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Apess, William (31 January 1798–Apr. or May 1839), writer, Methodist minister, and Native-American activist, was born in Colrain, Franklin County, Massachusetts, the son of William Apes, a shoemaker and laborer, and Candace (surname unknown), probably a slave or indentured servant in the house of Captain Joseph Taylor of Colchester, Connecticut. According to Apess’s autobiographical accounts, his father was part Anglo-American and part Pequot and his mother “a female of the [same] tribe, in whose veins a single drop of the white man’s blood never flowed,” although some evidence indicates that she may have been part African American. Only in myth do such beginnings spawn great achievements. At age three, abandoned by his parents, he was nearly beaten to death by his maternal grandmother while she was in a drunken rage, a rage that Apess later understood as an effect of the theft by whites of Native American lands, culture, and pride. Bound out at four, he spent his youth as an indentured servant in three different white households in Connecticut and as an infantryman in a New York State militia company during the War of 1812. He received his only formal education, six winter terms of school, between the ages of six and eleven....

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Lumry, Rufus (1799/1800–21 June 1862), abolitionist, circuit preacher, and church organizer, was born in Rensselaerville, New York. He was almost certainly the son of Andrew, a probably illiterate wagon driver whose patrilineal Huguenot ancestral surname was Lamoureux; his mother’s identity is unknown. The family moved to Albany around the time of the War of ...

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Portrait of Rufus Lumry, by H.W Immke

Photograph by H.W. Immke, Bureau County Historical Society Princeton, Illinois