January 15, 2007
Abolitionism in Hopedale
Abolitionism in Hopedale
Our good friend, David Stearns Godfrey, called and informed us of the triumphant success of
Frederick Douglass last evening at his lecture in Milford Academy Hall. Great excitement; the ‘baser
sort’ active; people turned out numerously; but they were wonderfully overcome by his ingenuity and
eloquence. The tide (which was turbulent against him at first) turned strongly in his favor. He lectured
again this evening at Milford town-hall. Eleven from Hopedale to hear him. A glorious lecture to a full
house. Adin Ballou, A History of the Hopedale Community, p.78. The meeting was in 1842.
A meeting was called on Sunday, April 27th, at 5 o’clock P. M., at the Methodist Chapel, Milford, to talk
of Slavery, and to ask for aid for a family of four persons, (father, mother, son and daughter, from
southern bondage,) to bear their expenses to Canada, that they might find protection on the shores
of a Monarchy from the blood-bound cruelties of our Republican institutions.
A large meeting promptly assembled, among whom were the several ministers of the place, and the
congregation had the appearance of being deeply interested in the object for which they were called
These stripped, and bruised, and wounded brethren were then presented to sympathy and
consideration, in a brief and simple statement of some of the woes they had endured in slavery, and
their noble struggle to escape. Practical Christian, May 4, 1851
It was our custom at Hopedale, as radical Abolitionists, to celebrate from year to year the
Anniversary of Emancipation of 800,000 slaves in the British West Indies; an event which took place
by a decree of the English Government on the 1st of August, 1834. This was done on the year in
review in a pleasant grove near the southerly border of our domain, half a mile from the central part
of our village. It was estimated that an audience of about eight hundred persons was in regular
attendance upon the exercises and that not less than a thousand visited the grounds during the day.
Besides speakers of our own, and those well-known champions of Liberty, Henry C. Wright and
Charles C. Burleigh, there was also with us a remarkable colored woman, once a slave in the State
of New York, Sojourner Truth, whose impassioned utterances on the occasion were like the fiery
outbursts of some ancient prophet of God "lifting up his voice like a trumpet and showing the people
their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins." Adin Ballou, History of the Hopedale
Community, pp. 266-267. The celebration mentioned here took place in 1854
In early 1863, the Hopedale sewing circle began to make articles of clothing for the freed slaves
around Port Royal, and in October 1864 some of the residents organized the Hopedale Freedmen’s
Relief Society with Ebenezer Draper as president. Early in 1865 the society sent Sarah P. Lillie, a
daughter of one of the original members of the Community, to South Carolina as a teacher for the
freedmen, and in 1866 it raised nearly five hundred dollars to support another Hopedale teacher,
Ellen M. Patrick, the daughter of Delano Patrick, to help educate black people in the Charleston area.
Edward Spann, Hopedale: Commune to Company Town, p. 154.
Click here to read several other related paragraphs, along with the ones above.
Are there any surviving Underground Railroad houses in Hopedale? I think there’s a least one. Take
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