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Members of The First Parish are eager to understand their history more fully, including those portions related to the roles of New England in the slave trade. In collaboration with Historic New England, The Racial Justice Committee has arranged a tour in early November specifically for First Parish members.
The Codman estate was home to five generations of the same family. The surnames of owners changed over time from Chambers to Russell to Codman through marriage and inherited property, but it was a continuous family line starting in early colonial times c. 1708 until 1968. It is a long history with a multi-layered story.
According to current research, this was the largest slave owning farm in the area with the largest numbers of enslaved people. For the first four generations of the Chambers-Russell-Codman family, inherited wealth and property including enslaved people, commerce and investments in an economy that supported the slave trade, and marriage with other slave owning families helped form the economic foundation of their place in New England society.