UDC Meets

The Ann Fulmore Harlee Chapter of The United Daughters of the Confederacy met November 13, 2014 at the home of Mrs. Craig Stephens. Upon arrival, the guests were served pumpkin cheese cake, assorted nuts, cheese biscuits and hot spiced punch.
The meeting was called to order by Mattie Strickland and opened with prayer by Sylvia Griffin. The members then joined together in the club ritual which was closed with prayer by Phyllis Hagan. The minutes of the September meeting were read and approved, and a treasurer’s report was given by Fay Sloan.
Mattie Strickland and Fay Sloan reported on the South Carolina Division of the UDC 118th Annual Division Convention which was held in Columbia, October 9-11. They attended a memorial service at which time one of our own members, Marie Rogers Robbins, was remembered. It was brought to everyone’s attention that there are 1,415 members in the state of South Carolina. Everyone was also reminded of the Pee Dee Division meeting which will be held in Myrtle Beach on January 31, 2015 and our Lee-Jackson luncheon which will be held January 10, 2015 at Twins Lakes  Country Club.
The speaker for the afternoon was Bob Jones, a local resident who shared his vast knowledge of early American and Civil War history with an emphasis on early slave trade. Mr. Jones began by reminding everyone that slavery has been an issue in civilization since the beginning of time, but it is a little known and accepted fact that slavery in this country was brought about mainly by northern slave traders. The first slave ship arrived in the northern colonies in 1701. Rhode Island was said to hold the largest percentage of slaves which was 60 percent. A copy of an old newspaper known as the Connecticut Courant was shown in which detailed reports were given of the business of slave trading. In the book Complicity, a team of journalists investigated this history which explored how deeply the fortunes of New York and New England were tied to the slave trade.
The slave trade in particular was dominated by the northern maritime industry. The DeWolf family may have been the biggest slave traders in U.S. history, but there were many others involved. For example, members of the Brown family of Providence, some of which were prominent in the slave trade, gave substantial gifts to Rhode Island College, which was later renamed Brown University. The Browns also had indirect connections to slavery via rum distilling.
In addition to the Browns, a list of the leading slave merchants is almost identical with a list of the region’s prominent families: the Faneuils, Royalls and Cabots of Massachusetts; the Wantons and Champlins of Rhode Island; the Whipples of New Hampshire; the Eastons of Connecticut; Willing and Morris of Philadelphia. To this day, it is difficult to find an old North institution that is not tainted by slavery. Ezra Stiles imported slaves while president of Yale, and six slave merchants served a mayor of Philadelphia.
Slave trade wove itself into the entire regional economy of New England. The Massachusetts slave trade gave work to coopers, tanners, sail makers and rope makers. Countless agents, insurers, lawyers, clerks and copyist handled the paperwork for slave merchants. Upper New England merchants, Grand Banks fishermen and livestock farmers provided the raw materials shipped to the West Indies on that last leg of the slave trade. Colonial newspapers drew much of their income from advertisements of slaves for sale or hire.
Rum made in New England, trinkets and bar iron were exchanged for slaves. When the British proposed a tax on sugar and molasses, Massachusetts merchants pointed out that these were staples of the slave trade, and the loss of that would throw 5,000 seamen out of work in the colony and idle almost 700 ships. The connection between the slave trade and molasses was rum. Millions of gallons of cheap rum, manufactured in New England, went to Africa and bought black people. It is also ironic that raw materials used to make the rum came from sugar plantations in the West Indies which were owned by many of the New England merchants.
Northerners profited from slavery in many ways, right up to the eve of the Civil War. Merchants depended on slave-grown cotton to transport to England or to supply their own textile mills. The decline of slavery in the upper South is well documented, as is the sale of slaves from Virginia and Maryland to the cotton plantations of the Dep South. But someone had to get them there, and the U.S. Coastal trade was firmly in Northern hands.
In the South, men, women and children were often forced to work on large plantations, which could employ hundreds even thousands of slaves. In the North, farms were smaller and those farmers who owned slaves would generally have a small number. However, it was farly common during slavery in the North to find one or two slaves in the households of farmers, merchants, ministers and others.
As we consider these facts, we probably would agree with the words of Lorenzo Johnston Green who said, “The effects of the New England slave trade were momentous. It was one of the foundations of New England’s economic structure.”
Following the program, the meeting was adjourned.