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Those held in bondage in our community have been largely forgotten, but their footsteps can still be traced. To glimpse their paths through slavery, we turn to town reports, church records, property transactions, probate papers, county court proceedings, federal census counts, regional newspapers, and to the scattered account books, notebooks, scrapbooks, and family letters that survive in archives and local collections. There we find notices of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, sales, escapes, military service, town relief, judicial findings, and emancipations. Those varied documents allow us to recover, albeit incompletely, the personal stories of some 50 enslaved African Americans and persons of mixed race who lived and died along Lyme Street. We know most of their names.

In the household of the first minister Moses Noyes,

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Image: From Lyme’s land records we learn that: Oxford Negro man & Temprance molato girl the two servants of Richard Lord of Lyme were married by ye Revd Moses Noyes the 21 day of January 1726. 

not far from the corn mill, lived Arabella, Jube, Richard Jimmie, Warwick, Caesar, Grace, and an unnamed “negro woman.” On Joseph Peck Jr.’s neighboring farm lived Jack, Temperance, and Jane. In several houses owned by Rev. Noyes’s grandson William Noyes and his sons, lived Jenny, Prince, Nancy, Prince Jr., Pompey, Crusa, Temperance, Jordan, Harry, Sabina, Samuel, Sophie, Henry, and an indentured “Indian boy” Samuel who ran away at age 19. Not far from the public landing, Luce served on Rev. David Deming’s farm. In households, on farmland, in warehouses, and at a busy coaching inn near the ferry road, labored Cato, Phillis, Basil, Lewis, Margaret, James, Eunice, Humphrey, Jordan, Ezelhie, Clo, Caeser, Shambaes, Corrydon, along with at least six enslaved persons mentioned but not named. Almost certainly there are others.

Click on the names below to learn more. 

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