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Excerpts on slavery from "Anecdotes and Reminiscences . A Labor of Love"
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Mary Willard was the daughter of the prominent Unitarian minister Samuel Willard (1776-1859) of Deerfield. Her father was an avid abolitionist who chose to ignore the 1850 Fugitive Slave law that promised to imprison anyone for helping slaves escape north. He wrote "I will perform towards the fugitive slaves all the acts of kindness that I should do if there were no prohibition against it; and I will quietly endure the consequences though enormous fines -should deprive me of my last cent, and though I be thrown into prison- all the residue of my life." Willard's daughter, Mary was also an ardent abolitionist. She did not marry and lived in her father's household in Deerfield until the time of his death in 1859. Mary wrote "Anecdotes and Reminiscences" of her life at home in Deerfield and memories of her family for her niece. The pages selected here focus on her memories of African-Americans and her father's anti-slavery sentiments.
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