Curiosity Freeman***

Curiosity Freeman, born into slavery, gained her manumission papers with the help of a Quaker abolitionist. She is a central character in the Wilderness novels.

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With great sadness we report that Mrs. Curiosity Freeman, the oldest surviving citizen of the original settlers of Paradise, died quietly in the first hours of this new year, 1834. Her daughter, Mrs. Daisy Hench and her dear friends Mrs. Elizabeth Bonner and Mrs. Hannah Savard were by her side. She was 99 years old.

Mrs. Freeman was born into slavery on a farm in Pennsylvania in the spring of the year 1734. In 1762, when a Quaker Abolition Society  purchased  manumission papers for herself and  her husband Galileo,  the young couple came to Paradise to take up employment with Judge Alfred Middleton and family.  After Judge Middleton’s passing, she kept house for Dr. Richard Todd for many years.

A memorial service was conducted on Thursday, January 2  in the course of an unusually mild and pleasant winter afternoon. There were more than two hundred people in attendance on very short notice.  Many of those who attended had been helped into the world by Mrs. Freedman, who was an exceptional midwife.

The wisest and most generous of souls, Mrs. Freeman was a loving mother and grandmother, the most caring of friends,  a gifted healer, and a constant source of advice, comfort and stories. War, disaster, illness, in all of life’s challenges she remained the steadiest of lights. It is not too much to say that Mrs. Freeman was the rock on which Paradise was built. She will be sorely missed.

She is survived by her daughter Daisy Hench and her son Almanzo Freeman***, as well as six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.  Her beloved husband Galileo preceded her in death by more than thirty years.

The Savard, Bonner and Ballentyne families, with whom she was especially close, and who considered her one of their own, are also in mourning.



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