Originally posted on empire trees climate:
Histories of Enslavement in the Maritime Atlantic: Slave Labour; the Halifax Royal Naval Dockyard; the Naval Depot at St. George’s, Bermuda; and Shipbuilding in Bermuda and Grand Turk Island
Last week, team member Margot Maddison-MacFadyen visited the Nova Scotia Public Archives and uncovered connections between slavery, the Royal Dockyard at Halifax, and pine masts from the St. John River, New Brunswick. She also considers slavery and the naval depot at St. George’s, Bermuda; and Woodville, a “mansion” situated on Grand Turk Island, British West Indies, that demonstrates the use of recycled ships’ parts, including ships’ masts, in its construction.
Why I am Interested in this Project
I’m a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. My dissertation is titled Reclaiming Histories of Enslavement in the Maritime Atlantic: The History of Mary Prince. It’s a mixed bag, including four subject areas: Education, English, Gender Studies and History…
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I hope the foxes that make Fox Hollow their home are snug in their dens. We’ve just come through a blizzard with 120-kilometre wind gusts here on Prince Edward Island, and it’s still nasty outside.
Last night the wind punched and the house shuddered. At 2 a.m. something large crashed on the roof. I anticipated a wrecked chimney this morning, and finding bricks strewn about the yard come spring, but the chimney is fine. My neighbours’ siding is partially ripped off, however, so possibly this, or some other flying debris, hit the house. Glad it didn’t hit a window.
Island road crews are on top of the situation. Plows keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles. Gratitude for their excellent service, and also to those who respond to emergencies in spite of terrible inclement weather that keeps most of us indoors.
Eventually, I’ll be dug out. My neighbour will be by with his tractor that is outfitted with a large snow blower, and the driveway will be cleared. When the wind settles, I’ll shovel snowdrifts off the decks. Tomorrow the sun will shine. In thirty-three days it will be spring.
Last fall, I placed in the poetry and short fiction categories of the 2014 Cox & Palmer Island Literary Awards (ILAs), which are held here on Prince Edward Island. “Seasons at Fox Hollow” was part of the poetry selection I submitted, and for which I was awarded 1st Honourable Mention. It was accepted by Halcyon Magazine, and is published in Halcyon’s Winter 2014 issue. You can find it at halcyonmagazine.blogspot.ca.
Fox Hollow is what Gary and I call our land here on Prince Edward Island. The day we first saw it, we were greeted by a silver fox. The land is named in her honour.
A second poem from the selection titled “Youngest Sister” has been accepted by Still Point Arts Quarterly and is forthcoming in 2015 or 2016.
My story “Christmas Eve Debutante,” which took 2nd place in the ILAs short fiction category, has been accepted for the “seasonal” anthology to be published by Acorn Press in fall 2015.
Thanks go to the Prince Edward Island Writers’ Guild, Cox & Palmer and other sponsors for hosting and supporting the ILAs. They make a difference to Island writers, like me.
A special thanks goes to The Writers in Group (TWiG) whose members critique just about everything I write.
A few interested souls have asked me why the slave-owners of Mary Prince called her Molly. Actually, she went by more names than these two.
The 24 June 1829 petition that abolitionist lawyer George Stephen presented to British Parliament on Prince’s behalf shows that she went by “Mary Prince, or James” (Ferguson 127), but was “commonly called Molly Wood” (127). The surname James is because of her marriage to Daniel James at Christmas 1826.
As well, Thomas Pringle, the editor of her narrative, pointed out in a useful footnote that the copy of Mrs. Trimmer’s Charity School Spelling Book that she was given by Church of England Rev. Mr. Curtin, dated 30 August 1817, indicated her name to be “Mary, Princess of Wales” (T. Pringle in Prince 84). Pringle elucidates on this, pointing out that colonial slave-owners often gave slaves ridiculous names such as this, and that it underlines their contempt for them. What he didn’t mention (possibly to avoid ruffling the feathers of certain readers) is the contempt for the monarchy that this practice also indicates.
But back to the name Molly.
My reading is that because the first name of several of Prince’s female slave-owners was also Mary, she was given this moniker. First, the brutal wife of Captain I— (Captain John Ingham) was Mary Spencer Ingham (née Albouy). Secondly, the wife of Mr. D— (Robert Darrell) was Mary Darrell (née Ball), and there was a daughter who was also named Mary. Finally, a daughter of John Adams Wood Jr. and his wife Margaret Gilbert Wood (née Albouy) was Mary Caroline Wood. That’s four white female slave-owners—two wives and two daughters—with the name Mary.
Prince was given the moniker Molly to avoid the confusion of having two women with the name Mary living under the same roof. Because Prince was a slave-woman, it was she who took on the moniker. However, it may also have been because one (or more) of the slave-owning women did not want to share her name with a slave-woman.
The first time it is used in the slave narrative is in the Antiguan section when Prince was ill and living in a “little old out-house” (Prince 79). This was at the Wood residence. The Wood family’s cook brought food to Prince, shoving it through the door, and calling out “Molly, Molly, there’s your dinner” (79). Therefore, the Wood family may have pressed the moniker on Prince, or it may have been used before she arrived at Antigua.
I find Prince’s choice of the name Mary Prince compelling. The slave-owning brothers Francis and Daniel Trimingham owned her father Prince, Richard Darrell owned her mother (whom I believe was Dinah), and her last slave-owner was John Adams Wood Jr., yet she chose to take her father’s first name rather than a slave-owner’s surname. This shows agency on her part—by refusing a slave-owner’s name, she resists the institution of slavery.
It also shows, however, that she knows who her father is and that he is Prince. In the case of her own parentage, at least, her choice of Prince for her surname tells us that her mother had not been sexually exploited by a slave-owner, as had so many other slave-women.
Prince, Mary. “The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself.” In Moira Ferguson (Ed). The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself. Revised Edition. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997. 57-94.
This was first published by Anne Furlong on her blog Unexpected Nomad. The church is St. Mark’s in London. If you’re familiar with Prince’s slave narrative, you might remember her mentioning the Rev. Mr. Mortimer, “the good clergyman of the parish, under whose ministry I have now sat for upwards of twelve months” (Ferguson 92). St. Mark’s was his charge.
Billy MacInnis (fiddle), Remi Arsenault (bass guitar), and Leon Gallant (acoustic guitar) played at the rustic Trailside Café in Mt. Stewart, Prince Edward Island, last Saturday night. It was packed.
Billy, Remi, and Leon kicked it up with tunes written by Billy, like “Bootleggers Two Step” and “Judy MacLean Shuffle.” They also played a couple of waltzes: “The Maritime Waltz” (written by Stompin Tom Connors) and “The Porter’s Waltz” (another tune written by Billy).
Of course, there were more tunes written by others, such as “Maple Sugar Sweetheart” by H. Lariviere and W. Allen and “The Older the Violin the Sweeter the Music” by C. Putman. Plus, they performed traditionals, such as “Listen to the Mockingbird” and “Orange Blossom Special.”
When Lisa MacInnis joined in for a specialty song, we mellowed. Yeah, it was like a big kitchen party. My family and I had a terrific table at the back with a clear view of the stage. The food and drink was great.
Billy, Remi, and Leon are currently on the road, headed to Ontario. Check out details at Billy’s webpage: billymacinnis.ca. There’s a new CD, too. Guess what it’s called? Live at the Trailside Café. It’s Billy’s eighth! You can get it on iTunes.
For a treat, here’s a video of Billy taken and posted by another. It’s the “Louis Riel Reel.” He performed it with the Tim Hus band at the 2011 Palmer Rapids Festival in Ontario. To view it, click here.