Wednesday, March 19, 2008

John C. Gore And The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society

I've posted a few enlightening but depressing slavery entries recently, so it's good to be able to add a positive entry to the mix. Here we meet John C. Gore, of the Roxbury Gores, one of whom was later memorialized by Paul Gore street in Jamaica Plain. This Gore was evidently an abolitionist, and a religious man as well. His effort to contribute to church and cause together came to nought, and so he chose the cause as the greater good.

Deed of John C. Gore.

At a special meeting of the Board of Managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, held in Boston at the Society's Room, Dec. 29, 1841 --- Ellis Gray Loring stated that John C. Gore, Esquire, of Jamaica Plain, had presented to the society a piece of land, valued at about six hundred dollars, by a deed in the following words: ---

Whereas, John C. Gore, of Roxbury, in the county of Norfolk, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, having learned that certain individuals residing in or near that part of said Roxbury, called Jamaica Plain, were desirous of forming a Baptist Church, and erecting a house of public worship in that place; and having also ascertained that the piece of ground hereinafter described, would be deemed a suitable location therefor, did, in a letter dated on the fifteenth day of May last, offer to make to the said new Baptist Society a free gift of the said piece of ground for the erection of a meeting-house thereon:--- adding to his letter the following request or reservation:

"The only favor I ask in return is, that they (the new Society) will permit this building to be used twelve times in a year of a week day, and not of a Sunday, (for five years from the date of the opening of the house for religious services,) by the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, who will appoint a responsible person, not personally disagreeable to the Baptist Society, to lecture therein, in order that the cruelties and villainies practiced towards twenty-seven hundred thousand human beings, by a nation who call themselves Christians, and profess to be the most free and enlightened on the earth, may be exposed: after the expiration of which five years, the whole property will remain vested in the Baptist Society, without condition, hindrance, or agreement of any kind."

And whereas the said Gore subsequently received from the Clerk of said new Society a reply to his offer, in the following words:

"Mr J.C. Gore: Sir,-- At a meeting of individuals interested in forming a Baptist Church at this part of the town, your communication, offering a lot of land as the site of the contemplated meeting-house, was read, and referred to a committee specially appointed to consider the same. The committee met for this purpose on Monday evening last, and, after due deliberation,

"Voted, That, although they regard with kindness Mr. Gore's offer, yet under all circumstances in the case, it is inexpedient to accept the same, with the reservations and conditions named by him."

Now, therefore, I, John C. Gore, above named, although painfully and reluctantly convinced not by this only, but by numberless similar instances, that the American Church, professedly dedicated to One who came to proclaim deliverance to the captive, and liberty to them that are bruised, is, as a body criminally indifferent to the wrongs and sufferings of the Slave, and in virtual alliance with Slavery, am yet desirous of making my proffered and rejected gift in some suitable way available to the cause of the true religion, which includes justice and mercy towards our fellow-man.

And for this purpose, I do hereby, in consideration of the premises, grant and convey unto Francis Jackson, Henry G. Chapman and Ellis Gray Loring, of the city of Boston, Esquires, and members of the Board of Managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, a parcel of land in Burroughs-Street, in Jamaica Plain, in said Roxbury, containing three quarters of an acre, more or less, and bounded as follows: Starting from the land of Nathaniel Seaver, on Burroughs-Street, and running on Burroughs-Street, north 37 degrees west, 134 feet; thence turning and running on land of John E. Williams, south 59 1-4 degrees west, 229 feet, 6 inches; thence turning and running on land of John Ashton, south 34 1-4 degrees east, 134 feet 4 inches; thence turning and running north 53 degrees east 234 feet 9 inches, on land of Nathaniel Seaver to Burroughs street, at the point of starting.

With all the privileges and appurtenances thereof: being the same conveyed to me by the deed of Cyrus Josselyn, dated April 3d, 1840, and recorded with Norfolk Deeds Lib. 128, Fol. 60.

To have and to hold the above granted premises to the said Jackson, Chapman and Loring, the survivors and survivor of them and his heirs and assigns to his and their use, but in trust, nevertheless, to make the said property, or its proceeds, instrumental at their discretion, and in any way they may think proper, in promoting the cause of the immediate and unconditional abolition of American Slavery.

In testimony whereof, I, the said John C. Gore, and also Mary Gore, my wife, who executes these presents in token of her releasing all right to dower in the premises, and of her hearty concurrence in this may act, have hereunto set our hands and seals this eighth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.

John C. Gore
Mary Gore

Source: Annual Report and Proceedings: by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society


  1. Hello, I am conducting research on Mary Gore, and was wondering if you knew the page number of the Report that has this deed. (I am being lazy.)

  2. At the Registry of Probate, there are two sets of indexes - one for buyers and one for sellers. You just look up the name of the person you're interested in, and each set will list all transactions over time. Then you go to the deed books and find the book and page. So the land above is listed as purchased in Lib. 128, Fol. 60. That's book and page in the deed room. When you go there, just ask for help and they'll direct you to the index and deed books.