Amos Fortune, Free Man

by Elizabeth Yates
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What did Violet and Celyndia do to earn money in Amos Fortune, Free Man?

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Violet and Celyndia, her daughter, make money by weaving. They're very talented. Violet also helps Amos with his business.

After Amos is freed by Mrs. Richardson, he moves to Jaffrey, New Hampshire, and rents land to work his tanning business. After his first two wives die, he marries Violet.

Like his past wives, Amos purchases Violet so that he can grant her freedom. Celyndia is included in the sale. He frees them and Violet begins to work at the tannery. After they're married, she's grateful for her freedom and thinks that she wants to be a true partner and helper to him in years to come. She does so. Elizabeth Yates writes:

It was important for Amos to arrive in his new surroundings in early
spring, for the tan bark, which was essential to his work had to be removed from trees soon after the sap had risen. With Violet's help and, what was even more, the sure comfort of her presence, he managed to deliver the last of his leather in late March of the year 1781. Then, working together, they packed up all the transportable tools-spud, barking mallet, rollers, knives, even the beam and work table.

The longer they live together, the more Violet and Celyndia hone their skills at the loom. Yates says:

The years went on in a quiet way. Violet and Celyndia spun and
wove, and their linens were as much in demand as Amos' leathers. Often a man coming from a long distance to leave a hide would not go home empty-handed. Seeing the fine linens that were woven in the tanner's house, he would secure one or more to take home to his wife.

The success of the family rests on all of them—not just Amos. In that way, Violet fulfills her wish from after their wedding. She's his true partner and helps him achieve his goals. Together, they live a happy and prosperous life.

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Violet and Ceylinda earn money by being weavers.

Violet Fortune is Amos Fortune’s third wife.  He buys her from James Baldwin, along with her daughter Ceylinda.  Although Violet has been a slave, she soon learns what it is like to be free alongside Amos.   

Violet does not want her daughter Ceylinda to grow up illiterate like she is, so she sends her to school.  Ceylinda would rather weave.

But she was happiest when sitting beside the loom watching violet weave or sitting at the loom and weaving herself. (p. 149)

Amos learned how to be a tanner when he himself was a slave.  His master, Ichabod Richardson, taught him and he used the trade to support himself as a free man.  Violet helps him with tanning and she and her daughter learn to weave.  She convinces Amos to buy land so the family can have financial security.

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