The Cary family of Chelsea, Massachusetts, prospered as plantation owners and managers for nearly two decades in the West Indies before the Grenada slave revolts of 1795–1796 upended the sugar trade. Through turbulent and often distressing times, Sarah Gray Cary used her quick intelligence and astute judgment to help her family adapt to their shifting fortunes. From Samuel Cary’s departure from Boston to St. Kitts in 1764 to Sarah Cary’s arrival in Grenada in 1774 to the second generation’s search for trade throughout the West Indies, Susan Clair Imbarrato tells the compelling story of the Cary family from prosperity and crisis to renewal.
Drawing on a wealth of archival material, this informative and engaging book describes how Sarah Cary managed households in both Grenada and Chelsea while providing a steadying, encouraging influence on a family that eventually included thirteen children. In particular, Imbarrato examines Sarah’s correspondence with her sons Samuel and Lucius, in which they address family matters, share opinions on political and social events, discuss literature and philosophy, and speculate about business.
Readers interested in history and literature, the transatlantic sugar trade, slavery and abolition, or family correspondence will enjoy this unique view of a seminal period of early American history. Sarah Gray Cary from Boston to Grenada will also appeal to readers desiring a rare female perspective on colonial America and plantation life in the Caribbean.