As much as we wish to do all of our findings on our own, we must rely on some of the work others have already done. In our search we have come across many different figure in and around Suffield that we have determined are essential to pursue. However, classes before us have taken this first step, in particular I am refereeing to the study of the Gay Manse and the freeing of their two slaves in 1812. This time reference suggests it is essential to identify a time period in which to search for abolitionists, slaves and slave owners. The largest change in slave population comes 1790-1800. The population of enslaved African-Americans went from 28 to 4 in this ten-year period in Suffield alone. In my opinion this is the time period in which to look for evidence of the work of abolitionists in Suffield, as there is clearly an abolitionist movement in this ten-year period right here in Suffield.
By bringing the search for the Underground Railroad closer to home, we will be able to work from the inside out. We have done significant research in town to both our north and south, however I believe that we now must take this ten-year period and focus on whom was involves with this change in slave population. If we can come across the names of the slaves, other than the research that the class two years ago has done, we can use these names to cross reference with other documents we have found. As we have come across in other findings, people write about their abolition acts, and freed slaves write about their journey as seen in the few narratives we have read. This will hopefully help us identifying who is freeing these specific slaves in Suffield.
The goal of our class is to find undiscovered information, however, using the information we have directly off this blog as well as the work published in Connecticut magazine, we can do this! We now know slaves were freed in this period; we know they left Suffield. We now need to find out one, who was aiding the twenty-four slaves that left? And two, where were they going? I am predicting that the same people that advocated for the slaves freedom would be the same who would open their doors to a runaway on the Underground Railroad.
Sources and information published by PBL 12-13