Born a slave in Talbot County Maryland, in 1818, Frederick Bailey would escape his chains in 1838 and become Frederick Douglass, one of the most notable men of the nineteenth century and the ideal of an American self-made man. His escape route on the Underground Railroad would take him finally to New Bedford, MA where he received the help of Nathan and Polly Johnson, well known African American abolitionists. It is in New Bedford that he rose quickly to prominence as a favorite abolitionist and anti-slavery speaker, on this "peculiar institution." More
Hetty GreenHenrietta (Hetty) Howland Robinson Green was born Henrietta Howland Robinson on November 21, 1834 and died, on July 13, 1916 with an estimated fortune, in today's dollars, worth $17,000,000,000. She was recognized as the richest woman in the world at that time, also known as "the Witch of Wall Street", and in her own right a financial genius in the areas of real estate, railroads and money lending.
William Rotch Jr.
Lewis Temple was born in Richmond, Virginia, but whether he was enslaved or free at birth is not known. After his arrival in New Bedford in 1829 he began working as a blacksmith. In his Walnut Street shop in 1848, Temple invented what is now known as the Temple toggle iron. Earlier "irons," or harpoons, once sunk into a whale's flesh, often worked themselves loose in the fury of the fight, but the Temple toggle iron had a pivoting head so that the point would turn once the harpoon struck and embed itself more securely. This tool revolutionized the whaling industry in the nineteenth century. More
Last updated: February 26, 2015