Reuben and Elizabeth Hatter

Miss Christian Blackburn, Charles Town, VA emancipated 9 persons and Mr. Lemon was hired to conduct the emigrants to Norfolk via Alexandria, the names were: Andrew and Priscilla Green and 5 children, Lydia Carroll, other names-Young, Anderson, Crockett, Reuben and Elizabeth Hatter. The husbands of two of the women were ransomed at the expense of eight hundred dollars, that they might accompany their wives to Liberia. For Reuben, she gave $450, to her sisters brother-in-law, Samuel Walter Washington and for Andrew, $350. Those liberated, were generally well supplied with the articles most necessary for their comfort during the voyage, and their subsequent settlement; and some had been mainly prepared by instruction, for usefulness in the colony.

One of the females (Elizabeth) sent out by Miss Blackburn, had a pretty good library, infant school boards, spelling & reading books, and it is believed, that on her arrival, she may open a small school to her advantage.  Reuben found he was happiest while sailing on the Carolinian and helped out whenever possible, learning and earning his sea legs. After arriving in Liberia he was not happy  farming, he was not  trained for that kind of work. It was shortly after he settled Elizabeth into a house and set her school up for her that he wandered back down to the docks. He heard that a new ship had arrived and so he hired himself out to become a steward on that very vessel that had transported freed slaves to Liberia and would be returning with goods from Monrovia to the Americas. Reuben followed his passion, but he left a wife who stumbled along with lonely days and months waiting his return. Elizabeth took in a border that she taught to read and write in exchange for help around the house and for the company.  She did enjoy teaching everyone who would attend her classes but life without her husband and family was indeed lonely and very hard. Reading her letters one can just feel her pain of feeling abandoned and of the loneliness.

On one of Reuben’s trips to Liberia in early of 1836, he found his wife had fallen ill and died all alone. Sadden by the news, Reuben  returned to the States and disappeared into Pennsylvania.

We still might still find him…


Reuben Hatter Pass papers

This was a certificate of freedom-shore pass for Reuben Hatter.It states that he was of 5’6 ¾” inches tall, has black wooly hair, Light Sambo complexion, dark eyes and a scar on the base of his left hand

1  Emigrants Database, Virginia Emigrants to Liberia, Virginia Center for Digital History, University of Virginia (/liberia/index.phpage=Resources&section=Search%20Emigrants)

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