Monday, July 17, 2006


This website provides material on David Ruggles, one of the great unsung heros of the anti-slavery struggle. It concentrates particularly on the years he spent in Northampton, Massachusetts in the section now known as Florence. It is, in that respect, an exercise in sharing local history. But because Ruggles’ activities had such widespread influence in the areas of journalism, education, civil disobedience, organized resistance, fugitive assistance, and naturopathic health care the threads will lead back to his years in New York City and out from Florence (then Bensonville) to his many coadjutors.

By focusing minutely on the resources available locally, such as the extensive probate records and deeds relating to his business arrangements, we hope, as we fill in the knowable facts, to provide a clearer portrait of this activist’s activist who died in his prime in 1849 at the age of 39. Unlike many of his friends and colleagues who make an appearance here—David and Lydia Maria Child, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Samuel J. May, and many others who passed through Florence in the Ruggles years—he was prevented from reflecting on his life as he remembered it. With this website and in the pages of the upcoming biography of Ruggles by historian Graham Russell Hodges his story will finally be told in detail. We invite you to participate.

If you have a related website and care to make a link to this one we would appreciate it. If you have questions or contributions to the site send them to and I will be happy to put them up. Except for this introduction, new posts will appear for the first week or so at the beginning of the page. Occasionally the site will be reorganized for the most coherent expression of the content. While we plan to concentrate on Ruggles’ time in Florence we would appreciate any new found material from any period.


Blogger Linda Cousins-Newton said...

Thank you for this informative blog on one of the lesser known luminaries albeit great contributors to the Underground Railroad. I am a teacher/storyteller whose focus is the UGRR. Had decided to do some storytelling on unsung heroes and sheroes, including Br. Ruggles, at a presentation this weekend. It was a pleasure to find your blog in the website listings for him.

Keep up the excellent work in spreading the word re this wonderful lover/servant of his people in particular and humanity in general.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For though he was good-natured, he was very shiftless, and it was, as our national proverb says, like pulling teeth to teach him. Watkinson know their intention to go directly from her house to Mrs.. No, there wasn't, by gum! Nothing but the house? His very own words! chuckled Uncle Billy.. Without despairing, however, I undertook the siege of a less implacable heart.. As things stand, the saddest state prison I ever visit is that Representatives' Chamber in Washington.. There is no other process which contributes so much to concealment of the dream's meaning and to make the connection between the dream content and dream ideas irrecognizable.. Smiley, and so I started away. I want you to feel perfectly safe. But, sometimes, mastered after long struggles, I seized my spectacles and sauntered into the little town.. The thoughts themselves fit beautifully together into chains logically bound together with certain central ideas which ever repeat themselves.. * * * * * And yet, the next morning, when the Bredes came down and seated themselves opposite us at table, beaming and smiling in their natural, pleasant, well-bred fashion, I knew, to a social certainty, that they were nice people.. The horse was now entirely immersed in the water, with the exception of his head and the upper part of his neck, and, unable to reach the bottom with his feet, he made vigorous efforts to swim.. This was the lady at whose house they had left the first letter of introduction.. This young man appeared to conceive a strong fancy for Major Talbot.. Indeed, being of that type which is called shiftless, he was only too happy to be told daily what to do, and to be charged not to be forthputting or in any way original in his discharge of that duty.. While the dominating system has withdrawn on the wish to sleep, the dream may bring to expression with manifold distortions a wish from the Unc.. Ask her what piece of music she likes best.. But it did not go down very far.. The truth is, that this vision was not in itself a delusion, nor, indeed, half bright enough.. We thus come near to the popular idea of an interpretation of dreams, and, on the other hand, possess again the technique of the ancients, among whom the interpretation of dreams was identical with their explanation through symbolism...

1:49 AM  

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