Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thinking about a family member during the Black Lives Matter protests

 I learned about Parker Pillsbury some years ago. I had always wondered why my farther was named Penn Parker Pillsbury and his farther was Pearly Parker Pillsbury, but by the time I had questions everyone had already passed on. Turns out Parker Pillsbury was a rebel with a cause and back in the early 1800's, it and he weren't popular among most white folks, churches, and the government for his views on ending slavery and women's rights. I've read a few books about Parker's life and travels and he certainly had guts to stand for what he believed in for decades. I'm proud to know someone in my family stood tall in the abolitionist movement.

Parker Pillsbury (September 22, 1809 – July 7, 1898) was an American minister and advocate for abolition and women's rights.

Pillsbury was born in Hamilton, Massachusetts. He moved to Henniker, New Hampshire where he later farmed and worked as a wagoner.
With the encouragement of his local Congregational church, Pillsbury entered Gilmanton Theological Seminary in 1835, graduating in 1839. He studied an additional year at Andover, and there came under the influence of social reformer John A. Collins, before accepting a church in Loudon, New Hampshire. His work in the ministry suffered after he made a number of sharp attacks on the churches' complicity with slavery. His Congregational license to preach was revoked in 1840. However Pillsbury became active in the ecumenical Free Religious Association and preached to its societies in New York, Ohio, and Michigan.
Pillsbury's dislike of slavery led him into active writing and lecturing for the abolitionist movement and other progressive social reform issues. He became a lecturing agent for the New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and American antislavery societies, and held these posts for over two decades. He edited the Concord (N.H.) Herald of Freedom in 1840, and again in 1845 and 1846. In 1854, he served as an emissary from the American Anti-Slavery Society to Great Britain. He stayed with the surgeon John Estlin and his abolitionist daughter Mary Estlin. Both John and Mary became involved in Pillsbury's problematic correspondence with the British activist Louis Chamerovzow.[1]
Pillsbury lectured widely on abolition and social reform, often in the company of fellow abolitionist Stephen Symonds Foster. He earned a reputation for successfully dealing with hostile crowds through non-resistance tactics. His support for non-resistance led to service on the executive committee of the New Hampshire Non-Resistance Society. Consequently, Pillsbury was not an active supporter of the Union war effort. However, he did applaud Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and defended the actions of John Brown after the raid on Harpers Ferry. He was a supporter of the abolitionist Radical Democracy Party, which challenged Lincoln from the left during the 1864 presidential election. However, the party refused to endorse some of his more radical proposals regarding black suffrage and land redistribution for freed slaves.
In 1865, Pillsbury broke with longtime associate William Lloyd Garrison over the need for continued activity by the American Anti-Slavery Society. He edited the National Anti-Slavery Standard in 1866.
Pillsbury helped to draft the constitution of the feminist American Equal Rights Association in 1865, and served as vice-president of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association. With feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Pillsbury served as co-editor for the women's rights newsletter The Revolution, founded in 1868.
Pillsbury completed his abolition memoirs, Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles, in 1883.
His nephew, Albert E. Pillsbury, drafted the bylaws of the NAACP.


At June 26, 2020 at 10:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you take after this ancestor Jim. Really interesting information especially in these times

At June 29, 2020 at 10:18 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

He certainly had the courage to stand for what he believed despite the odds. Knowing what I know now, I guess I've been like him for almost half of my life.

At June 30, 2020 at 3:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting to hear Jim. Have you contacted the Framingham history center about this guy? He has no connection to Framingham but his ancestor certainly does. I think it is a great story and should be widely shared if you ask me

At June 30, 2020 at 4:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool beans! I have no interesting people in my family tree. how did you find out about this guy? Are you one of THE "PILLSBURYS"?

At July 1, 2020 at 2:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like you come from a long line of political activists. were either of your parents involved like that? Just curious if your entire family has been like this


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