Sunday, January 13, 2008

Description of Dorsey by A.G. Hill

from: “Florence the ["Mecca" crossed out] Sanctuary of the Colored Race”

by A.G. Hill

Basil Dorsey an intelligent and genial man came here early and after the [cannot make out word – perhaps “dissolution”] of the community became the teamster for the cotton mill which succeeded the silk mill and community [?] occupation, and later transformed into a braid mill. He married his second wife, daughter of A[?] Jones and raised a large family. He occupied the house at the foot of the junction of West and South Streets now in the possession of Mr. Coughlin. He brought the cotton bales from the Northampton railroad station and took thither the finished cloth for shipment to the outer world. He had a powerful pair of lungs and on the road from Northampton with a load of bales, he would commence yelling at the eastern slope of Nonotuck St. when the people at the mill would open doors and prepare to receive his load. He had two sons by his first wife, Robert & John. Robert was a strong healthy young man with a good common school education. He became a stone mason and contractor, removed to New York as a contractor, bought a freight steamer for his work and finally died there. His brother John, of a different makeup, slender and dandyish became a barber and died later of consumption leaving a widow and son who afterwards died of the same trouble. I became guardian of the younger John and took care of him until he died.

[From an unpublished manuscript in a private collection. Used by permission of the owner; transcribed by Marc Ferguson.]

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