Advertisement

Historical Archaeology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 85–99 | Cite as

The Plurality of Parting Ways: Landscapes of Dependence and Independence and the Making of a Free African American Community in Massachusetts

  • Karen A. Hutchins-Keim
Original Article

Abstract

Parting Ways was a plural space shaped by multiple social and historical forces that combined to reinforce its residents’ dependence on the dominant society, while simultaneously affording the creation a “homeplace” for its residents, within which to construct their lives as free people. Such plurality highlights tension between African American freedom and processes of racialization in 19th-century Massachusetts: the Parting Ways residents labored as free men and women, but found their efforts controlled by the White community, and they created an autonomous homeplace on land that continued to be owned and controlled by town officials. This article explores how the physical landscape and property history of Parting Ways and social relationships between the residents and Plymouth elite contributed to the perpetuation of relationships of dependency; it also uses archaeological evidence to examine how the formerly enslaved residents at Parting Ways constructed autonomous households that supported individual, family, and community independence.

Keywords

African American archaeology New England Massachusetts homeplace Parting Ways 

Extracto

Parting Ways era un espacio plural al que dieron forma múltiples fuerzas sociales e históricas que se combinaron para reforzar la dependencia de sus residentes en la sociedad dominante, proporcionando al mismo tiempo de manera simultánea la creación de un "hogar" para sus residentes, dentro del cual construir sus vidas como personas libres. Dicha pluralidad destaca la tensión entre la libertad de los afroamericanos y los procesos de racionalización en el Massachusetts del siglo XIX: los residentes de Parting Ways trabajaban como hombres y mujeres libres, pero encontraban que sus esfuerzos eran controlados por la comunidad blanca, y crearon un hogar autónomo en la tierra que continuó estando en poder y controlado por las autoridades de la ciudad. El presente artículo explora cómo el paisaje físico y la historia de la propiedad de Parting Ways y las relaciones sociales entre los residentes y la élite de Plymouth contribuyeron a la perpetuación de relaciones de dependencia; también utiliza pruebas arqueológicas para examinar cómo los residentes anteriormente esclavizados de Parting Ways construyeron hogares autónomos que apoyaban la independencia individual, familiar y comunitaria.

Résumé

Parting Ways était un espace pluriel formé par des forces sociales et historiques multiples qui se conjuguaient pour renforcer la dépendance de ses résidents à l’égard de la société dominante, tout en permettant simultanément la création d’un « lieu de résidence » pour ses résidents afin de construire leur vie en tant que personnes libres. Cette pluralité met en évidence la tension entre la liberté des Afro-américains et les processus de racialisation dans le Massachusetts du 19e siècle : les résidents de Parting Ways travaillaient comme des hommes et des femmes libres, mais constatèrent que leurs actions étaient contrôlées par la communauté blanche et ils créèrent un lieu de résidence autonome sur des terres qui restaient détenues et contrôlées par les fonctionnaires de la ville. Cet article explore comment le paysage physique et l’histoire de la propriété de Parting Ways et les rapports sociaux entre les résidents et l’élite de Plymouth ont contribué à perpétuer les relations de dépendance. Il utilise également les preuves archéologiques pour examiner comment les habitants autrefois asservis à Parting Ways ont construit des lieux de résidence autonomes qui étaient favorables à l’indépendance de l’individu, de la famille et de la communauté.

References

  1. Adams, William Hampton 2003 Dating Historical Sites: The Importance of Understanding Time Lag in the Acquisition, Curation, Use, and Disposal of Artifacts. Historical Archaeology 37(2):38–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Austin, Jane G. 1900 Dr. Le Baron and His Daughter: A Story of the Old Colony. Houghton, Mifflin & Company, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  3. Bethel, Elizabeth Rauh 1997 The Roots of African-American Identity: Memory and History in Free Antebellum Communities. St. Martin's Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  4. Bowen, Joanne 1990 A Study of Seasonality and Subsistence: Eighteenth Century Suffield, Connecticut. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, RI. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  5. Bowen, Joanne 1992 Faunal Remains and Urban Household Subsistence in New England. In The Art and Mystery of Historical Archaeology, Anne Yentsch and Mary C. Beaudry, editors, pp. 267–281. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  6. Bowen, Joanne 1998 To Market, to Market: Animal Husbandry in New England. Historical Archaeology 32(3):137–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chan, Alexandra A. 2007 Slavery in the Age of Reason: Archaeology at a New England Farm. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.Google Scholar
  8. Cotton, Roland C. 1823 Map of Town Lands Left for Quamany, Prince, Plato, and Cato, 14 February. Book 195, p. 209, Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  9. Davis, William T. 1884 Plymouth, Massachusetts. In History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Vol. 1, D. Hamilton Hurd, editor, pp. 64–190. J. W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  10. Davis, William T. 1906 Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian. Memorial Press, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  11. Deetz, James 1977 In Small Things Forgotten: The Archaeology of Early American Life. Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY.Google Scholar
  12. Deetz, James 1996 In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life, expanded and revised from 1977 edition. Anchor Books/Doubleday, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  13. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) 1819 Survivor's Pension Application File S. 33832, Plato Turner. NARA Microfilm Publication M804, Roll 2426, RG 15, National Archives, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  14. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) 1853 Survivor's Pension Application File, Cato Howe [1819], and Widow's Application File and Bounty Land Warrant Application File, Lucy Rogers, W. 2354 and Blwa 12829-150-55. NARA Microfilm Publication M804, Roll 1344, RG 15, National Archives, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  15. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) 1858 Survivor's Pension Application File, Quamony Quash, and Widow's Pension Application File, Ellen Talbot, R. 18,097. NARA Microfilm Publication, M804, Roll 1990, RG 15, National Archives, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  16. Foner, Eric 1994 The Meaning of Freedom in the Age of Emancipation. Journal of American History 81(2):435–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Garman, James 1998 Rethinking “Resistance Accommodation”: Toward an Archaeology of African-American Lives in Southern New England, 1638–1800. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 2(2):133–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Heitman, Francis B. 1914 Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April 1775, to December, 1783. Rare Book Shop Publishing Company, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  19. hooks, bell 1990 Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics. South End Press, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  20. Hutchins, Karen A.2013aIn Pursuit of Full Freedom: An Archaeological and Historical Study of the Free African-American Community at Parting Ways, Massachusetts, 1779–1900. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Archaeology. Boston University, Boston, MA. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  21. Hutchins, Karen A. 2013b Movement and Liminality at the Margins: The Wandering Poor in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts. In Archaeologies of Mobility and Movement, Mary C. Beaudry and Travis G. Parno, editors, pp. 151–164. Springer, New York, NY.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hutchins-Keim, Karen A. 2015 Parting Ways Revisited: Archaeology at a Nineteenth-Century African-American Community in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage 4(2):1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jimenez, Mary Ann 1986 Madness in Early American History: Insanity in Massachusetts from 1700 to 1830. Journal of Social History 20(1):25–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kasson, John F. 1990 Rudeness and Civility: Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America. Hill & Wang, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  25. Klippel, Walter E. 2001 Sugar Monoculture, Bovid Skeletal Part Frequencies, and Stable Carbon Isotopes: Interpreting Enslaved African Diet at Brimstone Hill, St. Kitts, West Indies. Journal of Archaeological Science 28(11):1191–1198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Landon, David 1996 Feeding Colonial Boston: A Zooarchaeological Study. Thematic issue, Historical Archaeology 30(1).Google Scholar
  27. Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 1801 The Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Passed from the Year 1780, to the End of the Year 1800. Manning & Loring, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  28. Lovett, Alice W. 1975 Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Gray of the Parting Ways Museum, 29 September. Family Reconstitution Files, Parting Ways Museum Research Files, Plymouth Public Library, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  29. Massachusetts Historical Society 1875 Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 1873–1875, Vol. 12. Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.Google Scholar
  30. Melish, Joanne Pope 1998 Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and "Race" in New England, 1780–1860. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  31. Plymouth County Registry of Deeds (PCRD) 1779 Job Cushman to Plato Turner, 6 July. Book 65, p. 165, Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  32. Plymouth County Registry of Probate (PCRP) 1818a Cato Howe, March. Book 49, pp. 248–249, Guardianship Proceedings, Plymouth County Registry of Probate, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  33. Plymouth County Registry of Probate (PCRP) 1818b Plato Turner, March. Book 49, pp. 251–252, Guardianship Proceedings, Plymouth County Registry of Probate, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  34. Plymouth County Registry of Probate (PCRP) 1818c Prince Bolt, March. Book 49, pp. 249–250, Guardianship Proceedings, Plymouth County Registry of Probate, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  35. Plymouth County Registry of Probate (PCRP) 1821 Accounts of Nathan Hayward, Guardian of Plato Turner, April. Book 53, p. 310, Plymouth County Registry of Probate, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  36. Plymouth County Registry of Probate (PCRP) 1833 Quamony Quash, March. Case No. 16316, Guardianship Proceedings and Accounts, Plymouth County Registry of Probate, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  37. Plymouth Notary Public 1803 Instrument of Protest by the Charrety, 11 September. Book 4 (1768–1830), pp. 273,275,576, Plymouth Notary Public Records, Plymouth Notary Public, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  38. Plymouth Town Clerk 1824 Actions Pertaining to Cato Howe's and Prince Goodwin's Property. Book 4 (1795–1828), pp. 477,480, Plymouth Town Records, Plymouth Town Clerk, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  39. Records of the Town of Plymouth 1889 Records of the Town of Plymouth, 1636–1705. Avery & Doten, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  40. Records of the Town of Plymouth 1903 Records of the Town of Plymouth, 1743–1783. Avery & Doten, Plymouth, MA.Google Scholar
  41. Resch, John P. 1988 Politics and Public Culture: The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818. Journal of the Early Republic 8(2):139–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Roediger, David R. 2007 The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class, revised edition. Verso, London, UK.Google Scholar
  43. Sherman, Ruth Ann Wilder (editor) 1993 Vital Records of Plymouth, Massachusetts to the Year 1850. Picton Press, Camden, ME.Google Scholar
  44. Stewart, James Brewer 1999 Modernizing ‘Difference’: The Political Meanings of Color in the Free States, 1776–1840. Journal of the Early Republic 19(4):691–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stockwell, Mary Le Baron Esty 1904 Descendants of Francis Le Baron of Plymouth, Mass. T. R. Marvin & Son, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  46. Taylor, J. N. 1895 Jim Burr’s Life. Boston Globe 8 December:32.Google Scholar
  47. U.S. Bureau of the Census 1790 First Census of the United States, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. NARA Microfilm Publication M637, Roll 4, National Archives, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  48. U.S. Bureau of the Census 1800 Second Census of the United States, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. NARA Microfilm Publication M32, Roll 16, National Archives, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  49. U.S. Geological Survey 1939 Plymouth, Mass, 7.5 minute series. United States Geological Survey, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  50. Vital Records of Bridgewater 1916 Vital Records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1850. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  51. Walling, Henry Francis 1857 Map of the County of Plymouth, Massachusetts. D. R. Smith & Co., Boston, MA. Library of Congress <https://www.loc.gov/item/2012592354/>. Accessed 31 October 2017.

Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rummel, Klepper, and Kahl, LLPBaltimoreU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations