Boe Bladen

One of several slaves brought from Maryland to Erie by pioneer settler John Grubb at the end of the 18th century.  Originally from Guinea, west Africa, Bladen had striking marks on his body, indicators of either tribal identity, or savage treatment of an owner. Once freed by Grubb, Bladen purchased a 400-acre tract of land in Millcreek Township.  Though reduced somewhat in size over time, the Bladen Farm remained the property of three generations of Bladens for a full century.  How Boe Bladen was able to purchase the land, and how and when he earned his freedom remains murky, but John Grubb almost certainly played a role in helping a former slave become one of the first and longest-tenured landowners in early Erie County history.

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