Bob Romer’s Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts as well as Joseph Carvalho’s Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts 1650-1865, 2nd Edition both capture a moment in Reverend Ballantine’s Journal when he describes in February of 1767 Sylvia’s “bitter aversion” to a possible negotiation for sale from the Gay family. Interestingly, Reverend Ballantine, a fellow minister from Westfield, was a rare example of a Connecticut Valley minister who did not own slaves. Nevertheless, he did have Slyvia in his home as Reverend Ebenezer Gay lent her out to his family. Sylvia also sought refuge with the Ballantine family on a previous occasion in November 8, 1763.
We are fortunate to have Reverend Ebenezer Gay’s Almanac for the year 1767. The almanac does not mention Slyvia in the month of February, but the entry for December 23rd does have Slyvia’s name on it. Thus, the two journal entries of Ballantine and Gay do cross-reference. Nevertheless, the last word after Slyvia’s name is hard to decipher. Can you read the last word after her name? Please click on the comment thread and offer any suggestions or insights.