choice. All thirteen of us are well equipped, stubborn and curious to find the truth.

For the past two months I was looking for specific slave’s names who were owned by other people in Suffield. The search turned out to be not so useless. It is not a big discovery that slavery was common in the eighteenth century, but I found CT Census proving that Suffield,Ma had thirty seven slaves and they were owned by wealthy people in the town, tavern owners and ministers. Owner ,John Pynchon, of the town of Suffield in 1670 had two slaves, Harry and Roco. After finding these two names, I though that was a dead end. However, we all remembered one of the most known libraries in the United States- New York Public Library. We spent solid amount of time going through different documents and books in the New York Public Library, and one day suddenly we found our holy grail, «History of Suffield in the colony and province of the Massachusetts bay. 1600-1749». Where on the twenty first page it is written in black ink that Harry and Roco were the ones who built the first ever saw-mill in Suffield, Ma and  that they got paid for their hard work, one pound. Not to mention, major’s house in Feather Streete was built partly with Harry and Roco’s help. (1)

Another great discovery was made with NYPL’s cooperation. I found three pages of a document were found written on August 1st 1774 after eight months the Boston Tea Party occurred.  (2) Alex King, the  person who these documents belonged was going from Boston through the town of Suffield. The document consists on five statements and demands of the Colonial Government to the British Parliament. The Colonial representatives want to reduce the British influence on the thirteen colonies. The document also explains the need in the Boston Tea Party. «When the Liberties and people are attacked and in danger it becomes their indisputable duty to defend…»  America is ready to take the next step and be absolutely free from the British crown.

  1. https://archive.org/stream/documentaryhisto00shel#page/22/mode/2up/search/harry+roco
  2. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/87721580-da40-0132-1544-58d385a7b928
  3.  https://adventuresingenealogy.wordpress.com/about/

Essential Information for our Investigation.

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My class and I are investigating what happened in Suffield during the pivotal year of 1774. history of Suffield, Connecticut. Because the Boston Tea Party was a turning point for the colonies and their frustration with Parliament, we are trying to see how conversations of freedom and slavery were inspired by these events.
In response to the Boston Tea Party (1773), Parliament drafted the the Coercive Acts in 1774, and residents throughout the thirteen colonies protested these acts in various ways. For instance, our class first studied the western Massachusetts town of Sheffield, and learned that Colonel Ashley hosted citizens at his house; this group composed the Sheffield Resolves. Interestingly, we learned that one of his slaves, Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Mum Bett, was inspired by these conversations of protest and later sued successfully for her own freedom, Brom and Bett v. Ashley (1781). We are now trying to find out what happened in Suffield during the pivotal year of 1774. What part of the population supported the growing patriot cause in Boston? What portion of citizens accepted the dictates of the British Parliament and refused to petition King George III? Who was neutral?

To begin our historical investigation, it is important for us to know more about the founding of Suffield as well as some of the traditions and attitudes of freedom and slavery. 

Suffield is a town in Hartford County. In fact, Suffield was called Southfield until 1674 because it being the southernmost town, that is why in some documents Southfield is referred to our well-known Suffield. (3)

Some people’s reaction to the Boston Tea Party was excitement for the future and some people viewed it as an act of vandalism. The reactions across the American colonies were mixed. Most people did want a peaceful revolution. People just wanted to have a productive trading relationship with England. They did not necessarily want to pay direct taxes levied by

parliament and the government. People of America would have been much more comfortable paying taxes to their local legislatures.

Connecticut, as a part of the thirteen original colonies, responded to the Boston Tea Party and the upcoming events. The day after the Tea Party took place, Connecticut had thrown its full weight behind the neighbors to the north, and was willing to do all CT could to support Boston.

Connecticut, based on the data, supported the loyalists. At the outbreak of the war, Connecticut consisted of six counties and 72 townships. According to the census of 1774, throughout these counties and townships, there existed some 25,000 males between the ages of 16 and 50, of whom about 2,000 identified themselves as Tories. (4) Nowhere was the presence of these individuals stronger than in the southwestern portion of the state, particularly in Fairfield County. (2) However, the question is: did Suffield? What part of the population supported the growing patriot cause in Boston? Was the number of African-American effected in any way? I am looking forward to see what my classmates find in order to solve this part of the puzzle.

Slavery was common during the 18th century. We have colony of CT Census proving that in 1774 there were 37 slaves in Suffield.  The slaves were owned by wealthy merchants, tavern owners, Tobacco farm owners and town ministers and other influential people in town. We know that major John Pynchon had at least two slaves, Harry and Rocco, which means that other influential people of Suffield had slaves. (1) Suffield’s third minister, Reverend Ebenezer Devotion owned six slaves during this time period 1742-1796. Reverend Ebenezer Gay Jr. manumitted the family three remaining slaves in 1812. They were Titus, Ginny and Dinah. If we will be able to find out the names of people who had the most money in the town, we will be a step closer to solve this puzzle to find the right people who lived in Suffield in 1974. Using our deduction skills, we will dig deeper and deeper and eventually we will discover something that has been a secret for a while.

With the help of the Suffield Town Library, we have the access to the list of the earliest families of Suffield. By figuring out the century and what part of that century these people used to live, we would be able to tell who had slaves and then find out the names of all the thirty seven slaves lived in town in 1774.

 

Sources:

  1. https://archive.org/stream/documentaryhisto00shel#page/22/mode/2up/search/harry+roco
  2. http://www.hsgct.org
  3. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/j-hammond-james-hammond-trumbull/the-memorial-history-of-hartford-county-connecticut-1633-1884-volume-2-mur/page-46-the-memorial-history-of-hartford-county-connecticut-1633-1884-volume-2-mur.shtml
  4. http://cupola.gettysburg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=ghj