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Understanding Land and Labor Acknowledgements

Slavery in New England

Slavery was legal in Massachusetts until the 1780s.  Colonists enslaved both African, Caribbean, and Indigenous peoples.  There is not a lot of information available about slavery in North Central Massachusetts and specifically Fitchburg.  However, some evidence suggests that some colonists in the area may have owned slaves.  

The Fitchburg Historical Society has a manuscript that accounts the story of Edom London, a slave in Massachusetts who later was freed.  In his account, he references slaves in Fitchburg.  He writes:

"Some slaves were held in Fitchburg in early times. We know of a few and there may have been more; but Fitchburg was not incorporated until 1764 and neither the temper of the times nor the financial interests of the people were favorable to slavery.  The few slaves held here were probably household servants and were well and kindly treated."

Further research is required to determine the extent of slavery in the Fitchburg area. 


Reproduction of this document was permitted by the Fitchburg Historical Society 



Resources about Slavery in New England