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Title: Mary S. Peake - The Colored Teacher at Fortress Monroe
Author: Lockwood, Lewis C. (Lewis Conger), 1815-1904
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mary S. Peake - The Colored Teacher at Fortress Monroe" ***

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                      MARY S. PEAKE,

          The Colored Teacher at Fortress Monroe.

                BY REV. LEWIS C. LOCKWOOD,

                     WITH AN APPENDIX.

                     PUBLISHED BY THE
                  AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
                   28 CORNHILL, BOSTON.

[Illustration: Mary S. Peake]


CHAPTER I.                                                   PAGE

Birth and Parentage.--Education.--Religious
Convictions.--Prayers in the Tomb.--Union with
the Church.--Labors for the Poor.--Marriage.                    5


Commencement of the Mission at Fortress Monroe.--Flight
of the Rebels from Hampton.--Burning of the
Town.--The Place reoccupied by Freedmen.                       16


Opening of Religious Services and Schools.--Mrs. Peake
a Teacher.--Singing in the Schools.--Christmas Festival.       30


Failure of Health.--Religious Joy.--Farewell
Messages.--Death.--Funeral.--Conclusion.                       39

APPENDIX.                                                      53



      Birth and Parentage.--Education.--Religious
      Convictions.--Prayers in the Tomb.--Union with the
      Church.--Labors for the Poor.--Marriage.

The subject of this narrative was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1823.
Her maiden name was Mary Smith Kelsey. Her mother was a free colored
woman, very light, and her father a white man--an Englishman of rank
and culture. She was a very lovely child in person and manners, and as
she grew up, developed traits of character which made her a universal

When she was six years old, her mother sent her to Alexandria, for
the purpose of attending school. She remained there in school about
ten years, residing with her aunt, Mary Paine. Mrs. Paine occupied a
house belonging to Mr. Rollins Fowle, and near his residence. This
gentleman and his family were distinguished for their kindness to
colored people. He frequently bought slaves who were in danger of
being sold into bad hands, gave them their freedom, and set them up in
business. John Paine, Mary's uncle, was one whom he freed in this way.
Mary was a great pet in Mr. Fowle's family, and was treated almost
like a daughter.

A schoolmate of hers, now residing in Providence, Rhode Island, says
Mary was a very amiable girl, and a good student. They for a time
attended a select colored school taught by a colored woman. Afterward
they attended a colored school taught by white teachers. The last
teacher was Mr. Nuthall, an Englishman. He taught till a law of
Congress enacted that the law of Virginia in relation to free colored
people should prevail in the District of Columbia. This was several
years before Alexandria was retroceded to Virginia. This law closed
all colored schools in the city. Mary was compelled to leave the
school in consequence of being informed of as having come from

While at school, Mary acquired a good English education, and, in
addition to this, a knowledge of various kinds of needlework, and also
dress-making. Her aunt was a devoted Christian, and no doubt had a
very happy influence on Mary. Her mother also was converted when Mary
was two or three years old. Under these influences she was early the
subject of serious impressions. Though fond of general reading and
study, there was no book she loved so well as the Bible. This was her
companion and text book, and she committed large portions of it to

When sixteen years old, having finished her education, she returned to
her mother, at Norfolk. Soon afterward, those religious elements which
had existed from early childhood--grown with her growth and
strengthened with her strength--became dominant by the grace of God,
and asserted their power over her.

Near her residence was a garden, connected with a large old mansion,
between Fenchurch and Church Streets. In this garden was a dilapidated
family tomb. It was impressed on her mind that she must go into this
tomb to pray. At the dead hour of night she sought this gloomy abode
of moldering coffins and scattered bones. As she entered and knelt in
the death cell, she trembled with a fear which her prayers could not
dissipate. Quickly and stealthily she retraced her steps, and hurried
back to her home. Yet the next night, this girl of sixteen had the
courage to seek the dismal place again, and the next night yet again,
with similar results. But at length light broke upon the darkness of
the tomb, and it became a place of delightful communion with her Lord;
whence it was afterward called "Mary's parlor." At the midnight hour,
she left the tomb, and broke the silence of the night with a jubilant
song, fearless of the patrol. The song was this strain of Watts, in
which many a saint has poured forth his soul:--

      "Stand up, my soul, shake off thy fears,
        And gird the gospel armor on;
      March to the gates of endless joy,
        Where Jesus, thy great Captain, 's gone.

      "Hell and thy sins resist thy course,
        But hell and sin are vanquished foes;
      Thy Jesus nailed them to the cross,
        And sung the triumph when he rose.

      "Then let my soul march boldly on,
        Press forward to the heavenly gate;
      There peace and joy eternal reign,
        And glittering robes for conquerors wait.

      "There shall I wear a starry crown,
        And triumph in almighty grace;
      While all the armies of the skies
        Join in my glorious Leader's praise."

This strain fell on the waking ears of ladies in the house adjacent to
the tomb, and they inquired, "What sweet music is that? Who is
serenading at this hour?" Little did they know the spirit-promptings
of that song.

Soon after this, Mary went to visit some friends in Hampton. As she
entered the yard, and approached the house, she sang another
expressive hymn of Watts:--

      "Firm as the earth thy gospel stands,
        My Lord, my Hope, my Trust;
      If I am found in Jesus' hands,
        My soul can ne'er be lost.

      "His honor is engaged to save
        The meanest of his sheep;
      All whom his heavenly Father gave
        His hands securely keep.

      "Nor death nor hell shall e'er remove
        His favorites from his breast;
      Safe on the bosom of his love
        Shall they for ever rest."

Her friends opened the door at the sound of the tender music, and as
they looked on her face, and listened to her song, they were overcome,
and could not restrain their emotions.

Soon afterward, she united with the First Baptist Church in Norfolk,
on Bute Street. The pastor was Rev. James A. Mitchell, who served the
church from the time of Nat Turner's insurrection till his death,
about 1852. He was emphatically a good man, and a father to the
colored people--a very Barnabas, "son of consolation" indeed. A
considerable portion of his church were colored people, and he would
visit them at their houses, take meals with them, and enter into their
affairs, temporal and spiritual, with a true and zealous heart. He
never loved slavery; his private opinion was against it, but he was
obliged to be cautious in the expression of his sentiments. He endured
great trials for this proscribed class, and was almost a martyr in
their behalf, his pastorate having begun just after Nat Turner's
insurrection, which caused great persecution and restriction of
privileges. But the Lord was with him, and made him to triumph.

Mary's mother says that she delighted to visit the poor in Norfolk,
and especially the aged. A very old man, in the suburbs, often came to
her door, and never went empty away; and frequently at evening she
would go and carry him warm tea, and in the winter she brought him
wood in small armfuls. When he died, he said he wanted Mary to have
all that belonged to him. Though he was scarcely worth three cents, it
was a rich heart gift.

Her Christian course was marked with usefulness. Self-denying devotion
to the glory of God and the good of others characterized her earlier,
as her later career. A deacon of the church on whom the writer called
when recently in Norfolk, says she had a strong desire for the
conversion of souls, and was often found exhorting them to repentance.
Other members of the church bore the highest testimony to her uniform
Christian deportment.

In 1847, Mary's mother was married to Thompson Walker, and bought a
house in Hampton, where they resided until the town was burned by the
rebels in 1861. Though sustaining herself by her needle, Mary found
time for many labors of love. Among other things, she originated a
benevolent society, called the "Daughters of Zion," designed for
ministration to the poor and the sick. It is still in existence.

Her house, like that of Mary and Martha of old, was a place of
spiritual resort. There the pastor, deacons, and other leading members
of the church found congenial society. She early began the exercise of
her gifts as a teacher. At that time, fifteen years ago, she had among
her pupils Thompson Walker, her stepfather, William Thornton, and
William Davis, all now able and eloquent exhorters. She was afterward
of great service to others, who are now efficient exhorters and
members of the church. Up to the time of the burning of Hampton, she
was engaged in instructing children and adults, through her shrewdness
and the divine protection eluding the vigilance of conservators of the
slave law, or, if temporarily interfered with, again commencing and
prosecuting her labors of love with cautious fearlessness, and this
in the midst of the infirmities attending a feeble constitution.

In 1851, Mary was married to Thomas Peake, formerly a slave, but
afterward a free man, light colored, intelligent, pious, and in every
respect a congenial companion, with whom she lived happily till her

The bereaved husband bears affectionate testimony to the strong mind
and sound judgment which dwelt in that feeble frame. He loves to speak
of his indebtedness to her richly stored mind for much of his
knowledge of the Bible. At his request, she would sit for hours and
relate Bible history. Others of our leading brethren also gratefully
acknowledge that they have drawn largely from the same storehouse of
biblical and varied knowledge.


      Commencement of the Mission at Fortress
      Monroe.--Flight of the Rebels from Hampton.--Burning
      of the Town.--The Place reoccupied by Freedmen.

About the first of September, 1861, the writer commenced the mission
at Fortress Monroe, under the auspices of the American Missionary
Association, and was quartered in a building called the _Seminary_.
Three months before this, the Union troops entered Hampton from Old
Point. The exciting scenes connected with this event have been
narrated to me by eye-witnesses. Among these troops were Duryea's
Zouaves, called by the people "red men," from the color of their

The utmost consternation seized the inhabitants of Hampton, when they
found the Union troops were approaching. Many of the colored people
even were in a state of suspense. All kinds of stories had been told
in regard to what the Yankees would do with them. Yet hope
predominated over fear. They could hardly believe that the Yankees
meant them any harm. But unmitigated fear filled the breasts of the
secessionists. There had been loud boasts of what they would do; but
when the red trowsers approached, their bravery all ran down into
their nimble feet. The battery of several large guns which they had
planted, and which might have done great mischief to the Union troops,
had they been bravely manned, was drawn off. In their confusion, the
bridge was first fired, and then the fire extinguished. Men, women,
and children ran screaming in every direction, crying, "They come!
they come! What shall we do?"

Here is a man within doors, gun in hand, pacing the floor in
consternation, ever and anon rushing to the window, and casting a
frightened glance in the direction of the road from the fort, till he
espies the Turk-like looking forms, moving "double quick," when he
darts from the house, screaming, "They are coming! they are coming!"
Off he flies, with the fleetness of fear, and in a few moments is seen
no more.

But in one house there are _two_ individuals, fearless and calm: Mrs.
Peake and her little daughter Daisy sit alike unalarmed; the one in
child-like faith, the other in child-like simplicity. Mrs. Walker,
Mrs. Peake's mother, is in a neighbor's house. Some time previous, the
lady of the house, an intimate friend, having great confidence in
sister Walker's prayers, said to her, "Sally, you must pray harder."

"Oh," said she, "I do pray as hard as I can."

"How do you pray, Sally?"

"I pray that the Lord's will may be done."

"You don't pray right, Sally," said one of them; "you must pray for
Jeff. Davis."

"Oh," said she, "I pray as well as I can, and as hard as I can. I am
praying all the time."

"That's right," said the other; "pray on, Sally--your prayer will
surely be heard. You can't pray any better prayer than you do. Pray
that the Lord's will may be done: I am sure it is the Lord's will that
the Yankees should not come here to disturb us; and I have faith to
believe they will not. Pray on, Sally; pray as hard as you can."

"I will, ma'am."

Time passed on; and now, on that fearful morning, just after the sun
has peeped above the horizon, lo, the Yankees! The strong faith above
expressed fails the possessor; and she, who would scarcely have set
foot on the ground for very delicacy, and who would not have been seen
riding out, unless in a fine carriage, drawn by fine horses, elegantly
harnessed, is now heard calling for any old horse or mule, and any
rickety wagon or cart, with rope harness--any thing--any thing to take
her out of the reach of the Yankees! Masters and mistresses are now
turned fugitives.

Here is one of many interviews between masters and slaves.

"What's the matter, master?"

"Oh, the Yankees are coming!"

"Are they? are they? What shall I do, master?" with affected tokens of

"Get out of the town as soon as you can."

"Oh, master, I'm afraid to leave the house. Oh, those Yankees! Do you
think they will hurt me?"

"Yes, they'll take you and sell you off to Cuba. Perhaps they'll kill

"Will they, master?"

"Yes, I tell you; why don't you leave the town, you rascal?"

"Oh, master, I don't know what to do. You an't a-going to leave us for
the Yankees to catch; are you?"

"Yes, I'm off, and you better be off with yourself--if you don't I'll
shoot you."

"Oh, master, don't shoot me--don't leave me!"

"There they come!"

"Where, master, where? where?"

"I can't stop--good by--you better be off!"

But Tony laughs in his sleeve, and says, with upturned eyes, "I'm not
afraid of the Yankees! Bless God, old master's gone--hope he'll never
come back any more!"

The Zouaves, on "double quick," approach nearer, and up rides one of
the secessionists, in hot haste.

"What's the matter, master? What's the matter?" inquires an
intelligent negro.

"Oh, matter enough, you villain. You brought all this trouble on us. I
am disappointed in you; I thought you would stick by us; but you
desert your best friends in extremity. You won't find those Yankees
what you expect."

"Oh, master, won't you stay and protect us?"

"No; good by, you villain. I'm out of town, and so you had better be,
very quick." And on he flies.

The Zouaves are now crossing the bridge,--now they enter the
town,--and as they pass through street after street, with hats off,
they bow politely to the colored people, who cheer them from doors and
windows. Now every fear is dissipated. Colored knees are bent, and
colored lips praise the Lord. The hope that had all along predominated
over fear is more than met, and the town is full of gladness. The
tidings spread, and the place is soon thronged with colored people
from the country around.

But how different with the white inhabitants! Go with me to the
Sinclair estate--a mile or two north of the town. One of the officers
rides up to the house, and says,--

"Do you own this place?"


"Well, deliver up all your horses."

Sam Simpson, the colored foreman, says, "Boys, bring up the horses."

"Oh, sir, spare an old man!"

"Hurry out those horses!"

"Oh, Sam, stand by me! Oh, dear, I shall die! Don't leave me! Don't
leave me!"

Poor old man! His ill-gotten riches are taking wings; the day of
retribution has come upon him, and, in spite of a sense of its
justice, we can not withhold our pity.

The colored people were soon set to work in constructing the battery
in Hampton, under the superintendence of Mr. Pierce, of the
Massachusetts regiment, since then superintendent of the Port Royal
cotton culture. They worked with a will, so that he was obliged to
suspend labor during the heat of the day, lest they should over-exert
themselves. After a month had elapsed, the battle of Big Bethel was
fought, and _not_ won; and soon after, the disastrous defeat and
flight of Bull Run occurred.

To reënforce the army of the Potomac a large part of the troops at
Fortress Monroe were ordered away. General Butler, concluding that he
had not sufficient force to hold Hampton, ordered it to be evacuated.
He gave a week's notice to the colored people to leave, and find
refuge on the other side of the bridge. But many of them delayed too
long, and were able to move but a part of their goods; in consequence
of which they suffered serious loss.

Among these was Mr. Peake. He lost a large part of his furniture, as
well as his two houses. The order of the rebel General Magruder to
fire the place was a gross exhibition of vandalism, without the
justifiable plea of military necessity. The incendiary work began on
the west side of the village, and spread toward the wharves. Hemmed in
by the conflagration on one side, and our firing on the opposite
shore, many of the executers of the order fell dead or wounded, and
were consumed by the voracious flames. Those who witnessed it said it
was an appalling sight.

The evacuation took place on the 7th and the conflagration on the 8th
of August. I arrived about a month afterward, and on visiting Hampton,
in company with the provost marshal, Captain Burleigh, I found only
about half a dozen houses that had escaped. One large house had had
its floor fired, but the fire had mysteriously gone out, without doing
much damage. A large new building, a little out of town, was also
standing uninjured. But the most of the village was a charred ruin;
the unsightly chimneys, and a few more or less dilapidated walls,
surviving to tell the story of what had been.

Thus the place remained in abandoned isolation during the winter. But
with the beginning of spring, the progress of our arms opened Hampton
to reoccupation. It was thought proper that those who, during the
winter, had been confined in large houses, overcrowded, should at
once build up the ruins, and provide themselves homes. To this end,
application was made for an appropriation of government lumber for
past services. Some lumber was received in this way, and the
evacuation of the camps by the soldiers, who had winter quarters here,
furnished still more.

Quite a large number of neat cottages have already been built. I
encouraged the people to build these small tenements on lots belonging
to the most decided rebels, hoping that, if not claimed by former
owners, these homesteads would be given to the occupants by
government. Thus Hampton is becoming quite a thriving, free
settlement, supported by fishing, oystering, huckstering, artisanship,
gardening, and farming. Colored people have settled on farms vacated
by owners, and will do well in keeping dairies, and cultivating the
land, and gathering its fruit, if not molested.

The old court-house walls, that survived the fire, have been inclosed
for a church and school house. The work was done by colored mechanics.
It seems fit that this place, where injustice has been sanctioned by
law, should be converted into a sanctuary of justice, righteousness,
and free education.

We consider that we are here trying the very highest experiment with
ex-slaves. They are here emphatically "turned loose," and are shifting
for themselves,--doing their own head-work and hand-work. It is not to
be expected that on the "sacred soil of Virginia" this experiment
should be carried out without encountering difficulties; but we feel
it to be a thing of blessed interest to follow as Providence leads,
and do the work of faith and love, leaving the result with him. There
is inspiration in the reflection that we are doing a representative
work, and whatever the issue, the work will not be burned up, nor the
workers permitted to suffer essential loss. We know that our labor is
not in vain in the Lord.


      Opening of Religious Services and Schools.--Mrs.
      Peake a Teacher.--Singing in the Schools.--Christmas

The religious and educational part of the mission has been one of
blessedness and promise. And in this, as in everything else, I have
aimed to teach self-development. In connection with the gathering of
the people in religious meetings, I proposed to commence Sabbath and
week-day schools, with such teachers as I had at hand. Meanwhile, some
of the children of the vicinity, getting perhaps some hint of my
intention, or prompted by an impulse from on high, called on Mrs.
Peake, and requested her to teach them, as she had taught the children
in Hampton.

It was with much gratification that I learned this request. I soon
found from observation, as well as information, that we had in her a
teacher of the choicest spirit, and of peculiar qualifications. She
was happy in having pupils as ready to learn as to request
instruction. Her school numbered at first only about half a dozen, but
in a few days she had between fifty and sixty. These scholars were
found to have generally very fair intellectual capabilities, and a few
evinced quite rare talents. Among these was her own little daughter,
five years old, named Hattie, but familiarly called by the pet name of
Daisy. She learned to read simple lessons fluently in a very short
time. Others also exhibited a precocity which from day to day rewarded
and stimulated the ardor of this devoted teacher.

Mrs. Peake was not satisfied with the ordinary routine of the week-day
school room, but felt that the teacher of a mission school should aim
to educate the children for eternity as well as for time. She found
great assistance in the primer, catechism, and other elementary
religious books, with which she had been furnished. She felt that the
teachings of the week-day school ought to be largely preparatory to
the rehearsals of the Sabbath school. What an impression for good
would be made upon the rising generation, were this course universally

Mrs. Peake deeply realized that every undertaking, and especially that
of training the young, should be begun and continued with prayer. She
not only prayed with her pupils, but taught them to pray. Having a
rich store of scriptural knowledge, and feeling its worth, and the
importance of simplifying it to the young, in order to awaken their
interest, she bestowed special attention on catechetical instruction.
Not satisfied with having Scripture truths committed to memory, she
explained and inculcated them, with line upon line and precept upon
precept, drawn from her own knowledge and experience. I can not think
that this spiritual instruction interfered in the least with the
other, but rather was a handmaid to it, furnishing a pleasant as well
as profitable variety, awakening and developing heart and mind at

Mrs. Peake also considered singing an important part of a right
education. Among the favorite hymns first learned and sung in her
school were, "I want to be an angel," "There is a happy land," "Around
the throne of God in heaven," "Here we meet to part again," "In heaven
we part no more," and others of kindred spirit, so familiar in the
Sabbath schools at the North. How ardent was her desire to win the
young intellect and affections for Jesus and heaven! With strict
appropriateness may we apply to her the poet's language,--

      "And as a bird each fond endearment tries,
      To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
      She tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
      Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way."

While Mrs. Peake attached prime importance to the training of the
rising generation, she felt that great improvement might be made among
the adults. This view inspired her action from the first in Hampton,
and with a blessed result, that is now apparent to all. She was
accordingly very ready to gratify the desire of a number of adults for
an evening school, notwithstanding her increasing infirmities. The
result is, that several, who scarcely knew the alphabet before, now
begin to read with considerable readiness.

In these multiplied labors, she exhibited a martyr spirit, of the true
type. Often when she was confined to her bed, her pupils would be
found around her, drawing knowledge as it were from her very life.
Again and again did Dr. Browne, brigade surgeon, who concerned himself
for her like a brother, advise her to consider her weakness, and
intermit her exhausting duties. The scene of these labors was the
Brown Cottage, near the seminary, fronting on Hampton Roads. The
school room was the front room, first story. Her own family apartment
was the front room, second story. It will ever be a place about which
precious memories will linger.

It was proposed that, on Christmas day, the children of the school
should have a festival. All the week previous, they were busy, with
their teacher, in preparations and rehearsals. A large room on the
first floor of the seminary was decorated with evergreens for the
occasion, and at one end a platform was constructed. At an early hour
in the evening, the room was crowded with colored children and
adults, and soldiers and officers. The programme opened with the
singing of "My country, 'tis of thee." Chaplain Fuller read the
account of the nativity of Christ. Dr. Linson prayed. Then the
children discoursed very sweet music in solo, semi-chorus, and chorus,
and at intervals spoke pieces in a very commendable manner,
considering that it was probably the first attempt of colored children
in the South.

Little Daisy, (Mrs. Peake's only child,) about five years old, was the
acknowledged star of the evening. She sang very prettily in solo, and
also in connection with the chorus. She sang alone the whole of the
hymn, "I want to be an angel."

[Illustration: LITTLE DAISY.]

I spoke of the contrast between the present and the past. A year ago,
_white_ children in Hampton could enjoy a scene of this kind, but
_colored_ children were excluded. But now times have changed. The
white man's child is away, and the colored man's child is on the
stage, and swells the choral song. And this is but a miniature picture
of what will be. The present is prophetic of the future. The few
hundred children about Fortress Monroe, now gathered into schools,
after the pattern of this first school, are types of one million of
children throughout the sunny South, on whom the sunlight of knowledge
is yet to shine.

After the concert exercises, the members of the school and others
repaired to the Brown Cottage. Here we were conducted into the school
room, which, like the concert room, was tastefully decorated with
evergreens; and we filed around a long table laden with refreshments,
and surrounded with Christmas trees, loaded with good things, all
gotten up spontaneously by, and at the expense of, the colored people
in the neighborhood. The viands were partaken of with a relish, and
by unanimous consent it was declared a merry Christmas of the right
type; the children sang, "Merry Christmas to all! Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all!"


      Failing of Health.--Religious Joy.--Farewell

After the exciting scenes of the Christmas festival, Mrs. Peake's
health sensibly declined, and in a week or two she was obliged to
suspend, and soon to give up entirely, the charge to which she had
clung with such tenacity. I visited her frequently, and was the bearer
of clothing and other tokens from friends at the North. Every thing in
our power was done to cheer her, and never were ministerings more
cordially bestowed, or more gratefully received and richly repaid. To
visit her had always been a privilege, but the privilege was doubly
precious during her last illness. To see how a frail woman, with an
exquisitely nervous temperament, could deliberately and calmly bid
farewell to family, pupils, and friends, and yield herself into her
Father's hands, to pass through the ordeal of sickness and death, was
a privilege and a blessing.

In her presence I was a learner, and, under the inspiration of her
words and example, obtained new strength for fresh endeavors in the
cause of God and humanity. In one of my visits, she told me that I
must give her love to the committee in New York, and all the friends
of the mission; that she had had a bright vision of her Saviour, and
he had assured her that the cause would triumph; that we were sowing
seed which would spring up and become a tree, to overspread the whole
earth; that we should be a great blessing to this down-trodden people,
and they would fulfill a glorious destiny. "Oh, yes," said she,
"brother Lockwood, you will succeed, for Jesus has told me so this

For two weeks previous to her death, she seemed to be in the "land of
Beulah," on the "mountains of the shepherds," where, like Bunyan's
pilgrim, she could clearly descry the promised land. She had a strong
desire to depart and be with Christ, which was far better than even
his most intimate earthly visits. Again and again, as I called to see
her, she assured me that she had had a fresh visit from her Saviour,
and he had told her that where he was she should be, and she would be
like him when she should see him as he is. She knew not where in the
universe heaven might be, but where her Saviour was, there would be
her heaven, for she would be with him.

Her constantly increasing cough and expectoration, though not attended
with much pain, were, as usual, accompanied with uneasiness, want of
sleep, and great weakness, which made her frequently request prayer
that she might have patience to bear all without a murmur, and await
her Father's will. She wanted to say, with the feelings of Job, "All
the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. I know
that my Redeemer liveth."

At one time, her symptoms seemed more favorable, and I expressed a
hope of her recovery. "No," said she; "I have taken leave of my
family, and of every thing on earth, and I would rather go, if it be
God's will; only I want to wait patiently till he comes to call me."
Her husband and mother told me that, during the previous night, she
had bidden them all farewell, and left farewell messages for her
school, and the church, and all her friends. She had thus set her
house in order, to die, or, rather, to live a diviner life, and she
was waiting the summons home. She said that she felt like a little
child in her Father's arms; and if, by lifting a pebble, she could
hold back her spirit, she would not do it.

Several days before her death, she requested me to sing "The
Christian's Home in Glory," or "Rest for the Weary"--a hymn, with its
tune, dear to her for itself and for its associations. As I repeated
the chorus, she exclaimed, again and again, with great tenderness and
emphasis, "Rest, rest, rest! Oh, brother Lockwood, there I shall rest,
rest, rest! This weary head shall rest on my Saviour's bosom."

When I had sung the last stanza,--

      "Sing, oh, sing, ye heirs of glory,
        Shout your triumph as you go,"--

she burst out in an ecstasy that seemed as if the spirit would break
away from the body, "Oh, brother, I shall sing! I shall shout! Won't
we sing? Won't we shout? Yes, we shall--we shall sing and shout!"

On Saturday morning, February 22, she was in a very happy frame of
mind, and said that she had had precious visits from her Saviour; he
had told her that he was coming soon, and would fulfill her heart's
desire in taking her to him. Her mother said, that during the previous
night she had been constantly reaching up, and sometimes she would cry
out, with great earnestness, "Do not leave me, dear Jesus."

She requested me to sing for her, and I sung, "The Shining Shore," and
"Homeward Bound." During the singing of the last stanza of the latter
song, she was filled with joy.

      "Into the harbor of heaven now we glide,
          We're home at last!
      Softly we drift o'er its bright silver tide,
          We're home at last!
      Glory to God! All our dangers are o'er;
      We stand secure on the glorified shore;
      Glory to God! we will shout evermore,
          We're home at last!"

"Yes," she exclaimed, "home at last! Glory to God! Home at last! Oh,
I shall soon be home--home--home at last!"

On the night of that day, about twelve o'clock, her waiting, longing
spirit went home. Washington's birthday was her birthday to a higher
life. After many a sleepless night, this last evening she was
permitted to rest quietly, till the midnight cry struck upon her ear,
"Behold, the bridegroom cometh!" It found her ready, with her lamp
trimmed and burning. Calling for her mother, she threw herself into
her embrace, as her spirit did into the embrace of her Saviour.

Just at midnight, on all the ships in Hampton Roads,--and which are so
near us that the cry on shipboard is distinctly heard on shore,--the
watchman cried aloud, as usual, "Twelve o'clock, and all's well!" The
sound penetrated the sick chamber, and the dying invalid apparently
heard it. She smiled sweetly, and then breathed her last sigh, and
entered upon that rest which remains for the people of God.

The next morning, which was the Sabbath, I called, and found her
husband and mother bearing up under their bereavement with Christian
fortitude. They could smile through their tears; though they wept, it
was not as those who have no hope. In the services of the day, the
bereaved were remembered in fervent, sympathizing prayer. We all felt
sorely afflicted, and would have grieved, but for the thought that our
temporary loss was her eternal gain. In the evening, a prayer meeting
was held till midnight in the room where her body lay; but all felt
like saying, She is not here; her spirit is with her Father and our
Father, her God and our God.

On Monday, at eleven o'clock, a large concourse assembled at her
funeral. We met in her school room, at the Brown Cottage, a place
sweetened and hallowed by associations with her crowning labors, and
thus a fit place for these leave-taking services. The occasion was one
of mingled sorrow and joy. The services were begun by singing,
according to her request, the familiar hymn,--

      "I would not live alway,"--

to the tune of "Sweet Home," in which it is generally sung by the
people here, with the chorus,--

      "Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home!
      There's no place like heaven, there's no place like home!"

The impression was very thrilling. Chaplain Fuller, of the sixteenth
Massachusetts regiment, offered prayer--praying fervently for the
bereaved mother and husband, and for little Daisy, who would one day
realize more than now a mother's worth by her loss. We then sung,
according to her request, her favorite hymn, "The Christian's Home in
Glory," or "Rest for the Weary." I selected for my text Hebrews
4:9--"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." At the
conclusion of the sermon the children sang,--

      "Here we suffer grief and pain;
      Here we meet to part again;
      In heaven we part no more.
          Oh, that will be joyful,
          Joyful, joyful, joyful,
          Oh, that will be joyful,
      When we meet to part no more.

      "_Little children_ will be there,
      Who have sought the Lord by prayer,
      From every Sabbath school.
          Oh, that will be joyful, &c.

      "_Teachers_, too, shall meet above,
      And our _pastors_, whom we love,
      Shall meet to part no more.
          Oh, that will be joyful," &c.

The coffin was then opened, and we took the last, lingering look at a
face whose heavenly lineaments I can never forget.

In long procession, in which her recent charge bore a prominent part,
we accompanied her to her resting place. The place of her sepulture is
about a hundred yards north of the seminary, on the bank of the inlet.
A live-oak tree stands at her head, projecting its emblematic
evergreen foliage over the sod-roofed tenement.

The departed selected, as a remembrance of her immortality, the 17th
verse of the 118th Psalm, "I shall not die, but live." The thirty-nine
years of her earthly existence were but the prelude to a life beyond
the sky; and while her spirit survives the ravages of death, her name
shall live in memory.

       *       *       *       *       *

In this unpretending memoir may its subject live again, and not in
vain. May teachers gather from her example fresh inspiration, and the
benevolent Christian fresh impulses in doing good. May they who enjoy
advantages superior to those of her proscribed race, take heed lest
the latter, by the better improvement of the little light enjoyed,
rise up in the judgment and condemn them.

Let Sabbath scholars, and children of pious parentage and Christian
education, who from earliest years have not only been taught to lisp
the Saviour's name, but to read it, pity the slave child, shut out
from such advantages, and give heed to instruction, lest, having more
given and unimproved, they be beaten with many stripes. Let all who
have an interest at the throne of grace remember little Daisy, and
pray that she may walk in her mother's footsteps, as far as she
followed Christ, only following more closely, attaining still greater
excellence, achieving still greater usefulness, and winning a still
brighter crown of glory.

As the enlarging harvest field whitens into ripeness, may the Lord of
the harvest send forth an increasing number of laborers. Oh, who will
give ear to the echoing cry, "Come over and help us"? Come to the
harvest work, and you too, with arms full of golden sheaves, shall
shout the harvest home. Who will pay the hire of the laborers? Who
will lend to the Lord the capital needful to secure the harvest in
season and well? For such there shall be untold riches laid up in
heaven. And who will sustain those who bear the burden and heat of the
day, by the buoyancy of prayer? This is a work thrice blessed to all



On the 8th of August, 1861, a letter was addressed to Major-General
Butler, then in command at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, by the treasurer
of the American Missionary Association, respecting the people whom he
had denominated "contrabands." In this letter, the writer communicated
to General Butler the wishes of some persons in the free states, that,
as considerable embarrassment was felt by the public authorities with
regard to the increasing numbers of colored persons who had fled and
were fleeing for protection to the forts and camps of the United
States, they should be sent into the free states to obtain employment.
A prompt and courteous reply was received, and, in reference to the
desire expressed, General Butler stated that the "contrabands" would
be protected; that many of them would be employed in government
service; that there was land enough to cultivate in Virginia; and as
the freedmen would never be suffered to return into bondage, there was
no necessity for sending any of them to the Northern States.

The executive committee of the association, feeling highly encouraged
by these assurances, at once determined to commence a mission at
Fortress Monroe. Rev. Lewis C. Lockwood was commissioned as their
first missionary to the freedmen. He repaired to Washington, where he
received encouragement from the government, and recommendation to the
commanding general, Wool, who had succeeded General Butler. General
Wool received him cordially, heartily approved the plan, and afforded
him all needful facilities.

Mr. Lockwood conferred with the leading persons among the freedmen,
investigated the condition and wants of the people, made arrangements
for week-day and Sabbath meetings, organized week-day and evening
schools, employed several of the most intelligent and gifted colored
people as assistants, and through the committee in New York made
urgent appeals for clothing, &c., for the destitute, and also for
additional missionaries and teachers.

The late lamented Mrs. Mary S. Peake was the first teacher employed.
She continued to teach as long as her health permitted, and near to
the time of her decease. Other teachers have been employed; chaplains
in the army and pious soldiers have proffered their occasional
services, and the religious meetings, Sabbath schools, and week-day
schools, have been well attended. Mr. Lockwood labored there thirteen
months, and then removed to another field. In his final report, he
states that he had ministered to a congregation at Hampton, where the
average attendance was four hundred; and to a congregation at Fortress
Monroe, where the average attendance was about the same.

A day school was kept in a house, near Hampton, formerly the residence
of Ex-President Tyler, which was wholly given up for the use of the
freedmen. This school was subsequently removed to the old Court House
at Hampton, which had been fitted up for the purpose, government
furnishing a portion of the lumber. This school became the largest
under the care of the freedmen's teachers, and numbered at one time
five hundred scholars. Among the ruins of Hampton, which had, at an
early period of the rebellion, been burned by the rebels, the colored
people erected rude cottages, the materials being gathered from the
vacated camps, the deserted dwellings of fugitive slaveholders, &c.

Such of the freedmen as were not employed by government have obtained
a living by fishing, oystering, huckstering, carting, washing, &c.


Many highly interesting facts have been communicated with regard to
the freedmen--their natural endowments, their facility in acquiring
knowledge in letters and arms, their industrial habits, their
shrewdness in business transactions, their gratitude, their courage,
their acquaintance with passing events, their confidence that the
result of the rebellion will be the liberation of their people, and
their piety. Some of these facts have been extensively published, and
have been read with high gratification. It is thought that a few of
these facts may add to the value of this little publication.

[Illustration: A "CONTRABAND" SCHOOL.]


A young teacher at Hampton, Virginia, writes as follows: "When I first
commenced the school here, I found the children such as slavery
makes--quarrelsome, thievish, uncleanly in their persons and attire,
and seemingly inclined to almost every species of wickedness; and it
appeared to me that they were too far gone to be ever raised to any
thing like intelligent children at the North. But I found that I had
reckoned without my host in the persons of these children.

"At the end of the first week there was a decided improvement
manifested, and in four weeks you hardly ever saw one hundred and
fifty children more cleanly in their persons and apparel. Their
lessons were, in most cases, quickly and correctly learned, and their
behavior was kind and affectionate toward each other, while in singing
the sweet little Sabbath school songs, I should not hesitate to put
them side by side with the best of our Sabbath-school scholars at the
North. And they so fully appreciate my humble efforts in their behalf,
that my table in the school room is loaded, morning and noon, with
oranges, lemons, apples, figs, candies, and other sweet things too
numerous to mention, all testifying their love to me, although I can
do so little for them."

Another teacher, at Beaufort, South Carolina, writes: "My school
numbered about forty of the children. Most of them were very dirty and
poorly dressed, all very black in color. A happier group of children I
never expect to witness than those who composed my school: bright
eyes, happy looks, kind and patient dispositions, made them look
attractive to my eyes, though they were 'horribly black,' as some have
called them, and very dirty at first. But they were so innocent, so
despised by others, and withal so anxious to learn, that I felt a true
sympathy for them.

"Their masters have kept them in darkness and degradation. This is
only the result of slavery.

"They are very eager to learn. Every one wishes to be taught first;
yet, unlike some white children, they are patient and willing to wait.
They do not easily tire of study, but are very diligent in getting
their lessons. I have known them to teach each other, or sit alone and
drill over a lesson for two hours at a time.

"Let me relate to you a little incident that will illustrate what I
have just said. One day, at Beaufort, soon after we landed, while
walking through the upper portion of the town, I heard a little voice
saying the alphabet, while another wee voice, scarcely audible, was
repeating it after the first. I looked quickly around to discover from
whence the voice came; and what do you think I saw? Why, seated on the
piazza of a large empty house were two of the blackest little negro
children, one about seven, the other not more than three years old.
The elder had his arm thrown lovingly around the almost naked form of
the other, and with an open primer in the lap of one, they were at
their study. An hour after, I returned by the same spot, and was both
pleased and surprised to find them still at it. God bless the little

"This desire, or rather eagerness, to learn to read, is manifested by
all. I have stopped by the wayside many a time, and have immediately
collected a group of old and young about me, and have made them repeat
the alphabet after me slowly, letter by letter. They esteem it the
greatest kindness I can show them, and as I turn to depart, the
fervent 'God bless you, massa,' 'Tank de Lord, massa,' reach my ears."


After the mission had been established, one of the officers' wives
remarked to another, "I do not miss my things nowadays."

Nearly all the church members had taken the temperance pledge.

"They have their vices," writes a northern physician on one of the
plantations on Port Royal Island; "deception and petty thieving
prevail. They are careless, indolent, and improvident. They have a
miserable habit of scolding and using authoritative language to one
another. All these vices are clearly the result of _slave education_,
and will gradually disappear under improved conditions.... If one is
honest with them, and gets their confidence, the rest is easily


A very large portion, probably, at least, more than half of the
"married" freed people, had been married only in slave fashion, by
"taking up together," or living together by mutual agreement, without
any marriage ceremony. The missionary proposed to such that they
should be married agreeably to the usages in the free states. The
leaders of the colored people were conversed with, and they, without
exception, agreed as to the propriety of the measure. One, now
advanced in life, said, that when he proposed to his companion to go
to a minister and be lawfully married, she replied, "Oh, what use will
it be? Master can separate us to-morrow." But he coincided fully in
the propriety of the proposed course.

Mr. Lockwood, after preaching on the sanctity of the marriage
relation, proceeded to unite in wedlock several couples, among whom
were some who had lived together for years. He gave each of the
parties a certificate, in handsome form, which they seemed to prize
very highly. It appeared to have a most beneficial effect upon the
parties themselves, and the whole population.


Not a few of the freedmen, though illiterate, exhibit remarkable
powers of eloquence. The missionary, in describing the address of one
of them, after a discourse by the former, says, "The address was a
masterpiece. It melted every heart. He appealed to the soldiers
present who were in rebellion against God, striving to put down
rebellion in this land, and asked them how they, who had been taught
to read the Bible, and had learned the Lord's Prayer in infancy from a
mother's lips, could stand in judgment, when a poor, despised, and
inferior race, who, though denied the Bible, had been taught of God,
and found their way to Christ, should rise up and condemn them. He
then turned to his fellow 'contrabands,' and entreated them to embrace
thankfully, and improve, the boon already given. He considered the
present a pledge of the future--the virtual emancipation of fifteen or
eighteen hundred the promise of the emancipation of four millions. The
Lord works from little to great."


The missionary wrote: "Last Thursday I had an opportunity to observe
the intellectual state of a considerable number of the brethren at a
church meeting. I was surprised at their understanding and wisdom in
regard to church order and propriety, and tone of discipline. As the
church records had been burned up in the church edifice at Hampton, I
inquired how far any of them could recall their contents. One or two
replied that they could almost repeat the church regulations from

"In the discussion, high ground was taken in regard to the Sabbath,
the temperance cause, and other matters of Christian morality. In
discipline, stress was laid on the propriety and duty of private
admonition, in its successive scriptural steps, before public censure.
On this point one brother said he had privately admonished a neighbor
of the impropriety of taking articles to the camp on the Sabbath, and
he had acknowledged his fault, and promised amendment. The duty of
forgiving offenders, and undoing wrongs, was also insisted on. Several
had been improperly excluded from church privileges through the
influence of white power. It was, therefore, decided to-day that those
who had the confidence of the church should be restored to
church-fellowship unconditionally."

One of the members, and an aged leader, stated that he had on one
occasion been seized by a white deacon, dragged down from the gallery,
and threatened with thirty-nine lashes, because there was a little of
the Methodist in his composition, and he had "got happy and shouted in

On another occasion, William Davis concluded some remarks as follows:
"I hope that all of you, old and young, will learn to read, as I did.
When I was converted, I was anxious to learn to read God's book. I
kneeled down by my book, [he here kneeled by the table,] and prayed
that God would teach me to read it--if only a little, I would be
thankful. And I learned, and you can if you will, for you have no one
to hinder you, as I had. We should all show that we are worthy of
freedom. Only educate us, and we will show ourselves capable of
knowledge. Some say we have not the same faculties and feelings with
white folks.... All we want is cultivation. What would the best soil
produce without cultivation? We want to get wisdom. That is all we
need. Let us get that, and we are made for time and eternity."

Transcriber's Note:

All spelling is as it appears in the original text. The frontispiece
illustration has been moved to follow the title page, and the 'Little
Daisy' illustration has been shifted slightly so that it is not in the
middle of a paragraph.

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