Samuel Anderson: The Last Flatbush Slave
Augustus W. Harris
Samuel Anderson, my great-great-grandfather, was born 17 February 1813 at Jeremiah Lott’s farm, on Flatbush Avenue near Cortelyou Road. His mother was Isabella Butler, a slave in Jeremiah Lott’s house, while his father, Samuel Anderson, was owned by Richard Remsen.
In 1813, Flatbush Town, a small farming community, was the leading center for slave holding in Kings County. Seventy-three percent of its households owned at least one slave and over sixty percent owned five or more slaves. The average per household was 5.7 slaves.
Stories about Flatbush farm life say the farms produced almost everything they needed, including supplies, clothing and food. Farmers divided the work by gender and everyone (slaves, owners, and bond servants) shared the chores.
Men collected timber, cultivated and harvested crops, tended animals, hunted, and mended tools. Women were responsible for the domestic work, including cooking, sewing, washing, ironing, soap and candle making, egg gathering, and taking care of poultry. Slaves, both male and female, were also responsible for tending the fireplace, cleaning the chimney, and slaughtering animals.