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State honors black settlers

Sixty people gathered on Lincoln Hill in Hinesburg to honor the pioneering spirit of America and Vermont last week. The group was instrumental in urging the state to create a new historical marker near the site of one of Vermont's earliest African-American farming communities.

In attendance was Elise Guyette, author of the book "Discovering Black Vermont: African American Farmers in Hinesburg, 1790-1890". The book helped create local interest in eastablishing an historical marker.

After an unveiling ceremony, Guyette and others read dedications as well as the text of the marker; they were joined by local African-American families, pioneer family descendants, and others honoring the pioneers of Hinesburg.

Part of the Lincoln Hill roadside historical marker text reads as follows:

"On this hill from 1795 to 1865 liven an African-American farming community. The first settlers at the bottom of the road in 1798 from Massachusetts were Samuel Peters, Hannah Lensemen and husband Prince Peters. Prince served in Capt. Silas Pierce's Massachusetts Line (8th Co. 3rd Massachusetts Regiment) for three years during the American Revolution. Samuel Peters, II, volunteered at the Battle of Plattsburgh during the War of 1812.

"This pioneering community at the bottom of the hill, at least six related families by the end of the Civil War, cleared the land, joined the local Baptist church, had home manufactories, and exercised their voting rights at Freeman meetings.

"Their descendants owned land here and contributed to the local economy of this hill until the late 20th century..."

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