"People of Colour"
in Vermont &
Although my interest is primarily centered on
Westminster, Windham Co., Vermont,
this section has been expanded to include other localities as well.
A colored citizen was a
conspicuous character in town [Claremont
NH] for many years
succeeding 1832. He was a barber and kept a small shop where he dispensed
cakes, custards, candy, nuts, and ice cream in the warm seasons. He had a
poetic turn, and displayed his talent in this direction in advertising his
business. In the "National Eagle" of 1835, he introduced himself in
Look, gentiles! I'm Simeon
I shave in shine or rain;
Scissors! If I suit not each Yankee,
I'll shave him o'er again
Insert on his accomplishments as
a "tonsorial artist"
Mr. Sankee may be found during
shaving hours, at this office, opposite Steven's Hotel, where he will attend
to the calls of his customers.
Simeon Sankee died in 1861 at
From: "The History of the
Town of Claremont,
1764-1894," p. 462
The purpose of
this page is to begin to bring together some of the data that is available on
"persons of colour" who have lived in Vermont. It is also a means of bringing together those that
are searching for their ancestors so that they can share information.
In the vital
records of Vermont, sometimes, but not always, some notation is given
as to the "color" of the person(s) being recorded. Most often the
terms "coloured" or "person of colour" were used and on
occasion, "black man." It appears that these entries were used for
both black men and Indians and I suspect a few Frenchmen. Because of the
interchange of terms and the looseness by which they were used, research on
these families is often difficult, and we hope that this will serve as a useful
tool in helping to find and identify your family.
If you have
information to be shared, please
Burial of an Unknown Black Man
top of a hill known as "The Pinnacle," in Westminster West, Windham County, Vermont lies a lonely yet long
remembered grave. It consists of 2 field stones, as head and foot stones,
with a mound between. According to the oral history of the area, this is the
grave of a black slave.
May He Rest in Peace
- 1880 Index of Persons listed as Black or Mulatto in Windham County
BROOKS, CLARK, COOK, FODDY, FREEMAN, HUZZY, JACKSON,
LORD, MORGAN, MUZZY, NORRINGTON, REED, SMITH, THOMAS, THOMPSON, WHEELER,
The Reverend Sylvester Sage went to Westminster, Windham Co.,
to become the third settled minister in the Congregational Church there. He
began his ministry on 24 June
1790 and, except for two years, he preached there until 29 April 1838. He brought
with him a young woman called "Black Nance" or Nancy Freeman. It is
said that she lived with the Sage family as a servant for as long as Rev.
Sage was in Westminster.
Rev. Sage died on 21 Jan 1841.
It was said that Nancy
was a fine looking black woman with excellent manners, reliability, and
deportment. Each Sunday, she attended church and had her regular pew where
she sat with "pious decorum." Nance was born on 19 Dec 1784 in
MA in the family of Rev.
Mr. Freeman. Nance had a son named George Lord who was born in Westminster
11 June 1803.
It is believed that she died as Nancy Foddy on 17 Oct 1857 at age 73. She was
found dead by the roadside in Westminster.
Her son was then a servant in the family of Rev. Sylvester Sage.
BROOKS was born
ca1800. He married EUNICE REED. Resided
VT. Children: Thaddeus, William H.,
James, and perhaps, Martha. Montgomery was a Brothertown/Narragansett
Indian via his mother Sally Potter. Her father was Sampson Potter.
DOLBY married ASENATH COOK.
FREEMAN, born 1784 Boston, resided Westminster with the family of Sylvester Sage. Nancy had son GEORGE LORD born ca1803. She married JOSEPH
HUZZY ( or MUZZY) of Chester in 1806.
NANCY FREEMAN SANKEE, age 20, b. VT,
mulatto, living with Cato Freeman, age 94, b. VT, black; Rosa Freeman, age 60,
b. VT, mulatto. (1860 Census: Chelsea, Orange Co., VT. See also,
HUZZY (or Muzzy ?) of
Chester married NANCY FREEMAN of Westminster.
LORD married LIZZIE (SANKEE)
BROOKS ca1885. He seems to be associated with Rutland and Westminster.
D. MORGAN married perhaps ANNA
SMITH (born Baltimore).
NORRINGTON lived in Westminster and was a cook for Mrs. George Holland of
Descendants of Daniel Potter by Caroline K. Andler
1820-1830 in Montpelier, Washington Co., VT (Town
Clerk Records). See also,
age 58, b. NH, mulatto, barber, boarding with John B. Pike (1860 Census,
Chelsea, Orange Co., VT). See also,
--- Living in Poor House, age, 76, b. NH, black, pauper, (1850 Census of
Gilmanton, Belknap Co., NH); Simeon Sanky --- Living in Poor House, age
77, b. NH, black, pauper (1860 Census of Laconia, Belknap Co., NH)
L. WILLIAMS had a son by ANNA
SMITH, named Amos Henry Williams born 1872.
WILLIAMS (ca1820) married EUNICE
LANGLEY. Son James H. Williams.
you have a data base to link or add to this page?
Books & Articles
- "Vermont's Adopted Sons and Daughters" by Sharon Carbonti Davis.
Vermont Historical Society, April 1963, pp. 122-127. Includes information on Reverend
Lemuel Hayes, Sister St. Mary Magdalen of the Congregation of
Notre Dame, Prince Saunders, Abijah Prince, Lucy (Terry) Prince, and Jack
- "William J. Anderson: Shoreham's Negro
Legislator in the Vermont House of Representatives" by Elsie Adams. Vermont Historical Society, Fall
1976, pp. 203-213. Vermont's first Negro Legislator in the
Vermont House of Representatives.
- "The Redeemed Captive Returning to
Zion" by John Williams. Reprint: Ann Arbor,
University Microfilms, Inc., a subsidiary of Xerox Corp.; blue bound, March
of America Facsimile Series, Number 34.
- "Martin H. Freeman of Rutland,
America's First Black College Professor and Pioneering Black Social
Activist" by Russell W. Irvine, Ph.D. Rutland Historical Society
Quarterly, Vol. XXVI, No. 3, 1996.
- "The History of the Black Population of
Amherst, Massachusetts 1728 - 1870" by James Avery Smith (NEH&GS).
- "Black Families of Hamden, County, Massachusetts 1650 - 1855" by Joseph Carvalho III (NEH&GS).
- "Black Roots in Southeastern Connecticut 1650-1900."
- "Free Negro Heads of Families in the
United States in 1830" by Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D.
- Rutland Vermont Library and Historical Society, contact Jim Davidson re Black history.
Alexander Twilight "...the first African American to receive a
college degree at an American institution (Middlebury College, 1823). ......."
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People of Colour in Vermont & New England by Rachel V. Duffalo, © Copyright
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