Peg – we don’t know her last name – was born about 1742 in or near Hadley, Massachusetts. She was enslaved in Bennington by Stephen Fay from 1772 to 1778. On June 25, 2022, she will be remembered and honored by the people of Bennington, Vermont.
Peg lived and worked at Fay’s Tavern, better known as the Catamount Tavern, during some of the most important years of our state’s and our nation’s history. In 1778, she was sold back to the Massachusetts farm where she’d lived before being sold to Fay.
Recovering the lost, discarded, and sometimes intentionally erased stories of enslaved persons is a challenge. The Stopping Stones project seeks to unearth these stories, remember the names of the enslaved, and recognize their contributions to our communities as well as acknowledge and work to repair the legacy of slavery. In October of 2021, Bennington Museum was awarded a Herbert and Louise Whitney Fund Community Preservation Grant from Historic New England as well as additional support from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to support placing a Stopping Stone honoring an enslaved person in Bennington. Since then, a small group of Museum staff and volunteers has worked to collect information about early Black Bennington residents and to bring their stories to light.
On Saturday June 25th the Stopping Stone honoring Peg will be dedicated with a ceremony beginning at 10:00AM at the former site of the Catamount Tavern on Monument Avenue in Bennington, followed by a reception at Bennington Museum. We invite the community to join us as we share and reflect upon Peg’s story.
Thank you to the trustees of the Village of Old Bennington and the current owners of the property associated with the Catamount Tavern for their support of this project, and to the volunteers who have worked on uncovering Peg’s story and those of other enslaved people in early Bennington.