Thursday, February 12, 2015

Joseph Southwick – Abolitionist

The Southwick family members were Quaker in early Salem, even when that meant persecution from the Puritan authorities. Their children and descendants married prominent Quakers from all over New England.  In the compiled genealogy book about the Southwick family, Joseph Southwick (1791 – 1866) is described as a tanner, with three daughters. Period. With a little digging I was able to learn that Joseph Southwick was much more than a tradesman.   I was also able to find out the many ways I am related to this family (I have a few relationships described below at the end of this blog post).

Joseph Southwick founded the American Anti-Slavery Movement in 1833 and was a signer of the Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  He was president of the society 1835 -1836, and vice president for many years.  He was one of the original subscribers to William Lloyd Garrison’s journal The Liberator.  He is considered one of the original abolitionists in America.  His work inspired his wife and daughters to be involved in abolitionism, at a time when women were usually not allowed to campaign for progressive causes. 

Joseph Southwick married Thankful Hussey, daughter of Quaker abolitionist Samuel Hussey.  She was a member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and of the New England Non-Resistance Society.  William Lloyd Garrison delivered the eulogy at her funeral, and Lydia Maria Child wrote her obituary.  She lived longer than her husband and was able to become even more famous as an abolitionist in New England.

The compiled Southwick genealogy book (see below) has Thankful’s obituary on pages 261 – 264

Thankful Southwick, widow of Joseph Southwick, died on the 29th of April, at her residence in Grantville [a part of the town of Wellesley], Mass., in the 75th year of her age.
                All survivors of the old abolition band will remember her as one of the very earliest, the noblest, and the most faithful of that small army of moral combatants who fought so bravely and perseveringly for the deliverance of the downtrodden.  Mrs. Southwick was born and educated in the Society of Friends, and to their calmness of demeanor she added indomitable persistence in the path of duty.
                One of the most exciting affairs that ever occurred in Boston was known as the Baltimore Slave Case.  Two girls had escaped in a Boston vessel, and when about to be carried back, were brought out by a writ of habeas corpus.  All Boston was in a ferment for and against the fugitives.  The commercial world were determined that this Southern property should be restored to the white claimants, and the abolitionists were determined that it should remain in the possession of the original owner owners until a “bill of sale from the Almighty” could be produced.  The well-known Father Snowdon was then alive, and by his vigilance and ingenious arrangements, efficiently aided by Mrs. Southwick, the slaves were, at a given signal, spirited away from the crowded court-room, and conveyed out of the city.  The agent of the slaveholders happened to be standing near Mrs. Southwick, and while he was gazing in astonishment at the empty space where the fugitives had been an instant before,  she turned her large gray eyes upon him, and said very calmly, “Thy prey hath escaped thee.”
                Wherever working or thinking was to be done for the advancement of our righteous cause, there was Thankful Southwick, ever ready with wise counsel and energetic action.  She and her excellent husband were among the very first to sustain Garrison in his unequal contest with the strong Goliath of slavery.  At that time they were in affluent circumstances, and their money was poured freely for the unpopular cause, which had as yet found no adherents among the rich.  Their commodious and every-way comfortable house was a caravansary for fugitive slaves and for anti-slavery pilgrims from all parts of the country. At the anniversary meetings, when most of the city abolitionists were anxious to have for their guests Friend Whittier, or Angelina Grimke, or Theodore Weld, or Hon. Mr. Birney, or George Thompson, or some other lions of the cause, Joseph and Thankful Southwick were quietly looking about for such anti-slavery brothers and sisters as were too little known to be likely to receive invitations.  And through all their long and honorable lives this worthy couple retained the same characteristics. Always kindly and unpretending, clear sighted to perceive the right, and faithful in following it, wheresoever it might lead. They were upright in all their dealings with the world, tender and true in the relations of private life, and the memory they have left is a benediction. – Lydia Maria Child, in Anti-Slavery Standard [repeated in other newspapers across New England and the United States]

The Southwicks lived originally in North Vassalboro, Maine, but removed to South Danvers (now Peabody, Massachusetts) in 1834.  They were very active with the Anti-Slavery movement and eventually removed again, in 1835 to High Street in Boston for the next two years.

Abigail Southwick (1819 – 1904), their eldest daughter, attended the convention of antislavery women in 1838 and was a delegate to the London convention in 1840.  She married John Hubbard Stephenson.

Their middle daughter, Sarah Hussey Southwick (1821 – 1896) was the treasurer of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1842, when her mother was president. She was only thirteen years old in 1834 when she moved to South Danvers and attended the first Anti-Slavery event in Boston with her father and sisters.  You can read a very interesting chapter about Sarah's life in the book Old Anti-Slavery Days: Proceedings of the Commemorative Meeting held by the Danvers Historical Society at the Town Hall, Danvers, April 26, 1893 , pages 134 – 140 (available to read online at Google Books).

The Southwick Genealogy:

Generation 1: Lawrence Southwick and Cassandra Burnell. Immigrant ancestors to Salem, Massachusetts, arrested for being Quaker and exiled to Shelter Island in 1659 where they died of exposure.  My 9th great grandparents.

Generation 2: Daniel Southwick, son of immigrants Lawrence Southwick and Cassandra Burnell,  born 1637 in Salem, died about 1718; married about 1663 to Esther Boyce.  He was the brother to my 8th great grandfather, John Southwick (1625 – 1672).

Generation 3: Lawrence Southwick, (my first cousin 7 generations removed)  son of Daniel Southwick and Esther Boyce, born 1664 and died 1718 in Northampton, New Jersey; married on 24 June 1704 in Salem to Tamosen Buffum.  She was also my first cousin 8 generations removed, since I descend from her grandparents, Robert Buffum (1590 – 1669) and Tamosen Ward (1606 – 1688). 

Generation 4:  Joseph Southwick, son of Lawrence Southwick and Tamosen Buffum, born in 1716 in Salem, Massachusetts; died 1791 in Peabody, Massachusetts; married Bethia Callum, who died 1803 in Peabody, Massachusetts.

Generation 5: Edward Southwick, son of Joseph Southwick and Bethia Callum, born on 1 March 1757, died 23 January 1836; married Abigail Rowell.   She was the daughter of Jacob Rowell and Anna Buxton, born on 14 June 1764 in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and died 10 February 1856.

Generation 6: Joseph Southwick, son of Edward Southwick and Abigail Rowell, born on 11 September 1791, died on 10 May 1866; married to Thankful Hussey, the daughter of Samuel Fothergill Hussey and Thankful Purington.   Joseph Southwick is my 4th cousin, 5 generations removed.   Three children:
1. Abigail , born 17 September, 1819
2. Sarah Hussey, born 3 March 1821
3. Anna R., born 6 April 1823

For the truly curious:

The Letters of William Lloyd Garrison:  Let the oppressed go free, 1861 – 1867, by William Lloyd Garrison, 1979,  (available to read online at Google Books)  The1867 Letter from Oliver Johnson to William Lloyd Garrison, wishing Garrison a “happy and prosperous journey” to Europe, and expresses his shock at the sudden death of Thankful Southwick.

The Genealogy of the Descendants of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick of Salem, by James Moore Caller and Maria A. Ober,  (available to read online at Google Books)

My relationship to Thankful Hussey, wife of Joseph Southwick:

Generation 1.  Rev. Stephen Batchelder  (1561 – 1656)  (my 11th great grandfather)
Generation  2.  Theodate Batchelder m. Christopher Hussey (I descend from two of her siblings – Nathananiel Batchelder (1590 – 1630) and Ann Batchelder Sanborn (b. 1601)       
Generation 3.  Stephen Hussey m. Martha Bunker
Generation 4.  Batchelder Hussey m. Abigail Hall
Generation 5.  Sylvanus Hussey m. Elisabeth Varney (daughter of Joseph Varney and Abigail Robinson, and granddaughter of William Varney (1599 – 1654) and Bridge Deverell, my 10th great grandparents)
Generation 6.  Samuel Fothergill Hussey m. Thankful Purington
Generation 7.  Thankful Hussey m. Joseph Southwick  (She is my 4th cousin, 5 generations removed three different ways! )

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Copyright © 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting people.. Seems I am related to as many of these folk as you are--it becomes very difficult to follow the intertwined lines. But I have learned that I am related by both my mother & father. The study of genealogy becomes so interesting when you find such ethical people with high integrity. However I frequently find that my ancestors are on both sides of an issue or even a war.