Category Archives: #SA1833 First HOT Log

Hot Log-People of the Past

 

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ctahgp/hartford/1790/slaves.htm

Graves Loomis’s Grave

Recently we began our research on Slaves in 1774. We as a class have found quite a few articles and sources that have yielded interesting information. I have been focusing on one article in particular, since many people are researching the others. I found a census from 1790 that listed all the slave owners in 1790 in Hartford country. This article will be very important in our search for slaves in Suffield during 1774. By using the names of the people from the 1790 census, we can find information about their friends, family, and occupations. By getting good information on the owners in 1790, it will allow us to look back further to 1774. Already I have begun using some of the names from the census and researching them. One name came up and I found an interesting fact about the man. Squire Graves Loomis was found to be working for the India trading company. This means he would travel up and down the river delivering his goods. This means he probably had his slaves help him. He was a Suffield resident and had a rather large family. By using this man I hope to find some connections to his collogues who also lived in Suffield and neighboring towns. The dock he used to transport his goods would also be very important. It would be great to find out where the dock was located and how many people used it. I believe that a field trip to find the dock would be beneficial, it would show us exactly where the dock was located and how big it was. Hopefully if I keep this up ill find a good link back to 1774. As well as Googling this list it could be helpful to find someone who knows about this man and his history. By finding a good source on him it could lead us back further and give us much more information. There are a few other people I am researching as well. These people both owned 5 slaves, one of which was Ebenezer gay. I have yet to find any real information on them, but I am sure it will surface soon. These men will give us a good insight into the lives of their slaves. By using websites that trace back ancestors and hopefully we can find names of family. This would allow us to link more and more people to create a web of important people who impacted 1774. By using this information we will be able to connect how all these men and their slaves helped and responded to the Boston tea party and freedom. This may have been a small discovery, but I believe that if we can use this source to its potential by using teamwork it could be the biggest help in solving this mystery.

Let the prayers be free!

Image courtesy Tedd LevyIn the class of project based learning, we have come across a lot of interesting and various topics that has to do with slavery in the state of Connecticut. Considering the fact that there was slavery in Connecticut is something that a lot of people do not understand. As a class, I want to be able to uncover more about history of slavery in Connecticut and especially in Hartford, CT because I have lived there my whole life. In Hartford, CT I learned about the Faith Congregational church. The Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut began in 1819 as a place for African Americans to worship on their own since they were only allowed to pray in the backs of churches and in church galleries in Hartford. Some African Americans started worshipping in the conference room of the First Church of Christ in Hartford, Connecticut, and it is now called Center Church. This congregation moved to a building on State Street in 1820 and formed the first black Congregational Church in Connecticut and the third oldest in the nation. The church initially called itself the African American Religious Society of Hartford and vowed to create a place of worship where there would be no assigned seating and where anyone was welcome to worship. The congregation purchased property in 1826 where it built a stone-and-brick church on the corner of Talcott and Market Streets. By the 1830s with the rise of the New England abolitionist movement, the church building became an anti-slavery meetinghouse. Popular people spoke at the church in support of abolition, including Rev. Henry Highland Garnet and Arnold Buffman, former president of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. James Pennington, an early church minister and abolitionist, was himself a fugitive slave from Maryland.  Rev. Pennington and his congregation became supporters of the Amistad slave case in neighboring New Haven in 1839-1840 and fought for the release of the captured men, women, and children and their return to West Africa. The church also raised funds for the captives’ legal defense. The church established a school in 1840, which served as the only place in Hartford where black children could obtain an education at that time. That same year, the congregation changed its name to First Hartford Colored Congregational Church. In 1860, another name change took place; the church became the Talcott Street Congregational Church and had several pastors until Rev. Robert F. Wheeler aided in the church’s stability and growing membership in 1886. Eventually the congregation outgrew the church building, and the one-story building was torn down to create a new two-story building in 1906. A couple other things I want to learn is how we can connect Hartford to the rest of slavery that happened in Connecticut.

My Beginning of the Underground Railroad Research

One of the documents belonging to Suffield Library

One of the documents belonging to Suffield Historical Society

For the beginning of the class, we were introduced to the topic related to Underground Railroad, which we will explore throughout winter and spring terms. The general information is that in the 1790s, Hanchett, a Revolutionary army veteran, tried to kidnap Flora, who was a free African American, and her two daughters. Fortunately, Exeter, her husband, was able to fight off Hanchett. Nonetheless, one day, Exeter came home and found out that Flora and their two daughters disappeared. He assumed that Hanchett kidnapped them, but he remained on the Massachusetts side of the border. To search Flora and two daughters, Exeter took two long journeys but could not figure out anything about them and died not knowing their fate. In 1845, Revered Hemingway of West Suffield wrote a letter to John Hooker to free Flora’s descendants in Virginia, and Hemingway and Hooker sued Southern slave owners in Virginia. We will examine this whole issue.

First, each of us had to research each character, related movement, and laws in this issue, and I searched for Flora. I have found much information about her, which was helpful for our understanding on the issue. She was a free African American, who is from Connecticut, but after Hanchett kidnapped her she and her daughter illegally became slaves and were sent to Virginia. Although Flora tried to attain freedom, people around her neglected her effort. Even after Flora’s death, Flora’s descendants struggled for their freedom.

During the research on Flora, I found a good source that we should share and communicate with each other. We can attempt to commute with the Library of Virginia because it provided enough information about the story of Flora and have some primary sources; we can later ask questions to the library about Flora’s life in Virginia. Also, if we find new information on her, we can send it to the Library of Virginia where we discovered. All the knowledge I have found about Flora in the Library of Virginia was really specific that they had most of the people’s names and the years. It also included the picture of documents. Moreover, we can discover other sources by asking the Library of Virginia where and how it got these primary sources. We can also inform documents in Suffield to the Library of Virginia. Even though some people cast doubt that Flora was kidnapped, I think that Flora actually became a slave because there was a case for the freedom of Flora’s descendants, which means that Flora and her daughters were actually captured in Virginia. If Flora was not kidnapped, there would be no lawsuit, and Exeter would not take two journeys (although we need to be certain where exactly he went to).

For the future, first we have to create a solid outline for the presentation to know which direction we need to figure out for this group project. For example, we can present the general information of Underground Railroad, slavery laws and temperance movement, and Flora issue. After we make an outline, we can assign each person a different task (using their own sources). Also, we can frequently go to field trip to figure out the the background of this issues and find out more clues.

Citations

“Flora’s Plight: A Montgomery County Freedom Suit:” http://www.virginiamemory.com/blogs/out_of_the_box/2015/04/22/floras-plight-a-montgomery-county-freedom-suit/

“The Long Wait of Freedom: A Montgomery County Freedom Suit:” http://www.virginiamemory.com/blogs/out_of_the_box/2015/04/29/the-long-wait-for-freedom-a-montgomery-county-freedom-suit/

Sylvester Graham – a man with big influence

Hot Log 1

I think that a research on Sylvester Graham would help lead our investigation. Sylvester Graham is born in Suffield, Connecticut. He is the founder of Graham crackers, and brought a great health reform in America. The most important thing about him that we need to focus on is his abolitionist movement. He was a minister, which means he had some influence on the community. His political stance is shown in the case in which Flora’s descendants was involved. He was called for testimony and gave the court a handwritten evidence, written by his father, of Flora and Exeter getting married. This supports their descendants’ argument, so we can conclude that he was an abolitionist. This is significant because he was a big figure in Suffield. He had a lot of influence in American cultural diet and political influence over the town and probably the nation. We are researching about Flora’s case that happened in Suffield, and tracing his actions can guide us through the solution of the mystery.

He was also involved in the temperance movement, and he is very likely involved in the underground railroad. I found this book “Abolitionism and American Reform” in Google Books which explains in detail about abolitionism and different people involved in the movement. It mentions Graham as someone who cared about abolitionism and unhealthy diet of Americans at the time. This book also mentions about excessive sexual activity in the South which Graham thought it was unhealthy.

If we research extensively on Graham, we will be able to find out valuable information about his contributions to underground railroad in Suffield, which likely involves Flora. Because we lack direct evidence of Flora in Suffield, Graham can lead us to some clues to solving the mystery of Flora. Also, the book may guide us through the big picture of Abolitionism in America which can give us a general knowledge about 18th and 19th century culture and history. I have googled that there is a lot of information (3) about Sylvester Graham, so it would be a good beginning point of research.

Sources:

https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/first-age-reform/essays/sylvester-graham-and-antebellum-diet-reform

https://books.google.com/books?id=nltwx69GrZEC&pg=PA374&lpg=PA374&dq=sylvester+graham+slave&source=bl&ots=ZgDjQtFIJ7&sig=0Jho0kyJ9Z8UtDxG3M_-hvw3S5Y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEt-GS9NLJAhVGjz4KHRP1CfYQ6AEIPzAG#v=onepage&q=sylvester%20graham%20slave&f=false

(3) Basic information about Graham

http://www.biography.com/people/sylvester-graham-21194545

http://www.britannica.com/biography/Sylvester-Graham

http://www.historic-northampton.org/highlights/graham.html

 

Beginning of the Suffield Underground Railroad

螢幕快照 2015-12-15 上午8.42.19.pngIn the first week of American Studies, we explored different important character involved in the historical events that happened in Suffield is “the potential Underground Railroad” we research in great depth independently with different important character involved. The Underground railroad was routes in the 19th-century for fugitive slave who wanted freedom to escape to Canada or other free states. The character I chose is Reverend Hemingway, a person who had a great influence in this event. He was the one who asked John Hooker to help him look up some evidence in an important slave case in Virginia. In 1845 Reverend Hemingway and Hooker formed a partnership to sue four Virginia slave owners so that Flora’s descendants could be freed. The two daughters of Flora were free women, but they were kidnapped somewhere in Connecticut and, thus, the eventual suit laid claim to for their and their children freedom. Hemingway and Hooker made Flora release from her slave owner and started the plan of the underground railroad. Hemingway’s most important and clearly active part in his pursuit to abolish slavery and bring about a more democratic society.

Although Mr. Hemingway’s was stationed in Suffield and was clearly active in his pursuit to abolish slavery and bring about a more democratic society, it is not clear if his passion in ending the slave institution stemmed in Suffield. If his passion did in fact stem from within Suffield, it could perhaps indicate a strong anti-slavery society in Suffield. If that happens to be the case at hand, we could perhaps discover other people with like intentions and perhaps draw vague connections and discover evidence that Suffield was involved or establish in the Underground Railroad in Suffield.

I think that we need to know more about the entire historical event about Underground railroad and things about Flora. My source didn’t include any thing about Flora’s case, so I think I should have a better understand with this part. In my understanding, Reverend Hemingway’s only important part is he is one of the establisher of the Suffield Underground Railroad, but I think he should be a more important role in this historical event. Therefore maybe I can get more understanding from Friday’s field trip by finding out where is his school actually is.

source:

“Some Reminiscences of a Long Life.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

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.

Sources:

Isabella Beecher Hooker, Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, http://bit.ly/1Q4WuQJ

446, Labor, Slavery, and Self-Government, Volume 11, Herbert Baxter Adams, http://bit.ly/1TphkIt

Tempest- Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan Campbell, http://bit.ly/1XFCqZN

 

 

The Journey to Freedom

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Love of Freedom: Black Women in Colonial and Revolutionary New England, by Catherine Adams and Elizabeth H. Pleck

Through the research in this week, I found that the story is never as simple as we thought; there’s always another layer under the story. As everyone shared their resources, many names that we have never heard showed up that are related to the underground railroad activities. In this process of sharing and discussing, I think we gained the ability of accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information. We still need to dig into the storyline and have the patience to find reliable evidence to support the story since there are limited documents. The book, Love of Freedom: Black Women in Colonial and Revolutionary New England, written by Catherine Adams and Elizabeth H. Pleck, provides some information about Exeter’s attempt to free his wife, Flora, and the law for property procession and patriarchal society during 1700s. The book states that by 1780, a large portion of the black families sought for legal marriage and moved out from the White’s family; therefore, we have some clues to search for how these movements have been initiated, how these black families get the chance to escape from the Whites’ control. Then we can ask if they got any assistance from the underground railroad activists. The book also describes that the majority of the enslaved women in colonial and revolutionary New England were inclined to seek their freedom, and provides some cases about free black husbands trying to gain their wives’ freedom, in which we can investigate the social environment that prompts these slave women who fought for their freedom in New England. This book is a valuable resource because it provides the background information, including legal issues and specific examples that are closely tied to the Flora’s case. However, there are some parts that require critical thinking skills, in which we need to question if the information this book provides is really authentic and if we can find same information from other reliable resources. Because the laws of slaves’ marriage and property procession are mentioned in the book Love of Freedom derives, the question rises if in this case: Is Flora the procession of her slave holder or does her husband Exeter have the legal custody of his children and wife? Because the husband, Exeter, went on a journey to find Flora, there’s also a question about how Exeter went from Suffield to New York without any efficient transportation. Did he ever meet with any underground railroad activists on his way if the underground railroad is really prominent during that time period? From all these indications, I think it may be interesting to collect all the derived information about how Flora is traded and how the the slaves are at disadvantage under the laws. In that case, the researching process requires our patience and meticulosity to examine the information and to reconstruct a credible Flora’s case. This book offers us African American stories of freedom as well as underlying elements about underground railroad, and we can follow them and open up the mystery of underground railroad activities.

Source:

  1. “Love of Freedom: Black Women in Colonial and Revolutionary New England.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
  2. FLORA’S PLIGHT: A MONTGOMERY COUNTY FREEDOM SUIT