Archive for the ‘A Friend of Friends’ Category

Follow Friday/A Friend of Friends Friday: The Dead Librarian

I normally do not mention genealogy-specific blogs in my “Follow Friday” posts. But when I have the opportunity to combine my two favorite Friday blogging memes–Follow Friday and A Friend of Friends Friday–I will make an exception.

This week I would like to highlight the blog of a librarian in South Carolina that I met at the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University in 2010: Debbie Bloom’s Dead Librarian. She was able to attend the Institute that year as awardee of the

The specific reason that I want to bring attention to Debbie’s blog, however, is that she recently discovered how to create blog pages. You can read about this discovery, and the page she has now created, in the post “Dangerous Dead Librarian.”

Specifically, she has created a new page on her blog called, simply, “SC Slave Marriages.” She describes the birth of this page:

Brent Holcomb’s SC Marriages book includes slave and FPOC marriages but those names are not indexed.  A very skilled and devoted librarian (not me!) indexed all those missing names.  Brent Holcomb kindly told us about some other resources he published and the next thing I know is we have a nifty new index with almost 400 names for helping African American genealogists.[1]

What the librarian (not Debbie!) indexed appears as a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet from the “SC Slave Marriages” page. The spreadsheet is not as user-friendly as one might hope, unfortunately. The owner’s names are listed in a single column by first name, or more often by “Mr.,” and are not alphabetized. The spreadsheet is alphabetized by the first name of the groom. This is probably the least helpful way to organize the information. Any children born as a result of these marriages (and therefore probably the route through which one would encounter these ancestors) would have, by law, belonged to the owner of the mother. A spreadsheet alphabetized by the first name of the bride would be more helpful to researchers. It would also be far more helpful to remove the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” titles, and list the owners of both groom and bride surname-first. This would make it far more easy to scan the list for the name of a specific slave owner or slave-owning family. The spreadsheet is also locked, making it impossible for researchers to resort the data by the column of their choice.

Another weakness with both the blog page and the spreadsheet are the poor and incomplete source citations. The blog page cites the sources as follows:

1. SC Marriages by Brent Holcomb
2. Fairforest Presbyterian Church Records: SCMAR Vol. 13
3. First Presbyterian Church records: SCMAR Vol 35, 36

As readers of this blog (as well as my “National African American Genealogy” and “Baltimore Genealogy & History” columns on Examiner.com) know–I am a stickler for full, accurate, and consistent source citations. Here are reconstructed citations, based on what little information I have to go on. Details for the “SC Marriages” book are from the catalog of the Library of Congress. What few details could be discerned for the journal articles were taken from Brent H. Holcomb’s webpage for the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research. Of course the specific details, where unknown below, should be added.

  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. South Carolina Marriages, 2 vols. Baltimore : Genealogical Pub. Co., 1980-1981.
  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. [article title unknown, but possibly "Marriages Performed by the Rev. A. A. James, Union County (1851-)"]. South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research 13 (1985): [pages unknown].
  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. “[article title unknown].” South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research 35 (2007): [pages unknown].
  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. “[article title unknown].” South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research 36 (2008): [pages unknown].

Despite these few weaknesses, however, we are still provided with free access to a much-needed resource for information on slave marriages!

Thanks Debbie and the librarian who compiled this index (not Deb), for making this information available! I certainly wish that others would do the same.

SOURCE:

[1] Debbie Bloom, “Dangerous Dead Librarian,” The Dead Librarian blog, posted 18 October 2011 (http://thedeadlibrarian.blogspot.com : accessed 22 Oct 2011).

A Friend of Friends Friday: Maryland’s 1852 Tax Law

This post is written as part of the weekly “A Friend of Friends Friday” genealogy blogging meme. Visit the GeneaBloggers shared Google Reader list for additional entries from this and other blogs.

On 29 May 1852 the General Assembly of Maryland passed “An Act to provide for the General Valuation and Assessment of Property in this State.” This Act included the following clause:

Sec. 9. And be it enacted, That it shall be the duty of the said assessors, or a majority of them, in their several assessment districts, to make diligent inquiry and inform themselves by all lawful means, of all the property in their respective districts, liable to assessment, and to value the same at the full cash value thereof, and all property owned by residents of this State, and not permanently located elsewhere within the State, shall be assessed to the owner in the county or city where he or she may reside; and they shall specify in their returns, to be made as hereinafter provided, as far as may be practicable … Second, the negro slaves, classifying them according to their sex and ages … and it shall be the duty of the said assessors, also, to specify in said returns the name of each slave, and opposite the name, the age and assessed value [emphasis added].[1]

In other words, the 1852 assessment records for the state of Maryland contain the names and ages of every slaves owned in the state!

The Maryland State Archives in Annapolis holds several of these 1852 returns:

  • CARROLL COUNTYBOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (Assessment Record) Election Districts 2, 3, 5 through 8, 10; MSA C1634
  • DORCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (Assessment Record) Election Districts 1, 2, 4 through 10; MSA C687
  • FREDERICK COUNTYBOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (Assessment Record, Slaves) Election Districts 1, 2, 4, 5; MSA C2138
  • SOMERSET COUNTYBOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (Assessment Record) Election Districts 4 through 8, 10, 11; MSA C1735
  • TALBOT COUNTYBOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (Assessment Record, Slaves) Election Districts 1 through 4; MSA C1836

For those researchers of enslaved families who have identified family groups after 1870, these records–and other tax assessment records that identify slaves by name–can create an important connection into the antebellum world.

The following slaves are assessed to John Barwick’s heirs, living in Chapel District no. 4, in Talbot County, Maryland, in 1852:

  • Males
    • Lewis 3 year[s] old
    • John 7 [years old]
  • Females
    • Alexene 4 year[s]
    • Cornelia 9 year[s]
    • Arramitta 11 [years]
    • Malinda 35 [years] [2]

In Maryland, the Register of Wills and the Orphans’ Court handle matters of probate.  In addition to the commonly used probate records, such as wills, estate inventories, administration accounts, and estate distribution records, the recorded proceedings of the Orphans’ Court often hold details not included in the recorded instruments.  The following records holding possible significance to this case have been located regarding John Barwick’s estate:

  • 2 June 1848, Widow’s renunciation and administration bond:  This initial step in the probate process finds John Barwick’s widow Charlotte refusing her right to administer the estate of her husband, and instead suggesting that one Alexander E. Dudley serve as the administrator.  Dudley proceeds to submit his bond to the Court, holding himself responsible for the administration of John Barwick’s estate.  That Alexander Dudley is designated the administrator  of the estate, rather than the executor of the estate also signifies that John Barwick did not create a last will and testament, dying intestate.[3]
  • 9 August 1848, Estate inventory: The Orphans’ Court appointed Edward H. Nabb and James H. Ridgaway to appraise the value of John Barwick’s estate. The estate inventory that they created lists the following slaves by name, age, and value:
    • 1 Negro Woman Malinda aged 28 yrs & her infant child 400.00
    • 1 Girl Anna Mitten aged 7 yrs old 150.00
    • 1 girl Cornelia 4 yrs old 100.00
    • 1 Boy John 2 yrs old 50.00
    • 1 Boy Bill bound to serve until he is 21 years of age 50.00
  • This list of slaves, four years prior to the 1852 assessment record, contains all of the same slaves, just a few years younger. However, whereas the assessment record named Malinda and Alexene, aged 4 years old, this inventory only names Malinda and her “infant child.” This “infant child” in 1848 can be none other than the four-year-old Alexene in 1852. This serves as confirmation that Malinda is indeed Alexene/Alexina’s mother.[4]
  • 11 August 1848, Orphans’ Court Proceedings: Alexander E. Dudley, as administrator of John Barwick’s estate, applied to the Orphans’ Court for an order to sell all of John Barwick’s personal property, except his slaves. The order was approved and passed. The fact that the slaves were not ordered to be sold with the other property could possibly indicate that these slaves had come into John Barwick’s possession through his marriage to Charlotte.[5]
  • 11 August 1848, Orphans’ Court Proceedings: Alexander E. Dudley, as administrator of John Barwick’s estate, is ordered to publicly give notice to Barwick’s creditors to exhibit their accounts against the estate. Outstanding debts at the time of decease present one of the most common reasons for the sale of slaves and other personal property.[6]
  • 10 February 1852, Estate Distribution: John Barwick’s remaining estate is distributed among his heirs. Under Maryland law, his widow, Charlotte, is entitled to one-third of the estate, called her “dower rights.” The remaining two-thirds are divided equally among John’s children: William T. Barwick, John Barwick, William [sic] Barwick, James Barwick, and Alexander Barwick. The account only notes the distribution of cash amounts, probably the proceeds from the property sales, but does not note distribution of any remaining property such as slaves.[7]
  • 9 July 1852, Orphans’ Court Proceedings: The Orphans’ Court, on application of Charlotte Barwick, as John Barwick’s widow and the guardian of their underage children, appoints Richard Arringdale and Robert H. Jump to value and divide John Barwick’s slaves among his heirs. No record of any valuation or division has yet been located.[8]

When Talbot County assessed its citizens’ property in 1852, the slaves had still not been distributed. Therefore, they were still legally owned by the deceased John Barwick’s estate. By the 1860 federal census, the slaves were enumerated (without names provided) in Schedule 2, the enumeration of the enslaved population, or “slave schedule,” owned by the now remarried Charlotte Frampton, John Barwick’s widow.[9]

Slavery was abolished with the passage of a new Maryland state consitution on 1 October 1864. In 1870, the former slave Melinda Newman and her minor children live with her husband John Newman, in Easton, Talbot County.[10] By 1880 the family had moved to Baltimore city.[11]

SOURCES:

[1] Laws Made and Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Maryland, At a Session begun and held at Annapolis, on Wednesday, the 7th day of January, 1852, and ended on Monday, the 31st of May, 1852 (Annapolis, Md: B. H. Richardson & Cloud’s, 1852), “An Act to provide for the General Valuation and Assessment of Property in this State,” Chap. 337; digital images, Maryland State Archives, Archives of Maryland Online (http://aomol.net : accessed Jun 2011), Vol. 615, pages 392–408.

[2] Talbot County Board of County Commissioners, Assessment Record, 1852, Chapel District no. 4, page 3; MSA C1836-6, MdHR 12,842; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis.

[3] Talbot County, Maryland, Register of Wills, Administration Bonds JJH 1, pages 170-171, Barwick estate (1848); MSA C1821-15, MdHR 11,229-1; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis.

[4] Talbot County Register of Wills, Inventories JHH 1, pages 597-601, Barwick estate (1848); MSA C1872-45, MdHR 11,261-1; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis.

[5] Talbot County Register of Wills, Orphans Court Proceedings, 1846-1851, page 198, Barwick estate (1848); MSA C1897-14, MdHR 11,328; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis.

[6] Talbot County Register of Wills, Orphans Court Proceedings, 1846-1851, page 225, Barwick estate (1848); MSA C1897-14, MdHR 11,328; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis.

[7] Talbot County Register of Wills, Distributions JP E, pages 133-134, Barwick estate (1852); MSA C1860-8, MdHR 11,290-1; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis.

[8] Talbot County Register of Wills, Orphans Court Proceedings, 1852-1855, page 45, Barwick (1852); MSA C1897-15; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis.

[9] 1860 U. S. Census, Talbot County, Maryland, slave schedule, Easton District, pg. 22, column 1, lines 16-25, Charlotte Frompton’s slaves; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication  M653, roll not cited, but known to be roll 485. For Charlotte Barwick’s marriage to Thomas Frampton, 30 September 1857, see Talbot County Circuit Court, Marriage Licenses Book 1, Frampton to Barwick (1857); Maryland State Archives microfilm no. CR 10016-1.

[10] 1870 U. S. Census, Talbot Co., Maryland, population schedule, Town of Easton, Easton post office, page 30, dwelling 177, family 210, John Human household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2009); NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 595.

[11] 1880 U. S. Census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, part 3rd Precinct 14th Ward, enumeration district 125, page 25, dwelling 188, family 225, John Newman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 502.

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “A Friend of Friends Friday: Maryland’s 1852 Tax Law,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 21 Oct 2011 (http://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed [access date]).

A Friend of Friends/Follow Friday: “Over Troubled Water” BlogTalkRadio show

I will be a guest on the Internet radio show “Over Troubled Water” on BlogTalkRadio this coming Wednesday, 21 September 2011, at 8pm EDT.

Host Robin Foster and I will discuss my new work Genealogy At A Glance: African American Genealogy Research (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2011) as well as other genealogy subjects.

For a review of the Genealogy At A Glance and other information about the show, read Robin’s blog post “Michael Hait’s African American Genealogy Research At A Glance.”

The “Over Troubled Water” radio show has the following stated goals:

We are coming together to celebrate our heritage and identify what we can do in our families and communities to enjoy the full measure of economic, political, social, cultural, and educational advantage. With the blessings … of technology, all African ancestored descendants can develop an online haven where healing can take place. Let’s recite and relish in our history. Let’s come together to identify the principles that help us to enjoy freedom and happiness. Hopefully, “Over Troubled Water” will be the beginning of that for you. We welcome contributors who will share their history and perspectives that we may all learn and benefit.

You can visit the show’s site on BlogTalkRadio to watch previous episodes “On Demand.”

I am looking forward to this opportunity. I hope to see you there!

A Friend of Friends Friday: Division of the Negroes of Thomas Lucket

This post is written as part of the weekly “A Friend of Friends Friday” genealogy blogging meme. Visit the GeneaBloggers shared Google Reader list for additional entries from this and other blogs.

The following record appeared in the Charles County, Maryland, Inventories register in the October Term 1827:

Thomas Lucket Reappraisement & Division

Inventory of the Reappraisement of the goods, chattels, in part of the personal Estate of Thomas Lucket late of Charles County deceased in Dollars & cents viz.

Property

Value

1 Negro man Samuel 31 years old

300.00

1 ditto do Grandison 28 ” “

350.00

1 do do Horace 17 ” “

300.00

1 Woman Lindia 50 ” “

80.00

1 ” Lucy 45 ” “

80.00

1 ” Silvia 23 ” “

275.00

1 do Lindia 15 ” “

275.00

1 do Charlotte 13 ” “

250.00

1 do Maria 19 ” “

275.00

1 do Harriot 20 ” ” & child 15 mos old

540.00

1 Girl Jane 20 mos old

50.00

1 Boy John 8 mos old

40.00

1 do Samuel 2 mos old

25.00

7 Shoats @ $3.00

21.00

13 shoats @ .75 [cents]

9.75

1 Boar

2.00

 

$2672.75

We the subscribers do certify, that the foregoing is a true and Just Inventory and Valuation, of the reapraisement of the goods, chattels, in part of the personal estate, of Thomas Lucket, late of Charles County decd. as far as they have come to our sight and knowledge. Witness our hands and seals this 3rd day of December 1827.

William P. Ford [seal]

Francis Thompson [seal]

Reappraisement and Division of the Negroes of the Estate of Thos. Lucket, late of Charles County deceased.

Lot No. 1. Elizabeth Lucket

 

 

1 Negro man Sam

$300.00

 

1 ” Woman Linda

$80.00

 

 

 

$380.00

Lot No. 2. Hezekiah Luckett

 

 

1 Negro man Grandison

$350.00

 

1 do Woman Lucy

80.00

 

 

 

430.00

Lot No. 3. Reason Boswell

 

 

1 Negro man Horace

$300.00

 

Lot No. 4. Henry Luckett

 

 

1 Woman Linda

$275.00

 

Lot No. 5. Marcus L. Luckett

 

 

1 Woman Silvia

$275.00

 

1 Boy Samuel

25.00

 

 

 

300.00

Lot No. 6. Mary R. Lucket

 

 

1 Woman Maria

$275.00

 

1 Boy John

40.00

 

 

 

315.00

Lot No. 7. Adeline A. Lucket

 

 

1 Woman Charlotte

$250.00

 

1 Girl Jane

50.00

 

 

 

300.00

Lot No. 8. Thomas L. Lucket

 

 

To be paid by the Representatives

 

$298.33½

The aforegoing acct. is rejected, And it is ordered by the Court, that the Admr. sell the whole of the personal Estate of his Intestate, upon the usual terms.

Test. Wm. D. Merrick

Regr. of Wills

Decr. 11th. 1827

This estate inventory unfortunately does not contain some of the information that genealogists have come to appreciate. The slaves are listed in descending age order, rather than in any semblance of family groups. No family relationships whatsoever are stated, other than that between Harriot and “her [unnamed] child.” From the information provided in this record, the genealogist cannot endeavor to reconstruct any of the families.

It is unlikely that the slaves living in this household comprised married couples. One hallmark of farms of this size, with slave-holdings of less than 15-20 people, is that the slaves are often closely related, and therefore look to other nearby farms and plantations for marriage. Cross-plantation or “abroad” marriages were extremely common in the state of Maryland.

After the initial reappraisement of Thomas Lucket’s estate, the record continues to include the division of his slave-holdings among his heirs and representatives. One can witness the unfortunate circumstances that led to the break-up of many enslaved families. Each of the heirs only received one or two of the slaves from the estate in this division, due to the relatively small size of Thomas Lucket’s holdings and the almost equal number of heirs. Given that several of these heirs were males, it would be reasonable to believe that each of these slaves would have ended up on a separate farms or plantations.

The record also notes, following this recorded partition of the slaves, that this division was rejected, and the Orphans’ Court ordered the slaves to be sold. In this particular case, the record of the sale does not appear with the record transcribed here. It is likely that the sale–assuming that it actually took place–would have been recorded in either this register or the “Account of Sales” register.

Information on the decision to reject the division would likely be found in the Orphans’ Court proceedings. I would recommend that probate court dockets and minutes always be consulted in addition to other probate records, where available. These court proceedings can provide much more of a “behind the scenes” glimpse into the estate administration process.

SOURCE: Charles County, Maryland, Inventories, 1825-1829, pp. 363-364, Thomas Lucket estate (1827); Maryland State Archives microfilm no. WK 253-254-1.

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “A Friend of Friends Friday: Division of the Negroes of Thomas Lucket,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 23 Jul 2011 (http://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed [access date]).

A Friend of Friends Friday: Manumissions of Sam Snowden’s family, District of Columbia

This post is written as part of the weekly “A Friend of Friends Friday” genealogy blogging meme. Visit the GeneaBloggers shared Google Reader list for additional entries from this and other blogs.

In 1829, two records appear in the manumission register of Anne Arundel County, Maryland:

To all whom it may concern, Be it known, that I Thomas Snowden of Anne Arundel County in the State of Maryland, for divers good causes and considerations me thereunto moving, and also in further consideration of One dollar current money of the United States in hand paid, have released from slavery, liberated, manumitted & set free, & by these presents do hereby release from slavery, liberate, manumit & set free, my negro woman Viney, being of the age of [___] years, the wife of negro Samuel, commonly known by the name of Sam Snowden, of George Town in the District of Columbia, which said negro woman is able to work & gain a sufficient livelihood & maintenance and the aforesaid negro Viney I do hereby declare to be henceforth free, manumitted & discharge from all manner of servitude to me, my executors, administrators or assigns forever. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this ninth day of June 1829.

Thomas Snowden

Signed, Sealed and delivered in presence of Stephen Beard [,] W H Woodfield

On the back of the aforegoing was thus endoresed, to wit:

Received on the day of the date herein before mentioned the sum of one dollar, it being the consideration in full above mentioned.

Thomas Snowden

Witness. Nicholas Dorsey of Lloyd.

Maryland Sct. Anne Arundel County to wit

On the twenty first day of September 1829 personally appeared Thomas Snowden part to the within deed of manumission, before me the subscriber a Justice of the peace for the County aforesaid, and acknowledged the same to be his act & deed for the purpose therein mentioned, and the said negro within named, to be henceforth manumitted and discharged from all services to him, or to any claiming under him, and to be free & manumitted according to the act of assembly in such case made and provided.

Acknowledged before Nicholas Dorsey of Lloyd.

Record the 15th day of October 1829[1]

Followed by this deed:

Whereas I Thomas Snowden of Anne Arundel County in the State of Maryland did heretofore promise & agree to, & with, Saml. Snowden a free black man (the husband of my slave Viney) of George Town in the District of Columbia, to set free & manumit the following Children of the said Saml. and his wife (who I have this day & year hereinafter mentioned, manumitted & set free) To wit, one Girl named Ellen aged about thirteen years one named Pricilla aged about ten years & one Boy named Peter aged about 14 months. In consideration that the said father had ever since their respective births been at the sole expence of supporting, maintaining, & clothing them. And whereas the said Children, by reason of their minority cannot at this time be manumitted, I have agreed with the said Samuel, in order to carry into affect my said agreement as far as in my power to execute these presents. Now know all men by these presents that I the said Thos. Snowden in consideration of the aforesaid premises, and also in further consideration of the sum of five dollars (money of the United States) to me in hand paid by the said Samuel, at & before the sealing and delivering of these presents, the receipt wherof I do hereby acknowledge and also upon the further considerations herein after specified, have granted, bargained & sold, and by these presents do grant, bargain & sell unto the said Samuel his executors, administrators & assigns his said three Children untill the said Girls shall each attain the full age of Sixteen (16) years and untill the said Boy shall attain the age of twenty one (21) years, when they & each of them may be able to work and gain a livelihood and maintenance; at which said respective times it is hereby understood & agreed that the said three Children are to be free and manumitted & discharged from all manner of servitude to the said Thomas & Samuel or either of them or their securities, administrators or assigns – and also this further condition that the said Samuel his executors, administrators or assigns shall during the said respective terms of servitude of the said Children find them comfortable maintenance & clothing – and that the said Samuel may with approbation of the Orphans Court of Washington County of said District of Columbia bind them out to some usefull trade, or occupation for any time not longer than till full age, that is to say the Said Girls to Sixteen (16) years of age, & the Boy to twenty one (21). And also on this further consideration that the said Samuel his securities administrators or assigns shall not send or carry the said Children or either of them out of the County & District aforesaid; And also on this further condition that immediately on the arrival of the said Girls at the said ages of sixteen years, and the Boy at the age of twent yone they & each of them are to be & are hereby released, & liberated, manumitted and set free from all manner of slavery & servitude whatsoever, to the said Thomas & Samuel or either of them, or their securities, administrators or assigns forever. And the said Thomas Snowden for himself his securities & administrators doth hereby further covenant & agree to & with the said Samuel Snowden his securities administrators & assigns, and each of them, that he the said Thomas Snowden, his executors & administrators or any of them shall and will at all times hereafter at the request of the said Samuel Snowden his executors administrators or assigns, at his or their cost & charge make execute or cause to be made executed, delivered & acknowledged all and every such further and other act, deed or assurance, for the better & more perfect conveying and transferring the service of the said three Children during the said term herein before expressed and for the more effectual manumission of the said three Children at the several and respective ages herein before mentioned as the said Samuel Snowden his executors, administrators or assigns shall direct or require for the more effectual transfering and making over the service of the three Children during the several and respective term of years herein before mentioned, and for the manumission of them, & each of them at their arrival at the ages herein before mentioned. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this ninth day of June 1829.

Thomas Snowden

Signed, Sealed and delivered in the presence of Stephen Beard[,] W H Woodfield

On the back of the aforegoing was thus written to wit:

Received on the day of the date above mentioned of the said Samuel Snowden the sum of five dollars being the consideration in full as above mentioned.

Thomas Snowden

Witness. Stephen Beard[,] W H Woodfield

Maryland Sct. Anne Arundel County to wit

On this ninth day of June 1829 personally appeared Thomas Snowden the party to the aforesaid deed, before the subscriber a Justice of the peace for the County aforesaid, and acknowledges the same to be his act and deed for the purposes therein mentioned and intended and that the said three negro Children therein named and thereby bargained and sold for the said terms of years and thereafter to be freed and discharged from all services to him or to any claiming under him according to the act of assembly in such case made & provided.

Acknowledged before

Stephen Beard

Recorded the 16th day of October 1829[2]

These two records provide wonderful insight into this family.

It records a marriage of a free black man with an enslaved woman. This caused great difficulty for their children, as the second record expresses. Though their father was free, the children of enslaved mothers bore the status of their mother, and were thus born into slavery. Furthermore, unlike their mother, the children could not be manumitted as minors. Therefore, in order that Sam Snowden (who the deed notes was financially responsible for their care from the time of their birth) could have legal custody of his children, their owner Thomas Snowden had to sell them to their father under terms of service until they each reached legal adulthood, then to be manumitted. This had to have been belittling.

On the other hand, Thomas Snowden, the owner of Viney and the Snowden children, was not required by law to do such. In fact, during this time the interstate slave trade (the “Second Middle Passage”) witnessed hundreds of thousands of slaves being sold from the Upper South, especially Maryland and Virginia, to the developing “Cotton Belt” states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Thomas Snowden could have legally sold Samuel’s family to the Deep South to never be seen again. That he did not do this, but actually released Viney and the children into Samuel’s care for barely more than the required clerk’s fees ($1 and $5 for the two deeds, respectively), is almost a credit to Thomas.

Of course, though the 1830 U. S. Census no longer remains extant for Anne Arundel County, the 1840 U. S. Census credits Thomas Snowden of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, as the owner of fourteen (14) slaves. These fourteen people were not as fortunate as the Snowden family. [3]

Samuel Snowden appears in the 1830 U. S. Census living in Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, about a year after these deeds were recorded. In his household were the following:

  • 1 “free colored” male, aged under 10 years
  • 1 “free colored” male, aged 55 to 100 years
  • 2 “free colored” females, aged 10 to 24 years
  • 1 “free colored” female, aged 36 to 55 years[4]

This is exactly the composition of this family as recorded in the above deeds.

Moving backward, we find that Samuel Snowden is also enumerated in Georgetown in the 1820 U. S. Census. This year, the following people resided in his household:

  • 2 female slaves, aged under 14 years
  • 1 female slave, aged 26 to 45 years
  • 1 “free colored” male, aged 26 to 45 years[5]

This shows that, even though his wife and daughters were still enslaved at this point, they indeed lived in his household, rather than that of their legal owner, Thomas Snowden. This was extremely rare during this early time period.

Unfortunately, the family has not been located in any subsequent deeds, so the later lives of Samuel and Viney Snowden and their children are unknown.

SOURCES:

[1] Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Manumission Record, Book C 3, pp. 440-441; Maryland State Archives microfilm no. CR 79178.

[2] Anne Arundel County Manumission Record, C 3: 441-444.

[3] 1840 U. S. Census, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, folio 208, line 13, Thomas Snowden household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 July 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M704, roll 157, FHL microfilm no. 13,182.

[4] 1830 U. S. Census, District of Columbia, folio 182, line 6, Samuel Snowden household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 July 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M19, roll 14, FHL microfilm no. 6,699.

[5] 1820 U. S. Census, District of Columbia, page 27, line 11, Samuel Snowden household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 July 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M33, roll 5.

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “A Friend of Friends Friday: Manumissions of Sam Snowden’s family, District of Columbia,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 23 Jul 2011 (http://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed [access date]).

A Friend of Friends Friday: James Aldridge of Prince George’s County, Maryland

I generally do not participate in many of the common genealogy blogging prompts. However, I recently discovered that several other bloggers had started the new “A Friend of Friends” theme. This theme provides information on former African American slaves, as reported in the records of slave holders.

Last year, the website A Friend of Friends debuted with exactly this goal. I was an active contributor to this site, providing transcriptions of several records related to slaves:

Unfortunately, due to health problems in the family of the administrator, this website has not been updated since 19 April 2010. I am thrilled to discover that other bloggers have picked up this torch and continued the “Friend of Friends” tradition.

As my first contribution, I would like to offer a transcription of the will and codicil of James Aldridge, of Prince George’s County, Maryland, dated 12 April 1833 and 16 April 1833, respectively:

[WILL]

I James Aldridge of Prince George county, in the state of Maryland, being in good health of body, and of sound and disposing mind, and Memory; but at the same time, aware of the uncertainty of Life, and the certainty of Death; and desirous of making all needful preparations for its approach whenever it shall please my Heavenly Father to call me out of this Life, Do therefore make, declare, and publish this my last will and testament, in the Manner, and form following, that is to say,

First, with an humble reliance upon the Mercy of God through my blessed Redeemer I resign my soul to his disposal whenever it shall be his will to take me hence, and also my frail body to the Earth to be interred decently at the discretion and under the Direction of my Executor herein after named.

Item. It is my will, and desire that the plantation whereon I now live, part of “Tuckers Cultivation, and all my real Estate, shall be sold by my Executor immediately after my Decease, or as soon as may be done with convenience, and the monies and proceeds [...] arising from the sales thereof shall be equally divided amongst the children of my deceased brother Jacob Aldridge, and my deceased sister Elizabeth Jones: and my sister Eleanor Belt if living at the time of my Death; if not, her children shall receive what was intended for her, and here to prevent any mistake, or misunderstanding in the Construction of this Clause of my will, I declare it to be my will, and intention that one third of the monies, and proceeds of my plantation aforesaid and of real Estate herein directed to be sold by my Exe cutor; shall be given to the Children of my deceased brother Jacob Aldridge; on third to the children of my deceased sister Elizabeth Jones; and the remaining third to my sister Eleanor Belt if she survive me; if not, then to her children; to be divided equally amongst them, share and share alike

Item. It is my will, and desire that all my personal Estate except my Slaves, shall also be sold by my Executor, and after all my just debts, and funeral expences shall have been paid, the proceeds, and monies arising from the sale of my personal estate directed to be sold, shall likewise be divided amongst the Children of my deceased brother Jacob Aldridge, and the children of my deceased sister Elizabeth Jones, and my sister Eleanor Belt if living at the time of my Death – if not, then her share to be equally divided amongst her children, and this clause of my will, is to be understood, and administered and executed in the manner provided for, and directed for the division of the proceeds of the Real Estate – that is to say, it my will and intention that one third of the monies, and proceeds of the Sales of the personal Estate shall be given to the children of my deceased brother Jacob Aldridge one third to the Children of my deceased sister Elizabeth Jones; and one third to my sister Eleanor Belt, if she survive me – if not, then to her children; to be equally divided amongst them, share, and share alike.

Item. It is my will and desire, and I do, by this my last Will and testament emancipate and set free all my Slaves in as full and ample a manner as I legally may; and my Executor is hereby required to discharge all of the said slaves immediately after my decease. And finally, I appoint my brother Andrew Aldridge and Dr. Henry Culver the Executors of this my last will testament. In witness in hereof I have hereunto set my Hand and affixed my seal the twelvth day of April in the year of our Lord 1833.

James Aldridg [seal]

Signed and sealed in presence of

J. C. Herbert

John Cool

Wm. Jones

[CODICIL]

April 16th 1833

when I had my will rote I for got some things that I wish to put in the will that is I wish to left marien bels childre fifty dollar a peace nex is to lef an old woman lyd five dollars a year as long as she lived in money or cloas next is to left all my wuoman over fifteen years twenty dollars a peace to be paid to them buy my exequter or adminasrater when they are dis starege this I wish to be to be put in the will when recorded givein under my hand and [it is my wish it cant be left out]

James Aldridge [seal]

[SOURCE: Prince George’s County, Maryland, Estate Papers, James Aldridge file, original will & codicil (1833); MSA C2119-1-7, MdHR 50,822; Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland. Transcribed by Michael Hait on 24 March 2009. Emphasis added.]

The estate file that holds the above original will and codicil contains several additional records that detail the administration of the estate. Several of these records specifically relate to the slaves named (and unnamed) in the will and codicil. Rather than transcribing all of them, the information has been abstracted here:

  • 1834 Jun 5. Letter from A. Aldridge to Dr. H. Culver: “Dear Sir, I recd, your letter of 2 Inst. with a copy of my Brother James will. I see he has named me as one of his executors & you the other. It will be out of my power to act therefore I relinquish my Right to you & hope you will take out letters of administration, as I am sure the heirs will be pleased. I have made the enquiry respecting the slaves they are free. There is not law preventing a person from setting his slaves free. The Sheriff of the county may if he chooses send them out of the state, but it never has been done as yet & perhaps never will. The negros perhaps will be compelled to get permission every 6 months from one of the Judges of the County Court to remain in state & even that will not be attended to or looked after by any one. You may depend on this as being correct. Very Respectfully, Your &c., A. Aldridge”
  • 1834 Aug 12. Receipt. To Thomas F. Bowie, for “my opinion on relation to the codicil to the last will & Testament of said Aldridge.”
  • 1836 Apr 27. First additional account of Henry Culver executor of James Aldridge late of sd county decd. Cash recd for interest on debts collected. Payments & disbursements to Lidy Gibson for annuity for one year, ditto for 1835 & part of 1836, to Hagar Crutches, Sarah Hepburn, Rebecca Herbert, & Julia Ford, in full for specific legacy to them; to P. Chew, Regr of Wills. Recorded PC 2:189.
  • 1835 Aug 8. Receipt. To Lidia Gibson [her mark], for pension or annual allowance “left me by said James Aldridge my late master for the past year”. Witn. C. H. Brashears.
  • 1836 Feb 15. Receipt. To Liddy Gibson [her mark], for annuity bequeathed. Test. Joseph I. Jones.
  • 1835 May 13. Receipt. To Hagar Crutches [her mark], Sarah Hepburn [her mark], Rebecca Herbert [her mark], Julia Ford [her mark], “for a legacy bequeathed each of us by the said James Aldridge (our late Master)”. Witn. Joseph I. Jones.
  • 1836 Sep 13. Final account of Henry Culver, Executor of James Aldridge late of said county deceased. Interest recd. of Francis King, Thos. Merson, Elizabeth Snowden, Jos. I. Jones, John Merson, Homara Donaldson, R. B. Mulliken, Mark Duvall, Wm. Jones. Cash recd. of Thos. McAbee & James Owens, Elijah Donaldson. Interest “on this accountants note, due the deceased from 13th day of February 1834 to 13 Sep 1835.” Payments & disbursements to Sheriff for fees, Philemon Chew, retained by accountant to pay annuity to negro, John B Brooke Esq. Distribution: To Mary Ellen Beall, daughter of Maria Beall, legacy. To Richard Beall, son of Maria Beall, legacy. To children of Jacob Aldridge, one-third part, vizt. Ann J. Aldridge, Caroline Aldridge, Washington Aldridge, Martha J. Aldridge, Christy Trunnel. To children of Elizabeth Jones, one-third part, vizt. William Jones, Matilda Mitchell, Samuel A. Jones, Pamela A. Culver. To Eleanor Belt, wife of Richard W. Belt, one-third part. Test. P. Chew Regr. [[obliterated:] repeats above, but states “Christa Trunnel wife of Wm. Trunnel”] Recorded PC 2:213-214.

James Aldridge’s estate inventory does not identify any slaves. After all, James manumitted them all with his will. They would therefore not be appraised as part of his estate after their manumission. Neither does James’s will identify any slaves (other than “old woman lyd”) by name.

This file is a perfect illustration of why researchers must review all documents relevant to the slave owners, not just the will and inventory/appraisement. The receipts held within this file and the account of the administration of the estate both identify at least five women formerly owned as a slave by James Aldridge: Lidia/Liddy Gibson, Hagar Crutches, Sarah Hepburn, Rebecca Herbert, and Julia Ford. These five women’s lives might have completely disappeared were it not for the papers of this estate.

For other “A Friend of Friends Friday” posts, visit the GeneaBloggers shared Google Reader list.

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “A Friend of Friends Friday: James Aldridge of Prince George’s County, Maryland,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 23 Jul 2011 (http://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed [access date]).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,836 other followers

%d bloggers like this: