Famous Families

Boston

The Bostons intermarried with other families of colour (such as Pompey , Titus, Cesar and Esop - names which are giveaways for their ethnic identification) and also appear to have married into the larger white community.

The earliest mention of this name I have come across, to date, was that of Prince Boston who secured a place for himself in the history of the country for demanding and obtaining his freedom a year or two before the Revolution. Part native Indian, as well, he was one of the progenitors of the Nantucket clan who, because of their leadership and enterprise as sea captains and ship owners, also left their mark in this area's maritime history.

Along with Nantucket's early antipathy towards slavery, the prestige the Bostons enjoyed during the height of the whaling industry and the financial security with which it provided them, probably made them eligible enough as marriage partners for their white neighbours.

A cursory glance at just the female Boston marriage records for the late 18th and early 19th century provides the following examples:

Caroline and Rodolphus Harden, 1796
Charlotte and Philip Winslow, 1797
Jane and Benjamin Roberts, 1793
Lettice and Charles Weeden, 1799
Mahala and William Collins, 1825
Mary and Michael Douglas, 1811
Phyllis and Thomas Munrow, 1801
Priscilla and John Williams, 1797
Priscilla and William Thomas, 1818

Other African American Nantucket families who demonstrated the same marriage patterns as the Bostons were:

Womly
Tony
Wyox
Dyer
Prince
Jethro

Quamminy
Samson
Fortune
Dunn
Limus
Robbins

If as much miscegenation had, indeed, taken place in early Nantucket as I am now beginning to suspect, the enthusiastic reception in 1844 with which this little Massachusetts island community launched Frederick Douglas's career will certainly have to be re-evaluated. After all, such a turning point in the history of the abolitionist movement would fall well within the scope and context of the social phenomenon we hope to examine here.


Researched and Written by Mario de Valdes y Cocom.

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