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Oney Judge Burial Site?


GREENLAND, NH FAMILY GRAVE

Jack Family graves, Host family of Washington's runaway slave Oney Judge / Photo (c) Evelyn Gerson on SeacoastNH.com

A fallen tree hides what remains of the Jacks/Staines grave site off of Dearborn Avenue in Greenland, NH. Many thanks to Everett Street for his assistance in locating the burial plot. Photo by Evelyn Gerson.

GREENLAND, NH FAMILY CEMETERY

Ona received many visitors, people curious to meet the woman who once "belonged" to the Washington family. However, Hall's last lines in the poem portray the Jack family as being envious of their housemate's notoriety. He even goes so far as to accuse the Jacks of mistreating the fugitive. Since Ona spent almost 25 years living under the same roof as Phillis and Nancy, one has to doubt Hall's report. In fact, the Jack sisters probably welcomed curious visitors since most brought presents such as food, sundries, and other much-needed supplies that would be shared throughout the household.

Phillis Jack Grave (Guardian of Oney Judge) by Evelyn Gerson on SeacoastNH.com

Remnants from the headstone of Phillis Jack, Jr. This is the only inscribed marker found at the site. Photo by Evelyn Gerson.

The author leaves his readers with a reminder that the family really had to struggle in order to survive. Rockingham county did not have a multifarious population and as a result the seacoast area's African-Americans fused together to confront cultural isolation. To overcome social marginalization, prejudice, scant housing, lack of economic opportunity, and pejorative white attitudes that faced their small community, Portsmouth area blacks, like the Jack-Staines domestic partnership, relied upon bonds of mutual dependence.

Copyright © 2000 Notes by Evelyn Gerson / SeacoastNH.com. Updated/ revised 2007

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