"Have you ever seen the old graveyard up there in Stockbridge? In one corner is the family's burial place; it's called the Sedgwick pie. The pie is rather handsome. In the center Judge Theodore Sedgwick, the first of the Stockbridge Sedgwicks and a great-great-grandfather of Edie's and mine, is buried under his tombstone, a high rising obelisk, and his wife Pamela is beside him. They are like the king and queen on a chessboard, and all around them like a pie are more modest stones, put in layers, back and round in a circle. The descendents of Judge Sedgwick, from generation unto generation, are all buried with their heads facing out and their feet pointing in toward their ancestor. The legend is that on Judgment Day when they arise and face the Judge, they will have to see no one but Sedgwicks." ---Excerpt from an interview of John P. Marquand, Jr.
The Sedgwick family and Mumbet history are intertwined which is integral to the story of Mumbet. In fact the Sedgwick family placed Mumbet in the family plot, the Sedgwick Pie. It is wasn't for Catharine Maria Sedgwick's writings we would not know much about Mumtet. For more information:
|Theodore Sedgwick (1747 - 1813)
by Gilbert Stuart
Museum of Fine Art, Boston
Thedore Sedgwick was one of the lawyers who won Mumbet's freedom. He was assisted by Tapping Reeve.
Born in Connecticut. Member of Massachusetts state legislature; Delegate to Continental Congress from Massachusetts; U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, 1789-96, 1799-1801; Speaker of the U.S. House, 1799-1801; U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, 1796-99; state court judge; He wrote about Mumbet. Theodore Sedgwick knew George Washington, John Jay, Henry Knox, Alexander Hamilton, and others of note. Mumbet served in the Sedgwick household after leaving the Ashley House and became a central figure in the home. Theodore is the centerpiece of the "Sedgwick Pie" in which Mumbet is buried with the family plot.
Below is a photograph of the actual home office Sedgwick lived in when Mumbet walked from the Ashley home to Sheffield.
The Sedwick Office above where Mumbet walked from the Ashley House to ask Theodore Sedwick to represent her case for freedom is still in existence and is a private home in Sheffield This part of the house was the original office Sedwick used in in 1781.
This view of the Sedwick office in the photo below is from the East looking West. The original Sedwick office was from this garage to the pillars you see in the distance. The addition at the end from the pillars on did not exist in Sedwick's day. In 1781, Sedwick's office and home is what you are looking at. This home is a private home today and the owner gave permission for mumbet.com to photograph it and publish this on the web.
|A novalist and prolific writer, Catherine Sedgwick (1789 -1867) wrote about Mumbet. Catherine was the daughter of Theodore Sedgwick and lived in the same household Mumbet served after leaving the Ashley House. Catharine is buried next to Mumbet in the "Sedgwick Pie." Her brother Charles, who wrote Mumbet's epitaph lies on Miss Sedgwick's other side. Miss Sedgwick was born in Stockbridge, MA and later attended Payne's Finishing School in Boston. According to Professor Lucinda Damon-Bach, Ph.D. English Department, Salem State College, and Founder of the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society, upon her return to the Berkshires Catharine helped her sister-law run a school in Lenox, Massachusetts on Kemble Street on the site of what is now Springlawn at the National Music Foundation but spent most of her time writing. Professor Damon-Bach also says that Catharine "was one of the Sedgwick children who gave Mumbet her nickname," and that Mumbet was the children's substitute mother.|
Links and References to Catharine Maria Sedgwick
You may read what Catharine wrote about Mumbet by clicking here.
"Mumbett" (manuscript draft), by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, 1853, Massachusetts Historical Society
Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives
Journal article by Cheri Louise Ross; Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, Vol. 21, 2004
Periodizing Authorship, Characterizing Genre: Catharine Maria Sedgwick's Benevolent Literacy Narratives
American Literature - Volume 76, Number 1, March 2004, pp. 1-29, Robbins, Sarah.
Science in Catharine Maria Sedgwick's Hope Leslie Legacy
Volume 20, Number 1&2, 2003, pp. 22-37, Block, Shelley R. Madden, Etta M., 1962
Other books by Catharine Maria Sedgwick:
Slavery in New England (1853)
Our Burial Place (1853)
Clarence: or, A Tale of Our Times(1830)
Didactic Tales: Home: Scenes and Charactors Illustrating Christian Truth (1835)
Live and Let Live: or, Domestic Service (1837)
Tales and Sketches, Second Series (1844)
In the photo above, Mumbet's grave is to the left, then to the right of Mumbet is Catharine Sedgwick's grave, and to the right of Catharine is Charles Sedgwick, Catharine's brother and son of Theodore Sedgwick who is the centerpiece of the Sedgwick Pie.
Charles Sedgwick wrote Mumbet's epitaph on her grave stone which reads as follows:
known by the name of
Died Dec. 28, 1829
Her supposed age was 85 Years She was born a slave and remained a slave for nearly thirty years. She could neither read nor write, yet in her own sphere she had no superior nor equal. She neither wasted time nor property. She never violated a trust, nor failed to perform a duty. In every situation of domestic trial, she was the most efficient helper, and the tenderest friend. Good Mother, farewell."