Tag Archives: abolitionism

Wordy Fourths

In recent years, Salem has put on an amazing fireworks display for the Fourth, before that it was BIG blazing bonfires, and before that it was LONG orations–sometime competing long orations. These speeches were always given by “notable” men, sometimes from Salem, and always from Massachusetts. I went through a succession of these speeches–which used to run to an hour and more by all accounts–to try to pick out some themes beyond a general patriotism. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, it’s all about competing visions for the country by the Jeffersonian Republicans and the Federalists, a more unified message emerges with the onset of war with Britain in the next decade, and then gradually we move towards abolitionism and nativism: sometimes together. We get occasional glimpses of other aspects of celebration/commemoration in the first half of the nineteenth century (see 1808 below), but mostly what is recorded are WORDS.

Fourth of July 1804 collage

Fourth of July 1805

Fourth of July 1808

July 4 1810

_Fourth 1812 collagePrinted Independence Day Orations from Salem, and the arrangements for the Federalists’ holiday in 1808, with dinner at the “new” Assembly House: Hamilton Hall. I am wondering if the Benjamin Peirce of 1812 is the Benjamin Peirce of 1775–he would have been 74 years old.

Fourth of July 1826 I found it surprising that there was STILL animosity towards Britain more than a decade after the War of 1812 was over–this must be a reflection of the damage the war caused to Salem’s trade and position. The Reverend Henry Colman tried to smooth feathers in his 1826 oration: I am aware of the extreme and bitter diversity of opinion which prevailed among her best citizens in regard to the recent war. But at this distance of time we can view the subject calmly and weigh its merits with justice, candid minds, whatever may be their views of its expedience or management, will find it difficult to doubt that the motives in which it originated with were patriotic…..And unsuccessful as it may be deemed by any in the attainment of its avowed objects, the country came out of it, bringing new trophies of an illustrious heroism, and of a devotion to what many might reasonably deem the cause of liberty and right, worthy of those who hold alliance to the heroes of the revolution”.

Nearly twenty years later—-looking backward from my privileged perspective— it looks like we are gearing up for yet another war with Anson Burlingame’s 1854 Salem oration. Burlingame was a Massachusetts politician who was fiercely patriotic, abolitionist, and anti-Catholic all at the same time. A few years after he gave this Salem speech, he called South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks “the vilest sort of coward” for his brutal assault on Senator Charles Sumner, after which Brooks challenged him to duel to which he himself failed to appear, thus proving Burlingame correct! His Fourth of July speech seems to be more passionately Nativist than Abolitionist, and it inspired an amazing satire, also published in 1854: Corporal Pitman’s Great Oration, Pronounced on Salem Common July 4, 1854, a speech that was never given.

Fourth 1854 collage

July 4 1854Anson Burlingame’s Salem speech, 1854, and his defense of Sumner and Massachusetts on the floor of the House of Representatives, 1856; a satire of the former by “Corporal Pitman”, which reads like it would be quite a performance.

I think the truly celebratory Fourth that we enjoy today is rooted in that of the Centennial–in which the whole city was festooned: speeches were certainly made, but the emphasis was more on actions: particularly a city-wide procession.

Fourth 1876 collage

Effusive Fourth1876 and this morning: when it was so hot we could barely stand to stay outside for the 7 (???) minutes or so it took to listen to the reading of the Declaration of Independence. I like how everyone is lining up in the shade, like soldiers.


Clarissa Lawrence of Salem

The intertwined histories of Salem’s African-American community and Abolitionist movement in the mid-nineteenth century are often referenced and represented by the work of two strong women, Charlotte Forten Grimké (1837-1914) and Sarah Parker Remond (1824-1894), both born into families that were free, prosperous, and ardent advocates of abolition. Charlotte was a Philadelphia girl who came north to receive an integrated education in Salem: she graduated from the Higginson and Salem Normal Schools and became the first African-American to be hired to teach white students in a Salem public school when she accepted an appointment at the Epes School on Aborn Street. While in Salem she lived with the Remonds and became an active member of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, and thereafter her continued advocacy for abolition was expressed primarily through her writing and her teaching, especially during her experience as a teacher of formerly enslaved children on the Union-occupied Sea Islands of South Carolina during the Civil War. Sarah Remond was a Salem native who followed in her parents’ and brother Charles’ footsteps in her dedication to the cause of abolition: she gave her first public speech for the cause when she was a teenager and was appointed a traveling lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society when she was twenty. In late 1858 she sailed for Britain to expose the horrors of slavery to a country which had close economic ties to the South, and delivered 45 lectures in the next few years, all of which attracted considerable crowds and press coverage–both abroad in the United States. Sarah never returned to Salem: after her citizenship status was questioned by the United States government upon her departure for Paris, she decided, in effect, to renounce it: she remained in Britain for several years, lecturing and taking classes at the Bedford College for Women, and then left for Italy after the Civil War.There she remained for the rest of her life, completing her medical degree, marrying, and entertaining family and friends from home.

There’s a lot more to say, and a lot more has been said, about both Charlette Forten Grimké and Sarah Parker Remond, but I’m interested in another African-American woman from Salem today: older, much lesser-known, but also an educator and an abolitionist: Clarissa Lawrence, also known as Chloe Minns, or “Mrs. Minns”. Her origins are obscure: we hear of her only in the Reverend William Bentley’s chatty diary when she is hired to run Salem’s first black public school in 1807. A “mulattoe” woman who could read but not write at the time of her appointment, Bentley is increasingly impressed with her as time goes by: every time he visits the “African School” on “Roast Meat Hill” he notes its “good order”. After he and Salem’s treasurer conducted a tour of all of Salem’s public schools in 1809 he observed that “In south Salem we found 40 children not provided with the best instruction. The African School by Mrs. Minns, 30 blacks, was better kept & several blacks repeated their hymns with great ease and propriety.” After the Reverend officiated at Mrs. Minns’ marriage to Schuyler Lawrence (her third, his second) in 1817 he commented that she “has acquitted herself with great honour, as to her manners & as to her instructions” and opined that the Lawrences were “the first grade of Africans in all our New England towns”. They settled on High Street, 8 High Street to be precise, where his seemingly-successful chimney-sweeping business was also located. She continued to teach (until 1823) and also held leadership positions in both the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society and the Colored Female Religious and Moral Society of Salem. She cast off “Chloe Minns” (a name given to her in slavery?) and became Clarissa Lawrence, or Mrs. Lawrence. Like Charlotte Forten, she combined the causes of free education for blacks and abolition into an engaging appeal, and (two years after Forten was born in Philadelphia) traveled to that city to address the third national convention of the Women’s Anti-Slavery Society, asking her mostly white audience to “place yourselves, dear friends, in our stead”, and observing that “We meet the monster prejudice everywhere….We cannot elevate ourselves….We want light; we ask it, and it is denied us, Why are we thus treated? Prejudice is the cause.”

And that’s all I know about Clarissa Lawrence, which is just not enough. Compared to the well-charted lives of Forten and Remond, hers is relatively marker-less, especially her early life. The divergent circumstances of birth, wealth, and family created different paths for these three women, but the existence of slavery led them to a common place. I am writing about Clarissa today because I unexpectedly came upon a fruit of her labors yesterday, a beautiful sampler produced by one of her students in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg. Sarrah Ann Pollard’s sampler, produced at the “Clarrisa Lawrence School” in 1818, bears the inscription: virtue the [the] chief beauty of the ornament mind the nob/lest virtue of the female kind beauty without virtu[e] is [no value]. And now I’m wondering if I’ve even spelled “Clarissa” Lawrence’s name correctly, the way she would have wanted it.

Clarissa Lawrence School Sampler CWC

Clarrisa Lawrence School Sampler detail CWC

High StreetFramed Sampler by Sarrah [Sarah] Ann Pollard, 1818, Salem, Massachusetts. Collections of Colonial Williamsburg. 8 High Street, Salem: the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Schuyler Lawrence.


The ABCs of Slavery

I’ve always been a hunter and gatherer of old stuff, and the first “collection” I assembled while still in my early 20s was of nineteenth-century pearlware children’s plates, primarily ABC and nursery plates intended for instruction and edification: I had quite a few of Franklin’s Maxims, a few domestic scenes, animals, and lots of Robinson Crusoe: I still have the latter, one elephant plate, and a fortune-telling scene, but I sold off the rest a decade or so, along with all of my transferware. When I was hunting around for these little plates, I remember seeing some that were a bit political, and wondering: why would children care about free trade? But slavery was a far more passionate and accessible topic, and quite a few abolitionist ABC plates appeared in the mid nineteenth-century, especially after the production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. These plates were produced primarily in Britain for the northern American market, and the Staffordshire potteries had the dual motivation of meeting (and perhaps creating) demand in America while presenting themselves as morally superior to their cousins across the Atlantic: there is an amazing transfer-printed jug in the collection of the Winterthur Museum which advertises all the available patterns along with one scene in which showing “Britannia Protecting the Africans”. The British were so very clever at catering to both sides in the struggle over slavery in America: preaching to the North while buying cotton from the South! The Winterthur collection also contains an anti-slavery ABC plate based on the work of Mary Belson Elliot, “blending sound Christian principles with cheerful cultivation”, and a popular children’s mug first sold at the 1846 Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Fair, along with the wonderful Anti-Slavery Alphabet produced by the Townsend sisters.

Anti-slavery plate Winterthur Collection

Anti-slavery Mug Winterthur Collection

anti-slavery alphabet primer 1846 Letters A and B

anti-slavery alphabet primer 1846 Letters M and N

From the Winterthur Museum Collections:  Staffordshire pearlware jug made by Christopher Whitehead, c. 1817-1819, ABC plate, c. 1800-1830, and child’s mug, c. 1795-1865; Pages from the Anti-Slavery Alphabet of Philadelphia sisters Hannah and Mary Townsend, 1846.

The particular plate that returned my attention to ABC plates in general and anti-slavery ABC products in particular is a lot in the upcoming Memorial Day Auction at Northeast Auctions: “Gathering Cotton”. This is a Staffordshire plate as well, but produced later than the Winterthur pieces (between 1850 and 1865) and its meaning/purpose is far less straightforward:  I can’t tell if it’s for or against slavery! With children front and center, I assume it is anti-, but it projects a far less strident message than other plates that were produced at this time, primarily based on  Uncle Tom’s Cabin, with scenes such as “The Buyer and Seller of the Human Article” and  “Uncle Tom Whipped to Death” depicted. Once the Civil War began, the messaging of ABC plates became even more straightforward, with simple depictions of Union generals produced, of course, in Great Britain.

ABC Plate Gathering Cotton

ABC Plate Human Article

ABC Uncle Tom plate

General McClellan Plate Cowan's Auctions

“Gathering Cotton” and other mid-nineteenth century Staffordshire ABC plates, from the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Decorative Arts Database, referenced in two great articles: Louise L. Stevenson’s “Virtue Displayed: the Tie-Ins of Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (available here), and Jill Weitzman Fenichell’s “Fragile Lessons: Ceramic and Porcelain Representations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (available here). “The Arrival of General McClellan” Staffordshire ABC plate, Cowan’s Auctions.


The Worldly Remonds of Salem

Great news on this Martin Luther King Day weekend: the Mayor of Salem has announced that a rather barren strip of waterfront land adjacent to the Salem-Beverly bridge will be reconstituted as Remond Park, after the prominent pair of African-American Abolitionist advocates and natives of Salem, Charles Lenox Remond (1810-1873) and Sarah Parker Remond (1824-1894). The announcement refers only to these famous siblings, but I prefer to think of the new park as a tribute to the entire Remond family, as the Remond parents, John and Nancy, created the material and cultural foundation that supported their children’s full-time advocacy against slavery. All at the same time, the Remond narrative is a great African-American, American, and Salem story, and it all began when the ten-year-old John “Vonremon” arrived in Salem in the summer of 1798–very much alone. He had been sent north from his native Curacao by his mother “for schooling” apparently, and the owners of the brig that transported him (the Six Brothers, John and Isaac Needham) employed him in the family bakery almost immediately upon his arrival. By his late teens he was in Boston, learning some of the “traditional” trades for freemen of color in the north, hairdressing, wig-making, and catering, and becoming acquainted with his future wife Nancy Lenox, by all accounts an excellent cook herself. In 1805 he returned to Salem and took up residence in the newly-built Hamilton Hall, working as its “Colored Restaurateur” for several decades, always referred to as Mr. Remond. Nancy and he married and had ten children between 1809-1824, all the while building their hair-dressing, culinary, and food provisions businesses. Two of these children died in infancy, Charles (b. 1810) and Sarah (b. 1824) became anti-slavery orators for the local, state, and national conventions while in their twenties, and the rest carried on–and expanded the family businesses in Salem.

The Remond American story started with John–and the Remond Salem story really started right next door at Hamilton Hall. I often think of John and Nancy as I work in my garden and look at its eastern wall, knowing that right on the other side was their home, their workplace, the birthplace of their children. I was stirring my tea this afternoon thinking about all that activity over there, and how great that the family name is now (or will shortly be) a place.

Remond portrait

Remond Hamilton Hall

Remond Park

John Remond (1786-1874) later in life, Library of Congress; the wall of Hamilton Hall from my kitchen; the soon-to-be Remond Park in Salem, courtesy Salem News.

Charles and Sarah became forceful advocates for Abolition because they had a secure Salem base but they were not grounded by Salem: after he built a reputation as an effective orator for the cause in Massachusetts in the 1830s he became a paid lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society and attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London with William Lloyd Garrison in 1840, after which he lectured throughout Britain. He continued his advocacy upon his return to the U.S., though was eclipsed in the national realm by the man whom he once mentored, Frederick Douglass. (They seemed to have been rivals, yet Douglass named his son Charles Remond Douglass). Once the Civil War began, Charles became a fierce proponent of African-American engagement, and a major recruiter for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Sarah was even more worldly than her brother: after her first speaking tour for the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1856, she left for Britain and never came back. She continued her advocacy (now for the Northern cause), but combined lecturing with studies at the Bedford College for Ladies (now part of the University of London) and after the Civil War she left Britain for Italy, where she graduated from medical school, married an Italian, and remained for the rest of her life.

Remonds

Remond Poster MHS

Remond broadside MHS

Charles Lenox Remond and Sarah Parker Remond; Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society Broadsides from the 1850s, Massachusetts Historical Society.

And while their children spread their wings, John and Nancy Remond remained in Salem, minding to their varied, expanding businesses. John appears so entrepreneurial that I can’t quite grasp the full range of his activities: the catering operation was moved out of Hamilton Hall in the mid-1820s to a series of locales in Derby and Higginson Squares, on Front Street, and on Derby Street. According to advertisements placed in the Salem Gazette in the later 1820s, he became a purveyor of fine wines and oysters, lots and lots of oysters, along with curry powder, East Indian soy sauce, pickled nuts, Virginia hams, and “catsup” (a very early use of this word, surely?). He operated both a wholesale business and several retail establishments, including an oyster bar and an ice cream parlor. He evolved from caterer to “trader”, although Nancy seems to have continued her culinary activities, and offered lunches and dinners at 5 Higginson Square in downtown Salem, “at the sign of the big lantern”, above which they also lived. The 1850 census values John’s assets at $3600; in 1870 the man who is identified as a “dealer in wines” has $19,400 worth of real estate in Salem and $2000 in personal assets. Though he seldom left Salem after his childhood arrival, John was not only a wealthy but a worldly merchant, in the Salem tradition, with stores of exotic goods ready to “ship to any market.” I’m impressed by the ambition and achievements of both John and Nancy, but I don’t want to depict them as singularly focused on the family economy: both were members of anti-slavery societies and active in abolitionist circles. Their primary focus was on education: they actually left Salem, and their many businesses, when Sarah was denied entrance into Salem High School in 1835 and only returned six years later after the Salem schools were desegregated, in no small part to their efforts from Rhode Island. They opened their (busy!) home up to the young Charlotte Forten, the first African-American woman to graduate from my university, when her father sent her north from Philadelphia to attend Salem’s desegregated schools in the 1850s. They provided for their children, and changed the world.

*Sources: Sarah Parker Remond has received a lot of attention from historians; her brother and family less so, but I found Willi Coleman’s “Like Hot Lead to Pour on the Americans….Sarah Parker Remond—from Salem, Mass. to the British Isles”, in Kathy Kish Sklar & James Brewer Stewart’s Women’s Rights and Transatlantic Anti-Slavery in the Era of Emancipation (Yale, 2007) to be particularly helpful; there’s a podcast by Julie Winch with a very promising title here, but the link doesn’t seem to be working!


A Charitable Correspondence

Upon the occasion of  Walt Whitman’s birthday, an exchange of letters between the poet, then tending the Civil War wounded in a Washington military hospital (where he first went to search for his missing brother, then remained) and Lucia Russell Briggs of Salem, the wife of George Briggs, the pastor of the First Church.

Letter from Lucia Jane Russell Briggs to Walt Whitman, 21 April 1864

I have been very much interested in your hospital work, of which I have heard through my brother, Dr. Russell of Boston. I inclose seventy–five dollars, which I have collected among a few friends in Salem, and which I hope may be of some little service to our brave boys, who surely should not suffer while we have the power to help them. You have our warmest sympathy in your generous work, and though sad to witness so much suffering, it is indeed a privilege to be able to do something to alleviate it.

I hope to be able to send you an addition to this contribution, and thought of waiting for a larger sum, but I see that you are having numbers of sick sent in to Washington daily, so you will be in immediate want of money.

Very Gratefully Your Friend,

Mrs. George W. Briggs, April 21. Salem, Mass.

To which Whitman replied a mere few days later (as if he didn’t have enough to do!):

Letter from Walt Whitman to Lucia Jane Russell Briggs, 26 April 1864

Your generous remittance of $75 for the wounded & sick was duly received by letter of 21st & is most acceptable. So much good may be done with it. A little I find may go a great ways. It is perhaps like having a store of medicines—the difficulty is not so much in getting the medicines, it is not so important about having a great store, as it is important to apply them by rare perception, honest personal investigation, true love, & if possible the inspiration & tact we in other fields call genius.

The hospitals here are again full, as nearly all last week trains were arriving off & on from front with sick. Very many of these however will be transferred north as soon as practicable.

Unfortunately large numbers are irreparably injured in these jolting railroad & ambulance journeys, numbers dying on the road.—Of these come in lately, diarrhea, rheumatism & the old camp fevers are most prevalent. The wrecks in these forms of so many hundreds of dear young American men come in lately, are terrible, & make one’s heart ache.

Numerically the sick are the last four or five weeks becoming alarmingly greater, & in quality the cases grow more intense. I have noticed a steady deepening of this intensity of the cases of sickness, the year & a half I have been with the soldiers. Hospital accommodations here are being extensively added to. Large tents are being put up, & others got ready.

My friend, you must accept the men’s thanks, through me. I shall remain here among the soldiers in hospital through the summer, with short excursions down in field, & what help you can send me for the wounded & sick I need hardly say how gladly I shall receive it & apply it personally to them.

Walt Whitman

Source: Francis B. Dedmond, “‘Here Among Soldiers in Hospital’: An Unpublished Letter from Walt Whitman to Lucia Jane Russell Briggs” New England Quarterly 59 (December 1986): 547–48, via The Walt Whitman Archive.

3rd Edition of Leaves of Grass

 Walt Whitman, 31 May 1819-26 March 1892



The Beginning of Branding

About two-thirds of the way through my summer graduate course on the Expansion of Europe in the early modern era we have already identified three examples of early branding, at least a century before this modern form of advertising is supposed to have been invented.  First, we have the logo of the Dutch East India Company, very visible on all Company ships from the early seventeenth century, then we have the brand of piracy, the immediately-recognizable skull-and-crossbones, and last but not least, Josiah Wedgwood’s abolitionist medallion, first appearing in the later eighteenth century in Britain and then crossing the Atlantic to appear in American anti-slavery materials.

One of the world’s first multinational corporations, organized for long-distance trade to the Indian Ocean and beyond, the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) became the chief importer of Asian goods and wares into Europe in the seventeenth century, opening the doors that Salem ships would sail through two centuries later.  The Dutch were the only Europeans that the Japanese would trade with, and their close commercial connection is evidenced by these two items:  an eighteenth-century hand-colored woodblock print (with the VOC logo clearly visible on the pale flag in the center) and a late seventeenth-century Arita charger made for the European market (from Christies):

Everyone is familiar with the pirate flag, and I wrote an earlier post on its early history.  The flag below, dating from the later eighteenth century, is from the Museum of London’s ongoing exhibition Piratesthe Captain Kidd Story.  This logo’s evolution from piracy to poison is another story altogether.

And here is another famous eighteenth-century logo,one of the first political brands and a transatlantic one at that:  the pioneering industrialist Josiah Wedgwood’s Am I Not A Man And A Brother medallion, made for the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the 1780s.  It became very fashionable and effective in Britain, and crossed the Atlantic after 1800.  Below is an original Wedgwood slave medallion from the Victoria & Albert Museum, and a woodcut illustration from John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1837 abolitionist poem Our Countrymen in Chains (Library of Congress).

These examples certainly predate modern advertising, but I think we can go even further back to see the origins of branding, at least to the emergence of printing and printers’ trademarks, or devices, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  Unique devices were fashioned by printers as marketing tools in this competitive new industry, and discerning buyers/readers would look for established marks.  The dolphin and anchor device of the famous Venetian printer-publisher Aldus Manutius certainly helped to establish his “brand”, but my favorite device is the cat and mouse (rat?) mark of his fellow Italian printer Melchoirre Sessa (fl. 1510-35).

Sources of Devices:  “First Impressions” Digital Exhibition at the John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester (Manutius–you can also make your own mark there) and the University of Florida’s Printers’ Devices Database (Sessa).


Civil War Remembrance

Collective memory and expressions of remembrance have been fashionable topics among historians of the last generation or so; it seems like European historians prefer to focus on the culture of remembrance that developed after World War I while American historians dwell on that of the  Civil War.  These were devastating conflicts in so many ways.  And of course World War II has its own unique commemorative culture.  I find that holidays in general, and summer holidays in particular, are a great time to develop, or solidify, a sense of place, an increasingly elusive feeling in this generic world.

Given the fact that we’re in an anniversary year–the 15oth anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War–I decided to follow the path laid out by the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), America’s first veteran’s organization and the inspirational force behind Memorial Day ( which was first known as “Decoration Day” and exclusively devoted to Civil War veterans) and examine Civil War remembrance here in Salem.

Before I get to Salem, a brief detour back to my hometown of York, Maine, where the Civil War statue resembles a CONFEDERATE officer, or at least what we have come to perceive as a Confederate officer.  He looks odd not because he is incorrectly garbed but because he is anachronistically garbed, in the Spanish-American War uniform that was contemporary to the time of his creation in 1906.  This statue, like all historical monuments, is reflective of both the time of its installation and the time it commemorates, perhaps more so the former than the latter.

Back to Salem.  There is a Civil War plaque adjacent to the Common but the cemeteries provide a less perfunctory form of commemoration, I think.  Salem has many old cemeteries, but the two newest and largest ones, Greenlawn and Harmony Grove, have the most Civil War grave sites as well as designated shrines.  Both are nineteenth-century “garden” cemeteries;  Greenlawn is public and thus a little worse for wear while Harmony Grove is private though still very accessible.  Actually, Greenlawn’s slight shabbiness adds to its poignancy, represented so well by the Gothic Dickson Chapel in its midst.

Down the path to the monumental Civil War statue, dedicated in the 1880s, surrounded by the graves of Salem men who lost their lives during the War between the States.  Their markers are very subtle, so obscured by grass you don’t realize what they are until you’re right on top of them.  All the attention is focused on the large monumental anonymous (but recognizable) Union soldier in the center of the mound, who represents all of them.  This statue bears all the marks of the official Civil War commemorative organizations, both the G.A.R and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.  Lieutenant Colonel Henry Merritt, the namesake of the SUVCW Camp, was killed at the battle of New Bern in April of 1862.

The Battle of New Bern, Harper's Weekly, April 1862

Over to Harmony Grove, a beautiful, terraced cemetery laid out in a series of winding paths lined by the crypts and semi-enclosed plots of some of Salem’s most prominent families.  Despite a circle of decommissioned cannons,  Harmony Grove’s Civil War installation is not as impressive as Greenlawn’s, and many of the individual soldier’s graves are in a deteriorating condition.  A bit further down the path, however, is the impressive grave of one of Salem’s most eminent Civil War heroes, Luis Fenollosa Emilio (1844-1918).

Emilio was part of the amazing Fenollosa-Emilio family of Salem, Spanish immigrants and ardent abolitionists.  He was a cousin to Ernest Fenollosa, the future Japanese cultural minister who I wrote about in an earlier post.  Even though he was only 16, Emilio had enlisted in the army at the beginning of the Civil War, and when Massachusetts Governor John Andrew created the first Northern black regiment in 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment (memorialized in Glory), he sought and received an officer’s commission.  In fact, Captain Emilio was the only officer of the 54th who survived the disastrous assault on Fort Wagner and successive conflicts to tell the tale of the Regiment, which he did in A Brave Black Regiment.  The History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment, or Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry, 1863-65 (1891).

  

Wrapping up my cemetery tour, I took a walk through the much older and smaller graveyard near my home.  There were no flags here; these veterans lie unacknowledged.  Two particularly poignant markers caught my eye, one of a seldom-heralded Revolutionary War soldier named Joshua Cross, and the other of Samuel Cook Oliver, a Civil War veteran who was severely wounded at the Battle of Antietam [and] died after many years of suffering cheerfully and bravely borne.


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