FC 79 The Underground Railroad on Long Island with Kathleen Velsor

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Kathleen G. Velsor, author of the book The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom.

Bio – Kathleen G. Velsor

Dr. Kathleen Gaffney Velsor is an associate professor in the School of Education at the State University of New York Old Westbury. She earned an undergraduate degree in fine The Underground Railroad on Long Island with Kathleen G. Velsor on Fieldsotne Commonarts and education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, and received her master’s degree in educational administration from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and her doctorate in educational research from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. She has received numerous grants to research the Quaker involvement in the Underground Railroad on Long Island, most recent among them an education grant from the Long Island Community Foundation to establish the Underground Teaching Partnership to build community through interdisciplinary social studies workshops for schoolteachers.

Book Summary

From the arrival of the Quakers in the seventeenth century to the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, Long Island played an important role in the Underground Railroad’s work to guide slaves to freedom. In Old Westbury, the Post family established a major stop on the freedom trail with the help of an escaped Virginia slave. In Jericho, families helped escaping slaves to freedom from the present-day Maine Maid Inn. Elias Hicks helped free 191 slaves himself and worked to create Underground Railroad safe houses in many northeastern cities. Some former slaves even established permanent communities across the island. Visit the safe houses many of which are still standing today and explore the journey of runaway slaves on Long Island.

Book InfoThe Underground Railroad on Long Island with Kathleen G. Velsor on Fieldsotne Common

Title: The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom

Publisher: The History Press (2013)

Trade Paperback; 144 pages; with end notes, bibliography, index and BxW photos & illustrations.

The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

During the interview Kathleen and I discussed the long involvement of Quakers on Long Island with the anti-slavery movement. Around the time of the American Revolution Quakers started to become uncomfortable with the idea of any human being held in bondage. In the Long Island area Quakers were lead with the strong Leadership of Elias Hicks who rallied other Quakers to join his anti-slavery cause.  His followers were called Hicksite Quakers. Hicksites first manumitted their own slaves. As time passed they developed the network of the Underground Railroad and worked toward helping enslaved people to freedom as well as educating them in reading and writing and providing a trade.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Prize Winners

One copy of The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of The History Press.

The winner is:

  • Vonda McCrae of Virginia

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to The History Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

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Show Notes – Betsy Ross with Marla Miller

Here are some items that were mentioned during the 4 July 2013 Fieldstone Common interview with Marla Miller about her book Betsy Ross and the Making of America.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

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Betsy Ross and the Making of America, published by St. Martin’s Press, is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

Miller on Fieldstone CommonYou can learn more about Marla Miller at her website.

Marla Miller’s first book was The Needle’s Eye: Women And Work in the Age of Revolution (UMass Press, 2006). Her next book, to be published August 2013, is Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman.

Betsy Ross and the Making of America takes a look beyond the myth of Betsy Ross to discover the real woman behind the legend. Betsy Ross was a Quaker from Philadelphia. She was born Elizabeth Griscom, daughter of Samuel Griscom and Rebecca James. Her immigrant ancestor Andrew Griscom arrive in the colonies in 1680.

Betsy was married first to John Ross with whom she had no children. She then married Joseph Ashburn. They had two daughters but one of which died as an infant. Her third marriage to John Claypoole was the longest lasting until his death in 1817. They had many daughters together. Betsy died January 30, 1836.

Betsy Ross with Marla Miller of Fieldstone CommonThere are few extant records specifically about Betsy Ross, though her account books should exist.  Perhaps they exist today in some attic in the midwest? If you’re a descendant of Betsy Ross or you have materials with the name Elizabeth Claypoole or Betsy Claypoole written on them please contact me or contact Marla Miller directly. Marla would be very interested in seeing those items!

St. Martin’s Press, the publisher of Betsy Ross and the Making of America, donated two copies of the book which were provided as giveaways during the live show to listeners in Kentucky and Massachusetts. A big thank you to the St. Martin’s Press for their generosity!

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Fieldstone Common greatly appreciates the support of Houstory as a sponsor. Show your support for Fieldstone Common by visiting our sponsor’s site.

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Betsy Ross and the Making of America with Marla Miller

Betsy Ross with Marla Miller of Fieldstone CommonBROADCAST: THURSDAY, 4 July 2013 at 1:00pm EDT

This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews Marla Miller, author of Betsy Ross and the Making of America.

Beyond the legend of the creation of the American flag, we know very little about the facts of Betsy Ross’ life. Perhaps with one snip of her scissors she convinced the nation’s future first president that five-pointed stars suited better than six. Perhaps not. Miller recovers for the first time the full story of Betsy Ross, sharing the woman as she truly was. Miller pieces together the fascinating life of this little-known and much beloved figure, showing that she is important to our history not just because she made a flag, but because she embraced the resistance movement with vigor, reveled in its triumphs, and suffered its consequences.

Marla Miller, a historian of early American women and work, has made a career Betsy Ross with Marla Miller of Fieldstone Commonuncovering the lives of women who left little in the way of documentary record. She is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and directs the Public History program there. She has won the Organization of American Historians’ Lerner-Scott Prize for the best dissertation on women’s history and the 1997 Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Colonial History.