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Through research, education, and civic engagement, the WITNESS STONES PROJECT, Inc. seeks to restore the history and to honor the humanity and contributions of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.
Witness Stones Placement Ceremony
Since 2019, the Greenwich Historical Society has worked with the Witness Stones Project and students from Sacred Heart Greenwich and Greenwich Academy to research the lives of Cull Bush, Patience, Candice Bush, and Hester Mead. Together, we are bearing witness to the lives of these enslaved individuals who lived, worked and loved in this historic home.
The Historical Society collaborated with The Witness Stone Project on this initiative that seeks to teach school-age children about enslaved persons in their hometowns. According to Historical Society research, approximately 300 enslaved people resided in Greenwich.
The May 27, 2021 ceremony honored four individuals — Cull Bush and his partner Patience, and Candice Bush and her daughter Hester Mead — who all lived and worked for David Bush and family at the Bush-Holley House. Altogether, about 15 enslaved people worked at the house. “Witness Stone Memorials” cast from cement and bronze with engravings of each person’s name, known birth and death dates and primary occupations, were placed in a garden believed to be below an attic where most of the enslaved people lived.
Students and teachers from Sacred Heart Greenwich and Greenwich Academy worked in conjunction with the Historical Society in researching the daily lives of the enslaved. The ceremony was the culmination of their work over the past year-and-a-half. The remaining 11 enslaved people from Greenwich will be honored in future years as the initiative expands to other schools in town.
Cull Bush Sr.
Cull was one of the fifteen known enslaved persons held at the Bush-Holley House. Our earliest known rerecord of Cull is in the first United States Census in 1790. We do not know when Cull was first enslaved at the Bush household, but we know he was held there until 1803, the year of his emancipation.
Cull spent half his live enslaved, but that is only half of his story. Cull was also a father of six. He was loyal partner to the mother of his children, Patience, who too was enslaved by the Bush family. He was a head of a house, a landowner who bought and sold property across Cos Cob. Most of all, Cull was an achiever. In a world systematically stacked against him, Cull created family, a home, and career.