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Utica's Mother Lavander; I'll See You in Heaven


About the Author

Utica's Mother Lavendar

Classical Music in Utica

John F. Hughes School; The Early Years

Utica Portrait Artist Leon Cardarelli

The King Who Cancelled Christmas

Early Utica Preserved in Oil

For The Common Good

McConnell Field Via East Utica

Cornerstone of Pride; History of Utica Free Academy

Contact Me

Born into slavery and sold away from her family at age 7, Ellen Elizabeth Lavender had a horrific life in bondage and a benevolent one in freedom. Moving north after her emancipation in 1865, Elizabeth first settled in Albany, New York with her son, Amos, born as a result of a forced mating with another slave in order to create a new generation of slaves. In Albany, she married Nicholas Lavender with whom she had one surviving child, Nicholas Jr. After her husband’s death, she relocated to Utica, New York where she spent the rest of her life dedicated to her ministry of helping those less fortunate than herself. Despite her illiteracy, color, and financial deprivation, she was able to establish a following of workers and contributors, resulting in an annual New Year’s Day Dinner for the poor, satisfying her belief that no one should start a new year on an empty stomach. Serving as many as 900 in her home, the dinners that began in 1901 were held without interruption until 1968, despite her death in 1928. While this was clearly her most visible event, Mother Lavender, as she affectionately became known, had a daily ministry, one for which she always kept the door of her home open for anyone in need of a meal or a temporary place to sleep. Her commitment to doing good deeds lives in the memory of all who were in any way associated with her and even today serves as an inspiration to those who know of her. The work traces her life, beginning with her harsh years in bondage and progressing to her time in Utica and ultimately to her death. Insight is given on what motivated this remarkable woman of kindness and devotion. Original artwork by Utica Artist Robert Cimbalo is included along with some rare photographs. This book is priced at $16.00, and for a limited time, postage will be waived for USA mainland destinations for orders made via this web site. Author's signature applied on request. For information on how to order, contact the author at