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Rev Samuel Joseph May

Photo added by Diane LM

Rev Samuel Joseph May

  • Birth 12 Sep 1797 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 1 Jul 1871 Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
  • Burial Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
  • Plot Sect 17 plot 1
  • Memorial ID 69476287

Abolitionist, clergy. Son of Joseph & Dorothy Sewell May, he came to Syracuse New York in 1845 as pastor of the (Unitarian) Church of the Messiah. His congregation, now named May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society, is still active in Syracuse. May was a advocate of the abolitionist movement working with William Lloyd Garrison, who preached at his funeral, and with Gerrit Smith with whom he participated in the rescue of Jerry in 1851 as a response to the Fugitive Slave Law. May was also an early advocate of women's rights, working with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. His 1846 sermon on suffrage was later reprinted as "Woman's Rights Pamphlet #1". In January 1861 May and Susan B. Anthony were threatened with violence by an angry crowd that stormed the building where an antislavery rally was to be held in downtown Syracuse. The rally was cancelled, and the mob paraded through the streets with effigies of May and Anthony, finally burning them in the center of town. May helped to establish a public school system in Syracuse and helped to build a meeting house and school on the Onondaga Nation. Letters and items from May can be found in over one hundred different repositories including the Library of Congress, the Rare Book Room, Boston Public Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society and Cornell University Library.


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  • Created by: Diane LM
  • Added: 7 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 69476287
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Samuel Joseph May (12 Sep 1797–1 Jul 1871), Find A Grave Memorial no. 69476287, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Diane LM (contributor 47306054) .