Gaston - an enslaved young man in the mid-19th century - had a role in the founding days of Hammond.  His notable resting place with one of the first families of Hammond creates an air of intrigue around the details of his life.  This is particularly true because it appears that he is the only enslaved person whose remains lay in this site.

We are not sure what his role in the original Hammond family was, his age, or how he came to Hammond.  All we have confirmed at this point is:

The headstone for gaston currently reads: "unnamed slave boy"

The headstone for gaston currently reads: "unnamed slave boy"

1.    Remains that have yet to be officially identified by name lay in the Peter Hammond gravesite

2.    These remains are currently known as "Unnamed Slave Boy" by a headstone

3.    Before the current headstone, the grave was not formally marked

4.    The Peter Hammond household included 8 enslaved people as of 1850

5.    The City of Hammond was entrusted to preserve and maintain the Peter Hammond gravesite in 1992

 

The Hammond Historic District's role in this project is to facilitate research and move forward with the story of Gaston via the following three-part plan:

FIRST:  There was a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave site on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, which was All Saints' Day.  The ceremony was to honor this individual who has laid under the Hammond oak tree without much recognition for more than 150 years. 

SECOND:  We will continue research as well as solicit the help of the community to find out more about this individual. 

THIRD:  A ceremony will be planned to celebrate the augmentation of the current marker and the progress made toward understanding the whole story.

(PLEASE NOTE:  While this is just one project, it will function as a template in moving forward with other projects celebrating inclusion in the history of Hammond.  If you have an idea for another project, feel free to reach out to the historic district office - historicdistrict@hammond.org!)

 

 
Velmarae Dunn Article Page 1.jpg

Through a 1969 Hammond Vindicator Article called "The Mighty Hammond Oak"...

... a name has preliminarily been found for the "Unnamed Slave Boy" who is currently in the Peter Hammond grave site! 

However, since this is only one source, the Hammond Historic District Commission is now looking to confirm that name as well as research more into Gaston's life.  Hammond is an historic community and therefore we need your help to uncover more about Gaston!

What documents, connections, or lore might your family or friends know of that could lead to Gaston?  What unique locations are where details might be found?  Leads can come from everywhere and are unpredictable.  Check out the research we have done so far to discover how you might be able to assist.

Or you can click around the Table of Contents above to search the site for more info and helpful links.

 


 

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