Presentation on Hansford C. Bayton, Local Pioneering Black Entrepreneur

January 9, 2021

Baytons at Lancaster County, Virginia home photo

Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society (MPAAGHS) will hold a virtual meeting, Saturday, January 9, at 11:00 AM. The meeting will feature a talk by Dr Julie Sullivan-Detheridge about her book, Against the Tide: The Turbulent Times of a Black Entrepreneur. The book is a biography of Dr. Sullivan-Detheridge’s maternal great grandfather Captain Hansford C. Bayton, an Essex County native and early public office holder who became the owner of a highly successful steamship business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dr. Sullivan-Detheridge will share the story of how against tremendous odds Captain Bayton, whose business was based in Lancaster County, persevered in the face of Jim Crow segregation laws and racial incidents to become a wealthy entrepreneur. He owned five steamships, had a contract with the government to carry the mail, and had a strong passenger, freight, and excursion business. Unfortunately, Captain Bayton’s business fell victim to the malicious serial burnings of his boats by the Ku Klux Klan. But his story of true grit, courage, and tenacity illuminates a period of history that is little known through personal stories.

Dr. Sullivan-Detheridge is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, where she teaches healthcare ethics, culture and health and the fundamentals of public health to nursing students. She is the daughter of the late Reverend Dr. Leon H. Sullivan, the noted civil rights leader and founder of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC).

Against the Tide: The Turbulent Times of a Black Entrepreneur may be purchased on the Steamboat Era Museum website.

To receive an invitation for this virtual meeting or to get further information about MPAAGHS, email or call 804-758-5163.