Another post from my own website-in-progress about Daniel Read Anthony. Anthony was an abolitionist, and this post explores some of his early life and background in a quest to explain where his particularly virulent abolitionism came from. Hint: It has something to do with Frederick Douglass. To aid readers, I should mention that Daniel Read Anthony’s father was named Daniel Anthony. I will do my best to keep Daniel Read Anthony and his father straight, but brace yourselves all the same. (more information on name issues!)
Daniel Anthony (image below) was a Quaker, who married a non-Quaker Lucy Read. As a Quaker, Daniel Anthony was a pacifist. Like some Quakers he also against slavery. According to historian Herbert Aptheker, not all Quakers were abolitionists, particularly those in the south, but then again Daniel Anthony was not a Quaker in the strictest sense either; he married a non-Quaker, and did not enforce the beliefs on his children. Certainly his eldest son was no pacifist. Ruined by the crash of 1837, the family moved to the town of Hardscrabble NY, which Mr. Anthony had renamed Center Falls (Harper, Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony 1898, 37) At this time young D.R. Anthony was not old enough to attend school,
so he went to work with his father in one of the mills he owned, spending a great deal of time with his strong-willed father. (Harper, 1898) While living in Center Falls, and later in Rochester, Anthony Sr “made his home into a hospitable mecca for fugitive slaves and abolitionists including Frederick Douglass.” (Jean Baker Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists, 59) According to Baker, Susan B. Anthony once wrote her mother Lucy Read that she “never saw a man so wrapped up in a nigger as Father is in Douglass.” (Baker, 59). Daniel Anthony was an abolitionist, and a particularly insistent one at that. William Lloyd Garrison Sr. was another frequent visitor, and he and Douglass would later work with Susan. (For further information on the
relationship between Garrison, Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony, see Harper, Vol. 1, 149-166) Daniel Read Anthony almost certainly met William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass before he was 25, maybe before 20. The significance of that in his life cannot be understated.
Father Daniel Anthony died on November 29 of 1862. This date will be important when I consider his son’s emancipation activities during the Civil War. Daniel Anthony’s obituary was published in Garrison’s Liberator on Dec. 5. It is below.
Daniel Anthony did not pass his Quaker roots too his eldest son, but he did pass his beliefs in equality of all men and women. Daniel Read Anthony (and all his siblings) grew up in a household full of firm beliefs and a willingness to fight for them. His father rebelled against Quaker practice multiple times, risking (and receiving) expulsion. He also associated with early members of the abolitionist movement, and may have aided fugitive slaves. (I have not confirmed this beyond Baker’s statement – see Baker, 59) To add to this culture of rebellion, their maternal Grandfather had fought in the Revolution, and possibly in Shays Rebellion.
Never shy to fight for what they believed in, the Anthony/Read family had a worthy heir in my subject. One might say Daniel Read Anthony combined not only the family names, but also family traits to become a powerful force in his time, as we will see when grown-up Daniel first encounters pro-slavery/anti-slavery tensions in Kansas and Missouri.
Aptheker, Herbert. “The Quakers and Negro Slavery.” The Journal of Negro History 25, no. 3 (1940): 331-62.
Baker, Jean H. Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists. New York: Hill & Wang, 2005.
Harper, Ida Husted Catt Carrie Chapman, and owner former. The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony; Including Public Addresses, Her Own Letters and Many from Her Contemporaries During Fifty Years. Indianapolis and Kansas City: The Bowen-Merrill company, 1898.
Daniel Anthony’s Obituary courtesy of 19th Century US Newspapers http://infotrac.galegroup.com)