Venture Smith Day

East Haddam - posted Sep, 03 2013

EAST HADDAM- The 17th annual Venture Smith Day Festivities will be held in the cemetery at the First Church of Christ, 499 Town Street (RT. 151), East Haddam on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. as part of the Connecticut Freedom Trail events. All are welcome. Please bring lawn chairs or blanket. Son of an African king, Venture Smith became the first black man to document his capture from Africa and life as an American slave and successful black freeman in Connecticut. Adults and children who are interested in learning more about Connecticut history in the 1700 and 1800s are encouraged to attend. In case of inclement weather the celebration will move into the parish house of First Church. Guest speakers who will talk about their research regarding Venture Smith include Cynthia Goetz, Town of Haddam Historian; Dr. Karl P. Stofko, Town of East Haddam Municipal Historian; Dr. John W. Sweet, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Marta Daniels, author and historian. Attendees will learn about what the inventory of Solomon Smith’s estate tell us about his father (Venture Smith), John Cook’s (Haddam, CT) involvement in John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, and the role Venture’s descendants played in the 29th Connecticut Regiment of Colored Infantry at the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia during the Civil War. Venture Smith’s family genealogy and artifacts and crafts from Ghana and other regions of Africa will be on display. A town proclamation will be presented and wreath laying ceremony by the descendants of Venture Smith and the annual Venture family reunion photograph will take place in the cemetery by Venture’s grave. There will be plenty of time to renew old friendships, talk with speakers, and Venture’s descendants and enjoy light refreshments. Questions please call 860-873-9375. To review the original Venture Smith autobiography, go to

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