The Remond Family
part of hamilton hall heritage
John and Nancy Remond and their eight children were the resident family of Hamilton Hall in the mid-19th century. The Remonds, who were free African-Americans, left a legacy of hospitality and social activism that we continue to celebrate today.
John Remond was born in the Dutch colony of Curaçao in 1798. At ten years old, he traveled to Salem on the ship Six Brothers. After learning the trades of barbering and catering, he married Nancy Lenox, an accomplished cake baker and cook.
John and Nancy ran a catering business out of Hamilton Hall for many years, earning a reputation for delicious fare prepared in their special Rumford oven. The oven, still proudly displayed at Hamilton Hall, was fed by a large brick hearth designed to increase heat transference.
The Remonds were well-known for their dazzling feasts, which included such delicacies as turtle soup, beef-a-la-mode, baked codfish, oyster pies. roasted pigs, Bremen geese, woodcocks, plovers, pigeons, quails, partridges, baked calf heads, and lobster. They cooked for such notable names as the Marquis de Lafayette and Nathaniel Bowditch.
In addition to their professional success, the Remonds were influential in the sphere of social activism. The family helped to champion the causes of abolition, women’s suffrage, and school desegregation in Salem.
Exploring the Remonds’ story
With the support of a grant from the Essex National Heritage Commission, Hamilton Hall president Dan Randall, board member and Salem State history chair Donna Seger, and Salem State undergraduate Katherine Stone have been researching the Remond family’s history.
Dr. Seger will present a free lecture about their lives and legacy in September 2019. The grant has also helped support the development of educational materials that will introduce school groups and other visitors to the Remonds’ story.