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Plaque location: Black Hall


York, identified as a “Negro servant” of Capt. Matthew Griswold Esq. (1714-1799), was baptized on April 12, 1761. With his Native American wife Eunice Crosley, York likely had eight children born into hereditary slavery on the Black Hall farm that Griswold inherited from his father Judge John Griswold in 1764. The children Prince, James, Judah, Huldah, Sawney, Olive, Caesar, and Peggy were all baptized by Rev. Stephen Johnson (1724-1786) between 1755 and 1769, years during which Griswold, a prominent lawyer, served as Connecticut’s Deputy Governor and Chief Justice of its Supreme Court. 

Whether York had been freed by 1784 when Griswold became Governor of Connecticut for two years is not known. No record of York’s manumission has been found, but the census in 1790 lists him as head of a two-person household. Lyme treasurers’ reports show that the town paid several persons to support York from 1796 until his death in 1800 when the selectmen in Lyme paid for the digging of his grave. York’s burial place is not known.

Research into the lives of those enslaved in Lyme is ongoing and sometimes uncovers new details that may not have been known when the stone was installed. The text on this page reflects the most current information. 

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