Charles Calistus Burleigh (1810-1878)
An ardent abolitionist and journalist, Burleigh was vocal against Connecticut’s "Black Law" and became editor of the Unionist, originally published in defense of Prudence Crandall’s school.
Eccentric in dress and with a flowing beard he vowed not to remove until the end of slavery, Burleigh turned his back on a professional career to become agent and lecturer for the Middlesex Anti-Slavery. He was a regular contributor to the Liberator and one of the editors of the Pennsylvania Freeman.
He was a supportive friend of Abby Kelley. Active in a number of reform movements, Burleigh plunged into the Anti-Sabbatarian campaign after he was arrested in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1847 for selling antislavery literature on Sunday. Abby and Stephen Foster had been arrested in Ohio for the same offense in July 1846.
In 1845 he published a pamphlet, Thoughts on the Death Penalty, condemning capital punishment.
He participated in the 1850 National Woman’s Rights Convention in Worcester, MA and was a woman’s rights man throughout his life.
- Born November 3, 1810 in Plainfield, Connecticut
- Died June 13,1878 in railroad accident in Florence, MA
- Education: early schooling at Plainfield Academy and began to study the law
- Married Gertrude Kimber of Chester County, PA in October 24, 1842
- Children: Charles C. Burleigh, Jr. (1848-1882) and two others
- In 1861 the family moved to Florence, MA where he was the first speaker of the Free Congregational Society.
- In the 1870s he joined his brother, William Henry, in the campaign for temperance reform
- American Abolitionism. Spartacus Educational. Indiana University.
- Malone, Dumas, Ed. Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964.
- “Slavery and the North”. Primary Sources for Teachers. Ohio Historical Society.
- The Slave’s Friend. (Account of Burleigh’s activities and burning of Pennsylvania Hall). Nineteenth-
- Century American Children and What They Read.