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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Black-owned homes in Mansfield prior to the Civil War

The house at Wood and First in Mansfield, recently described in the News Journal as the first black-owned house in the city, is unlikely to live up to that honorific.

The following information documents four black owned homes that existed, based on the 1850 Federal Census, the real estate tax index of 1850, and shown on the 1853 map of the city. None of the four homes has survived. According to a speech by Henry C. Hedges at the Independence Day ceremony in 1881, Foster Street was named after Robert Foster by Hedges' father James. Foster's house was at the NE corner of Foster and Park Avenue East. Hedges also named James Brown whose house was at the NE corner of First and Arch St. The families of William Stewart (or Stuart) and Daniel Washington are found by comparing Census data with the tax index. A few other individuals and families were identified in the census, but did not own real estate.

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