The Stringer Family
Thomas Stringer was born in 1815. He was a slave in Mississippi. He escaped from slavery and lived in Ohio. Thomas worked as a cook and met Minnie Keith. In 1852, Thomas and Minnie were married. Shortly after their marriage, Thomas and Minnie moved to Canada and came to Buxton. They settled at Lot 10 on Concession 11. Wilson Abbott owned the property and Thomas bought 50 acres from Mr. Abbott for $400.
The Stringers had no children of their own. They took in many boarders and orphans. In 1861, Lucy Peterson, a widow, and her children (Sarah, Hezekiah, and Mark) lived with Thomas and Minnie. Also staying in the Stringer household was Catherine Mitcham age 16, James Simms age 22, Richard Jacobs age 49, and George Radcliff age 45.
Thomas was one of the first six graduates of Rev. King's school in Buxton, as an adult student of approximately 40 years of age. Stringer was born in 1815, Maryland and in 1846 in Ohio, he was ordained a minister in the A.M.E. Church . Stringer's Canadian accomplishments include founding the BME (British Methodist Episcopal) Churches in Chatham and Buxton.
Following the Civil War, he returned to Vicksburg, Mississippi where he was instrumental in building schools and churches throughout the state. He radidly developed a reputation as a gifted orator and effective organizer. Thomas Stringer was also accredited as one of the organizers of the 1868 Constitutional Convention.
"The fighting Senators and Congressmen, backed by their abolitionist crusaders, and nearly 200,000 black veterans of the Civil War, were determined not to see their hard-won victories squandered by the redneck Johnson. They brought him up on impeachment charges that lasted for four months -- from March to June -- in 1868 for illegally firing some of the cabinet members appointed by Lincoln. Johnson was acquitted, but Congress began instituting its own Reconstruction policies for the South and used the occupying military forces to make their wishes a reality...
...The state’s 1868 Constitutional Convention in Jackson became known as the Black and Tan Convention because most of the well-educated black men who had fought against slavery expected to have their political priorities met. Their political agendas were rather modest, calling basically for free public education and the right and freedom to vote. The white Northerners could be just as racist as their Southern counterparts, but they realized the expediency of sharing some of the power with the black leaders, who were serious about building a society that would bring black men and women up to the same standards as whites. Because of some punitive elements of the 1868 Mississippi Constitution, it went down in defeat, due partly to some white manipulation of ballots in rural areas where blacks had never voted before and partly because some of the white Republicans were creating secret alliances with a group of local white Democrats who dreaded black rule...
Under Gen. Adelbert Ames, all political offices were declared to be illegally held by “unredeemed” white Confederates who had not regained citizenship in the U.S. The generals appointed their own choices to every local office pending the constitutional convention of 1867-1868 and the elections that were to follow in 1869, elections in which black men would be able to compete for office.
Thomas W. Stringer of Vicksburg, a native of the black Canadian settlement at Buxton, Canada, was elected state senator in 1869, thus becoming the first black state legislator to serve in Mississippi and the first to give legitimacy to the Black and Tan power matrix." quoted from: Black and Tan Party rule in Mississippi, 1868-1875, by Earnest McBride.
In addition, Thomas became a 33rd degree Mason and worked diligently establishing lodges in Natchez, Jacksonville, and Vicksburg. The Most Worshipful Stringer Grand Lodge in Mississippi was named after him.
Stringer was described by personal acquaintances as: "kind, gentle, and patient with those deprived of educational advantages". Thomas Stringer died in 1869.
More information can be found in: Mississippi Black History Makers, by George Sewell; and, Black and Tan Party rule in Mississippi, 1868-1875, by Earnest McBride.
**Further details can be found on the Virtual Exhibits of the History webpage