James Wallace: A Stonemason, Farmer, Laborer and Civil War Veteran

Ancestors of James Wallace
When James Wallace was born June 11, 1840 he was the fourth child, of fifteen, and third son of his parents Samuel and Emily (Green) Wallace. One of his brothers had died before his birth, so he was greeted by his older brother Samuel and sister Sarah.

Both Wallace and Wallis are used in the records as the surname of this family. I will refer to the family as Wallace, which was more frequently used in latter generations.

When James was born in 1840, Martin Van Buren was the 8th President of the United States. Two years earlier the Cherokee Indians were forced off their farms and homes in the Southeast, and sent to Oklahoma, many dying along the way. In 1839, United States authorities took custody of the slave trading ship Amistad, and in 1841 the Supreme Court ruled that kidnapping and transporting Africans were against International treaties regarding the slave trade. and the Africans must be freed. The United States was in a major recession, which began during the Panic of 1837 and lasted until the mid-1840s. The Presidential election of 1840 saw Martin van Buren defeated by William Henry Harrison.

The Wallace family was one of the earliest black families to settle in Monson, Massachusetts. Monson is located is southwestern Massachusetts. It was incorporated in 1775, when it was separated from Brimfield. Monson was primarily a farming community in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In the 19th and 20th centuries, and particularly with the addition of a railroad through the town in the mid-1800s, industry began to develop. Major industry included woolen mills and a granite quarry. Palmer borders Monson on the north, Brimfield and Wales on the east, Stafford, Connecticut on the south, and Hampden and Wilbraham on the west.

In 1840, 3,146 individuals lived in Monson. This included 26 individuals of color. There were three black families – the Wallis, Powers and Johnson families. Twenty-one of the persons of color lived in these three families. The other five non-white individuals lived in white households. By 1850 the number of blacks in the town had increased to 65.

James’ parents owned their own small farm, which was located near the other black families in town. His father, as well as his brothers, worked for other farmers in the area, in addition to farming their own land. His mother, and probably his sisters, worked for other families in town, doing laundry and housekeeping.

James grew up working on the local farms, and hanging out with his neighbors and friends. However, when he was 15 he was living in the House of Corrections in Springfield as an inmate. I have not found information on why he was incarcerated, or for how long. By 1860 he was once again at home living with his parents.

On March 3, 1863 James enlisted in the Army as a Private, and served in the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, Company A during the remainder of the Civil War. The Massachusetts 54th was the first troop of black soldiers organized in the North, and in Massachusetts. His enlistment records say that he was 5’7” tall, with brown complexion and dark eyes and hair.

He proudly served his country. He participated in the siege of Fort Wagner in South Carolina. The 54th suffered a large number of casualties in this battle, his brother was wounded, and one of his friends from Monson was killed. During his service, he saw battle, marched throughout the South, including South Carolina and Florida, and suffered many of the illnesses soldiers encountered in the Southern climates, including malaria and smallpox. He was mustered out of service on August 20, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina.

After discharge from the Army, he returned to his parents’ home and spent the next three months in bed. It appeared that he had malaria and he was treated by a local doctor. It was about two years before he could begin working again, but he was never able to work at the same level that he worked before the War. He worked as a farmer, laborer and a stone mason.

There were at least three women in his life in the late 1860s, as indicated by birth records in which he was listed as the father. I’m sure that got a little complicated in such a small town!

Johanna Murphy, white and born in Ireland, and James had a baby girl born March 6, 1868. The baby died April 29, 1868 from inflammation of the bowels. In 1870, Johanna was living in the home of Henry Wallace, uncle of James, and Henry’s son Henry C., cousin of James. No additional information was found on Johanna.

James and Anna Marie Gibbons began their relationship about this time, and their daughter, Martha H. was born May 2, 1869. James and Anna would not marry until January 10, 1895.

His first marriage was to Mary Longto. Although there is no documentation of the marriage in the town records, the clerk stated in James’ affidavit for his pension that the records were incomplete, with many missing. James indicated he had been married previously when he and Anna applied for a marriage license.

Mary Longto was born about 1848 in Canada (Some records say she was born in Malone, New York which is on the Canadian border), and was white. They probably married between 1869 and 1870. In 1870, they were living together and he was working on a farm and she was home taking care of the house. James and Mary had at least five children.

  1. Ellen “Ella” Louisa was born in December 1870. She married Walter E. Brooks on May 12, 1897 in Boston. Walter worked as a waiter in Boston hotel restaurants. They had one son, Earl Henry Brooks. Earl served in the Army during World War II. I haven’t found a record of Ella’s death, but believe it was between 1930 and 1932.
  2. Baby girl was born, and died, December 19, 1871.
  3.  Henry Frank was born December 25, 1874, and died October 13, 1880 from the croup.
  4. Edwin was born in March 1877, and died October 24, 1878 from typhoid fever.
  5. Alice C. was born December 21, 1879, and died before 1918. She is not listed as a surviving child in her father’s obituary.

There might be one additional child. The 1880 census lists Frank, 6 years old, and Henry, 5 years old. I cannot find additional information on both boys. How heartbreaking it must be to lose so many of your children at such an early age. I can only find records of one child living to adulthood – Ella Louisa.

No death records have been found for Mary. She probably died before 1895, and James and Anna’s marriage.

James first applied for a disability pension as a result of his military service in 1888. He claimed rheumatism, varioloid (mild form of smallpox), fever and ague (malaria, resulting in fevers, sweating) as the reason for disability. In his application, he began having problems with rheumatism beginning in January 1864 during a march from Jacksonville, Florida toward Lake City. The cause was sleeping on the ground and exposure. In April 1865 he had varioloid and was sent to the hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. He was hospitalized about 12 days. He received light duty at that time until the close of war. He had his first attack of fever and ague at Gallops Island near Boston about three days before discharge. His application was denied.

He again applied for a disability pension in 1901, 1903, 1904 and it was finally approved in 1905 because he was over 62 years of age. All examinations said he was not sufficiently disabled in order to collect a pension. However, the final physical in the pension records stated there were significant effects and limitations because of rheumatism and other conditions caused by aging and the type of work he did. Later applications also stated that he had consumption (tuberculosis).

James was unable to write his name at the time he joined the army. He learned how to write after his discharge. However, according to affidavits included in the pension records, he did attend school. He does not say how many years he completed.

By 1901 he and his wife Anna were renting their home in Palmer on Dublin Street near the railroad road tracks. He and Anna continued to live in various residences on Dublin Street until his death. James was 78 years old when he died on May 19, 1918 from chronic intestinal nephritis, which would have resulted in kidney failure. He had been ill for two years.

Death of James Wallis

James Wallis, 77, died Tuesday morning at 2:45 at his home on Dublin street. He was a veteran of the Civil war, serving in Co. A of the 34th (54th) Massachusetts regiment, and a well known Negro resident of the town for years. Besides his widow he leaves three sisters, Miss Mary Wallis of Palmer, Mrs. Sarah Lawtor of Onset and Mrs. Betsey Thompson of Springfield, and two daughters, Mrs. Louise Brooks of Boston and Mrs. Charles Andrews of Palmer. The funeral was held from Phillips’ undertaking rooms this afternoon at 2 o’clock, with burial in Monson.
The Palmer Journal, Friday, May 31, 1918

James is buried at Hillside Cemetery, Monson in a lot owned by the Marcus Keep Post G.A.R. Lot 115, Section 9. This lot and grave is in the center section of the graveyard near the road.

Jas Wallis

The next story will be on Samuel Wallace and Emily Green, the parents of James.

Sunny today and the temperature has hit 60 degrees! Flowers are beginning to bloom and Spring is on its way. Have a great week.


James Wallace – Great Grandfather of Ruth Martha Andrews

March 3, 1863. JAMES WALLACE and his friend and neighbor HARRISON PIERCE leave their parents’ farms in Monson, Massachusetts and travel 14 miles to Springfield. Lieutenant John W.M. Appleton is recruiting soldiers for the Massachusetts 54th Infantry. About a month ago, Appleton opened the first recruiting office for the 54th in Boston. There were speakers at the stations who excited and inspired potential recruits to join the fight for freedom.

Young, single, and having spent their lives in rural Monson, James and Harrison are among the early recruits to the Massachusetts 54th. Going to war has the promise of adventure, and a steady pay check. They return home and share their excitement with their families.

The next day ALANSON WALLACE, the younger brother of James, travels to Springfield and enlists so that he can join James and Harrison on this adventure. They muster in at the end of March 1863, and less than four months later, are in a fierce battle attacking the confederate Fort Wagner on Morris Island, South Carolina. Harrison is killed and Alanson is wounded.Regiment.1isabelledmcfarland1.wikispaces.com

These men are the first of the family to join the Civil War effort. Many others will follow.

The Civil War had a tremendous impact on this family and their neighbors. We cannot tell the story of James Wallace without talking about this period of history. The men in the family went off to fight once they were welcomed into the Army. This included his brothers, Alanson and Samuel, cousins, in-laws and friends. Families were left to fend for themselves once their loved ones enlisted and left with their troops. The horrors of the War did not stop at the end of the War. The men came home injured and ill, which continued to affect them the rest of their lives.

In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of United States. Our country was torn between the right to own slaves, and the right of all men to be free. The North was in the midst of an industrial revolution, and the South was a largely agrarian society very dependent upon enslaved labor. The Republican Party, and their presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, were opposed to the expansion of slavery. Upon Lincoln’s election, seven of the southern states succeeded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America (CSA). They were later joined by six other slaveholding states. In April 1861, with the attack on Fort Sumter by the CSA, our country was at war.

Although blacks were free in the New England states they were not considered equal. Massachusetts allowed Blacks to vote, but they were disenfranchised in Connecticut and Rhode Island. New England was the heart of the Industrial Revolution. However, Blacks were commonly found employed as laborers, domestics and servants, and laundresses or washerwomen. Rarely were they found working in the factories.

As the North began to enlist men to fight in the Civil War, Blacks who wanted to serve in the Army were prohibited from joining. Allowing Blacks to join the military was very controversial, with opponents arguing that Black men would not make good soldiers. Although African-Americans had served honorably in every major conflict, including the American Revolution, a 1792 federal law prohibited Blacks from serving in the Army. [1] Needing additional men, Congress passed acts in July 1862 allowing Blacks to join the Army.

Recruitment of Black soldiers began in the fall of 1862, with the first regiments of free Blacks organized in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Kansas. [2] President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, freeing slaves in the states that had succeeded from the Union. Massachusetts was the first Northern state to organize a Black militia, the Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment. The history of this regiment was portrayed in the movie Glory. The Regiment began recruiting soldiers in mid-February 1863; advertising $13 per month, a $100 bounty at the end of the War, and aid for the soldier’s families. [3]

To Colored Men. 54th Regiment of African Descent
Massachusetts Historical Society Collections Online

“Not equal” for these new recruits continued. Once enlisted Black soldiers were paid less than their White counterparts; $10 per month, with an optional deduction from their pay of $3.00 for clothing, while white soldiers were paid $13 per month, and received a $3.50 clothing allowance. [4] Federal legislation limited the amount that Black soldiers could be paid, and it was to be less than that received by White soldiers.

The Black soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, along with their White officers, refused to accept pay that was less than what their White counterparts received, even though Massachusetts was willing to make up the difference. It was a matter of principle. Black soldiers were not paid in a timely manner, creating additional hardships for families who depended upon their breadwinners to send money home. There was “near mutiny” in the Massachusetts 54th and 55th because of lack of and the inequality of pay, and more than twenty men of the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (Calvin Dexter and Martin Philip Andrews serviced in this Regiment) were thrown into jail because of the soldiers discontent with the pay issue.

In June 1864, Congress enacted legislation allowing equal pay to Black soldiers retroactive to January 1, 1864, and retroactive to the time of enlistment for those who had been free on April 1, 1861. [5] Many soldiers had gone for over a year without receiving a paycheck by the time the rate of pay issue was settled.

Black soldiers faced additional risks of death if captured by Confederate soldiers. In spite of the long period without pay, the increased risks, and the hardships incurred in fighting the War, the soldiers served with valor and courage. One of the more notable battles occurred at Fort Wagner, a strategic confederate defense for the port of Charlestown, which involved the Massachusetts 54th. The Massachusetts 54th sustained heavy losses in this fight, but proved their bravery in combat by leading the attack on the Fort.

Black men composed over 10 percent of the Union Army and Navy, and over 40,000 died during the Civil War, with three-quarters of the deaths resulting from disease and infection. [6] Upon the end of the Civil War, the former soldiers returned home. With them, they brought the effects of the War, including disease and illnesses that often plagued them throughout the rest of their lives.

I have the pension and military records of James Wallace, his brothers, and his brother-in-law’s. The records help to understand the stories of these men and their families, and what life was like for the families both before and after the Civil War.

During the week, watch the movie Glory. It is a well-done movie, with a very good cast. I’m a big fan of Denzel Washington! It can be downloaded or rented from several on-line sources, and might be available for loan at your local library. The movie has new meaning when you are watching it knowing that members of your family served in this regiment.

The next blog will continue the story of James Wallace.

Have a great week….


[1] United States History: Racial Segregation in the U.S. Military, http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h3982.html
[2] Luis F. Emilio, A Brave Black Regiment: The History of the 54th Massachusetts, 1863-1865 (DeCapo Press:www.decapopress.com, 1995), 1-2.
[3] Ibid, 8-9.
[4] Racism against African Americans in the U.S. Military, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_against_African_Americans_in_the_U.S._military
[5] James M. McPherson, The Negro’s Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted During the War for the Union (New York: Vintage Civil War Library, 1993), 197-207.
[6] Teaching with Documents: The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War, http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/blacks-civil-war/

Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace – Great-grandmother of Ruth Andrews DeBoise

We are going to travel back to our family in Palmer and Monson, Massachusetts. One of the early posts on January 28, 2018 was on Charles “Charlie” Henry Andrews and Martha “Mattie” Gibbons. Charlie and Mattie were the parents of Blanche Louise Andrews, and the grandparents of Ruth Martha Andrews. We have reviewed the ancestors of Charlie. Now we are going to look at the ancestors of Mattie, climbing her family tree.  Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace is sharing her story with you.

Martha Gibbons Ancestors
Maternal ancestors of Martha Gibbons

Mattie was the daughter of James Wallace and Anna Marie Gibbons. Anna Marie was born April 1, 1845 in New York City. Per her death certificate and information given by her daughter, Mattie, her parents were Charles Gibbons and Martha A. Washington, and they were born in the “South”. The 1900 Federal Census for Anna indicates they were born in Virginia. No other information is known about them.

I first found Anna when she was five years old. In the 1850 Federal Census she was living at the Catholic Orphan Asylum in New York City. In 1855, when she was ten years old, she resided in Lee, Massachusetts, located in Western Massachusetts in the Berkshires, with Henry M. and Ann M. Carty. Henry was a farmer, they were both born in New York, and Henry and Ann were black. Henry and Ann had no other children. Around this time orphanages had started a system of “placing out” of their charges with families in the community. This is similar to our current foster care system, and might explain how Anna came to live with the Carty’s. Her home with the Carty’s was short lived. In 1860, when she was 15 years old, she was a servant in the home of Alexander and Emily Chapin in Springfield, Massachusetts. Alexander was a goldsmith and spectacle maker. She was still living with them five years later in 1865.

Anna probably met James Wallace after he returned from his service in the Civil War. James and his family lived in Monson. It appears that James was involved with several women at the time, which we will discuss when we look at his story. Anna got pregnant and they did not marry until many years later.

Between 1865 and 1870, Anna moved to Brookfield, Massachusetts. This might have been where she met James, since his great aunt, Dolly Wallace Hazard, and her children lived in Brookfield, and it is close to Monson. There were few black families living in the town, so it is likely that they knew and socialized with each other.

In 1870 Anna, a single mother, and her daughter Martha, who was born in 1869, were living with Rodney and Mary Howard in Brookfield. Rodney was a minister and Mary was a school teacher. Anna worked as their housekeeper. In 1880, Anna and Mattie are living with Roxanne Forbes and Anna was working as a domestic servant.

The romance and friendship between James Wallace and Anna continued. James married, became a widower, and then he and Anna married. On April 15, 1891 James and Anna were married by Reverend C. Martin in Monson. Anna was 46 and James was 50, and they remained together for the rest of their lives.

In 1900, Anna and her husband were living in Monson, but they moved to Palmer by 1901 where they remained. Between 1901 and 1918, when James died, they lived at 29 Dublin Street near the railroad. In 1910, Anna was working as a laundress in her own home. By 1920 she had moved in with her daughter and son-in-law on 20 Dublin Street. They were all living at 11 Pine Street at the time of her death.

On April 10, 1926, shortly after her 81st birthday, Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace died from cardio-vascular disease. She had been ill for at least two years. She is buried in the Oak Knoll Cemetery in Palmer.

(Note: Anna’s age given in the obituary does not match any of the other records for her.)

April 12, 1926 The Journal-Register, Palmer, Mass.
Mrs. Anna M. Wallace

Palmer – The funeral of Mrs. Anna Maria Wallace, aged 79, widow of James Wallace of Pine Street was held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the home of Bert L. Beers of North Main Street. Rev. C.A.S. Howe, pastor of the Second Baptist Church officiated and internment was in Oak Knoll Cemetery.

Mrs. Wallace leaves a daughter, Mrs. Charles Andrews with whom she lived and a great granddaughter Martha Ruth Andrews, also of Palmer. Mrs. Wallace was born in New York and has been a resident of Palmer for the past 50 years.

The next story will be on James Wallace, husband of Anna and great grandfather of Ruth Andrews DeBoise.

Until next time….

The Door to Freedom – Black Soldiers in the Revolutionary War

13 star American Flag pinterest

Ever wanted to be a member of the Daughters or the Sons of the American Revolution (DAR and SAR) but felt that descendants of Africans did not serve in the War, and therefore you could not qualify? Well, hold on! The family was right in the middle of the Revolutionary War, fighting for the freedom of this country, as well as for themselves and their families.

As we finish this branch of the family tree, we are traveling to Colchester, Connecticut. Colchester is East of Vernon, where we left Edward and MaryanneFreeman in the last post, and is located in New London County in southeastern Connecticut. This section of Connecticut was the largest slave holding region in New England.

Colchester is known for starting the Colchester School for Colored Children, founded in 1803 and located behind the Colchester Congregational Church near the town green. This was the first Connecticut school formed to provide education for black children. Black teachers were hired at town expense, and parents were expected to help pay the cost of their children’s education. The school was closed in 1848 as students were accepted into the Bacon Academy and local schools.

Colchester is a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail. More information about the Freedom Trail can be found at http://www.ct.gov/cct/lib/cct/FreedomTrail_Brochure_final.pdf.  If you live in New England, this can be a good family day trip as the weather warms up.

Today we are visiting the Eli Freeman and Edward (Ned) Carter families, both of Colchester, the last twigs we have found on this branch. There is limited information available on these families, but enough, particularly on the Carter family, to give us a sense of their lives, as well as their service to their country. Two resources provided a great deal of the information and stories I have been able to find on these families:

James M. Rose, Barbara W. Brown. (1979) Tapestry: A Living History of the Black Family in Southeastern Connecticut. New London: New London County Historical Society.
Barbara W. Brown, James M. Rose, Ph.D. (2001) Black Roots in Southeastern Connecticut 1650-1900. New London: New London County Historical Society.

You can find these resources through your library, interlibrary loan, or copies for sale at various sites on the Internet. You will find more detailed stories, particularly on Ned Carter, his sons, and their Revolutionary War service, in these resources. I really recommend that descendants try to purchase a copy of Tapestry. The story of the Revolutionary War experience of the Carters is something that you will want to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

The parents of Edward Carter Freeman, who we discussed in the last post, are EliFreeman and Sarah Carter, both of Colchester. Eli was born around 1765, probably in Colchester. In 1800 he was listed in the Colchester Federal Census as head of a family of six and as a free man of color. He was not listed as an independent household in the 1810 census. All free people of color in Colchester were listed as part of a white person’s household, so they are unable to be identified separately. In the 1820 census, there were five in the family: one male under 14 years old, one male 14 to 25 years old and one male over 45 years. There was one female under 14 years old, and one over 45 years. One person was employed in agriculture, probably as a farm hand.

The identity of Eli’s wife and the birth dates of his children are taken from the ledger of Dr. John R. Watrous of Colchester, who delivered the babies. Eli married Sarah Carter about 1790.

Eli and Sarah had at least seven children. Very little is known about the children. All were born in Colchester.

  1. Child was born October 1791 and died February 17, 1795 in Colchester.
  2. Child was born in May 1793 and died December 1, 1795 in Colchester.
  3.  Child was born in December 1794 and died December 1, 1795 in Colchester.
  4.  Child was born in October 1796.
  5.  Child was born in September 1798.
  6.  Statira was born between 1800 and 1804. In 1870 she was living in Hartford and working as a housekeeper.
  7.  Edward Carter Freeman was born January 18, 1815, and died April 20, 1890 in   Vernon.

Eli probably died between 1820 and 1830. He was not found in the 1830 census.
Sarah (Sally) Carter was the daughter of Edward (Ned) and Jenny Carter. The dates of Sarah’s birth and death are unknown, but if she is the daughter of Jenny she would have been born before her mother’s death in July 1766. If she was born in 1765, she would have been 31 at the birth of her first child, and fifty at the birth of her last child. There was a large gap in ages between child six and seven; however, it is possible for a fifty year old woman to have a child. It is also possible that Sarah’s mother was Sybil, her father’s second wife and Sarah was born after 1765. There is no documentation to support which woman was Sarah’s mother. Sarah’s death is unknown.

Ned Carter, Sarah’s father, was probably born around 1720. He was originally the slave of Jonathan Kellogg of Colchester. [1] Ned Carter served at Crown Point (Fort on Lake Champlain on what is now the border between New York and Vermont) during the French and Indian War in 1755, and was emancipated because of his service in the war. However, his family was still enslaved. His wife, Jenny, was also a slave of Jonathan Kellogg. Several of Ned and Jenny’s children were given as property to Jonathan’s sons.

In January 1776, the Continental Congress approved a plan allowing free Negroes to serve in the Continental Army. In May 1777 Ned and his son Esau enlisted. Esau was emancipated in May 1777 by Israel Kellogg, his owner and son of Jonathan Kellogg, so that Esau could join the Army. Asher, another of Ned’s sons, enlisted May 1, 1777, which meant he had to be emancipated before this date. Ned’s son, Aaron, was emancipated by Christopher Comstock of Chatham. Aaron paid 40 pounds for his freedom, which was probably what he received for entering the service as a substitute for Salmon Root of Chatham. A fourth son, Edward Junior, also enlisted in the Spring of 1777. He had already served nine months before he reenlisted. He and his family were emancipated as a result of his service. The Carters were in many of the important battles of the Revolutionary War, and suffered through the difficult winter at Valley Forge. Tapestry gives an amazing summary of the various campaigns the Carter family fought in, and their contribution to achieving independence from Britain.

Jenny, Ned’s first wife, was a slave of Jonathan Kellogg. She was baptized in the First Church of Colchester on April 11, 1742. In 1750 three children, listed as servants of Jonathan Kellogg, were baptized. These children were probably hers. Jenny and Ned had at least seven children:

  1. Edward (Ned) Carter Jr was born about 1750. Edward married Eunice Williams around 1773 in Chatham. By 1805 he and his family had moved to and purchased property in Ellington. He also changed his last name to Chappell. His grandson, who identified as Indian, would marry into the Andrews family. Edward and Eunice had at least 11 children. He collected a pension from his Revolutionary War service, as did his widow after his death. He died February 26, 1826.
  2. Esau was born about 1755. Jonathan Kellogg willed 10 year old Esau to his son Israel in 1765. [2] In February 1770 Esau was arrested for breaking the Sabbath. Israel paid the fine. Israel emancipated him in 1777 so that he could join the Continental Army. After he returned from military service, he married Anna. By 1800, he had moved to Tolland, Connecticut and was living beside his older brother Ned. There were six in the family. In 1810 he was living in Willington with 9 in the household. He died between 1810 and 1820. His wife is listed as head of the household in the 1820 federal census.
  3. Sarah was discussed previously, and might not be the daughter of Jenny.
  4. Aaron was born about 1745, and married Rachel Bolles in 1765. He purchased his freedom from Christopher Comstock in 1777 and entered the Continental Army. In 1790, he was living beside his brother Jacob, and had ten in his household. In 1793 the town of Colchester gave him supplies to move, and he moved to Windsor, Connecticut where he died in 1797. Rachel moved to Middletown and collected a pension based on her husband’s service.
  5. Jacob was given as a child to Joseph Kellogg, Jonathan’s oldest son. When Joseph died in 1762, Jacob was given to his oldest son Silas. In 1783, he was a free person and was warned by the town of Colchester to leave, along with his wife Mercy. That warning was later rescinded and Jacob stayed in town. He was in the 1790 Federal Census with four in the household. In 1794 his father, Ned, was living with him and the town paid for his board. Jacob died October 30, 1794. His wife continued to care for Ned after Jacob’s death. Jacob and Mercy had at least two children.
  6. Asher was emancipated by 1777 when he enlisted in the Continental Army. He did not receive family supplies so he would have been single. Following the War he married Rachel (last name not known), and was living in Middletown by 1812. Rachel and Asher had at least two children. He was listed in the 1820 Federal Census for Middletown with six in the family. Asher died before 1830. His widow was listed in the 1830 Federal Census with four in the family.
  7. Child died April 12, 1763.

Jenny Carter died July 25, 1766. We know that not all of her children were free when she died. We do not know if she had been given her freedom before her death.
Ned Carter married (2) a woman named Sybil following Jenny’s death. They had at least two children.

  1.  Amos was probably born between 1766 and 1770. He was billed by Dr. John Watrous of Colchester for medical treatment of his mother in 1790. He was referred to as both Amos Carter and Amos Ned. No record has been found for him after 1794.
  2. Infant child baptized in sickness October 22, 1774. Nothing else is known about this child.

Sybil died around 1794. Her husband, Ned Carter, then lived with his son Jacob, and his wife Mercy. Since the town of Colchester paid for his expenses and board following his wife’s death, Colchester threatened to sue the heirs of Jonathan Kellogg for his support. The suit was dropped upon his death on January 10, 1797.
[1] Timothy Hopkins. (1903). The Kelloggs in The Old World And The New. California: San Francisco.
[2] Ibid., Volume 1, p. 46.

You can get a free e-copy of the Kelloggs book on Google books. You can also purchase copies through Amazon.com. The book has information on the family who were the slaveholders of the Carter family, which includes some information on their slaves.

This concludes the stories on this branch of the tree.

The next post will bring us back to Monson and Palmer, Massachusetts and the Wallace family. The Wallace family is one of the earliest black families to settle in these towns.

Until next time….

From Slavery to Indenturing Children: The Russell and Anderson Families of Connecticut

I usually think of indentured servants as those immigrants who came to the colonies, and in exchange for their passage across the ocean were indentured for a period of years, usually seven, to work off their debt to their benefactor. Yes, it was a form of slavery, but there was an end in sight. Some of my relatives came to this new land as indentured servants, and I had relatives who as children were indentured following the death of their father.

However, I was surprised to see in the Connecticut families we are following parents, who themselves had been enslaved, indenturing their children. I can only guess at the reasons. Time travel would be the only way of knowing for sure! Were the families so poor that they were having trouble supporting their children? Did they truly want their children to learn a trade so that they might have more opportunities for employment in post-Revolutionary War New England?

“To Selectmen of Middletown: My son Samuel Peters is now living with Joel (Foote) Esq. of Marlborough and I wish to have him bound out to him until he arrives to the age of 21. The Mr. Foote doing by the boy as is customary and learn him a trade.” Signed by Fortune Russell and Jane Russell. Indenture date was March 28, 1826. Samuel was about eight years old. [1]

Sawney Anderson, the father of Fortune’s first wife Rebecca, bound out three of his children. However, their contracts were more specific with the type of trade they were to learn, and I would consider this more as apprenticeships, however without payment. Daniel Anderson was 19 when he was bound to Roger Brown of Wethersfield for two years to learn the trade of cordwainer. Sawney’s daughter, Else Anderson, was 12 when she was bound to Elisha Hale of Glastonbury to age 18 to learn the trade as servant. And Sonny Jr. was 17 when he was bound to Elisha Hale for four years to learn the trade of cooper. [2] Sonny did become a cooper in Glastonbury following the apprenticeship.

This week we will visit the Russell, Peters, and Anderson families. As we get closer to the Revolutionary War and slavery in Connecticut, the information available on the families become more limited, and as we “dead end” it is likely because individuals and families were enslaved.

The parents of Mary Ann Fortune Russell, the wife of Edward Carter Freeman and whose family we discussed in the last blog, were Fortune Russell and Jane Peters.

Although some records indicate that Fortune Russell was born around 1775 in Marlborough, Connecticut, I believe he was actually born earlier than that. I have found no actual documentation verifying his date of birth. However, on June 13, 1790 he married his first wife, Rebecca Anderson, of Glastonbury, Connecticut. Few men married at the early age of fifteen years. I think he was probably at least ten years older and was born around 1765. It is very possible that he was born into slavery, but had been freed by the time of his marriage.

Rebecca Anderson, born May 8, 1768 in Glastonbury, was the daughter of Sawney Anderson and Susannah Freeman. Sawney was formerly a slave of Captain Peter Harris of New London, Connecticut and was part of the sale of the estate of Captain Harris upon his death. Sawney was purchased by Venture Smith, himself a former slave, and was allowed to work for wages and pay off his debt for his own freedom.

“…in the consideration of the Sum of Forty Pounds in Money & Ten Bushels in Corn & Ten Bushels Rye to us in Hand paid by Venture Smith of East Haddam in Hartford County received to our full Satisfaction……Sell. Set-Over & deliver unto the said Venture Smith a Certain Negro Man named Sawney which was the Property of said Capt. Peter Harris Deceased. Seventh Day of December 1778
East Haddam October 26, 1779

The Within Bill of Sale was given upon Condition in Nature of a Mortgage for a small sum that I was bound in for Sawney & he having paid the same. I do this day Deliver this Bill of Sale to Sawney having no further claims upon him.
Venture (his X mark) Smith” [3]

Sawney moved to Glastonbury and purchased property. He and his son, Sawney, Jr. also owned a sloop. Sawney did indenture several of his children to learn trades, and his second wife, Phillis, died in the poor house. Sawney and his wife Susannah had at least seven children.

Rebecca Anderson and Fortune Russell had eight children. The original vital records did not always include the year of birth, or the year was illegible.

1. Horace was born December 20, 1785 and died March 14, 1848. He married (unknown) Carter on May 13, 1813. He died from dropsy (edema) due to intemperance (excessive use of alcohol). His year of birth is based on his death records, which indicated he was 63 at the time of death.
2. Elias was born August 13, 1799. No further information has been found on him.
3. Emeline was born December 20, unknown year. No additional information is known about her.
4. Daniel Anderson was born March 20, 1806, and died July 29, 1847 from dropsy due to intemperance.
5. Caroline was born March 20, unknown year. She married Rosewell Russell, Jr. on August 25, 1845, and she died August 31, 1869.
6. Lucretia was born February 5, unknown year. No additional information is known about her.
7. Ichabod Pease was born May 1, unknown year. No additional information is known about him.
8. Clarissa was born October 11, unknown year and died August 31, 1869. No additional information is known about her.

Rebecca died January 27, 1810 in Glastonbury. Fortune’s second wife was Jane Peters. Jane was born about 1780 in Glastonbury. I was not able to determine who her parents were, but she was probably related to the other Peters families living in Glastonbury. Fortune and Jane married on December 1, 1822. Children of Fortune and Jane are:

1. Samuel Peters was born about 1818. Other than the information on his indenture, nothing else is known about him.
2. Mary Ann Fortune was born August 20, 1817 and was discussed in the previous blog on the Edward Carter Freeman family.
3. George was born July 1, 1819. No additional information is known about him.

Fortune was found in the Federal Census for Glastonbury in 1810, 1820, and 1830. He probably died between 1830 and 1840. Jane was found in the 1850 Federal Census living in the Oliver Hale family household. She was 70, and the only black person living in the household. She likely was a servant in the household. She probably died between 1850 and 1860.

I recommend the following autobiography to learn more about slavery in Connecticut. It is available on-line.

A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America. Related by Himself: Electronic Edition. Smith, Venture, 1729?-1805 http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/venture/venture.html

Venture was almost seven years old when he was captured in Africa and sold into slavery. His autobiography provides insight into what it was like to be enslaved, and his journey towards regaining his freedom. Venture purchased Sawney Anderson and allowed him to regain his freedom.
[1] Kathy A. Ritter. Apprentices of Connecticut 1637-1900. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 1986.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Patricia A. Trapp. Silent Voices and Forgotten Footsteps. A Chronicle of the Early Black Culture of Glastonbury, 1693-1860. Thesis for Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies, 1996. Wesleyan University. Self published.

We will finish this line of the family tree in the next post where we will discuss the Eli Freeman family, and the Ned Carter family.

Until next time…..


Sons Lost in the Civil War – The Edward Carter Freeman Family

29th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
29th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment

1863 was a historic year for black Americans. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued, freeing slaves in the states that had succeeded from the Union. States began to organize black militia to fight in the Civil War. Massachusetts organized its famed 54th Infantry Regiment early in 1863. Late in 1863, Connecticut passed legislation to form the 29th Regiment of Colored Volunteers, which was full of recruits by January 1864. They then formed the 30th Regiment of Colored Volunteers. Seventy-eight percent of the eligible black men of Connecticut enlisted in the Army. [1]

Henry Freeman, son of Edward Carter and Mary Ann (Russell) Freeman, and older brother of Jeanette (see earlier blog on George Andrews and Jeanette Freeman) was 22 years old when he enlisted in this new Connecticut regiment on December 17, 1863. His 18 year old brother, Julius, followed him, enlisting on December 29, 1863, and was mustered into the 30th Regiment the same day. For a family that was financially struggling, the prospect of a $300 bounty and a regular income was attractive.

Continue reading “Sons Lost in the Civil War – The Edward Carter Freeman Family”

The Powers Family of Ludlow, Massachusetts and Suffield, Connecticut, Part 2

Marcus and Lovina Powers

The earliest family members identified on this branch of the tree are Marcus (also known as Mark) and Lovina Powers. Marcus and Lovina, as well as their oldest children, were probably slaves for part of their lives. Marcus was born about 1760 in Rhode Island, and Lovina was born about 1764 in Colchester, Connecticut. Rhode Island and Connecticut had the largest number of slaves in the New England states, and most blacks were enslaved when Mark and Lovina were born. In 1774, Suffield had 33 enslaved individuals, Colchester had 173, and Connecticut had 5,101 slaves, the most of all the New England states. In addition to Africans who came here as part of the slave trade, Indians were enslaved during the various Indian Wars. Continue reading “The Powers Family of Ludlow, Massachusetts and Suffield, Connecticut, Part 2”