Milford New Hampshire Black Novelist and Spiritualist: Harriet "Hattie" E. (Green) Adams Wilson Robinson (1825-1900)

Harriet “Hattie” E. (Green) Adams is believed to have been born on March 15, 1825(?), possibly in Milford, New Hampshire. She was the daughter of Joshua Green, a free African American, who was a “hooper of barrels,” and Margaret Ann (or Adams) “Mag” Smith, a washerwoman of Irish extraction.

She spent her early life as an indentured servant in the home of a Milford, New Hampshire family. She married 1st) about 1851 in Milford NH to Thomas Wilson of Virginia. She married 2nd) 29 Sep 1870 in Boston MA to John Gallatin Robinson. Their marriage record states that John was a “physician” (actually a spritualist), age 26 born in Woodbury CT, son of Albert G & Jane S. Robinson. The same record states this was her 2nd marriage,  she was 37 and born in Milford NH, with parents being Joshua and Margaret Green.  The 1860 Census shows them living together in Boston MA, listed as white.  She had one child (with her first husband), George Mason Wilson, born possibly June 15, 1852, who died 16 February 1860 in Milford NH, age 7, at the Milford Poor Farm.

She wrote “Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black,” a book that is considered the first novel ever written by a black American. It was first published in 1859. Our Nig traces the trials and tribulations of a character named Frado, a mixed-race girl who grows up as an indentured servant to a white Massachusetts family.

Harriet was active in the Spiritualist movement as a lecturer and medium. She died on June 28, 1900 in Quincy MA, and is buried in Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy, Massachusetts.  On November 4, 2006, as part of the Harriet Wilson Project, a statue dedicated to her life was unveiled in Milford New Hampshire.

Janice

*ADDITIONAL READING*

Book Online: Our Nig

-Wikipedia: Harriet E. Wilson

Harriet Wilson Project Official Website

Harriet E. Wilson: Answers.com

NPR: Granite State Stories – Harriet Wilson

Teaching Harriet Wilson

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2 Responses to Milford New Hampshire Black Novelist and Spiritualist: Harriet "Hattie" E. (Green) Adams Wilson Robinson (1825-1900)

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