Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

American New England Studies

First Advisor

Nathan Hamilton

Keywords

African Americans - Maine, Peterborough, Warren, Maine, African-American Community

Abstract

Warren, Maine is located in the midcoast region of southeastern Maine. The small town has a long history that is intrinsically linked to the maritime activities of the region, which began in the mid-seventeenth century. Sometime around 1782, Sarah Peters was brought to Warren as a slave on a ship owned by Captain James McIntyre. After slavery was outlawed in Massachusetts in 1783/1784, Sarah successfully sued for her freedom and married a man named Amos Peters. Together, they raised a large, mixed-racial family, and settled near South Pond, a good distance away from the main village. By the 1820s, they had their own school district, were part of the Baptist church, and had a good deal of land. Their population and wealth peaked in the 1850s and 1860s, with as many as eighty-two mixed-race people living in the village of Peterborough. This thesis focuses on how African American and mixed-racial communities were able to establish themselves in maritime northern New England in the years prior to the Civil War, particularly during the antebellum period. Peterborough is a case study toward understanding African American communities outside of the plantation setting, and their relationships between agriculture and the sea.

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