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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: Uncovering the Life of Quash, a Black Man in Eighteenth-Century Lincoln County
February 24, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm ESTby donation
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In the spring of 2020, while working on a genealogy project in the history of a local white family in Lincoln County, Maine, independent researcher James Tanzer came across a digital copy of the will of a formerly enslaved Black man named Quash, who lived in Topsham, Maine during the eighteenth century.
Eager to learn more about Quash, but unable to find any mention of him in local history books, James decided to research Quash’s life himself. Thus began a months-long project in local history to uncover the life of Quash, and bring his memory to the fore once again in the communities in which he lived.
By searching for evidence in Quash’s surroundings, including town records and social connections, not only was James able to find direct evidence of Quash’s life, but build a vibrant picture of a well-connected, motivated, and successful individual, whose story adds weight to arguments that Black history is there to be found, if only we know where to look.
James Tanzer is originally from the North Shore of Boston, and currently resides in Bath. He has worked in the museum field for almost 30 years, and has spent the last twelve years as the Outreach Coordinator for the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College. Since 2020 James has been researching free and enslaved Black residents of Topsham and Brunswick in the 18th- and early 19th centuries, and is committed to uncovering the stories of these hidden Mainers.