The Roger Hooker (1805 – 1855) and Keziah Leavitt site is today a building on the campus of the Academy at Charlemont. Corroborating written histories indicate the site, served for 5 years as safe haven for Basil Dorsey, a runaway slave from Maryland (and defendant in one of notorious fugitive slave cases in history). Other members of the Leavitt family were also active in the abolition movement. Father Roger Leavitt, was a wealthy landowner, active in public service, and an ardent abolitionist. Brother Hart Leavitt was an operator on the Underground Railroad, and received runaway slaves at his home, assisting their safe passage to freedom. Another brother Joshua Leavitt of New York, was editor of the New York and then Boston based abolitionist publication, the Emancipator, and also assisted the passage of Basil Dorsey to Charlemont. Documentation supports both that Basil Dorsey, his wife Louisa, and their 2 children came to the Leavitt home through abolitionist connections sometime around 1838. Though Basil’s wife Louisa (and Keziah Leavitt as well) died in November 1838, records indicate Basil Dorsey continued to live with Roger Hooker Leavitt and his next wife Eliza (sister to Keziah) until moving to Florence, Massachusetts in 1844.
Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.
Location: Route 2, Academy at Charlemont, Charlemont, 01339
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: The Academy at Charlemont
Location Type: Site
Freedom Seekers: Basil Dorsey
UGRR Operatives: Keziah Leavitt,Roger Hooker