Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

February 14, 2013

Dalton column: Slaves in Andover

(Continued)

Although there may be local stories about the mistreatment of Andover slaves, I’ve found none in the records. There is evidence there that Andover’s slaves were treated well and many were taught to read and write. Some slaves were treated more like servants than slaves and may have been paid for their work. There is, on record, the writing a slave once owned by Rev. Samuel Phillips that is articulate and sensitive, showing loyalty to his masters.

On record, there is an indication of a bond between slaves and their owners. In the Old Burying Ground near North Andover Commons, is a headstone that reads: In Memory of Primus/ Who was a faithful servant of Mr. Benjamin Stevens Jr/ Who died July 25, 1792/ Aged 72 years, 5 months, 16 days.

We can assume that poor relations between masters and slaves never went to record, although Andover was such a lightly populated town that it’s hard to believe that a bad master would have escaped unnoticed or unpunished. Although many crimes occurred in old Andover, few escaped notice, for the townspeoplewere basically good and would not have tolerated bad people, I believe (excepting the strange period of the witch hysteria, that to me is still not explained or understood).

In the South Parish Burying Ground is the grave of the last slave born in Andover, Rose Coburn, wife of Titus Coburn. The stone says she died at age 92 in 1859. Historian Bailey, who must have known Rose, says of her, “She was a slave born in Andover and the last survivor of all born here in that condition. A pension was paid to her as the widow of a soldier of the Revolution. She was a person of great honesty, veracity, and intelligence and retained all her facilities in a singular degree to the last.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Townspeople
  • AT HOWARD KOH

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/Courtesy photo Dr. Howard Koh will step down as U.S. assistant secretary for health after five years to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health this fall in a new position in its Department of Health Policy and Management.

    Koh to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • 48 locals to pedal in Pan-Mass Challenge Posted 13 days ago
  • AT HANNAH CURRIE

    Courtesy photo Hannah Currie is spending 10 days this summer becoming immersed in the music industry at GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles.

    Currie hits note at LA's GRAMMY Camp Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • South Church names new senior pastor Posted 20 days ago
  • AT BOYS GIRLS CLUB GOLF1

    COURTESY PHOTO Andover residents Patrick James, left, Adam Geaslen, Ryan Byrd and Dan Bryant claimed first place at the 35th annual Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Golf Tournament at Indian Ridge Country Club in town.

    Local foursome aces Boys & Girls Club tourney Posted 20 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT LOCKS SISTERS2

    COURTESY PHOTO The Marble sisters --Anna, 8, left, and Isabel, 11 -- post-donatin to Locks of Love.

    Sisters pair up to donate pony tails to Locks of Love Posted 20 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT HOST1

    DESI SMITH/Staff photo Former Andover residents Dana Cohen and his wife, Ginny, back, left, have regularly hosted foreign exchange students since 1989. Farrah Moussa, back right, from Egypt, and Paula Valverde, front right, from Spain, are the latest students to spend a year with the Cohens, who now live in Gloucester.

    Former Andover couple welcomes exchange students for quarter-century Posted 20 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014
  • LENO1

    FILE PHOTO Jay Leno, who honed his comedy skills growing up in Andover, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this fall during a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

    In good comedy company Posted 27 days ago 2 Photos
  • COMMUNITY TRUST2

    ACT 3.jpg Susan Stott, third from left, accepts the Opening Doors to Affordable Housing in Andover Award from Andover Community Trust directors, from left, Don Schroeder, treasurer; John Pearson, president; and Joan Johnson, clerk.

    Affordable housing advocates honored Posted 27 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT TABIT

    Salim Tabit

    Townspeople in the News Posted 27 days ago 1 Photo

Pictures of the Week
Stocks