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Freedom Days 2007
Juneteenth Family Day at the Stringellow Orchard
News Release
Thursday, June 14, 2007

HITCHCOCK , TX – On June 16, residents of Texas’ Gulf Coast Region will gather to celebrate Juneteenth Family Day at the historic Stringfellow Orchards estate in Hitchcock,Texas.  One hundred twenty-five years ago, the estate was the home of Henry Martyn Stringfellow, a Confederate soldier and former slave owner.  Today, it is the site of Juneteenth Family Day, and home to Sam Collins and his family.

“Since the day we first stepped onto this property, my wife and I dreamed of hosting a Juneteenth celebration,” said Sam Collins, host of the event and Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch.  “This is our chance to give something back to the community that has helped us achieve so much.  I want the community to see that our success is their success.” 

The celebration will take place between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. on June 16 at Stringfellow Orchards, halfway between Houston and Galveston at7902 Highway 6.  Open to the public and sponsored by Merrill Lynch, the event will include reenactments of a slave wedding ceremony and a “day in the life” retrospective, as well as music, art and activities for the kids that pay homage to the times of slavery. 

This is the second year that the community has celebrated Juneteenth at the Collins’ estate.  Last year, nearly 600 people attended the celebration, including civic and community leaders, as well as Collins’ colleagues.

“We are proud to partner with Sam to represent Merrill Lynch at this wonderful community event,” said Mary Mahlie, Regional Managing Director of Merrill Lynch’s South Texas region.  “Last year’s picnic was a great success, and we are proud to continue our sponsorship."

Included in Collins’ Family Day activities is a presentation from local historian, Alex Pratt from Galveston College, about the significance of Juneteenth.  Ted Ellis, a renowned local artist and one of Collins’ clients, will also attend to display a painting he began at last year’s celebration.  The commemorative portrait features the Collins family and their property, as well as a slave breaking his chains against the backdrop of the state of Texas. 

“Juneteenth celebrates community, culture and progress, and I am proud to host such an important event at our home,” said Collins.

Collins, a native of Hitchcock, purchased the 125-year-old Stringfellow Orchards estate in 2005, and has since made it a home for him and his family.  Stringfellow, who built the 9.5-acre estate in 1882, was a Confederate lieutenant turned world-renowned horticulturist.  Criticized for “overpaying” his staff and driving up wages, Stringfellow paid his African-American workers $1.00 per day, nearly twice the average wage at the time.  Stringfellow sold the home, once considered “the Showplace of the Gulf Coast,” in 1895, and the last family to own the property held it for 85 years until a descendent sold it to Collins.

“This property is more than a home for my wife and children. This is about creating a family legacy,” said Collins.  “And for our family, Juneteenth celebrations are a part of that legacy.”

Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston with news of the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves.
About Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory companies, with offices in 37 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion. As an investment bank, it is a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes and serves as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. Merrill Lynch owns approximately half of BlackRock, one of the world's largest publicly traded investment management companies, with more than $1 trillion in assets under management. For more information on Merrill Lynch, please visit .

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