The Root Doctress

Susanna Toney was born around 1789 in Barre, MA to Abraham Toney and his wife Mary Harry. She was commonly known as Susan. Barre was and is a small rural farming community just northwest of Worcester. Her mother, Mary Harry, was part of the Narragansett tribe and her father, Abraham, was a Black man born free in Upton, MA to free parents. Upton was another … Continue reading The Root Doctress

Remembering the Sacrifice of William Francis Shepard, Jr.

On May 31, 2021, William Francis Shepard, Jr was remembered and honored by the City of Worcester for his sacrifice during World War I. The ceremony took place at his gravesite in Hope Cemetery. William was born in Worcester, MA on 15 April 1899 to Mabel and William Shepard, Sr. William, Sr was the 2nd son of Jeremiah James Shepard of Monson, MA and Nipmuc … Continue reading Remembering the Sacrifice of William Francis Shepard, Jr.

“We All Got History”

As the image above states, Amos Webber was born a free Black man in 1826 Attleborough, PA. His parents were Samuel Webber and Fannie Johnson. In the 1852, he married Elizabeth Douglas. Around the same time, he began keeping a series of diaries which he called Thermometer books. Each day he recorded the temperature and other weather conditions in the books. He also commented on … Continue reading “We All Got History”

Mother Jefferson

Sunday nights as a teenager was spent watching “The Jeffersons” on CBS. The show premiered in 1975 and lasted 11 seasons. But never, until a few short years ago, did I know that the actress that played Mother Jefferson was born and raised in the same town as me. Zara Frances Cully was born on 26 Jan 1892 to Nora Gilliam and Ambrose Cully both … Continue reading Mother Jefferson

Abbie Freeman Hardy Bostic

For a single Black woman of today, buying a home on her own can be a daunting experience and unfortunately, not a common one. In 1884, it must have been near miraculous. Yet our ancestresses here in Worcester did it and did it often. The photo of the deed above is just one of the properties purchased by Abigail Hardy Wiggins Bostic, 2nd wife of … Continue reading Abbie Freeman Hardy Bostic

Black Lives Mattered – in historic Worcester

Black Lives Matter is considered a relatively modern movement but in Worcester during the 1800s, Black Lives Always Mattered. Black and Brown people worked to help free enslaved people, provided shelter and care for new arrivals, raised funds, and attended rallies and political events. As the news article above from 1895 states “it is expedient and wise that we, as a people, in order to … Continue reading Black Lives Mattered – in historic Worcester

Benjamin Bostic

Poor Ben Bostic! Sentenced to reform school until the age of 21 for STUBBORNESS!. Benjamin was born on 1 April 1876 to Rachel Steemer and William Bostic right here in Worcester. The youngest member of the Bostic clan, his mom died when he was only 11. His dad was a prominent figure in the Worcester Black community but absent from his family. Ben’s big brother … Continue reading Benjamin Bostic

Whatever Happened to Albert Vickers?

One of the family mysteries that I hope to solve is Albert Vickers. Albert’s early life is well-documented but his death is not. I’ve researched his whereabouts after 1918 for years without success. A little about the life of cousin Albert- Albert Vickers was born sometime in 1862 to Dianah (also called Anna) Hazard and Christopher Vickers. There are multiple Christopher Vickers in the 1800s … Continue reading Whatever Happened to Albert Vickers?

Muriel and Alfred Shepard

When I think about my dad, it’s not my biological father that comes to mind. The man I call ‘Daddy’, Alfred Bruce Shepard, was my step-father. He raised me and loved me as if I were his biological child and I am forever grateful for it. When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I called him first – weeks before I told … Continue reading Muriel and Alfred Shepard