First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor

1432 Washtenaw Ave Ann Arbor

Washtenaw County Foodways/First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor
Washtenaw County Historic District Commission
Written By Washtenaw County Historic District Commission

Washtenaw County's historic preservation program is dedicated to supporting local historic districts, spurring heritage tourism, and attracting investment in our historic resources.

An Abolitionist refers to a person who advocated for the immediate end of slavery in the United States before the Civil War. Southern Michigan was home to several abolitionist movements and leaders, including Elizabeth Margaret Chandler.

Chandler was born in Delaware in 1807. Active in the abolitionist movement her entire life, she wrote anti-slavery poetry as a means of moral persuasion. She contributed to the Genius of Universal Emancipation, a Philadelphia newspaper, and later to William Lloyd Garrison’s weekly Boston-based publication, The Liberator.11 Chandler, her aunt Ruth, and her brother Thomas moved to Michigan in 1830. They settled near Tecumseh. Two years later she co-founded the Logan Female Anti-Slavery Society. Chandler died of a fever on November 2, 1834 at the age of 26.

Though her time in Michigan was brief, Chandler’s legacy influenced the abolitionist movement long after her death. Her neighbors and friends attended the November 10th, 1836 “Convention Calling for Immediate Abolition” held at the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, located on the southwest corner of E. Huron Street and Division Street. Here, the Michigan State Anti-Slavery Society was formed over the next few days. The church no longer stands at this location; it was later replaced by the ca 1936 Ann Arbor News building, which is now occupied by the University of Michigan Credit Union.

As part of her protest again slavery, Chandler participated in the free-produce movement, which boycotted goods made with slave labor. Sugar was a common item boycotted by activists, causing Chandler to create a tea cake recipe sweetened with honey. Chandler most likely utilized local Michigan honey as a replacement for sugar in her recipe. This recipe was adapted by the book Food for the Fight: Abolitionist Women’s Recipes.

Elizabeth Chandler’s Honey Tea Cake

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup honey 1⁄2 cup sour cream 2 eggs 2 cups pastry flour 1⁄2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cream of tartar (to avoid a sharp aftertaste, substitute 1 tsp baking powder) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and honey together until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat well. Beat the eggs to a froth and combine with the batter. Sift the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar (or baking powder) three times (to ensure a light cake), then mix these dry ingredients into the batter. Stir well, but do not beat too hard, or the soda will be over activated before baking. Pour into a well-greased 10-inch square pan and bake for 30 minutes.

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Source: “Antislavery Society.” Michigan Markers. Accessed 6 November 2015. http://www.michmarkers.com/startup.asp?startpage=S0448.htm Hardin, Tanya; Horne, Mallory; and Miles, Tiya. Food for the Fight: Abolitionist Women’s Recipes. Heslip, Philip. Elizabeth Margaret Chandler Collection, 1815-1845. Accessed 26 August 2015

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