“As ancient is this hostelry

As any in the land may be,

Built in the old Colonial day,

When men lived in a grander way.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn

-Yes, Longfellow was right. Some men lived in a grander way, often those who enslaved people of color and Native Americans to do their dirty work, including the owner of the Wayside Inn.

One of the enslaved at the Wayside was Portsmouth Massimus. According to Jerusha Howe, the granddaughter of the innkeeper at the time, Massimus had been kidnapped as a child while at play in Africa along the Guinea coast (Wayside), somewhere between Guinea-Bissau and central Nigeria (Images).

Portsmouth was again purchased years later on the same month as the passing of the British Tea Act that helped to ignite the American Revolution, April 1773.

According to her own words, Jerusha Howe remembered him fondly. He had taken care of her as a small child.

For those of you who think slavery in Massachusetts ended with the American Revolution or shortly thereafter, think again. Four years short of the 19th century in 1796, Ezekiel How, the owner of Portsmouth, wrote the following in a codicil to his will consequently probated:

“[M]y will is that my old Negro servant Portsmouth shall be subject to the orders of my wife aforesaid in such matters and things as may be necessary in assisting her about her household concerns (Wayside)”

Susan Elliott

Independent Researcher


“Images of Power & Identity.” Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. https://africa.si.edu/exhibits/ipi/guinea.htm

Wayside Inn. Codicil to the Will of Ezekiel How #14755, and various papers. https://www.facebook.com/…/pcb…/10158320440289174/#waysideinn#PortsmouthMassimus#massachusettsslavery#slavedwellingproject108People reached44Engagements–Distribution ScoreBoost Post

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