Bloom
ca. 1780-1810
Southold

Title

Bloom
ca. 1780-1810
Southold

Description

Enslaved woman

Sex

Female

Status

Enslaved

Enslaver or Household

Abraham Mulford Jr.

Birth Date

Before 1780

Death Date

October 13, 1810

Source/s

1) J.W. Case, “Kedar and his Family” in Long Island Traveler, January 23, 1879 (accessed at nyshistoricalnewspapers.com).

2) Ancestry.com database Southold First Presbyterian Church Records, [U.S., Presby Church Records, 1701–1970], page 185 (image 251/340).

3) Salmon Records, page 74.

4) Whitaker Collection, available online at https://southoldlibrary.pastperfectonline.com/

Reference numbers 2008.0011.0011, ****.0012, ****.0014, ****0025. Newspaper articles in Newsday, December 22, 1992 and The Suffolk Times December 23, 1993 (p15).

Biographical Text

Second daughter of Kedar and his first wife, Chloe. Bloom “went out to service” in Southold and died there unmarried. Her death may have been recorded in the First Presby Church records on 13 October 1810 (“Bloom, a black woman [died]”), as well as the Salmon Records, “[died] Oct 13, 1810, Bloom, Negro Poore.”

Two oral traditions may provide some context to Bloom’s short life. Both come from descendants of Alvah and Bethia (Horton) Mulford and share the following thread: One Sunday morning, a British vessel anchored in the Long Island Sound near the home of Abraham Mulford Jr. With muskets in hand, the townspeople raced to the site ready to stop the intruders. Instead of British soldiers, the people found an agitated, mulatto child on the rocky shore who appeared deaf and mute. She was identified by one word—Bloom. Abraham Mulford Jr. took pity on the child and brought her to live in his household until her death.

Despite her physical challenges and poverty, Bloom must have made a lasting impression on those who knew her as well as future Southold residents. She was buried in Southold’s First Presby Church Burying Ground; someone paid to mark her grave with a chiseled stone. It was this marker that caught the eye of Mrs. Eleanor Morris Lingo as a high school student. After moving away from Southold, Mrs. Lingo never forgot Bloom and started laying a Christmas wreath (anonymously) on the gravesite in 1954. This ritual continued until well into the 1990s when Mrs. Lingo identified herself to reporters.

Clues from these oral traditions should be investigated, particularly records created by the Mulford family. It’s possible that Bloom’s mother, Chloe, was enslaved by the Mulford family which meant that her children would belong to them. If so, it wasn’t pity that moved Abraham Mulford, but a legal obligation. 

NOTE: Jonathan Horton manumitted a woman named Bloom (age 25) in April 1805. Possibly two women with the same name, or conflated evidence. (Southold Town Records, Volume 3 (Liber D): 50–51.)

        

(Research by Jackie Dinan)

Collection

Citation

“Bloom
ca. 1780-1810
Southold,” Plain Sight Project, accessed October 17, 2021, http://plainsightproject.org/items/show/379.