Frances Titus

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Frances Titus
Frances Titus, Sojourner Truth's friend and travelling companion.jpg
DiedApril 21, 1894
OccupationAbolitionist and Suffragist
Known forSecretary of Sojourner Truth as well as a founder of a school for freed slave men

Frances Titus (1816-1894) was an American abolitionist and suffragist who is best known for being the confidante, secretary, tour director, financial manager and editor of Sojourner Truth's biography, Narrative of Sojourner Truth. She led important reform movements as the founder of a school for freed slave men and also played a major role in local and state suffrage movements.[1]

Early life[edit]

Frances Titus was originally born as Frances Walling in 1816 at Charlotte, Vermont and she spent most of her childhood and teenage years in Cleveland, Ohio. Frances Titus was brought up in a Quaker household which was important to her receiving support from a large community of Quakers who were also ardent abolitionists.[2] In October 1844, she married Captain Richard F. Titus, a native of New Rochelle, who became a sea captain at eighteen years of age. Upon her marriage to Captain Titus, Frances Titus built a new home with her husband on Maple Street. She had two sons; Richard Jr., who died when he was three years old and Samuel John, born on January 16, 1846. As her sons became older, Frances Titus was able to act on her social and religious beliefs in aiding freed black men receive education.[3]

Social activism[edit]

Frances Titus worked with Josephine Griffing of the Freedman's Bureau in Washington DC in December 1866 to help eight freed slave men start new lives in finding jobs and housing. In addition to her work with Ms. Griffing, Frances Titus also worked with Sojourner Truth in Rochester, New York to have freedmen resettle to that area. However, as the freedmen preferred to live in Battle Creek, Michigan, Titus helped them to relocate there. In order to help them integrate into the society in Michigan, Titus founded a school in 1867 to teach them how to read, write and to do basic arithmetic problems. Titus's students gave her a "handsome testimonial" as they greatly appreciated her efforts in teaching them.[4] As well as working to combat slavery, Titus worked with the women of the Suffrage Movement. She initially met with Sojourner Truth in 1856 at the Progressive Friends and began collaborating with Truth in 1867 and bought a barn from William Merritt which she remodeled into a home. Even though Truth concentrated her efforts on the Suffrage Movement around the east coast and Kansas and Titus focused on the Suffrage Movement in Michigan, they still kept in contact. Titus played a major role in being one of the founders of the Michigan Suffrage Association.[5]


  1. ^ "Frances Titus: Sojourner's "Trusted Scribe"".
  2. ^ "In Memoriam". Battle Creek Newspaper. 1894.
  3. ^ "Frances Titus: Sojourner's "Trusted Scribe"".
  4. ^ "Frances Titus: Sojourner's "Trusted Scribe"".
  5. ^ "Frances Titus: Sojourner's "Trusted Scribe"".