Formerly Enslaved in Connecticut, Deacon at Talcott Street Church, Author
James Mars authored his own story, Life of James Mars, A Slave born and sold in Connecticut.: Written by Himself, which sold widely after publication in 1864. In his autobiography, James tells the harrowing story of his family’s escape from their owner, a pastor in northwest Connecticut who intended to move south and take his “property” with him. James eventually worked to purchase his own freedom. Born on March 3rd, 1790, Mars played an important role in the African American enfranchisement and temperance movements and wrote his story to remind the people of 1864 that slavery was a reality in Connecticut not twenty years before (Connecticut practiced gradual emancipation from 1784 to 1848, when it was finally abolished). During the 1830s, James worked in a dry goods store in Hartford and was also serving as a deacon at the Talcott Street Congregational Church. In 1864, Mars returned to Norfolk, Connecticut where he died in 1880 and where his grave can be found today.