In the Classroom > African Americans Lessons > Jin and Cato's Lives as Northern Slaves
Possible Answers to Discussion Questions
- Jin died in 1808 and Cato in 1825; both died as free people. Jin never left the Ashley family and Cato probably didn’t. Both never left Deerfield. They chose to remain with their master and mistress.
- Jin did housework, all of which was done for her master and mistress.
- Cato’s work: reaping oats, picking corn, haying, husking, mowing, dressing flax, pulling flax, plowing, harrowing, hoeing, fetching hay, fetching corn, dunging out. He did not work solely for his master. Rev. Ashley loaned him out to other farmers for a fee.
For the most part, Jin and Cato’s work was not different from that of Deerfield’s white residents.
Slaves in Deerfield and other places in the North usually lived under the same roof as their masters. Most northern masters couldn't afford more than 1 or 2 slaves and it was too expensive to provide separate housing for so few slaves.
As a reverend, Ashley's main duty was to tend to "his flock", and he may have had little time for farm work. Also, before his sons were old enough to work, he might have needed extra help.
Both were allowed to attend services in the meetinghouse, although they sat in a separate section from white residents, and both were allowed to have store accounts.
Cato was baptized, fought in the French and Indian War, and since he bought a "small pamphlet", he must have been able to read, which means he received some education.
- Slaves were considered to be the property of their owners and could be sold, given away, or bequeathed to someone else, just as items such as tools, farm animals, and furniture could be.
- Different- Slaves on southern plantations did more fieldwork and produced great quantities for sale and shipment out of the South. They did not work alongside their masters or mistresses doing the same work. Jin and her mistress would not have worked together making Jin's shroud (or doing any other kind of work together) and would not have happily visited or "chatted" together. Slaves would not have lived in the same house as their master. They would not have had any of the privileges mentioned in #2 above.
Same- Northern slaves still belonged to someone else; they were still seen as less than equal to whites, and as being property (like items).
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