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A story of race and family

When you grow up in New England you don’t hear much about slavery. Despite many Rhode Island “shipping” fortunes based in the slave trade, slavery seemed to be from a remote time and place. Rhode Islanders, more than most, had reasons to want to put those days behind them.   My mother’s Rhode Island roots are distant from the seafaring communities, so I don’t suppose we had much of a role in the slave trade.  Occasionally, around 1700, one sees a slave or two in their farming homesteads, but no more than that.

Or so I thought.  I think for one part of my Rhode Island family, slavery was very real.  One of the only things I knew about my great great grandmother, Emma Lamphere Darling, was that she was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She reportedly said, concerning her family’s move up to Rhode Island in her late teens, that her father had lost his business in the Civil War, and besides, a “white woman” wasn’t safe down there.

Emma Lamphere Darling, 1857-1927

I guess you would have to know my family to understand how strange this seems to me.  My parents deliberately rejected the racial prejudice they may have observed in childhood and set out, in the 1960’s, to make the world a more equitable and loving place.  They were involved in local civil rights efforts, and were adherents to the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Those are stories for another day, but my parents built a family that now contains grandchildren of all colors.  Two of those are my beautiful daughters, so my sympathies are closely aligned with my daughters’ interests, and their ancestors who were, undoubtedly, slaves.

But I think part of studying family history is uncovering everything, whether it’s flattering, happy, attractive, reasonable, or none of those things.  If you learn with great interest about the experiences of a Revolutionary War ancestor, wouldn’t you want to know about an ancestor who lived through an equally turbulent and polarizing time in American history?

The only artifact I have of Emma Lamphere is her picture, taken before the removal up north, and another picture which I believe to be her as a middle-aged woman.  No notes, letters, diaries, or possessions.  The usual records a genealogist might use reveal only glimpses of her, and may be the work of others: sadness about her mother’s death in 1878, and listing her oldest son as a resident of her household in Providence in 1910 even though he was living with his wife and two babies 10 blocks away.

possibly Emma, around 1903

I set out months ago to learn more about Emma’s father, Russell Lamphere.  I purchased some microfilm newspapers from the Alabama State Archives.  I did, indeed, learn more about Russell’s business; he had a tin shop.  What I also found were indirect clues to Emma’s life story.  No history class ever really prepared me for the atmosphere that was reflected in The Tuscaloosa Observer.

The roll I purchased commenced in 1860.  Stories of the day were detailed at length: the presidential election, John Brown’s trial, and the need for the South to become more self-sufficient (such as “Southern Insurance”, or boys withdrawing from northern colleges).  But every single page was also filled with strident and outraged defenses of slavery.  And not infrequently, the buying and selling of slaves was clearly illustrated.

From the Independent Monitor, January 14, 1860, vol. 23, no. 39. p.1:

FLOGGED AND ORDERED TO LEAVE – The Lexington (Miss.) Advertiser of Friday last has the following:

We understand that a man by the name of Miller was unceremoniously stripped, flogged and ordered to leave the neighborhood, by several citizens of Tobula on one day during last week.  Although Miller claimed to hail from Perry county, Ala., still his conduct and intimacy with the negroes in the neighborhood, created the belief that he was a secret abolition emissary. We learn that he passed through this place a few days ago.  He alluded, we understand, to the whipping he received, in good humor, although he complained that the strap with which he was whipped “hurt awfully”.

From the Independent Monitor, January 21, 1860, vol. 23, no. 40. p.2:

MORE AFRICANS COMING. – The Sea Coast (Miss.) Democrat learns from good authority that a cargo of African slaves is expected in Ship Island Harbor the latter past of the present month.  They will be landed without secrecy, the consignees trusting to the predominant sentiment of Mississippi for an acquittal, in the event of a government prosecution.

From the Independent Monitor, April 5, 1861, vol. 24, no. 52. p.3:

ADMINISTRATOR’ SALE    By virtue of the order of the court of probate, of Tuscaloosa County, the undersigned Administrator of the Estate of William L. Bealle, deceased, will sell at PUBLIC SALE, at the Plantation lately occupied by said decedent, in said county, on the 17th day of December next, the following slaves, belonging to said estate, viz: Marin, Mary, Harriet, Mipta, Ellen, Henry Fox, Henry Cody, Moses, Jake, George, Dub, Tom, Alfred, Orry, Mary Ann, Sophia, Francis, Evaline, Edmund, Tol, Ad, Richmond, Steph, Martha and her child Tiny; together with other personal property belonging to said estate, to wit: Horses, Mules, Oxen, Cattle and Hogs, and one Carriage, one Hack, Wagons and Farming Utensils.

TERMS OF SALE:  Notes with two approved securities, payable first of March, 186(?), with interest from the day of sale.

Charles S. Bealle, Administrator

“The slave sale is indefinitely postponed”

As 1860 turned to 1861 the war went from a skirmish to a drawn out  battle.  The paper suggested that any young man who had not enlisted be derisively “bonneted” by the local women.  Jeers at the north filled much of the paper.  I realize now that my ggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere could never have remained loyal to his Connecticut roots in that atmosphere.  I have a record of an “R. Lamphere” enlisting in a  regiment at the Tuscaloosa City hall on April 25, 1860 in response to a call from the Alabama legislature … I suppose that was him.

As for Emma, she was born in 1857 so the Civil War and the slaves being freed were among her earliest memories.  I can only imagine the talk she grew up with, of hating the north, resenting the growing destruction and poverty all around her, and fearing these people who suddenly had gained the rights of human beings. Given what I read in the paper, an impressionable young girl could easily be convinced of the righteousness of the south’s cause.  How much she must have resented her pragmatic father for turning about and returning to New England!

Emma grew up in an atmosphere of hate and oppression, and war.  The defense of slavery is soul-crushing for all parties, and it’s something that she lived with.  She was probably insecure about her northern roots, and once up north, lonely for her southern roots.  All in all I suspect Emma’s happiness was a casualty of that war.  In the end she died too young, leaving children and grandchildren to mourn her.  But somehow I know that the fact that her descendants stepped far beyond racism to a more loving, peaceful place is something that she would not resent.  I suspect her life was hard enough that she would not wish it on anybody.  So Emma, we are not living your life.  But we are living your legacy.

The link to this post is:  http://wp.me/p1JmJS-wm

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The Clue

How it started

I heard from a blog reader on Saturday concerning a post I did a few months ago about my ggg-grandmother Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere.  Because Hannah may have been born in Massachusetts and lived near Norwich, Connecticut, the commenter was giving me a heads up that a branch of the Andrews family had moved from Ipswich, Mass to Norwich (the section eventually called Preston) Connecticut just after 1700. The writer was herself an Andrews descendant who happened to move to the Norwich area and accidentally discovered that she lived on Andrews land.

Hannah was born around 1819, so this migration didn’t exactly involve her, but I was intrigued by this story of an Andrews migration to Norwich, which I hadn’t heard about before.  This is why blogging and reader comments are so wonderful.  Thank you, Susan.

The Ipswich connection quickly led me to a large book on the subject, “The Descendants of Lieut. John Andrews of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts” by Betty Andrews Storey.  I was disappointed not to find Hannah, her brother Alden, or the parents Jesse and Sarah Andrews.  The book was almost 2,000 pages long so I had to rely on the index, checking names that came to mind, and I found nothing significant.  As I was glancing through the sections that dealt with the Norwich branch, I followed up with several sources listed in the footnotes.

That’s when I found the clue.  It was in the second New England Historic Genealogical Register article I perused, John Andrews of Ipswich, Mass. and Norwich, Conn., and Some of His Descendants (see below).   The first Andrews couple to make the move from Ipswich, Mass. to Preston, Conn., John and Sarah (Cook) Andrews,  had a daughter, Thankful, who married Joseph Read.  That made an immediate connection.  The Norwich line of Lampheres that I’ve been investigating recently as the source of my Lampheres was headed by Shadrack and Experience (Read) Lamphere.  I began to read about the details of these families’ lives.

The Long Society Meeting House

Long Society Meeting House and Cemetery

To the east of Norwich, Connecticut, a congregational church was formed in the early 1700’s called the East or “Long Society” due to the 11 or 12 mile length of the area where the church rate payers lived. The church building was constructed in 1726 and rebuilt in 1818.  This area of Norwich was eventually annexed to Preston, Connecticut.  A “Separate Church of Preston” was also established in 1747.

In the Storey book and the NEHGS article, the Andrews who settled in Preston became intertwined with numerous families.  In those families I recognized many names:  Read, Burnham, Williams, Andrews, Cook, Palmer, and Coit (other names commonly appearing that I don’t recognize include Brewster, Geer, Fitch and Tracy).  I recognize the names because of the marriages of Russell Lamphere and his siblings in the 1830’s:

  • Russell Lamphere m. Hannah Andrews
  • Lydia Lamphere m. Henry Palmer (son of Polly Williams) and had one daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Coit Palmer
  • Lucy Ann Lamphere m. Burnham Cook

I am very fortunate to have pictures of my gggg-aunt and uncle Lucy Ann (Lamphere) and Burnham Cook which are owned by a generous cousin (fourth cousin?) that I met through Ancestry.com.  She has kindly agreed to let me post them here. My family has never seen them.  These are the only pictures I have for that generation.

Lucy Ann (Lamphere) Cook, 1808-1865

Burnham Cook, 1807-1871

That cousin had been mystified about Burnham Cook’s origins, but I suspect the answers may be here, somewhere.

What Does This Prove?

Absolutely nothing.  I am still without direct evidence about Hannah Andrews’ origins; the earliest record I have is her marriage in 1838 where she is “of Ashford, Connecticut”.  Two known details do not yet fit into this idea that her Andrews line had settled in Preston by 1715:

  • She and her brother sometimes reported being born in Massachusetts in the late 1810’s
  • Her brother’s name, Alden, suggests a family connection that I do not see any evidence of in these articles.

However, I am very excited.  To find three siblings marrying into the same group, that did not live extremely close to them (our Lamphere part of Norwich was “the Falls” to the North) seems significant enough to warrant lots of further study.  Coincidentally, it provides further clues for my current theory about which Lamphere line I descend from.

Andrews is a hard name to study.  Spellings vary widely (Andrus, Andros) and the name is quite common and has numerous early immigrant families, not just one.  I suspect there is something unusual about Hannah’s family (a death, perhaps, or moving around a lot?) that has made her hard to track.  The NEHGS article claimed that many Long Society records were lost by the late 1800’s, and the Norwich town clerk was relatively far away, leaving these Andrews families poorly documented.

But for the very first time I feel like I have found a clue that links her to some Andrews in particular.

Next steps:

  • pursue all published work on the descendants of Shadrack and Experience (Read) Lamphere, as well as other local Read descendants.
  • Look at the full sets of census pages for Preston
  • Get to the Westerly Town Hall to look at land and probate records for Daniel Lamphere.
  • Keep searching NEHGS and other sources for work done on these Andrews lines.
Learning more about the Long Society Meeting House:
Sources
  • The Descendants of Lieut. John Andrews of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts” by Betty Andrews Storey which is available as a pdf from the Allen County Public Library.
  • John Andrews of Ipswich, Mass. and Norwich, Conn., and Some of His Descendants” by Mrs. Harriett Andross Goodell, NEHGR vol 70, page 102 – 114, April, 1916.

This is part 2 of The Brick Wall Stories – Hannah Andrews.

Link to this article: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2012/03/18/the-clue/

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Imagine my surprise last night when I opened the recent issue of American Ancestors and found an article about a pre-Civil War move from New England to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

My ggg-grandfather, Russell Lamphere, was a cotton mill machinery expert  in Norwich, Connecticut.  Around 1854 he moved his family to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  I’ve written before (detailing Russell’s wife Hannah and youngest daughter Emma) about how he built a business in Tuscaloosa which he lost during Reconstruction.  We’re not sure what the business was.  During the transition he appeared in the Meridian, Mississippi census in 1870, and eventually ended up removing to R.I.

The NEHGS American Ancestors Fall, 2011 issue features stories related to the Civil War.  One story, “A Tale of Two Brothers: Charles Richmond Shedd and Cornelius W. Shedd” by Susan Kilbride included a picture of The Alabama Insane Hospital at Tuscaloosa.  This immediately caught my attention.  But it was the story itself which stopped me in my tracks.

The similarities with my family’s story are amazing:

  • In the article, Cornelius Shedd, a machinist, moved from Massachusetts to Tuscaloosa in 1856.  My ancestor Russell Lamphere was a machinist who moved from Connecticut to Tuscaloosa around 1854.
  • When the Civil War started, Cornelius had sympathy for the South and eventually the kind of bitterness that the ravages of war would bring.  Russell Lamphere and his family also stayed in the south and became fairly bitter, according to family legend, particularly about Reconstruction and race relations. Russell would not fit into our family very well today, but I think it’s important to learn where we come from.  Eventually Russell moved back to Rhode Island and took a job as a machinist in a cotton mill.  But they didn’t seem particularly happy to return, and several of the sons stayed down south.
  • By 1866 Cornelius was living in Meridian, Mississippi.  By 1870 Russell was living in Meridian, Mississippi.
  • Cornelius had a sister who married an Alden (Maria Elizabeth (Shedd) Alden).  Russell’s wife was Hannah Andrews, whose only relative that I am sure of is a brother named Alden Andrews. I’ve always assumed there was an Alden connection.
  • Cornelius had a brother that died as a union soldier and this was the point of the magazine article; a family that was divided. Several interesting letters were included in the article.  I believe Russell may have had a son (William H. Lamphere) who was a confederate soldier, and survived, and nephews or brothers who fought for the union.  There are 2 Civil War letters from this side of the family, that no one can find, but I suspect they are from William to his parents.

I don’t really believe any of these people are related, or even knew each other, but it certainly is interesting to think that our story is far from unique.  I’d like to know more about pre-war Tuscaloosa and what was attracting young New Englanders looking to make their fortunes.  From what I’ve learned, Meridian was a burned out shell after the war – what made both of these men leave Tuscaloosa for Meridian?

However I do have some faint hope about these Aldens, since a quick internet search leads me to see some familiar names like Emma, Hannah and William in Massachusetts, which is where Hannah and Alden Andrews were born.  Although any connection is bound to be a coincidence.  But I’ll be pursuing this coincidence.

Russell is related to me in the following way:

Russell Lamphere (1817-1898)

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Emma (Lamphere) Darling (1857-1927)

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Russell Darling Sr. (1883 – 1959)

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Edna May (Darling) Baldwin, my grandmother

note: Meridian picture – Credit: Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

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The Girl from Alabama

I remember my grandmother once mentioning that one of her grandmothers was from the South.  This was surprising to me but I didn’t get much further information.

My gg-grandmother Emma was born in Alabama. Wait, what?

But you know how family stories are.  It was only partly true.

Emma Luella Lamphere was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on 19 Apr 1857.  This is gleaned from the Rhode Island State Census of 1905, and to a lesser extent from other census records and her death record. I have no birth record.

Emma’s parents were Russell and Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere.  Russell was from an old Westerly, Rhode Island family.  Hannah was from either a Connecticut or Massachusetts family that is a bit of brick wall for me.  Russell and Hannah had five children that I know about:

  • William H Lamphere  1840 – 1912
  • Sarah E Lamphere 1843 – 1905
  • Charley C. Lanphere  1846 –
  • Caroline M. Lamphere 1847 –
  • Emma Luella Lamphere 1857 – 1927

The first four were born in or near Norwich, Connecticut.  Some time between the 1850 census and Emma’s birth in 1857 the family relocated to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  They are in the 1860 Federal Census, page 11 as found on Ancestry.com.  I won’t show you the whole thing, but trust me it’s them.  What I would love people to look at is Russell’s occupation:

A What’s My Line moment from the 1860 census

Manuts – St – Marchad???    really?  any ideas?  please??  I examined the handwriting on the rest of the page but my only conclusion is that the middle word is NOT Ste. but is St.  Not helping.

What I do know is that in most previous census records Russell was listed as a machinist.  Family lore says that they went down to Alabama in the 1850’s to start a business.  After, or possibly during, the war the business failed.  After moving to R.I. in the 1870’s, Russell is listed as a mill overseer at the Oriental Mills, Admiral Street, Providence (now the Union Paper Company building).  Oriental Mills was one of many cotton fabric mills in Rhode Island.  I can’t help but think he must have used those machine skills down south and been a part of a fabric weaving mill startup … perhaps with partners.  After the war the family was unhappy during the upheavals of reconstruction, had lost the business, relocated for a while to Meridian, Mississippi, and then moved back North.  But this is despite Russell’s 1860 enlistment in the Alabama militia.  I sense they were committed to the south but then gave up.

A recent photo of the Oriental Mills building by Marc N. Belanger (public domain, thanks, Marc.)

After moving to Providence, Rhode Island in the 1870’s, Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere died in 1878 “after a long and painful illness” which was only noted as gall stones (“biliary calculi”) on the death certificate.  Daughter Emma married, on 5 Mar 1879, Addison Parmenter Darling, a silver engraver in Providence. The father also remarried in 1879.

Emma and Addison had 3 children, the first of whom was my great grandfather, Russell Earl Darling.  Grace Luella  and Addison Jr. soon followed.  Emma’s somewhat difficult life ended tragically at age 69 in a streetcar accident on Broad Street, Providence while on the way to a family function.  The family waited for her and she never arrived.  She lingered in pain for a day or two at the hospital and passed away 2 Feb 1927.

So I am seeking help on two fronts: reading the handwriting from the 1860 census, and also, understanding the business climate in Tuscaloosa in the 1850’s.  Were there cotton mills there? What evidence remains?  I haven’t explored Tuscaloosa deeds yet, but it’s possible Russell owned the property for the business, or owned a home.  Perhaps he paid taxes on the business.

Any leads on collecting this info would be great.  As the blog title suggests, I am way up here in R.I.!

Diane

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