Free Workers

While slaves constituted the majority of the Epsom workforce, free workers where hired to alleviate labor shortages and perform skilled tasks. Hired workers included overseers, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, gardeners, dairywomen, and midwives. Henry Banning Chew often had a difficult time finding permanent farm workers, and few would stay for more than one or two seasons. Many of these free workers were Germans who fled Europe following the Revolutions of 1848. Baltimore was a major point of entry for these immigrants and, as a place of work and residence, Epsom served as an initial step towards their assimilation into American society. Epsom also employed freed former slaves, who in some cases earned more money than some free white workers. In this way, Epsom helped facilitate the growth of Towson’s first free African American community.
Advertisement in the Baltimore Sun for workers for Epsom Farm. July 3, 1840.