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Manuel Fenollosa, Spanish Immigrant to Salem, Massachusetts 1838

My great great grandfather Caleb Rand Bill was a music professor in Salem, Massachusetts before the turn of the 20th century.  Whilst researching his story, I found out about two other early music teachers in Salem, who were both Spanish immigrants.  It is interesting that they became ardent abolitionists around the time of the American Civil War.

Manuel Fenollosa came to Salem from Spain with his brother in law, Manuel Emilio in 1838 on the US navel frigate United States.  They had both been musicians for the crew, and Emilio was the bandmaster.   They remained in the United States, and formed a band, then a music school.  Their first Salem concert was held at John P. Jewett’s house, who later published their sheet music (he also published Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin).   Jewett taught Fenollosa how to speak English. 

Later Emilio wrote the music to accompany one of John Greenleaf Whititer’s poem’s “Little Eva: Uncle Tom’s Guardian Angel”.  It was dedicated to Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852, when it was published by Jewett & Co.   In 1863  Manuel Fenollosa composed the “Emancipation Hymn”.    He also held a concert in Salem in 1864 after Emancipation.   Both Emilio and Fenollosa aided the famous 54th regiment when it was formed of white Massachusetts officers and black recruits.   Obviously the two immigrants from Spain were greatly influenced by their Salem abolitionist friends.

According to the lyrics written by a mysterious “R. T. L.” the “Emancipation Hymn”:

Long our land in blood had weltered, Blood of dearest sons:

Long had Hero Spirits faltered, Not at booming guns:

Long our pray'r to Heav'n ascended Fraught with bondmen's groans;

Long with victory's cheers had blended Fettered manhood's moans!

God hath heard us, God hath heard us, and in mercy Gives us bread for stones.

God hath heard us, God hath heard us, and in mercy Gives us bread for stones.


Asking for a Land, for a Land united, We forgot the slave.

Pray'd we for our Country, for our Country blighted--For our falling brave,

Left the bondman, chas'd by blood hounds Scented thro' the cane,

God was with that panting brother; Pray'd we thus in vain!

Ask, as we would serve another, ask and he will hear again!

Ask, as we would serve another, ask and he will hear again!


He hath heard; O give Him glory! Heard the Bondman's pray'r:

O'er the war path, red and gory Thro' the slave-hound's lair,

Peals the mandate of salvation, "Let my people go."

Humbled, bleeding, hear the nation Answer, "Be it so!"

Who shall weary! Who shall weary! who shall falter! God is with us now!


Family History:

Generation 1. Manuel Fenollosa and Isabel Del Pino of Spain

Generation 2. Manuel Francisco Ciriaco Fenollosa, born 24 December 1822 in Malaga, Spain, died 13 January 1878 in Salem, Massachusetts; married first to Mary Silsbee, on 20 November 1851 in Salem; married second to Annie Elizabeth Kinsman on 26 July 1869 in Salem.   Manuel’s sister, Isabel, married Manuel Emilio.

Two children with Mary Silsbee:

1. Ernest Francisco Fenollosa, born 18 February 1853, died 21 September 1908, in London; married Elizabeth Goodhue Millett.  He spent thirty years in Japan studying the art and culture.

2. William Silsbee Fenollosa, born about 1855, married a Martha W. Fabene in 1887

Three children with Annie Kinsman:

3.  Clarence Fenollosa, born 25 November 1870 in Salem

4. Sydney Kinsman Fenollosa, born 4 May 1873 in Salem.

5. Manuel Emilio Fenollosa, born 7 June 1875 in Salem

Both of Manuel Fenollosa’s wives are distant cousins to me.  Mary Silsbee is a great grand daughter of John Becket (1715 – 1781) and Rebecca Beadle (1714 – 1758), my 6x great grandparents.  Annie Elizabeth Kinsman is related to me through multiple lines of Essex County families (Kinsman, Dutch, Kimball, Treadwell, Webb, and Burnham). 


The Papers of Luis F. Emilio, 1812 – 1871 contain information on the musical career of Manuel Fenollosa in Salem. They are held at the Peabody Essex Museum.

“Emancipaton Hymn”, by Manuel Fenollosa, lyrics by R. T. L, Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co, 1863 (sheet music)  M1640.F at the Library of Congress

Diary of Manuel Fenollosa, 1848 – 1849, by Manuel Fenollosa, held at the Peabody Essex Museum (describes a voyage from Malaga, Spain to Salem, Massachusetts in 1838, on the barks Sophia Walker and the A. G. Hill)

“Immigrants to Salem Join the Abolitionist Cause”,  Boston Globe,  by Jim Dalton,  accessed 9 March 2011


copyright 2011 Heather Wilkinson Rojo

originally published at Nutfield Genealogy 

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