Monday, February 1, 2016

Phebe Ann Jacobs Remembered

Uncle Tom's Cabin, 
Boston Edition
Is it possible that a former slave living in Brunswick, Maine, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin? For more on Phebe Ann Jacobs, click on the link below. This research was inspired by a tribute I found when looking at old newspapers. Here is a transcription of the news article.

The Portland Weekly Advertiser, Portland, ME, Vol. LII, Issue 15, page 2.
April 16, 1850

Honor to Black Phebe. - Black Phebe, an old negro woman, born a slave, died in Brunswick on the 5th and was buried the 7th of last month.  - When carried to the grave, her pall was borne by no less noted characters than Ex-Gov. R.P. Dunlap, Prof. A.S. Packard of Bowdoin College, Dr. Isaac Lincoln, a most distinguished physician and surgeon of Brunswick, and John McKeen, Esq., Treasurer of Bowdoin College. The principle mourners that followed the corpse were Rev. Dr. Allen, late President of the College, and his two daughters, who repaired from Northampton, Mass., where they now live, to attend the funeral. She was buried in a grave dug by the side of President Allen's wife, and a daughter, who died whilst he resided in Brunswick. The funeral services were held in the Congregational Church, near the Colleges, and an effecting sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Adams, Pastor of that Church. What called forth all these distinguished honors over the remains of a negro woman? It was her Christian character, which is to be honored as much in a black as in a white. The following is a brief account of her life: - 

'She was born a slave on the famous Beverwyck estate in Hanover, Morris county, near Newark, N.J. In early life she entered as a servant in the family of President Wheelock, of Dartmouth College, and living in his family and that of his daughters, Maria Malleville Allen the wife of President Allen of Bowdoin College, forty years. For the last eighteen years she lived alone in her house and she died alone and suddenly. In the same night and probably in the same hour, died her friend the wife of Rev. Dr. Adams. 

This circumstance added peculiar interest and pathos to his discourse. He said, that if his beloved companion (then lying dead, to be buried the next day) could have been permitted to choose an attendant spirit, as she passed through the dark valley, and in her upward flight to the paradise of God, doubtless she would have chosen Phebe. Black Phebe!, he exclaimed, she has sometimes been called; but her soul is whiter and purer than the light, and her heavenly garments more resplendent than the sun shining in his brightness.'
(Augusta Banner.)    

More About Phebe Ann Jacobs
Bowdoin College
Biography of Rev. Dr. William Allen

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