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Freedom's GardenerJames F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America$
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Myra B. Young Armstead

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814705100

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814705100.001.0001

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What Can a Man Do?

What Can a Man Do?

(p.11) 1 What Can a Man Do?
Freedom's Gardener

Myra B. Young Armstead

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the early life of James F. Brown. He was born in Maryland on October 1, 1793. Nothing is known about his mother; his father was a man named Robert Chase who died in Maryland, possibly in Baltimore, on July 22, 1838. Brown may have also been the eldest of several siblings. He worked as a servant of the William E. Williams family for eleven years, from 1816—the family from which he later escaped. If he did live with the Williams family he would have had ample opportunity to gain experience in the kinds of work he later performed in New York as a waiter, a coachman, and a gardener. As a substantial household and a leading family in the community, the Williamses entertained neighbors and visiting elites frequently. Those dining with them would have been served by slave waiters. Brown faded from the literary trail in Maryland in 1826, but he seemingly resurfaced as Anthony Chase later that year. The remainder of the chapter describes how Brown may have morphed into Chase during the mid-1820s.

Keywords:   James F. Brown, slaves, Anthony Chase, Williams family, Maryland

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