One of the early remembrances of slavery in North Guilford can still be found in the Autobiography of Lyman Beecher (1864). Lyman Beecher was the father of many famous children amongst whom were the abolitionist and preacher Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker, and writer of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Harriet Beecher Stowe. In the chapter about his childhood in North Guilford during the time of the Revolution, Harriet Beecher Stowe asks her father about slavery in North Guilford:
“Were there not some who held slaves then?” Lyman Beecher responded: “Yes, a few. Darb, the fiddler, was a slave; belonged to old Mr. Ben Rossiter. Darb came in one evening and played dancing tunes after I was abed. There were about a dozen slaves in North Guilford, but slavery was very lenient.” He went on to say: “Old Priest Fowler’s Moses was quite the man of business; sent Johnny Fowler to college, and paid the bills, managed the farm, rung the church bell and was factotum. He lived a slave because he was a king” (Beecher 13-14).”
The two primary documents found following are the Emancipation of Darby by Ben Rossiter dated 1793 and the Examination of Darby by the Guilford, CT Justices of the Peace.
These documents can be found in the property records in the Guilford , CT Town Clerk’s office in Guilford in Volume 16, pages 211(1) and 211(2).