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African-American Tidbits

 

 

The following Table shows the ratio of Slaves and Slaveholders in Southwest MS Counties

Data from US Census Bureau Year: 1860  Table created and submitted by Ann Allen Geoghegan

 

County

State

AGGR. NO.

 OF FREE

COLORED

 PERSONS

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

NINE

SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

 HOLDING

10-14

SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

15-19

SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

20-29

SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

30-39 SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

40-49

SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

 HOLDING

50-69

 SLAVES

ADAMS

MS

225

17

62

29

42

24

20

28

CLAIBORNE

MS

44

6

31

33

38

26

23

32

COPIAH

MS

1

22

84

56

53

18

14

11

FRANKLIN

MS

15

14

45

24

27

18

7

7

JEFFERSON

MS

35

11

40

30

49

36

14

32

WILKINSON

MS

22

14

54

37

46

25

13

31

County

State

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

70-99 SLAVES

 NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

100-199

 SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

200-299

SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

300-499

SLAVES

NO. OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

HOLDING

500-999

SLAVES

 TOTAL NO.

OF

SLAVE

HOLDERS

IN COUNTY

TOTAL NO.

 OF SLAVES

IN COUNTY

 

ADAMS

MS

28

22

3

3

0

688

14292

CLAIBORNE

MS

35

19

3

0

0

424

12296

COPIAH

MS

10

1

0

0

0

737

7965

FRANKLIN

MS

5

3

0

0

0

354

4752

JEFFERSON

MS

39

16

0

1

0

425

12396

WILKINSON

MS

26

18

7

0

0

499

13132

 

From an old newspaper article on the Presbyterian Church at Union Church    

 

  On the old  church rolls at Union Church, kept prior to the War between the States, are the names of many colored members.  Once each month, the negroes all went to the Presbyterian Church, where the elders and the pastor, the Rev. William Montgomery, held a service for them.  These were always called "Servants," never "Slaves."  It is said that the singing on those occasions was so beautiful that the people always came out and sat on their porches to listen.  Miss Lottie Warren says that her mother, Mrs. Mary Inez Torrey Warren, taught the children of the slaves the catechism in her father's home.  In later years, one of the house girls from the John Clay Torrey home went as a missionary to Africa.  It is interesting to note that after the close of the Civil War, all the slaves of the Torrey families stayed with them.

Contributed by: Andy Miller

 

From the WPA Slave Narratives:

Cyrus Bellus, age 73

 

     "I was born in Mississippi in 1865 in Jefferson County. It was on the tenth of March. My father's name was Cyrus Bellus, the same as mine. My mother's name was Matilda Bellus.  

     "My father's master was David Hunt. My father and mother both belonged to him. They had the same master. I don't know the names of my grandfather and mother. I think they were Jordans. No, I know my grandmother's name was Annie Hall, and my grandfather's name was Stephen Hall. Those were my mother's grandparents. My father's father was named John Major and his mother was named Dinah Major. They belonged to the Hunts. I don't know why the names was different. I guess he wasn't their first master.  

     "I have heard my folks talk about how they were traded off and how they used to have to work. Their master wouldn't allow them to whip his hands. No, it was the mistress that wouldn't allow them to be whipped. They had hot words about that sometimes.  

     "The slaves had to weave cotton and knit sox. Sometimes they would work all night, weaving cloth, and spinning thread. The spinning would be done first. They would make cloth for all the hands on the place.  

     "They used to have tanning vats to make shoes with too. Old master didn't know what it was to buy shoes. Had a man there to make them.  "My father and mother were both field hands. They didn't weave or spin. My grandmother on my mother's side did that. They were supposed to pick---the man, four hundred pounds of cotton, and the woman three hundred. And that was gittin' some cotton. If they didn't come up to the task, they was took out and give a whipping. The overseer would do the thrashing. The old mistress and master wouldn't agree on that whipping.  

     "The slaves were allowed to get out and have their fun and play and 'musement for so many hours. Outside of those hours, they had to be found in their house. They had to use fiddles. They had dancing just like the boys do now. They had knockin' and rasalin' and all such like now.

     "So far as serving God was concerned, they had to take a kettle and turn it down bottom upward and then old master couldn't hear the singing and prayin'. I don't know just how they turned the kettle to keep the noise fron goin' out. But I heard my father and mother say they did it. The kettle would be on the inside of the cabin, not on the outside.

      "The slaves lived in log houses instead of ones like now with weather---boarding. The two ends duffed in. They always had them so they would hold a nice family. Never had any partitions to make rooms. It was just a straight long house with one window and one door.   

     "Provisions were weighed out to them. They were allowed four pounds of meat and a peck of meal for each working person.   They only provided for the working folks. If I had eight in a family, I would just get the same amount. There was no provisions for children.   

     "But all the children on the place were given something from the big house. The working folks ate their breakfast before daylight in the log cabin where they lived. They ate their supper at home too. They was allowed to get back home by seven or eight o'clock. The slaves on my place never ate together. I don't know anything about that kind of feeding.   

     "They had mirses, old folks that weren't able to work any longer. All the children would go to the same place to be cared for and the old people would look after them. They wasn't able to work, you know. They fed the children during the day.        "My father and mother and grandmother said the overseer told them that they were free. I guess that was in 1865, the same year I was born. The overseer told them that they didn't have any owner now. They was free folks. The boss man told them too---had them to come up to the big house and told them they had to look out for themselves now because they were free as he was.

     "Right after emancipation, my folks were freed. The boss man told them they could work by the day or sharecrop or they could work by groups. A group of folks could go together and work and the boss man would pay them so much a day. I believe they worked for him a good while---about seven or eight years at least. They was in one of the groups.  

     "My own earliest recollections was of picking cotton in one of those squads---the groups I was telling you about. After that, the people got to renting land and renting stock for themselves. They sharecropped then. It seems to me that everybody was satisfied. I don't remember any one saying that he was cheated or beat out of anything.  

     "We had a public school to open in Jefferson County, Mississippi. We called it Dobbins Bridge. There was a bridge about a mile long built across the creek. We had two colored women for teachers. Their names was Mary Howard and Hester Harris. They only used two teachers in that school. I attended there three years to those same two women. "We had a large family and I quit to help take care of it.  

     "I don't think there was much disturbance from the Ku Klux on that plantation. The colored folks didn't take much part in politics.        

     "I stopped school and went to work for good at about fifteen years. I worked at the field on that same plantation I told you about. I worked there for just about tan years. Then I farmed at the same place on shares. I stayed there till I was 'bout twenty-six years old. Then I moved to wilderness Place in the Cotton Belt in Mississippi. I farmed there for two years.  

     "I farmed around Greenville, Mississippi for a while. Then I left Greenville and came to Arkansas. I came straight to Little Rock.  The first thing I did I wont into the lumber grading. I wasn't trained to it, but I went into it at the request of the men who employed me. I stayed in that eight years. I learned the lumber grading and checking. Checking is seeing the size and width and length and kind of lumber and seeing how much of it there is in a car without taking it out, you know.   

     "I married about 1932. My wife is dead. We never had any children.  

     "I haven't worked any now in five years. I have been to the hospital in the east end. I get old age assistance---eight dollars and commodities."  

 

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor

Contributed by:  Ann Allen Geoghegan from data gathered at the American Memory Project

(Webmaster's note:  This article was not dated)

 

 

The following is a beautiful tribute to JOE BALDRIDGE written for

The Daily Clarion Ledger in 1936, by Sarah Till Davis:

 

      "'Uncle Joe' is coming home today. Uncle Joe, with his intelligent, self-respecting, kind brown face, his tall, erect body, his work-hardened hands, the show-white hair of his eighty-five years, is making a long journey. For the second time in a month he is coming from Memphis to the little southwest Mississippi village called Fayette.  

     "Until three years ago, Uncle Joe had never left this village and the hills about it. He was born at Elsmere, the plantation home of Judge and Mrs. John Merrick Whitney, a place of some 2000 acres, ten years 'before the war' in 1851. Judge Whitney was the son of James Rex Whitney, who was with John Paul Jones in the Colonial navy. Joe was one of his slaves, a house servant 'raised in the yard.'  

     "Several years later (after the war) he made 'Miss Joe's' garden, the Elsmere, famous for miles around. 'Miss Joe,' nee Josephine Darden, was the wife of the son who inherited the rolling acres and the beautiful old house, Captain James Jeff Whitney.   

     "For twenty-nine or thirty years after 'Miss Joe's' passing, Joe Baldridge worked for anyone who wished his services as carpenter or gardener, unless a member of the Whitney family wanted him, that same day. If a Whitney wanted him, no one else could get him and if a member of the Captain Jeff Whitney's family wanted him, no other Whitney could get him. But his one great weakness was that if a dozen men asked him 'to work tomorrow,' he would promise all of them. Later, taxed with his failure to appear, he was always sincerely regretful; and he was always forgiven.   

     "Through these years Uncle Joe and his wife, Aunt Molly, kept the affectionate regard of their own race and of their white friends. Then Aunt Molly died.   

     "Three years ago (1933), because of his years and failing strength, Uncle Joe's children - there are two in Jackson, seven in Memphis, and one in Chicago - persuaded him to come to Memphis to live with them. They had a hard time keeping him there, as much as they humored him. Three weeks ago Uncle Joe persuaded them that he just had to come home for a visit, so Gus, a pullman porter, with a run from Memphis to New Orleans, brought him.  

     "He was at home almost two weeks; he stayed with a relative at night, by day he walked the streets, the bypaths, and the hills where the paths have almost disappeared. He spoke to every man, woman, and child, white and black, whom he had ever known, and was particularly happy to see 'all the Whitney family and all the 'Incomes' (their children).

      "In some homes he had known three generations, and he always distinguished 'Ole Miss,' 'Little Miss,' and 'Miss.' In all homes he was welcome; I am sure he did not miss a meal, and there were many in-between cups of coffee.   

     "Asked about Memphis, he said, 'Memphis is a fine town, if it just had Fayette in the middle of it.' Asked about himself, he said, 'I'm all right, thank you ma'am, except from the knees down; I am at home' I'm just in a bed of vi'lets.' And he added, 'I hope I'll be this happy in Heaven.'  

     "He was in his 'bed of vi'lets' just about ten days. But they were misty, cold days, and still he walked. He had to drink from each of the three Whitney springs; he must wear in the pocket of his old flannel shirt some of the jonquils planted in the Elsmere garden so long ago; he must mark Aunt Molly's grave, and the place beside for his own. He walked, and the knees gave out; the heart weakened; his head ached so that he could not lie down. Gus took him back to Memphis. That was ten days ago. Today a great sheaf of yellow jonquils and daffodils, sent from her garden by the present gracious mistress of Elsmere, Mrs. Robert L. Corban, Sr., will meet the train from Memphis; Uncle Joe would smile proudly if he could see them, but he has 'laid down the hammer and the hoe.' He died in Memphis night before last.

 

     'Uncle Joe' is coming home today."

 

Contributed by:  Ann Allen Geoghegan from data gathered at the American Memory Project

(Webmaster's note:  This article was printed sometime in 1936)

 

Negroes mortgaged by Thomas W. Cogan to B. M. Steadman for $7000, March 6, 1833

Name               Age                                          Name               Age

Booke              60                                            Hannah 60

Sam                 22                                            Alfred               four     

_____              one                                           Bob                  35

Letty                30                                            Rachel              3

Henry               2                                              Charlotte          25

Emily                5                                              Horace             2

Book                18                                            Jacob               16

Fen                  25                                            Moose             16        possibly Moses

Wash               12                                            Reese               15

Charity             25                                            Lucy                 35

Harriet              15                                            Alfred               5

Sary Ann          1                                              Ann                  8

Amy                 6                                              Mary Ann         6

Bill                   35

 

Division of the estate on 27 July 1844 lists the following:

Lot 1 T.J. Cogan                      Lot 2 Charles Cogan                Lot 3 A. J. Cogan

Fen                  700                  Bill                   450                  Bob                  250

Charlotte          550                 Mary Ann         600                 Charrity            600

Bart(?)             200                  Ben                  450                  Henry               500

Susan               100                  Roan                100                  Merriman         200

 

Lot 4 D. S. Cogan                    Lot 5 R. Cogan Deceased        Lot 6 Rebecca Cogan

Dan                  700                  Jake                 600                  Wash               700

Em                   400                   Amy                 600                  Linn                  450

Lucy                 450                  Big Alf              350                  Lit Alf               200

Horrace            100                  Tom                 100                  Lit Wash          50

 

Lot 7 Frank Griffing                  Lot 8 W. P. F. Cogan decd      Lot 9 V. M. Stuart

Jess                  700                  Booker             700                  Mosas              700

Letty                300                  Harriet              500                  Anne                600                       

Jim                   275                  Ephraim            175                  Rochel              550

Elisha               150                  Hannah             100                  Manda             175

Child no name  75

 

Appraisement of estate of Thomas W. Cogan 21 March 1843 lists the following Negroes:

Bob $400,

Charity $400

Jesse 600

Letty 450

Wash 600

Linda 400

Jim 200,

Ephraim 175

Hannah 75

Booker 600

Harriet 475

Jeff 600

Emely 450

Horace 75

Jake 600

Mary Ann 475

Merriman 200

Elisha 150,

Roann 50

Bill 400

Alfred 100

Fenn 600

Daniel 600

Alfred 500

Benjn 350

Lucy 325

Amy 460

Tom 50

Charlotte 600

Burton 200

Susan 100

Henry 400

 

Total $11,660

 

[I thought the values might give a clue to someone looking for ancestors.  I assume the ones with low values were either very young or very old.  The highly valued ones were adults in their prime. It’s very unsettling to put a value on a person.  Some of those in the probate documents match up with those in the mortgage document.  The estate sold off some land to pay off the debt.]

Contributed by Annette Bowen

 

Liddell-Brown “Negro” slaves.

 

Jefferson County MS slave records relating to

Jimerson Liddell (1800-1856)

Thomas Calliham Brown (1800-1873)

 

After Jimerson died, his widow married Brown.  As far as is known, when the Liddell slaves were emancipated in 1865 they were assigned the surname of the current head of household, Brown.

 

The Liddell-Brown slaves were everywhere described as dark-skinned “black” not light-skinned “mulatto,” implying a predominantly African bloodline.  Note that slave ages as estimated by white people are notoriously unreliable.

 

07‑May‑1838 Jimerson sold “a Negro boy slave named Sampson aged about twenty years” to Ross O’Quinn for $1080.

 

11‑Feb‑1839 Jimerson couldn’t pay his bills, so the court auctioned his property.  Apparently sold, Nancy age 18 and her infant.  Probably not sold, Ned age 35.  Certainly not sold, Sarah 16 and her child George 1.

 

01‑Jun‑1840 Decennial Federal Census

“Jemison Lyddle” 9 slaves; 5 men, 2 women, 2 children

slave bm 0‑10 [Sarah’s child George age 2]

slave bm 0‑10 [Nicholas 7]

slave bm 25‑35 [John 26]

slave bm 35‑55 [Ned 36]

slave bm 35‑55 [Africa 35]

slave bm 35‑55 [Bill 48]

slave bm 55‑100 [unknown old man]

slave bf 10‑25 [Sarah 20]

slave bf 35‑55 [Charlotte 48]

All 7 adult slaves worked in agriculture.

 

06‑Nov‑1842 Jimerson named his slaves in a “Due Trust” document.

Africa age 35

John 28Sarah 23, her children George 7 and John 18 months

Joe 30 [Sarah’s spouse]

Bill 50

Charlotte 50

Nicholas 9

 

1850 Census.  Liddell slaves counted with many others under overseer J. R. Comfort, probably to deliberately disguise ownership.

 

11‑Aug‑1856 Jimerson died intestate.  His executor, Brown, accounted to the court for the slaves about 1858, about 1860, and in late July 1862.

 

1860 Census.  Liddell slaves counted with Brown’s.  Brown age 60 got the age of every (!) white person in his household wrong except his own, and erred on names and sexes of several.  Not surprisingly, the unnamed slaves’ ages and sexes don’t match either.

 

The columns are:

Name - First name.

Family - Spouse and children, if known.

Description - Brown’s description ca. 1858.

Age 1862 - Brown’s guess as of 06-Jul-1862.

Value - Estimated sale price ca. 1858.

 

Name

Family

Description

Age 1862

Value

Notes

Sarah

1.

woman

50

650

S

Joe

1. Sarah’s spouse

man

60

600

J

George

1. Sarah’s child,

Susan’s spouse

man

22

1000

G

Susan

1. George’s spouse

woman

20

1200

 

John

1. Sarah’s child

man

20

1300

 

Aaron

1. Sarah’s child

man

15

1000

 

Caroline

2.

woman

40

1200

 

William

2. Caroline’s spouse

man

55

1000

 

Frank

2. Caroline’s child

boy

12

700

 

Henry

2. Caroline’s child

boy

10

600

 

Martha

2. Caroline’s child

girl

8

500

 

Lucy

3.

woman

40

1200

L

Philip

3. Lucy’s spouse

man

58

900

 

Bob

3. Lucy’s child

child

6

200

 

Amanda

3. Lucy’s child

child

d. 1859

125

A

Mariah

4.

woman

45

1000

M

Killis

4. Mariah’s spouse

old man

d. 1862

100

K

Jane

5.

woman

20

1250

 

Alfred/Alford

5. Jane’s spouse

man

24

1400

 

Mary

6.

woman

15

1000

 

Moses

6. Mary’s spouse

man

18

1250

 

Bill

 

old man

[60+]

50

B

Tony/Toney

 

man

d. 1860

500

T

Melinda/Malinda

 

woman

40

1200

 

Martin

 

man

20

1300

 

Isaac

 

[boy]

12

650

 

Charles

 

[boy]

10

550

 

Claiborne

 

crippled boy

8

300

 

Betsey/Betty

 

[girl]

6

300

 

Spencer

 

[boy]

[5]

250

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

A

Amanda

“suckling child of Lucy” died 14-Sep-1859

B

Bill

“old & an expense” ca. 1860

G

George

Went off to war with Pvt. G. J. “Jim” Liddell age 18 of Capt Abbay’s Co. K 1st Miss. Lt. Arty. 01-Sep-1862.  When Jim killed in action near Port Hudson 24-May-1863, George brought the body home for burial.

J

Joe

“old & crippled” ca. 1860, “blind” 06-Jul-1862

K

Killis

“old & crippled” ca. 1860, “found dead” 06-May-1862

M

Mariah

“with 5 children - old” ca. 1860

S

Sarah

“old & feeble” ca. 1860

T

Tony

“died suddenly from disease of the heart” 17-Jul-1860

 

The 1870 Federal Census, the first to include all residents by name, lists a number “black” Browns in Jefferson County MS.  These names seem to include several of the former Liddell slaves, and further research is indicated.

 

Submitted by Bruce D. Liddell, BDLiddell@yahoo.com

Copyright 2003 by Bruce D. Liddell, BDLiddell@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

African-American Research Links:

Remembering the names of the Servants

Many records from Jefferson County

A New site by Linda Rudd

 

Christine's Genealogy Website - This place is AWESOME!!

 Includes searchable databases & much more!

 

   

 

Lots of cemeteries from all over the US!

 

 

The Africana Heritage Project   New 

USGenWeb African-American Griot Project  New

If you know of any other good ones, let me know!

 

Jefferson County MSGenWeb Project - footer

 

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