Connecticut's Last Slave? Nancy Toney's Life and Legacy
February 1, 2017 7 PM to 8 PM
Oil painting of Nancy Toney, attributed
to Osbert Loomis, courtesy of Loomis
Join Loomis Chaffee School Archivist Karen Parsons
for a program about Windsor’s Nancy Toney, a woman of African descent owned by three Connecticut families over the course of her 83 years. She lived through the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and passed away in 1857 shortly before the Civil War. Seldom portrayed in art or photographs, enslaved household members like Nancy Toney were supposed to be invisible whenever guests came calling, yet they worked in kitchens, washed and ironed and spun, emptied chamber pots, and kept households running smoothly.
Although sometimes referred to as Connecticut’s last slave, Nancy Toney is listed as a free person in Windsor’s 1830's census records long before slavery was officially outlawed in Connecticut in 1844. She remained with the Loomis family in Windsor until her death, and is buried in Palisado Cemetery. Her gravestone is a stop on the Connecticut Freedom Trail. A small oil portrait of Toney by Osbert Loomis and a recently-discovered daguerreotype image are among the treasures held by the Loomis Chaffee School archives.
Come learn more about Nancy Toney’s life, legacy, and community, the way she was portrayed in rare visual images of her that survive, and interfaces between art, photography and science in the middle years of the nineteenth century.
$6 adults, $5 seniors and students, WHS members
and people affiliated with the Loomis
Chaffee School $4