Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Freedom's Friends #12: Bitternut Hickory for Anna Trusty Scott

Block # 12 Bitternut Hickory by Denniele Bohannon

 Bitternut Hickory recalls Anna Trusty Scott, a runaway from Maryland.

"Sold to Go South"

William Still recorded the names of her family whom she left behind in Maryland in his records of Anna & Samuel Scott's journey from Cecil Cross-Roads to Philadelphia: "Father Jacob Trusty, Sisters: Emeline, Susan Ann, Delilah, Mary Eliza, Rosetta, Effie Ellender and Elizabeth; brothers Emson and Perry." 

Still mentions that the slave owner Ann Ward Porter Lusby had sold a brother and sister away from the family. 

Emson (Empson) Trusty is an unusual name and we find her brother's death certificate at FamilySearch. He died at 78 in 1885 in Maryland with his father listed as Jacob Trusty (illegible) "Slave" and his mother Delia Trusty also once a slave.

Empson's mother was officially Henrietta, as shown in both the 1850 and 1860 censuses in Cecil County. Delia may have been his sister.

Bitternut Hickory by Georgann Eglinski

The 1860 census lists Empson, Rosetta, Effie (Ephalinda) and Perry, siblings mentioned in Still's account, plus Jacob II, Raymond, Arabella and Rebecca. It's interesting that the Trusty family is counted twice before the Civil War. Slaves are not usually enumerated in this fashion. It may be that Jacob and Henrietta were hired out, permitted to live together independently with wages going to their owner. Or maybe they were free. It's rather mysterious and is just one of the questions about the Scott account in Still's records. 

For one thing he recorded owner Ann Ward Lusby's name as Lushy ( a typo perhaps.) He also tells us that Anna Scott held a dream of Canada due to her hateful mistress. After better treatment when she was hired out she continued to believe "escape was the only remedy." Ann Scott was married to Samuel Scott who was a free man and much less inclined to take a chance on running away. The issue of whether Samuel was free is confused by another account of the Scott's escape.

Sydney Howard Gay, editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard in New York City, assisted fugitives as William Still did and kept short accounts of people who came through the city including Anna. He did not publish his records but his notebooks are online at the Columbia University Library.

Gay also had trouble with Ann Lusby's name (Luchy/Leslie) but he tells us Anna Scott had lived in Sassafras Neck at Cecil Crossroads, where there were many Lusbys.

"Jany. 4th, 1856. Sam Scott + his wife, Sassafras Neck, Cecil Co. Md. James Magee, Master = widow Leslie, mistress of wife. Walked to Middletown, 12 miles + took y cars for Phila. 8.50"

Bitternut Hickory by Barbara Brackman
I put the dots over seam intersections
I needed to hide. 

Was Sam free or slave? The Master mentioned was probably James McGee who owned a pottery in Elkton, Cecil County's county seat. Perhaps Sam worked there as a slave or free man. Gay and Still are at odds about his status, showing that the records need verification.

Northern Maryland to Philadelphia

Gay says the Scotts took "the cars," we'd say "the train," from northern Maryland to Philadelphia, and then we assume on to New York and Canada. 

Revealing a fugitive railroad passenger's mourning veil disguise
illustration from Still's book. Still doesn't tell us how 
fugitives managed to buy tickets, etc. 

Other discrepancies in the Scott account: Anna mentioned the brothers and sisters she left in 1856, including Perry who appears to have been born in 1859 from the 1860 census.

 Harper's Weekly, 1866

Once Anna's nemesis Ann Lusby's name is spelled correctly researchers found more about her. Anna, like many other runaways, was driven to run by abuse from a woman who left many records. Ann Lusby lived on a "farm of her own" with fifteen slaves. Husband Zebulon Lusby and a first husband Mr. Porter had died so the 1840 census, which only mentions heads of households, named her. She's recorded then as between 30 & 40 years old with two boys and a girl living with her. No mention of slaves in the 1840 census.

Anne Elizabeth Ward Porter Lusby (1807-1876)

"She was accustomed to rule with severity, being governed by a 'high temper,' and in nowise disposed to allow her slaves to enjoy even ordinary privileges, and besides, would occasionally sell to the Southern market. She was calculated to render slave life very unhappy."

Blogger Milt Diggins identified Ann Lusby's farm on this 1858 Cecil County map. She and Anna Scott lived not far from Cecilton (once Cecil Crossroads.) One dot indicates two Lusby farms; the other the church where she is buried, St. Stephen's Episcopal north of Johntown.

Cecilton, fifty years later

Bitternut Hickory by Becky Brown

The Block

Vintage Version

1842-1843 Quilt for Charlotte Gillingham, Philadelphia
Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Our last block is a very popular pattern dating back at least to 1830.The basic block could be pieced or appliqued and has several names, mostly commonly Reel.

Encyclopedia of Applique

One could add all manner of applique to the corners, expanding on the simple leaf. Then it's "Oak Leaf & Reel" or "Hickory Leaf & Reel." The Bitternut Hickory is a native Maryland hickory, particularly apt for Anna's story.

Hicoria cordiformis, Bitter-Nut Hickory

Becky Brown's 12 Blocks for Freedom's Friends

And we are FINISHED with Freedom's Friends 12 blocks. Check our Facebook page for finishes and post your own there.

Georgann Eglinski's 12 blocks for Freedom's Friends

Beckys Brown & Collis have collaborated on this quilt.
B Brown combined two projects we've been working on....
Freedom's Friends & Southern Spin pieced blocks.
B Collis quilted it.
Here is the view in B Brown's sewing room.
When it's bound we will show it!

Further reading:
Gay papers:

See Eric Foner, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (W. W. Norton and Co., 2015)

Bitternut Hickory by Robyn Gragg

Freedom's Friends
Robyn's view. Remarkable.

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