James Wesely Sampson
When Carrie M. Plant, the white niece of John H. Deyo, a well-to-do farmer in the town of Gardner, began a relationship with James W. Sampson, an African American, they could not find a minister who would marry them. While the end of the Civil War saw the end of the legalized enslavement of African Americans, the social inequality they contend with is evident even in our society today. Even now in the 21st century, more than 140 years after the end of that conflict, there remains a social stigma surrounding bi-racial relationships. After the two disappeared from John H. Deyo's farm, on which Sampson was a laborer, the young couple enlisted the assistance of James Cantine's wife, who suggested the use of burnt cork to blacken Miss Plant's face. In order for the young couple to be together, they were forced to mislead the Reverend of the Reformed Dutch Church of Stone Ridge, and the two were successfully married in October of 1880. It is important to note that in the church's records, the minister sought to redeem himself by remarking, "that the girl deceived us by being colored black."