Sabe and Rose
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  • The Remond Success

    Shortly after John Simmons and Sabe Derby began their business venture, John Remond began his own famed Salem career. Born on the island of Curaçao in the West Indies, Remond left the Dutch colony at the age 10 and arrived in Salem in 1798.

    Remond worked as a delivery boy for a Salem baker before moving to Boston to learn hairdressing and barbering.

    In 1805, Remond returned to Salem and began living on the first floor of Hamilton Hall, a social hall, and operating a catering and hairdressing business. In 1807, he married the accomplished baker, Nancy Lenox. Together, the couple built the most successful catering and hairdressing businesses in Salem while also expanding into other ventures including trading in a wide variety of imported goods.

    The Remond family's children would also find success, though in different ways. Their son, Charles Lenox Remond became a prominent abolitionist in the 19th century. He gave speeches throughout the North and served as the American Anti-Slavery Society representative to the World's Antislavery Convention in London in 1840. Charles' sister, Sarah Parker Remond, also became a prominent lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Located in England during the Civil War, Sarah Parker Remond rallied support for the Union cause. After the war, she moved to Italy where she studied and then practiced medicine for twenty years, never returning to the United States.

    Unfortunately, not everyone enjoyed the success that the Remonds had. By April 1801, the partnership of John Simmons and Sabe Derby had dissolved. Their shop had apparently failed. There are many reasons why Sabe’s shop may have gone out of business. The shop keepers may not have had enough money to weather the initial hardships of starting a small business. Or the store may have catered to a largely African American population who couldn't provide enough business to sustain it.

    After the collapse of his own business, Sabe would have had to find new employment or return to working for the Derbys.

    Image Description

    Portrait of Sarah Parker Remond, ca 1865, while she was living in England.

    Albumen print, Peabody Essex Museum, Gift of Miss Cecelia R. Babcock, PH322. Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

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