Families unite to discuss shared histories of slavery, plantation life, Civil War

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CMWinkler

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Families unite to discuss shared histories of slavery, plantation life, Civil War
Families discuss histories of slavery, plantation life, Civil War
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By Karen Rohr
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Saturday, December 21, 2013
© Copyright 2013 Newton
 

godofredus

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Absolutely marvelous. I understand there were several family reunions of Mary Chesnut's (A Diary from Dixie) "people" but I have never been able to track it down. Anybody?
 
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carol thatcher

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My great great grandfather Jonathan Wright Thatcher listing two people that "belonged to him" in his will and leaving them roughly a year's wage ($50 each). Their names were Margaret Harden and Shadrack Lewis. In Jonathan's will he expressed a faith in God and an appreciation for how God chose to bless him. If you're interested in reading that, you can find it here: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-19627-7?cc=1909099&wc=14030754
 

unionblue

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From the article:

"One of Jimi's main concerns is, 'I hope Charles wasn't treated badly. How do you feel about all this?' I said, 'Jimi, that was then. It is now the 21st century.' I didn't hold any animosity. That was the way it was... We studied history and we know how it all came about,' Wooten said."

Amen.

Unionblue
 
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godofredus

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My great great grandfather Jonathan Wright Thatcher listing two people that "belonged to him" in his will and leaving them roughly a year's wage ($50 each). Their names were Margaret Harden and Shadrack Lewis. In Jonathan's will he expressed a faith in God and an appreciation for how God chose to bless him. If you're interested in reading that, you can find it here: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-19627-7?cc=1909099&wc=14030754
I took a look. Fascinating. Note that the will was written in 1890, and so he still felt some ties almost 30 years later.
 
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carol thatcher

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I took a look. Fascinating. Note that the will was written in 1890, and so he still felt some ties almost 30 years later.
I thought too. And since he stated that "if they're still living upon my death," that they must have been with him for some time.

I found an article in the Journal News regarding Slavery in Berkeley County, VA in 1860 where it stated that he had as many as four, and I wondered why he only mentioned the two in his will. That article was kind of interesting. If you'd like to read it, it can be found here: http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/574909/Slavery-in-Berkeley-County--Va-.html
 

cash

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My great great grandfather Jonathan Wright Thatcher listing two people that "belonged to him" in his will and leaving them roughly a year's wage ($50 each). Their names were Margaret Harden and Shadrack Lewis. In Jonathan's will he expressed a faith in God and an appreciation for how God chose to bless him. If you're interested in reading that, you can find it here: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-19627-7?cc=1909099&wc=14030754
Nice entry. As he was in West Virginia, they would have been freed by the 13th Amendment, unless Shadrack enlisted in the Union Army, in which case he would have been freed upon being enlisted. Absent the 13th Amendment, they would have fallen under West Virginia's gradual emancipation as outlined in its constitution.
 

cash

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From the article in the OP: "Despite being illiterate, Charles Hicks held jobs as a laborer, butler and cook at a hotel. His wife worked as a laundress, and their children were educated and pursued careers such as a teacher and insurance agent. The couple also purchased a city lot at a time when it was rare for blacks to own property in the South."

Guess that answers the myth we have seen purveyed in this forum that emancipation of the slaves was a terrible act that didn't improve their conditions at all.
 
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James B White

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I thought too. And since he stated that "if they're still living upon my death," that they must have been with him for some time.

I found an article in the Journal News regarding Slavery in Berkeley County, VA in 1860 where it stated that he had as many as four, and I wondered why he only mentioned the two in his will. That article was kind of interesting. If you'd like to read it, it can be found here: http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/574909/Slavery-in-Berkeley-County--Va-.html
In the 1850 census of Berkeley County, Jonathan Thatcher had two slaves, a 15-year-old black male and an 11-year-old mulatto male. Ancestry.com doesn't seem to have the 1860 WV slave census indexed, as I can't find any slave owners in Berkeley County then. In the 1850 census, the 15-year-old would be the right age for Shadrack Lewis.

This is probably Margaret Hardin in the 1880 census, on Martin St., Martinsburg:
Untitled-1.psd.jpg


And next door (below one more member of the Hardin family from the household on the previous page), this is probably Shadrack Lewis in the 1880 census:
Untitled-2.psd.jpg
 

Drew

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I took a look. Fascinating. Note that the will was written in 1890, and so he still felt some ties almost 30 years later.
Oh, I'll bet he still felt ties, 30 years later. I'll further guess the relationship outlasted slavery. I can't defend the condition of the "freedmen" or their offspring in the South, but I can say that in my family there was an unwritten rule, that people who took care of us would be taken care of in their old age - no exceptions. It was a responsibility, not an option. I'm mystified that anyone would think that is fascinating.
 

godofredus

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Oh, I'll bet he still felt ties, 30 years later. I'll further guess the relationship outlasted slavery. I can't defend the condition of the "freedmen" or their offspring in the South, but I can say that in my family there was an unwritten rule, that people who took care of us would be taken care of in their old age - no exceptions. It was a responsibility, not an option. I'm mystified that anyone would think that is fascinating.
Sorry I was misunderstood. I did not think it was 'fascinating" that he still felt some ties or responsibility to his one time "people," I find it fascinating that the ties are documented specifically. Many time we assert feelings to an historical character without any evidence what so ever, here we have clear evidence. Fascinating.
 
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Drew

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Gotcha - I was extrapolating from personal experience - grandparents born at the start of the 20th century who took care of folks and were outlived by folks who took care of them. Responsibility for the welfare of those that outlived them became my immediate family's responsibility - and it was taken seriously. Like I said, it wasn't written down, but I'm glad someone did so. Shows the humanity amidst the mess.
 

carol thatcher

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I think it is fascinating. It's too easy to view things that happened one hundred, two hundred years ago by today's standards. I mean women couldn't vote, couldn't own property. It's difficult to know how to perceive things. I do believe slavery was a terrible custom of the day. The more I read about it, the more I wonder why it continued for as long as it did, and yet I'm not surprised that it took war to make the change happen.
 
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Drew

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And yes, Drew, I do understand the custom of taking care of our own. Both my dad's mother and my mother's dad lived with our family at different times both until they expired.
Bless you for that. But really what I was referring to were people who were not relatives, but essentially employees. That was the basis of the relationship, back in the day, but they were in essence family as well - cared for when they needed our care. I think it was Godofredus' point a few posts ago that he was fascinated to see that sentiment included in your ancestor's 19th century will.

BTW, my family were Antebellum Louisiana settlers. Women could not vote, but they certainly could own property and they absolutely did. I'm not certain but pretty sure, that before the Civil War, Louisiana had the largest number of free black women property owners of any state in the Union. Go figure.
 

carol thatcher

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In the 1850 census of Berkeley County, Jonathan Thatcher had two slaves, a 15-year-old black male and an 11-year-old mulatto male. Ancestry.com doesn't seem to have the 1860 WV slave census indexed, as I can't find any slave owners in Berkeley County then. In the 1850 census, the 15-year-old would be the right age for Shadrack Lewis.

This is probably Margaret Hardin in the 1880 census, on Martin St., Martinsburg:
View attachment 27063

And next door (below one more member of the Hardin family from the household on the previous page), this is probably Shadrack Lewis in the 1880 census:
View attachment 27064
Thanks for posting this James. You didn't happen to see a picture of Jonathan Wright Thatcher on Ancestry did you? I've seen some of his son Jonathan Newton Thatcher, but was curious if there were any out there. If you'd like you can give me something to research in return (though obviously I don't have an account with ancestry).
 
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carol thatcher

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Families unite to discuss shared histories of slavery, plantation life, Civil War
Families discuss histories of slavery, plantation life, Civil War
Want daily summaries and Breaking News alerts?

By Karen Rohr
[email protected]

Saturday, December 21, 2013
© Copyright 2013 Newton
CM Winkler - I wanted you to know that I read the article and found it very interesting. When I had found my g grandfather's will I imagined that I might face similar circumstances where I might ask myself how I would feel being confronted with offspring that my forefather had enslaved. I did feel awkward, and I find myself being careful with my wording as not to offend. At the same time, I posted a thread on ancestry thinking maybe I might be able to help a family find their roots. I'd just have to take that chance.

To be honest, when I read the title to this thread, I thought so this is where we come together to share. Thanks for making a thread where I could do that.
 
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