Lucy Terry b. 1730

Working on the Gaines family and their move to Guilford, Vermont, I found a reference to Lucy Terry, a woman who is sometimes said to be the founder of Guilford. That’s interesting, a woman in Colonial America credited with founding a town.

On Wikipedia, a page devoted to Lucy Terry told more of her story. She was a child, kidnapped with others from Africa and brought to Rhode Island where she was sold, as a slave to Ebenezer Williams who brought her to Deerfield, Massachusetts. Abijah Prince, a free black man bought Lucy’s freedom, they married in 1756 and they had six children.

And Lucy wrote a poem about the August 25, 1746 ‘Bars Fight’ a fight between colonials and natives in Deerfield. Lucy loved to tell this story and it was preserved orally- by Lucy and others until it was published in 1855. Lucy is the first recorded black author in America. She bought writing paper from her general store, records show this and suggest she wrote a lot, this poem is the only writing that has survived. Text of the poem from: Holland, J. G. History of Western Massachusetts: The Counties of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, And Berkshire, Springfield: S. Bowles and Company, 1855. A digital book at HathiTrust .

“August ’twas the twenty-fifth,
Seventeen hundred forty-six ;
The Indians did in ambush lay,
Some very valient men to slay,
The names of whom I’ll not leave out.
Samuel Allen like a hero fout.
And though he was so brave and bold,
His face no more shall we behold.
Eleazer Hawks was killed outright,
Before he had time to fight, —
Before he did the Indians see,
Was shot and killed immediately.
Oliver Amsden he was slain,
Which caused his friends much grief and pain.
Simeon Amsden they found dead,
Not many rods distant from his head.
Adonijah Gillett we do hear
Did lose his life which was so dear.
John Sadler fled across the water,
And thus escaped the dreadful slaughter.
Eunice Allen see the Indians coming,
And hopes to save herself by running,
And had not her petticoats stopped her,
The awful creatures had not catched her,
Nor tommy hawked her on her head,
And left her on the ground for dead.
Young Samuel Allen, Oh lack-a-day !
Was taken and carried to Canada.”