Category Archives: HOT Log, Secondary Source

What happened to Titus Kent?

During the first term of our American studies class, I have been looking into Titus Kent and his family.  I have found a good deal of information about Titus Kent’s travel to the colonies, his time in the war as well as his life after the war, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. I plan to take all of the information I have found so far in my research and determine what questions are yet to be answered. As I progress through the spring term leading up to the presentation, I plan on looking for the answers to many of these unanswered questions.

In my first HOT log I looked into how Titus Kent came to the colonies and at which port he arrived. From my research I found that he came on a Dutch ship, and these Dutch ships mostly came out of Ghana and Nigeria. Each country had its territories within the colonies, so it would be possible for me to research where the Dutch territories in the colonies were. These symbolized where the ships came from. Even if I find the Dutch territories ships did at times come into other countries ports which makes this whole search more challenging.

In my second HOT log I researched Titus Kent’s participation in the war and the aftermath. I know for sure that he did fight in the Revolutionary War, but I have yet to determine whether he did that to get

Titus.Kent.Rev.War.large.png

Document stating Titus Kent’s Revolutionary War status.

 

his freedom or for his master, Captain Elihu Kent. I found documents proving that Titus Kent’s war pension was applied for by someone else, but does that mean Titus Kent didn’t get his freedom? Or did he get his freedom, just not his pension?

 

Advertisements

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

 

 

 

The Search for the Brig Mercury

 

In class we have hit a roadblock, we have been tasked with finding more information on our topics as a whole. This means trying to find more and more about the men we already know so little about. However, we came up with new ways to source our information, by calling upon other historians and library’s. With the search for the Brig Mercury still going on I had run into a rut, I was not sure where to find more information. That’s when I found that the Clemet’s library in Michigan had info on the ship. I began to reach out to them by email showing them my previous Hotlog. This way when they received my email they were able to see what I was researching. They responded promptly with ways we can access their documents on the Brig Mercury. Hopefully with these documents I will be able to dive deeper in to the ties that the Brig Mercury was connected to Suffield men. So far we know that the brig mercury had run for at least 10 years. There is proof of the ship working from the late 70s and late 80s, however we are still unsure how many people worked upon the ship, if they had slaves, and how big of a ship she was. What we do know is that traders from Suffield would ship goods to and from the carrabiean, Thaddeus Leavitt being one of those men.

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 9.08.50 AM.png

Ancestery.com

However in a recent finding I was able to find that the brig mercury was Owned by Nathaniel Howard, Andrew Hilyer, Josiah Bissel and Thaddeus Leavitt. These men were known as the biggest traders within Suffield. However, this also helped me find information on how Squire Loomis, another Suffield trader, traded his goods. I was able to identify that Squire Loomis would unload and sell his goods right below the town of Suffield. This lead us to believed that he sold his goods near the Enfield Suffield Boarder. Squire Loomis was known as the “Suffield Merchant” within the East India Trade, making frequent trips to the Caribbean. this was mostly able to be done using Genaolgy.com as well as Ancestery.com. these sources have proven to be reliable and link up quite well with my other findings.

Works Cited
“Pg15rremington.html.” Pg15rremington.html. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
-https://tinyurl.com/zrqr8rz
“Squire Graves Loomis, Sr.” Geni_family_tree. N.p., 08 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
-https://tinyurl.com/zsa647e

Digging into Thaddeus Leavitt’s Historical Records

Working in a project-based learning environment, our class was challenged to investigate colonial times in Suffied. In 1773, The Boston Tea Party split the colonies into factions. The year after the Tea Party, 1774, was called America’s “Pivotal Year.” Judging from our research so far, our local town of Suffield participated in this national pivot as well. Mum Bett, a Massachusetts slave gained her independence that year, which was a turning point for slaves in gaining their independence in Connecticut. Our class is researching

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 11.04.17 AM.png

Thaddeus Leavitt’s house built in 1800s

if Suffield’s population supported the patriots. Also, what did these effects have on Suffield’s four individual slaves, what was their lives like? Our class collaborates and comes up with different evidence and stories to support our claims. So far, I have looked into Mum Bett’s Massachusetts’s case and how she gained her independence by using the argument that her freedom was a “constitutional right.” I then decided that Connecticut slaves heard about her independence by the word of mouth, and it must have been a trend. I then took a jump and started researching Thaddeus Leavitt’s connection to the New London Port. Reading his diaries, I found out he was an extremely wealthy man who had a boat that transported goods from the New London Port from here to the West Indies. This meant that he was part of the triangle trading system, which is very prominent. Now, I want to start researching what types of goods he transported, and what distributor he had. I also would like to know what slaves he owned, if any. Digging into Leavitt’s life would potentially open a lot of doors for our research. Researching in depth about Leavitt’s life I did not find exactly what I thought I would. I was researching whether or not Leavitt owned slaves, which was a lot more difficult then I assumed it was. I still did not find any evidence that he did own slaves, but I found this claim from an article,

“Slavery was common throughout the Connecticut River Valley during the eighteenth century, and the 1774 Census for the Colony of Connecticut listed 37 slaves in Suffield. Throughout the Connecticut valley, wealthy merchants, tavern owners and town ministers owned slaves.” (1)

Considering that Thaddeus was a wealthy merchant, it is assumed that Thaddeus owned a family slave, yet our research showed that he did not own slaves according to the 1790s census. Another interesting thing that I found was that Thaddeus was also an inventor. He invented an early improved version of a “Cotton Gin.” By definition, a cotton gin is “a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, allowing for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation.” (2)

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-10-04-54-am

Thaddeus Leavitt’s drawing of an early improved version of a cotton gin.

This makes me realize that in fact, Leavitt was a very successful businessman and was very intelligent. He helped invented a machine to make his business ahead of everyone else, and was smart enough to write in a diary for everyone else to hear. Later down the road, this machine made Leavitt become a familiar man to people across seas, which made trade a lot easier for him. The last thing was his diary. Although I have read his diaries before, I never realized that he wrote down different receipts, or instructions for things. This gives me a better idea of how what he was learning he probably learned it through trade or networking with people outside of his town. Receipts for “taking film off a horses eyes” or “a cure for a Cancer” told me that Thaddeus Leavitt was not alone; he had a whole network behind him. To further my research, I will start to research his family and their settlements in Ohio and how the family position’s Suffield’s wealth in the early 19th century, which involved real estate venture in the west. In an article I was reading, it read that “Thaddeus Leavitt and Suffield businessmen Oliver Phelps (then the largest landowner in America), Gideon Grander, Luther Loomis and Asahel Hatheway owned between them one quarter of all the lands assigned to Connecticut in the Western Reserve.” (4+5) This combined wealth encourages our class to look into these families more. On my next HOT Log, that is what I will be digging into!

Sources:

  1. “WikiVisually.com.” WikiVisually. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <http://wikivisually.com/wiki/Thaddeus_Leavitt>.
  2. WikiVisually.com.” WikiVisually. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <http://wikivisually.com/wiki/Cotton_gin>.
  3. “Leavitt Diary Page 21.” Leavitt Diary Page 21. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <http://www.suffield-library.org/history/leavitt/page21.htm&gt;.
  4. American Journal of Education (1855–1882), Vol. VI, Henry Barnard (ed.), Printed by F. C. Brownell, Hartford, Ct., 1859
  5. Jump up 
^ J. Hammond Trumbull (1886). The Memorial History of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1884. BiblioLife LLC.

Joseph Pease and His Role in the Resolves

I am a senior at Suffield Academy and involved in a project-based learning class. Our goal is to find out more about what happened in Suffield in 1774, regarding freedom, slavery, and its complexities.

My previous research was about John Adams. Through my investigation I found out that both Adams and Washington visited Suffield multiple times.  This made me curious to find out who else played an important role in our town?

By using investigation skills, I found out that Joseph Pease, a signer of the resolves, was an important figure in Suffield in the mid 1700s. He was born in Enfield in 1728, and he moved to Suffield in 1750. He raised a large house on High Street, ten years after he moved there. This soon became one of the most notable houses in the town. It was one of the first houses built with a chimney in each end and a hall through the middle. Furthermore, the house was known for having a rare architectural grace. Unfortunately, the house was demolished in 1902.

Moreover, in addition to building a distinct house, my investigations revealed that he was known for advocating liberty. His diary shows that he served in any public capacity required by his town. Another interesting aspect is that he did not own any slaves. This is something that may be surprising, because many of the wealthy men in Suffield owned slaves. By using cross-researching skills, I also learned that he was a farmer. He made twelve to fifteen hundred barrels of cider a year. Most of these were being shipped to Holland. He also had a saw mill.

All of this information shows us he played a big role in Suffield. It also suggest that he was a good man and trusted by the town. As I mentioned, he served in any public capacity required by Suffield. This may be why he, along with King and Granger, were chosen and led up the committee that would later write the resolves. Which was very important work at the mentioned time period. The work he did also shows us that he was committed to the town, as writing the resolves must have taken a lot of time and patient. The three men must have met after being appointed, during a town meeting to discuss and then later to actually write the resolves. The fact that they were able to do all of this also suggest that they had good leadership ability and influence.

Moreover, one of his eleven children, Seth Pease (1764-1819), graduated from Yale just as his father. In addition, Seth Pease served as the first Assistant U.S. Postmaster General under another Suffield native, Gideon Grander Jr. He served under President Thomas Jefferson´s first term.

Sources:

https://books.google.com/books?id=4m0ZAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA211&lpg=PA211&dq=Joseph+Pease+(1766-1842)&source=bl&ots=-PtzamctnG&sig=Ase6EDkc5dIfMy3iMYqIhWtMils&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi68eWyz6HSAhVsyVQKHaZgD4QQ6AEIIjAB#v=onepage&q=Joseph%20Pease%20&f=false

http://www.suffield-library.org/history/pease/page1.htm

http://suffield-library.org/lookingback/home/home3.htm

http://www.suffield-library.org/localhistory/pease.htm

 

Preaching the Aboliton of Slavery

I have continued my research into the impact of religion on slavery and freedom in Connecticut in 1774. The connection between the two topics is particularly interesting to me because of the potential impact religion could have had on the institution of slavery. Some religious leaders did indeed speak out about the institution and were active in trying to abolish it, while others did not. From what I understand about Reverend Levi Hart of Preston, Connecticut, he was one who spoke out against slavery, he advocated for better living situations and lives for slaves. While Timothy Dwight IV, the president of Yale, initially was said to not agree with slavery but eventually bought a slave named Naomi. Although he did claim it was his intention to “buy her freedom” we are unsure as to if this ever happened.

antislaverysermonedwards2

Jonathan Edwards Sermon

A new name I have come across is theologian Jonathan Edwards of Connecticut who was born in 1745. He supposedly recycled Anthony Bezenet’s golden rule. Bezenet was a Quaker delegate from Philadelphia also born in 1745 and his golden rule was “whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them”. Bezenet taught African American school children at a school he set up called the African Free School in Philidelphia. He advocated for full equality for black and white people and acknowledged as a white male that he was not interested in having superiority. He came up with many philosophical arguments countering the institution. Jonathan Edwards also looked to the Revolutionary War natural rights arguments to justify his thoughts on why slavery should be abolished. Edwards even gave sermons preaching his thoughts, one titled “The Injustice and Impolicy of the Slave-Trade and the Slavery Of Africans”, in 1791 to an anti-slavery group in New Haven Connecticut. I am currently searching for more information on this sermon as well as this group and am starting by looking for a copy or a typed version of the sermon.

slavelog42

Log book of slaves Africa to New London

Through my current research on Jonathan Edwards, I was able to find awesome recourses that has a list of prints created in Connecticut in the 1700’s regarding slavery that I am hoping to continue to look into. For example, I found the log book of slave trades from New London to Africa as well as a story of a specific slave we have yet to search named James Mars. I am excited to further my knowledge on all of these issues, and I think I have come across some excellent finds through the UMASS Amherst library and the library of Congress. The religious impact on slavery was seemingly impressive. It turns out that quite a few religious leaders did not agree with the institution and through the search of one influential, comes the names of many others in our area.

http://libguides.southernct.edu/lincoln

https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african-american-odyssey/abolition.html

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trr106.html

http://princeamongslaves.org/module/abolitionism.html?page=2

http://woolmancentral.com/files/J_Kershner_Woolman_Lecture_2015.pdf

https://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/stowedocuments/Slavery_in_New_England.pdf

https://books.google.com/books?id=gnFYUkVujAwC&pg=PA244&lpg=PA244&dq=secondary+sources+about+jonathan+edwards+ct+theology&source=bl&ots=wVPhWMoC_I&sig=RcGCZcprvKT_3CzB5V6o2r9XUkA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi71N3XlqnSAhXr24MKHXAvB8AQ6AEILTAE#v=onepage&q=secondary%20sources%20about%20jonathan%20edwards%20ct%20theology&f=false

Bermuda Supporting the Colonies

As our 2017 Project Base Learning class has continued to look into 1774 regarding slavery and freedom in Suffield, Connecticut, we have been expanding to our search to the surrounding colonies and the Triangle Trade. The Triangle Trade was very crucial to the colonies economy. Slaves from Africa were sent to the West Indies to work on sugar plantations. This sugar was then transported up to the Colonies to be sold, and in return the Colonies traded food and supplies to the West Indies. The islands in the West Indies were populated with sugar plantations, and with this monopoly and wealth, they had enough money to pay whatever necessary funds for food and supplies. This allowed for the Colonies to charge high prices and enabled anyone to get in on the trade. I was curious of my hometown of Bermuda and where it fit into all of this during this era so, I started investigating our role in the trade.

I discovered Bermuda was not only apart of the triangle trade but also sympathized with the colonists idea of freedom. In the book “In the Eye of all Trade”, by Michael Jarvis, the details of Bermuda’s role in the trade is presented. Bermuda’s economy was dependent on trade by sea, and merchant ships from the Colonies and the West Indies. Being such a small island, Bermuda was not able to join the Colonies in their rebellion against the British, so instead they assisted the Colonies by selling them over a thousand Bermuda Sloops, which are very fast sailboats. However, along with the West Indies, when the revolution began, Bermuda worried of starvation as they relied heavily on imports of food from the Colonies. Likewise, the Colonies depended on Bermuda for salt, so Bermuda began exchanging salt for food. To further assist the Colonies, two Bermudians, Benjamin Franklin and Henry Tucker, robbed a hundred barrels of gunpowder to send to the Colonies.  As the Revolutionary War continued,

Sept61775georgewashingtonlettertoBermuda.jpg

Scan of letter from George Washington to Bermuda

Bermuda was still unable to join due to the power of the British Royal Navy. Nevertheless, George Washington wrote a letter to Bermuda addressing the topic of trade and Bermudas role in assisting the colonies. In his letter, Washington stated that if Bermuda continued to assist the Colonies in their fight for freedom, he would ensure that “your island may not only be supplied with provisions, but experience every mark of affection and friendship, which the grateful citizens of a free country can bestow on its bretheren and benefactors”.

The connection between Bermuda and the Colonies is clear and their support during the Revolutionary War was very beneficial in the fight for freedom. The small island of Bermuda played its own role in the rebellion and was a large part of the triangle trade.

http://www.bermuda.com/do-you-know-what-george-washington-promised-the-people-of-bermuda-in-1775/

https://allthingsliberty.com/2014/11/the-bermuda-powder-raids-of-1775/

Jarvis, Michael Joseph. “In the eye of all trade”: maritime revolution and the transformation of Bermudian society, 1612-1800. N.p.: n.p., 1998. Print.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Bermuda#Bermuda_and_the_American_War_of_Independence

http://www.bermuda-online.org/history1700-1799.htm