Annie Kent & Rachel Steemer

Annie Kent was born about 1822 in Maryland, perhaps into slavery. Her given name was Nancy after her mother and her father was Samuel Kent. While living free in London Grove, Chester, Pennsylvania, she married Peter Bostic, a free Black man. The couple had at least two children, William born in 1838 and Mary born in 1842. By 1849, Annie was widowed and remarried to Isaac Mason. Isaac was an escaped slave from Maryland who tried to make a life as a free man in Pennsylvania. He resided in Chester County for only a short while before fleeing north to Massachusetts with his new wife, Ann, and her daughter, Mary.

From “Life of Isaac Mason as a Slave” written by Isaac Mason, published in Worcester, MA 1893.

By the summer of 1851, Annie and her family were living safely in Worcester, MA in the company of Ebenezer Hemenway, William Brown, and Gilbert and Sarah Walker. In 1852, the Annie gave birth to a daughter, Eliza Jane who died in less than a year. Three sons followed – George in 1853, Samuel in 1855 and Joseph in 1857.

Back in Chester County, PA, Annie’s son William Bostic married Rachel Steemer in 1861. By 1865, William and Rachel shared Annie’s household in Worcester along with his sister Mary (Bostic) Taylor and her husband Stephen. Annie and her husband eventually owned multiple parcels of land in Worcester including land situated at the corner of Liberty and Palmer Streets. Annie and Isaac sold that particular parcel to Annie’s daughter-in-law Rachel in 1877. At the time Rachel and her family (including her husband, Annie’s son) lived at 5 Palmer St next to the land.

When Rachel died in 1887, the land did not pass to her husband or children but instead reverted back to her in-laws. Why is a mystery to me – a descendant of Rachel and Annie. Annie passed on in 1891 while still living in Worcester. Her husband became quite famous after publishing his memoirs two years later. The memoir mentions Annie often but not once by name. His narrative also did not tell of Annie’s escape from slavery or if she had been born free.

This is the start of 28 days of Black history in Worcester, MA and it was my pleasure to introduce to you my 4th and 3rd great-grandmothers. They didn’t do anything newsworthy (that I know of). But they survived and thrived and raised families that continue to thrive.

My Forever Thanks To Them

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