Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

In researching and writing this book, I have benefited immensely from the many scholars whose writings have contributed to my understanding of the early American, West Indian, and transatlantic world in which the Cary family lived and traveled. I am grateful for the generous assistance from librarians who kindly responded to my queries and helped me locate materials. I thank Elaine Heavey, librarian and head of reader services at the Massachusetts Historical Society, for her expert assistance; Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

In January 1774, Sarah Gray Cary made the heart-wrenching decision to leave her three-month-old son with her mother in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in order to be reunited with her husband, who had returned to Grenada, West Indies, for business. She had hoped that the separation would be temporary, a few months at most. The decision was made with concern for the baby’s health, as the islands were notorious for fevers and other maladies. With family connecting them to greater Boston, and the possibility of wealth...

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1 Seeking Fortune: Samuel Cary in St. Kitts and Grenada, 1764–1773

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pp. 13-49

When Samuel Cary left Boston for St. Kitts in pursuit of a fortune, the lure of the West Indies promised riches and stature for merchants and planters engaged in the lucrative and expansive sugar trade. With great potential for wealth, the islands attracted ambitious young men such as Cary, who was eager to continue in his family’s proud mercantile traditions and become part of the growing transatlantic economy. Before departing, he placed two advertisements in the Boston Post-Boy: “Charlestown, March 26, 1764. To Be...

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2 Building Prosperity: Sarah Cary and Family in Grenada, 1774–1791

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pp. 50-81

Sarah Cary’s departure from Chelsea was both hectic and dramatic. Not only was she distraught about having to leave three-month-old Samuel behind, but with the Boston Harbor impassable, Sarah had to depart north of the city, as she would explain to her son Henry years later: “I believe you have heard me regret my want of opportunity after marriage to improve in music. It was all in vain. A voyage to the West Indies in winter, and sailing from Portsmouth — Boston harbor being blocked with ice — obliged me to leave...

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3 Relocating and Adjusting: A Family Separated, Chelsea and St. George’s, 1791–1794

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pp. 82-109

Upon returning to Chelsea in July 1791, after an eighteen-year absence, the Cary family began extensive remodeling of their house, a two-story mansion with thirty-one windows. Flush with funds from their Grenadian enterprises, they appeared to spare no expense with the renovations, including costly white pine paneling imported from England. Caroline Curtis recalls, “One of the family remembers finding an account book of my grandfather’s, showing that he himself had spent twelve thousand dollars upon it, — a large...

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4 Slave Revolts and Shifting Fortunes: Grenada, 1795–1797

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pp. 110-142

As renovations to the Chelsea estate continued into 1795, it was slowly becoming The Retreat that Samuel and Sarah had imagined upon returning from Grenada nearly four years earlier. As Caroline Curtis recounts, “Everything now seemed to promise a life of ease for my grandparents, the best education for their children, and good business prospects for the elder sons.” This promising picture was altered, however, “when a sudden change came.”1 This “sudden change” was news of a slave revolt that had broken...

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5 Recovery and Renewal: Grenada and Chelsea, 1797–1810

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pp. 143-184

In the aftermath of the slave revolts, the Cary family continued to regain their financial bearings. With Samuel Sr. and Sarah committed to their farm and household at Chelsea, Samuel Jr. and Lucius established trade throughout the West Indies and the Caribbean at Grenada, Martinique, Demerara, Barbados, and Bermuda. For the brothers, seeking their fortune would be challenging, and their struggles would mark a definite contrast to the assumptions about wealth that had drawn their father and grandfather to the...

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6 Sustaining a Family: Grenada and Chelsea, 1810–1826

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pp. 185-200

As the Cary family continued to mourn the loss of their brother and son Samuel, his siblings would take up the charge of providing financial support. Lucius continued to establish trade throughout the West Indies and the Caribbean, including at Grenada, Martinique, Demerara, Bermuda, and Jamaica. Charles, Henry, Edward, Thomas, George, Robert, and William established businesses in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Margaret, Harriet, and Ann remained at Chelsea to assist their mother with the household. Sarah had...

Notes

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pp. 201-214

Bibliography

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pp. 215-226

Index

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pp. 227-234