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The People: Emeline & Sam Hawkins

Known Facts about Emeline Hawkins
Emeline Hawkins was formerly a slave belonging to James Glanding of Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. While she was James Glanding’s property, she gave birth to her first two children, Chester and Samuel. (Note: even though Sam and Emeline Hawkins considered themselves man and wife, they could not be legally married because she was a slave.) Chester and Samuel were also the property of James Glanding.

James died in 1839 and bequeathed to his son, Charles Glanding, his slaves Chester and Samuel plus several others. Emeline was not mentioned anywhere in the will. Later, during the Thomas Garrett trial, Charles Glanding would testify that at the time the Hawkins family ran away his father did not own Emeline, and so in turn, he did not own the 4 youngest children either. No historical records have been found to determine whether James Glanding sold Emeline or manumitted her.

Elizabeth Turner, a neighbor of the Glandings, claimed she owned Emeline. Again, it is unknown how Turner claims to have acquired Emeline. It was during this period that Emeline and Sam’s four youngest children were born, and Elizabeth Turner claimed these children were her property too. Sam tried to buy his wife’s freedom but Turner would not agree. Eventually, Turner found herself in financial difficulty and was forced to begin selling her property. The slaves were the first to be sold. Fearing that his family would be separated and sold, Sam, with the help of Samuel Burris, took his family and escaped.

Known Facts about Sam Hawkins
Sam was formerly a slave belonging to John Hackett of Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. He was manumitted in 1808. It is unknown how he met Emeline. From the descriptions of both Emeline and Sam, it is likely that Sam was older than Emeline by about 15 years, perhaps more. He was a sharecropper, and the entire family lived together in their own house. After the family escaped to Byberry township in Pennsylvania, they eventually changed their last name to Hackett (Sam’s former owner). This may have been an attempt to stay hidden from the Maryland slave owners. Records indicate that Chester and Samuel were apprenticed to other individuals in the area, but no other details are available. Sam died two or three years after securing his family’s freedom. No historical records have been found to indicate what happened to the family after Sam’s death.


Image: Recreation of Hawkins Family Fleeing in Snowstorm
Recreation of Hawkins Family Fleeing in Snowstorm
Image: Emeline, Sam, and Child in the New Castle Jail
Emeline, Sam, and Child in the New Castle Jail

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