25 February 2015

The Family Scott

The above picture is a plaque that now hangs in the second floor of City Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. The ceremony yesterday was charming and long overdue. As it states on the plaque, Charles E. Scott served as a City Councilor from 1918 to his death on 11 October 1938. Elected not by the tiny people of color population but instead by white, mostly European immigrants, Councilman Scott was truly ahead of his time.

Charles E. Scott was born to Edward W. Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson in 1869 Sterling, Massachusetts. His parents came up from Virginia to Massachusetts with Methodist missionaries shortly after the Civil War. At age 19, he married Agnes Gimby (1869 - 1953) of Worcester. Charles and Agnes had several children including Marion, Laura, Nelson, Winfred, Charles Edward and Lyman.

Catherine Annie Jackson was born about 1842 in Warrenton, VA to Beverly Jackson and Mary Johnson. She died in childbirth on 14 November 1876 in Worcester, MA. Sadly, two other Scott children died that same year - William M. (1861 - 23 April 1876) and Arthur H. (11 May 1875 - 10 June 1876). 

Edward W. Scott was born about 1841 also in Warrenton, VA. His parents were Walter and Mary Jane. The Scott children included William (above), Mary Jane (b. 13 November 1862), Sarah A. (b. 7 October 1864), Hannah E. (b. 1 February 1867), Charles E. (above), Walter (b. 1871), Clara (b. 1873) and Arthur (above). Edward married his second wife, Harriet Jackson Edmundson on 26 December 1889. Hattie, as she was called, was born about 1854 in Amherst, MA to William and Mary Jackson.

On April 16, 1913, The Worcester Daily Telegram ran an article about the 78th birthday of Edward Scott. 

Edward Scott Says He Is 78 or Perhaps only 76 Years

Edward Scott, recently a shoe repairer and later a restaurant owner at 194 Chandler St., observed the 78th anniversary of his birth at his home, 126 Belmont Street yesterday. Though he says he is 78 years old, he is not quite sure of it and thinks that there is a possibility that he is but 76. However, he is just as happy. Mr. Scott is in good health. He was a slave in his young days and was freed by Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. He was born in Virginia, near Winchester and came to Worcester in 1876. He lived in Oakdale at one time and while there learned to be a shoe maker. Mr.Scott has been married twice, the last time 11 years ago. By his first marriage he had eight children, four of whom are alive."

This is one of my favorite family stories. My great-great grandmother was Edward and Catherine's daughter, Hannah. Hannah died at age 29 of pneumonia leaving four young children including my Grama Nellie.

My 3rd great grandfather, Edward W. Scott, - born into slavery - became a business owner and lived to see his son Charles elected to the Worcester City Council. He passed away in 1919 leaving a wonderful legacy and many proud descendants.

Until next time,


06 February 2015

Venture Smith - From African Prince to Connecticut Freeman

From the connecticuthistory.org website
Although I didn't know it at the time, my best friend from grammar school is a descendant of Venture Smith. She and other family members recently journeyed to Africa to witness the beginnings of their ancestor's incredible life. You can read about the trip in the New York Times Travel Section by following this link.

Venture Smith was born about 1730 in a place he called Dukandarra in West Africa. At about the age of ten, he was kidnapped and taken to Anomabo, a fortress in what is now Ghana. From there he was sold to slavers and taken to America.

Venture's journey across the Atlantic ended in Newport, Rhode Island where he was purchased by George Mumford. Venture grew tall (6'2"), married and had children. He was not a shy man. By all accounts, he made his wishes known and even pressed charges against his owners.He was sold to various men but managed to save enough money to free not only himself but his wife and children as well.

He wrote his memoir titled "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." His book was published in New London, Connecticut in 1798.

I am excited that my childhood friend has such an abundance of knowledge about her African ancestors. So few of us do! 

Until next time.