Plaque location: 100 Lyme Street, Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center
Temperance’s purchase on January 13, 1726, by Richard Lord Jr., was entered in Lyme’s land records: A Certain molato Negro girl named Temperance after the manner of a negro slave to serve the sd Richard Lord during the term of her natural life. The deed of sale from Joseph Peck Jr. included an unusual consent: I Temperance the abovesd molata negro girl doe freely consent to the abovesd sale and further being come to years of discretion do freely so far as I have power put and binde myself and my heirs to the abovesd Lord and his heirs for the term of our natural lives. Temperance Molato signed the deed of sale with an X, “her mark.”
How long Temperance had labored in Joseph Peck Jr.’s household is not known, but eight days after he sold her at age 20 for the sum off sixty pounds, she married. An entry on the same page of the land records notes that on January 21, 1726, Oxford negro man & Temprance molata girl the two servants of Richard Lord of Lyme were married together by ye Revd Moses Noyes. Lord later recorded the names of two of their children: Zachery their son was born the 23 day of october 1728, and Jordan their son was born 30 day of october 1732. Church records show that between 1731 and 1735 Rev. Jonathan Parsons baptized Temperance, Oxford, and three of their enslaved children.
By then Temperance, using the surname Still, had filed suit in the New London County Court to recoup 20 pounds in wages from Richard Lord Jr. Records of the case Still v. Lord (1730) show that New London attorney Peter Pratt, born in Lyme, argued that Temperance was not a slave for life because her mother Jane, a Narragansett Indian, had been taken captive by the English at age two. Temperance stated that she had agreed to serve Richard Lord on his promise to pay her what she should deserve, but Lord claimed she could not bring suit without the consent of her husband. She protested that her husband Oxford was Not His Own Man at the time of their marriage, but the court found in favor of Lord.
After leaving Peck’s household, Temperance served Richard Lord for almost nine years, after which he sold her, together with Oxford and their infant son Joel, to John Bulkley, a minister’s son in Colchester, for the Consideration of One Hundred and Eighty pounds Curtt Money. The deed of sale, dated August 27, 1735, specifies that all were sound and in good health and that both sale and delivery were according to the due form of the Law in that case. Joel was then about Seven months, and Temperance and Oxford were both about 29. Their three older children remained the property of Richard Lord Jr. in Lyme.
Rev. Moses Noyes’s marriage of Oxford and Temperance appears in Lyme's land records
Temperance signed with her “mark” a written consent to her purchase by Richard Lord
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.