Birth: 1767 in Africa

Death: 1815 in Boston, MA

Historical Role/Pertinence: Beloved member and entrepreneur of Boston’s early African-American community, specifically recognized for her devoted religious work.

Chloe Spear was captured and brought to America at age 12. She was bought by Captain Gamaliel Bradford and taken to live in Boston, Massachusetts around 1779. The family moved to Andover, Massachusetts for a time before returning to the city of Boston. During her time with the Bradfords, Chloe secretly learned how to read. This led to her discovering Christianity and eventually becoming a member of the New North Congregational Church. Chloe established a boarding house in Boston's North End with her husband, Cesar Spear. In 1798, Chloe Spear bought a house near Hanover St in the North End. After Cesar passed away, Chloe opened up her house as a Christian meeting place for Black and white Bostions to gather, Spear joined both the Second Baptist Church and Boston’s African Baptist Church. Chloe Spear worked hard to control her finances after being enslaved. It is known that she owned more property than most of the African Americans and whites in the city. Spear’s life was most famously recorded in the famous Memoir of Mrs. Chloe Spear, which details her life and religious activity.

Associated Exhibits

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Works Cited

Minardi, Margot. “Chloe Spear: Leaving a legacy, Listing a Life.” Royall House & Slave Quarters. Accessed November 2023. https://royallhouse.org/chloe-spear-by-margot-minardi/.

Minardi, Margot. “Chloe Spear.” Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade. Enslaved, Accessed November 2023. https://enslaved.org/fullStory/16-23-126872/.