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Some families in Berkshire County who weren't white

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Berkshire, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
This page has been accessed 433 times.

ADDENDA. (14 March 2022). Festus Campbell (1822-1910)--parents and siblings unknown, never married, and had no children. But an interesting person.


This page is intended as a complement to the project : "Free Persons of Color in Massachusetts," which includes everyone who wasn't classified as white and who lived in Massachusetts between 1783 and 1865--a lot of people. This page will focus only on the ones who served in the military during the Civil War (most of them in the 54 Massachusetts), and who remained or settled in Berkshire County afterwards. As they all knew each other, and their families tended to intermarry, I have organized them according to family. This is still a lot of people, so I have included only those people who saw military service, as well as their family members who married into the other families.

* * * CAESAR FAMILY * * * The genealogy of the Caesar family is presented in Twenty Families of Color in Massachusetts 1749-1998, by Franklin Dorman and James Horton (1998)

Full-blooded Indian, born St. Alban, Quebec 1847. Enlisted at Boston, 1864. Afterwards settled in Dalton, where he was a prosperous ice dealer, active in GAR and community, Died Dalton, 1929.

Married Hannah Hoose

Daughter Charlotte Ann Caesar married Leon Linwood Tucker

* * * DUNCAN FAMILY * * *

Pharaoh Duncan and his wife Louisa are described in Justin's obituary as "an Indian couple, well known as collectors of herbs." They were the parents of

  • ORRIN DUNCAN - 54 Massachusetts, transferred to 55 Massachusetts.
  • JUSTIN DUNCAN-54 Massachusetts. According to his obituary, Justin worked on a cattle ranch in Iowa before he joined the army. After the war, he returned to Berkshire County where he was active in the GAR before he retired to Florida, where he died. Various census records list him as white, mulatto, or black, but his obituary describes him as " a full-blooded Indian who wore his hair in two long braids, parted in the middle in true Indian fashion."
  • JOHN PERRY DUNCAN - 11th IOWA - According to Levinson and Piper, Perry and Justin both applied for pensions in Iowa in 1890; Perry for service in the Iowa Infantry. Fold 3 shows a Perry Duncan in 11th Iowa, who may or may not be the same person. Perry married Lucy Hoose, and lived in various towns in Berkshire County until his death in 1925.

Louisa Duncan (daughter of Pharaoh), married Sylvanus Grant

Christiana Duncan (daughter of Pharaoh) married Russell Gardner Emily Duncan (daughter of Pharaoh), married Russell Gardner after Christiana died

  • LORENZO DUNCAN, 54 Massachusetts, is listed as the son of John Duncan. I do not know how he is related to the other Duncan family. He married Harriet Wormsley.

* * * FRYE FAMILY * * *

  • CHARLES AUGUSTUS FRYE- 10th Massachusetts Volunteers- cook for Captain G.W. Clapp

Born 1839, Columbia County, Maryland, a slave to Mr. Daham. After the war, he settled in Berkshire County. His son Charles Jr. married Carrie Grant.

* * * GARDNER FAMILY* * * Edward Gardner and his wife Harriet Fields were the parents of Charlotte Gardener, married WILLIAM HENRY PETERS (54 Massachusetts, company E) Russell Gardener, married Christiana Duncan, and after her death married her sister Emily Duncan

* * * GRANT FAMILY * * * Jacob Grant was born in New York State. Children included

1. Jacob's son Rensselaer Grant was the father of Washburn Grant and Sylvanus Grant. Washburn's daughter Carrie married Charles Frye, Jr.

Sylvanus married Louisa Duncan. Their son Edward Grant married Laura Persip. Sylvanus and his second wife Margaret were the parents of Eva Grant (married Arthur Alfonso Hamilton) and Minnie Grant (married Harry Lemuel Persip)

2. Jacob's daughter Cornelia Grant married William Hamilton.

3. Jacob's son Franklin Grant married Frances Hoose. Their son Ulysses Franklin Grant, known as Frank, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Francis Hamilton was born in New Jersey in 1770. He and his wife Rebecca were the parents of

1. Charles Hamilton, married Louisa Whittlesey. They were the parents of

  • HENRY HAMILTON- 54 Massachusetts
  • FRANK HAMILTON- 54 Massachusetts
  • PAUL HAMILTON- 54 Massachusetts

Blanche Hamilton (daughter of Charles and Louisa)- married SAMUEL JONES (54 Massachusetts). Ceremony was performed by SAMUEL HARRISON (54 Massachusetts)

William Hamilton-(son of Charles and Louisa) married Sarah Tucker

Sarah Hamilton- (daughter of Charles and Louisa)married Amos T. Hoose

. Rebecca Hamilton (daughter of Charles and Louisa) worked as a cook for Thomas Allen, (Allen-10710), railroad tycoon and prominent Pittsfield citizen.

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2. William Hamilton, son of Francis and Rebecca, married Cornelia Grant. Their son Charles married Lucretia Hoose.

3. Lena Hamilton, daughter of Francis and Rebecca, married Richard Hoose.

4. Mary Hamilton, daughter of Francis and Rebecca, married John Tucker.

  • * * HARRISON FAMILY * * *
  • SAMUEL HARRISON - Chaplain 54 Massachusetts. Born a slave in Philadelphia. About 1840, he and his family moved to PIttsfield where he was pastor of Second Congregational Church. Returned to Pittsfield after the war. Active in church and community. Spoke at dedication of Shaw Memorial, 1897. Died 1900.

Daughter Lydia Harrison married James Jacobs.

  • * * HOOSE FAMILY * * *

Philip Hoose married Hannah Persip in Cheshire in 1815. By 1840, the family was living in Dalton, where family members continued to live until the 21st century. The Hoose family homestead is now on the National Register of Historical Places. (See Tiny House with Big Echoes, Berkshire Eagle, 22 June 2018- at https://www.berkshireeagle.com/archives/tiny-house-with-big-echoes-inside-a-pioneering-african-american-dwelling-in-dalton/article_cf3a28ab-684e-57e7-ab4a-97c85aabb9fc.html

Children of Philip and Hannah included

1. Amos D. Hoose. His son EDWARD HOOSE served in 54 Massachusetts

2.Lucy Hoose, married JOHN PERRY DUNCAN (11th Iowa)

3. Hannah Hoose, married SAMUEL CAESAR (5th Massachusetts Cavalry)

4. Richard Hoose, married Lena Hamilton

5. Harriet Hoose, married John Delos Jacobs

6. Lucretia Hoose, married Charles Hamilton

7.Squire Philip Hoose. His son Amos T. Hoose married Sarah Hamilton.

8. Algernon Hoose, married Sylvia Tucker. Their son Charles Hoose married Dinah Grant.

  • * * JACOBS FAMILY * * *

John Jacobs married Mehitable Tucker.

1.Their son John Delos Jacobs married Harriet Hoose.

James Jacobs, son of John Delos Jacobs and Harriet, married Lydia Harrison

Charles Jacobs, son of John Delos Jacobs and Harriet , married Cora Persip.

2. Emma Jacobs, daughter of John and Mehitable, married Dallas Persip.

3. Charles Jacobs, son of John and Mehitable, married Sabra Tucker.

  • * * JONES * * * (I do not think these two veterans were related)

  • SAMUEL JONES 54 Massachusetts - married Blanche Hamilton. They were active in Second Congregational Church and in community. In his old age, Samuel was well respected as the last surviving member of the 54th and one of the last two Civil War veterans in Pittsfield. He and Blanche had no descendents.
  • HENRY JONES - 54 Massachusetts- marred Lena Groomer. Their son Clarence Jones married Fannie Tucker.
  • * * PERSIP FAMILY * * *

John Persip was born in Goshen, Mass. in 1799. His wife Nancy Martin Parish was born in Windsor, Mass. in 1797. They settled in Hinsdale on what is now Persip Road. Children included

1. Laura Persip married CHARLES W. POTTER (54 Massachusetts)

2. Dallas Persip married Amy Jacobs

3. Harry Persip married Eleanor Tucker

4. Lemuel Persip married Rebecca Hamilton. Children of Lemuel and Rebecca included

a. Laura Persip married Edward Grant

b. Mary Persip married Ensign Hamilton

c. John Lemuel Persip married Alice Hamilton. They settled in Pittsfield and were the parents of the noted Persip brothers (John, Charles, Alfred, Kenneth, and Francis )for whom Persip Park in Pittsfield is named. (Newspapers sometimes said that Alice Hamilton's father, Charles Hamilton, served in the 54 Massachusetts, but I haven't found any record.)

  • * * POTTER* * *

There were two men named Charles Potter, but I don't think they were related.

  • CHARLES A POTTER (54 Massachusetts, company F) 1844-1916. Active in GAR in Pittsfield, elected head in 1905. Married Eunice Wormsley.
  • CHARLES WILLIAM POTTER (54 Massachusetts, company B) 1834-1910. Barber from Hinsdale. Married Laura Persip.
  • * * TUCKER FAMILY * * *

John Tucker married Sabra Coffee. Of their children: 1. John Osborn Tucker married Mary Hamilton.

2. Leon Tucker married Charlotte Caesar.

3. Sarah Tucker married William Hamilton

4. Mehitable Tucker married John Jacobs

  • * * WORMSLEY FAMILY * * *

Charles Wormsley married Almira Duncan (I do not know if she was related to the other Duncan family). Of their children:

1. Eunice Wormsley married CHARLES A POTTER (54 Massachusetts, company F).

2. Ellen Wormsley married William Hamilton

3. Harriet Wormsley married LORENZO DUNCAN (54 Massachusetts)

SOURCES- A history of the 54th and short sketches of its members from Berkshire County is found in David Levinson and Emilie Piper, The Other Side of Glory: the Berkshire Men of the 54th Massachusettes Infantry Regiment. Published by Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area- 24 Main Street, Salisbury CT 06868. (2011).

"Berkshire Blacks" Berkshire Eagle, 28 August 1976, page 18 https://www.newspapers.com/image/533103646/?terms=%22Berkshire%20blacks%22&match=1 "Glory: A Story of Berkshire Blacks" Berkshire Eagle, 8 January 1990, pages 1 and B4. (Newspapers.com) https://www.newspapers.com/image/533166459/?terms=%22Berkshire%20Blacks%22&match=1

I have relied on Newpapers.com and Familysearch for information, and have used Familysearch rather than Wikitree to create or organize profiles.

ADDENDA. (14 March 2022). Festus Campbell (1822-1910)--parents and siblings unknown, never married, and had no children. But an interesting person.

Even though the topic is “Ancestors,” I keep finding interesting people to whom I am not related. This week for “flowers,” I present Festus Campbell, who, while not a relative, could be considered a neighbor of mine.

From The Pittsfield Sun, 27 August 1868 Festus Campbell is building a new greenhouse 19 by 55 feet, designed especially for showing large plants, which will be heated with steam, and ornamented with stained glass. An extensive aquarium will ornament one end of it.

From an account of an agricultural fair, The Berkshire County Eagle, 7 October 1869 . . . the fine display of plants and beautiful flowers from the green-house of Festus Campell, Esq. which attracted and deserved much attention. The display of cut flowers was also very handsome.

Festus Campbell is credited with devising the method by which small rooted plants can be sent by mail, but he was much more than a florist. Born into slavery in Louisiana, by 1849 he was a free man living in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and well respected for his learning. Fluent in French and Italian, he was a valued traveling companion for prominent citizens. He owned an extensive library and a collection of rare coins.

By 1880 he was living in Olympia, Washington, one of its early settlers. On his land next to the new state house, he continued to grow prize-winning flowers and vegetables. He became an ordained Baptist minister.

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