Joyceann’s Corner – Franklin Hatter

            Whatever the cause of George’s flight, his parting made things rather difficult for the remaining free and enslaved people of color. They found their movements restricted, and travel passes all revoked for quite some time.

           The custom was for slaves to share in the work around various family plantations depending on the time of the year for harvest production or planting. The slaves were hired out for a fee and in some cases transported in chains.

        For Franklin, there were no chains, he was Andrew Hunters’ man. Not sure of the relationship there for Franklin was a well thought of Carpenter. Andrew Hunter was the prosecuting attorney at the John Brown Trial in Charles Town. The baptism records in The Zion Episcopal Church show Franklin’s first four children were baptized in 1855. And later, When Rebecca and Franklin lost their precious daughter Barbara Ellen July 10, 1858, that was posted too. Records show Franklin remaining behind in Charles Town, West Virginia married Rebecca, the daughter of William and Maria Lettie McCord. The Edward Aisquith family, who refused to sell her, enslaved Rebecca, her siblings, children, and parents until the end of the Civil War. Franklin continued working hard just five miles east near the Harewood plantation.

          Though born during slavery this family would live long enough to enjoy freedom after slavery was abolished.

           Franklin would send word to his brother through John Brown’s travelers and would receive news when they returned. Until John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. It was Andrew Hunter that prosecuted John Brown not far away in the courts of Charles Town, Virginia. Franklin continued to keep his head down and work hard saving for his family’s future. He knew one day things would change. In 1863, Franklin received word from George again attesting to the wondrous opportunity to honestly own the land you toiled on and how the government was so supportive of individual rights. He spoke of all the land available and how well they could do together with their families. We found that Franklin and Rebecca traveled to Canada and saw first hand what a great opportunity was available, they also went into Kent and were formally  married in 1866.

The Hatters returned to Charles Town to settle their affairs and ensure their children were all doing well. It took some time but they did, in fact, return to Canada and enjoyed a free and fulfilling life. The brothers cleared land and built a fine church that still stands today. They both built fine two story homes for their families and enjoyed a high level of prominence in the community of Buxton Township. Franklin lived until 85.

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