Tag Archives: Phineas Gabriel

Reverend Hemenway 1850s Census

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 11.10.48 AMHere’s an image of Reverend Hemenway’s 1850s Census. As Shannon astutely noticed in the historic research at the David Ruggles center where those local history scholars (#PublicHistory, #LocalHistory) focussed on the 1850s Census because it supplies more data information about the household occupants, we went looking for Reverend Hemenway’s 1850s Census record in class the other day. We discovered his 1840s record with a few data entries and a couple of clicks; searching for his 1850s and 1860s, however, became problematic. After applying a few more strategies, such as searching for it through a census selection route first and not applying our birth dates, as they could be inaccurate, we still hit a wall and could not get the records. Then an email to our local expert on researching census records proved immediately valuable as he showed how Hemenway’s name was spelled differently in different census records. For the record” and future searches, we should keep in mind the various spelling and use Daniel Hemingway for 1850; Daniel Hemming for the 1860 and 1870 records. Below is Daniel Hemenway’s 1840s Census image. Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 9.35.04 AM

Now our class must analyze these sources in more detail. What can we learn from these two snap shots in history? What did it mean that some of Hemenway’s students came from outside of Connecticut in the 1850s data? What was the cultural ramifications for hiring and housing Irish immigrants in the 1850s in Suffield, Connecticut? Could this school be the place where fugitive slaves found refuge from the Francis Gillette House or Phineas Gabriel in Avon?

For more on Francis Gillette, visit the Connecticut Freedom Trail site: http://www.ctfreedomtrail.org/trail/underground-railroad/sites/#!/francis-gillette

View our previous work about Avon resident, who might have led fugitives to West Suffield, Phineas Gabriel, on other posts, click on our tagg, “Phineas Gabriel.” NB: Phineas Gabriel is also mentioned in Horatio Strother’s work, too. Click here for his work and search for Phineas Gabriel or other assets in the search box. https://archive.org/details/undergroundrailr1962stro

The Bridge between Connecticut and Massachusetts


Book cover from ” Places of the Underground Railroad” by Tom Calarco

As we explored into the David Ruggles Center, we get to know the history about Florence, Massachusetts. Because Florence is the key center of abolitionist sentiment in Massachusetts, we are thinking if it has any connection with our current research on the other Underground Railroad back in Suffield, Connecticut. As we dig into the history of Florence from different sites, I found a book named “Places of the Underground Railroad: A Geographical Guide” by Tom Calarco, which illustrates some of the fugitive runaway routines and also provides some freedom trails. From this section about “Route to and from Farmington”, we are informed that most of the fugitive slave were trafficked in Connecticut moved through the western part of the state. Many administer and pastors took part in the abolitionism activities. For example, the pastor of the North Church in New Heaven, took fugitive slaves to Farmington. Also, there are many stations all the way through Connecticut to Massachusetts, in which fugitive slaves are believe to have found shelter at the Chaffee House in Windsor and Suffield. Rev. Osgood also worked in the area of Springfield as the coordinator, in which he sent the fugitives to J.P. Williston in Northampton or to some agents in Florence. Finally, those abolitionists settled in Northampton and started the Northampton Association of Education and Industry (NAEI) in 1842, where Frederick Douglass, David Ruggle and Rev. Osgood all have participated in. Because there’s a connection between Connecticut and Massachusetts, I believe that as we continue to research the process of sending fugitives to the safe places and the helping station where they were stopped, there will be something interesting to discover.



  1. Calarco, Tom. “Places of the Underground Railroad.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.https://books.google.com/books?id=muBtFTkFH_EC&q=suffield#v=snippet&q=florence%20suffield&f=false