About Lucy Francis Dalton (Lew)
Thomas Dalton (1794–1883) and Lucy Lew (1790–1865) were African Americans in Massachusetts.
Lucy Lew was born in Dracut, Massachusetts (now Lowell, Massachusetts), on May 7, 1790, one of 13 children. Her father, Barzillai Lew (1743–1822), born a free black, was a Revolutionary War soldier and a talented musician. Her mother Dinah Bowman (1744–1837), born a slave, was fair-skinned and described as "bleached by the sun". In about 1766, Brazillai Lew bought Dinah’s freedom from the Blood family for 400 pounds (today $28,000.). Shortly after they married, they purchased a large piece of farmland on the north side of the Merrimack River in Dracut, Massachusetts.
Lucy Lew and her brothers and sisters attended the integrated public Coburn Mission School in a small gray wooden building with a tall wooden bell tower off Varnum Avenue. On Sunday mornings, she would listen to her father sing in the choir at the Pawtucket Congregational Church near the thunderous Pawtucket Falls. Occasionally Lucy and her family traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, to visit friends in the black community on the north side of Beacon Hill.
On June 11, 1811, she watched her older brother Peter Lew inducted as Grand Master of the Prince Hall Freemasonry Lodge on Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1791 by Prince Hall it was the first masonic lodge for men of color in the United States. Attending the celebration dinner were men and women of color from all over Massachusetts dedicated to improving the condition of their race.
Another brother, Zadock Lew, also a lodge member, was very well learned and accumulated one of the largest libraries in Northern Middlesex County. He was considered eligible as "a town leader or state official if not for his color."
As a young adult Lucy Lew married Mr. Francis and moved to the black community on the north side of Beacon Hill. In Boston, Lucy Francis became very involved in the cultural activities of her community.