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"People of Colour"
in Vermont & New England

Although my interest is primarily centered on Westminster, Windham Co., Vermont,
this section has been expanded to include other localities as well.





Deaths -- Page 1 2 3 4
(Brattleboro VT)

Family Data Bases

(Brattleboro VT)


Census Index




Web Links



A colored citizen was a conspicuous character in town [Claremont NH] for many years succeeding 1832. He was a barber and kept a small shop where he dispensed cakes, custards, candy, nuts, and ice cream in the warm seasons. He had a poetic turn, and displayed his talent in this direction in advertising his business. In the "National Eagle" of 1835, he introduced himself in this wise:


Look, gentiles! I'm Simeon Sankee!
I shave in shine or rain;
Scissors! If I suit not each Yankee,
I'll shave him o'er again


Insert on his accomplishments as a "tonsorial artist"


Mr. Sankee may be found during shaving hours, at this office, opposite Steven's Hotel, where he will attend to the calls of his customers.


Simeon Sankee died in 1861 at Morristown, Vermont

From: "The History of the Town of Claremont, N.H. 1764-1894," p. 462



The purpose of this page is to begin to bring together some of the data that is available on "persons of colour" who have lived in Vermont. It is also a means of bringing together those that are searching for their ancestors so that they can share information.

In the vital records of Vermont, sometimes, but not always, some notation is given as to the "color" of the person(s) being recorded. Most often the terms "coloured" or "person of colour" were used and on occasion, "black man." It appears that these entries were used for both black men and Indians and I suspect a few Frenchmen. Because of the interchange of terms and the looseness by which they were used, research on these families is often difficult, and we hope that this will serve as a useful tool in helping to find and identify your family.

If you have information to be shared, please contact me.


Burial of an Unknown Black Man

On top of a hill known as "The Pinnacle," in Westminster West, Windham County, Vermont lies a lonely yet long remembered grave. It consists of 2 field stones, as head and foot stones, with a mound between. According to the oral history of the area, this is the grave of a black slave.

May He Rest in Peace



Westminster Census Summary by Year (1790-1850)










Chaffee – 1, Sage - 0





Attwater-1, Avery-1, Campbell-1, May-1, Richards-1, Sage-1, Upham-1




W. Tho. Skuylor





Not identified on the 1810 census shown online; in scanning of names of heads of households, no names were recognized.





Bradley-1F, Clapp-1F, Sage-1M, 1F, Willard-2M




Jude Francis




Jack Lee




Susannah Reed





Bradley-1F, Clapp-2F, Goodhue-1M, Hills-1F, May-1M, Sage-0





May -1F,   Ranney-1F,   Ranney-1F,   Sage-1F





The enumerator did not indicate race on the census.  Three black persons have been recognized; there may have been others. 

Note:  No black persons were ever recorded as being slaves in Westminster; all were recorded as “free.”

         1790 Census: Slave Holders, Other Free Persons and Slaves - Cheshire County - New Hampshire
                            with links to Vermont - Toni Feeney & Joann Nichols

         Census Index of Persons listed as Black or Mulatto in Windham County 1850-1880

                African Americans in Vermont 1790 - 1870 - History Harvest Stories





Black Nance

The Reverend Sylvester Sage went to Westminster, Windham Co., Vermont to become the third settled minister in the Congregational Church there. He began his ministry on 24 June 1790 and, except for two years, he preached there until 29 April 1838. He brought with him a young woman called "Black Nance" or Nancy Freeman. It is said that she lived with the Sage family as a servant for as long as Rev. Sage was in Westminster. Rev. Sage died on 21 Jan 1841.

It was said that Nancy was a fine looking black woman with excellent manners, reliability, and deportment. Each Sunday, she attended church and had her regular pew where she sat with "pious decorum." Nance was born on 19 Dec 1784 in Boston MA in the family of Rev. Mr. Freeman. Nance had a son named George Lord who was born in Westminster 11 June 1803. It is believed that she died as Nancy Foddy on 17 Oct 1857 at age 73. She was found dead by the roadside in Westminster. Her son was then a servant in the family of Rev. Sylvester Sage.


"coloured person" who died 20 Apr 1812 in Westminster VT


Black Merob had a child who died on 17 Jul 1848 in Westminster VT

Some Vermont Families 

MONTGOMERY BROOKS was born ca1800. He married EUNICE REED.  Resided Alstead NH, Rockingham VT and Westminster VT. 
Children: Thaddeus, William H., James, and perhaps, Martha.
 Montgomery was a Brothertown/Narragansett Indian via his mother Sally Potter, dau of Sampson Potter.

                            Information submitted by Ray H.  Brooks, grandson of below mentioned, Nathan Brooks

                            1901 NEW YORK INDIANS KANSAS CLAIM

Filed by NATHAN BROOKS and his two sisters ELLEN (PERRY) (BROOKS) ROBERTS and CLARA G. (SCOTT) (BROOKS) (THOMAS); all their children are listed.  Also listed is MONTGOMERY BROOKS as BROTHERTOWN/ NARRAGANSET, via his mother SALLY POTTER, and lists his wife EUNICE REED as a NARRAGANSET Indian.

                            HISTORY & ARCHEOLOGY OF THE MONTAUK, Volume III, 2nd Edition, by Gaynell Stone

Includes a tribal roll which lists Nathan L.Brooks, as well as his sister Ellen (Brooks) Roberts as a deceased Montauk, and her husband Perry who was adopted into the tribe and all her children.   Note: Information received from Caroline Andler of the Wisconsin BROTHERTOWN Indians.


ELIAS DOLBY married ASENATH COOK.  He may have been the Elias Dolby who lived in Cabot, Caledonia Co. in 1830

ASENATH (COOK) DOLBY lived in Westminster in 1850.  She lived to be about 100 years old, dying of old age in 1857.  According to her death record she was born in North Carolina and according to the census, she was born in New York.  Wife of Elias Dolby

CHARLES DOLBY lived in Putney, Walpole and Winchester.  Charles was a blacksmith. Perhaps son of Elias and Asenath (Cook) Dolby.

RICHARD FRANCIS.  Resided Surry NH and Westminster VT.  He married JUDITH/JUDE CAMPBELL.  Jude was listed on the 1820 census of Westminster.

NANCY FREEMAN, born 1784 Boston, resided Westminster with the family of Sylvester Sage. Nancy had son GEORGE LORD born ca1803. She married JOSEPH HUZZY of Chester in 1806.

NANCY FREEMAN SANKEE, age 20, b. VT, mulatto, living with Cato Freeman, age 94, b. VT, black; Rosa Freeman, age 60, b. VT, mulatto. (1860 Census: Chelsea, Orange Co., VT.  See also, Simeon Sankee.

FRISBIE, see above.

JOSEPH HUZZY of Chester married NANCY FREEMAN of Westminster.

JOHN "JACK" LEE.  Jack and his wife JENNIE lived in Westminster, where they are listed on the 1820 census.  Jack died 22 or 23 Dec 1824 in Westminster.

GEORGE LORD.  Son of Nancy Freeeman, born 1803.

GEORGE LORD married LIZZIE (SANKEE) BROOKS ca1885. He seems to be associated with Rutland and Westminster.

Black MEROB, see above.

LYMAN D. MORGAN married perhaps ANNA SMITH (born Baltimore).

Mrs. NORRINGTON lived in Westminster and was a cook for Mrs. George Holland of Walpole NH.  She was the wife of ARTHUR NORRINGTON.

Descendants of Daniel Potter by Caroline K. Andler

EUNICE REED, see Montgomery Brooks.

SUSANNAH READ.  Listed on 1820 census of Westminster

Simeon Sankee married Nancy Freeman, 1820-1830 in Montpelier, Washington Co., VT (Town Clerk Records). 

SIMEON SANKEE, age 58, b. NH, mulatto, barber, boarding with John B. Pike (1860 Census, Chelsea, Orange Co., VT). 

Simon Sanke --- Living in Poor House, age, 76, b. NH, black, pauper, (1850 Census of Gilmanton, Belknap Co., NH); Simeon Sanky --- Living in Poor House, age 77, b. NH, black, pauper (1860 Census of Laconia, Belknap Co., NH).

SARAH SHELDON, died 19 Sep 1817 in Westminster.

W. THOMAS SKUYLER.  Thomas was listed as a head of household on the 1800 census of Westminster, with 5 persons in household, including him.  One Thomas Schuyler, black, lived in Albany NY in 1820 and 1830.

TIMOTHY SMITH, had a dau, ALMIRA SMITH, who died 14 Mar 1813 in Westminster.

AMOS L. WILLIAMS had a son by ANNA SMITH, named Amos Henry Williams born 1872.

CATO WILLIAMS (ca1820) married EUNICE LANGLEY. Son James H. Williams.

Family Data Bases

Do you have a data base to link or add to this page?









Books & Articles

    • "Vermont's Adopted Sons and Daughters" by Sharon Carbonti Davis. Vermont Historical Society, April 1963, pp. 122-127. Includes information on Reverend Lemuel Hayes, Sister St. Mary Magdalen of the Congregation of Notre Dame, Prince Saunders, Abijah Prince, Lucy (Terry) Prince, and Jack York.
    • "William J. Anderson: Shoreham's Negro Legislator in the Vermont House of Representatives" by Elsie Adams. Vermont Historical Society, Fall 1976, pp. 203-213. Vermont's first Negro Legislator in the Vermont House of Representatives.
    • "The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion" by John Williams. Reprint: Ann Arbor, University Microfilms, Inc., a subsidiary of Xerox Corp.; blue bound, March of America Facsimile Series, Number 34.
    • "Martin H. Freeman of Rutland, America's First Black College Professor and Pioneering Black Social Activist" by Russell W. Irvine, Ph.D. Rutland Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XXVI, No. 3, 1996.
    • "The History of the Black Population of Amherst, Massachusetts 1728 - 1870" by James Avery Smith (NEH&GS).
    • "Black Families of Hamden, County, Massachusetts 1650 - 1855" by Joseph Carvalho III (NEH&GS).
    •  "Black Roots in Southeastern Connecticut 1650-1900."
    •  "Free Negro Heads of Families in the United States in 1830" by Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D.
    • The Genealogy of the Indians of Brothertown, New York by Caroline K. Andler


Historical Societies

    • Rutland Vermont Library and Historical Society, contact Jim Davidson re Black history.


 Web Links

Alexander Twilight "...the first African American to receive a college degree at an American institution (Middlebury College, 1823). ......."

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People of Colour in Vermont & New England by Rachel V. Duffalo, © Copyright 1999, 2007
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Page last updated Sunday July 18, 2010 10:27 AM

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