Dred and Harriet Scott: Their Family Story
Just in time for the anniversary month of the historic Dred Scott decision at the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, the St. Louis County Library has published Dred & Harriet Scott: Their Family Story, by Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager.
Dred and Harriet Scott explores how the 11-year legal battle to gain their freedom from enslavement affected the lives of Dred, his wife, Harriet, and their daughters, Eliza and Lizzie. Through extensive genealogical research, Hager explores how the Scott family finally secured their freedom and what happened to his wife and children after his death.
The book is the result of four years of research, which began with a phone call in 2006. Hager was asked by the National Park Service to speak about genealogy for a program at the Old Courthouse to mark the 149th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision, which helped push the country down the path to the Civil War. While digging through documents, Hager began to notice discrepancies in the records of the Scotts’ lives. She got in touch with Lynne Jackson, great-great-granddaughter of Dred and Harriet Scott and president and founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, who assisted on the fact-finding mission. She also interviewed two of Dred and Harriet's great-grandchildren.
Both Hager and Jackson gave a presentation at the Old Courthouse about their genealogical research earlier this month, during the 153rd anniversary of the Dred Scott decision. In the book, Hager included maps, census information, and genealogical resources to trace the Scotts’ lives after the Civil War. Dred and Harriet Scott, with its groundbreaking findings, opens a new chapter in American history.
Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager, Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer, is a reference specialist in St. Louis County Library’s Special Collections Department.
Click on the link to learn more about the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation.
—Keri O’Brien, Editor