The Slaves in my Family

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southern blue

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Location
Virginia
I have been doing family research for over twenty years and somehow became the ‘go to’ person whenever anyone asks a question ‘What was great grandma’s maiden name again? What relation is weird cousin Albert to me?” As I went through this I not only found my ancestors but I found the names of some of their slaves. Sometimes slaves took on the last name of their owner’s family and sometimes people can trace their lines back to a certain location. I don’t know what happened to these people. All I know is their names (or existence) showed up in my family records but I hope eventually this might help someone. Genealogy is an ongoing line of study and is never finished so I don’t make any claims that is ‘complete’. Who knows what I might find out tomorrow?

I’ll try and keep my boring family history bits to a minimum.

First the paternal line.

The Pierce Noland Family

Pierce Noland (Nowland) my sixth paternal grandfather came to St. Mary’s County MD between 1765 and 1780. His wife was Bridget Carrol. They moved to Stafford County VA around 1707.

His son Philip Noland and his wife Katherine owned the following slaves while living in Stafford.

Betty, George, Vily

Betty, George/Jack/James (ferrymen), Viny

Bob, Molathan, Dinah

Charles, Parro

Dick, Sal

Diana, Tom

Ester, Vich

His son Peter Noland and his wife Anne Wilcoxon moved to Wilkes County NC. In the 1790 census two slaves are mentioned but none are mentioned in his will. His son Henry had no slaves. There were no more slaves in that line of the Noland Family. Henry’s grandson Hugh Lambert, son of his daughter Cecelia lived in NC but was a radical Union loyalist.
 

southern blue

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Location
Virginia
The Pipkin Family.

John Pipkin (Seventh GGrandfather) born in Bedfordshire England 1651-Died Surrey County NC 1721) Married to Charity Goodman. (The Pipkin House is still standing in Gates NC).

1790 Census-34 Slaves

1800 census-15 slaves

1810 census-17 slaves.

In his will the following slaves were mentioned

Jack to his son Joseph Pipkin

Rollin to his son Isaac (my sixth great grandfather)

Dorety to his son Jesse

Dina to his daughter Mary.

To his wife the slaves Hannah and her children and Ned.

I am descended from Isaac’s daughter Mary. (1761-1836). I can find no further evidence of slaves in this family.

Interesting to note that Mary’s grandson Stanford Lee served in the Union Army.

As of right now I can find no more slave records in my paternal line. The Lamberts, Rapers, Barnes, Rolands, Leas, Passmores had no slaves. The Passmores were descended from Quakers and the Rolands were pacifist ‘Dunkards’.
 

southern blue

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Location
Virginia
My maternal side of the tree is filled with Quakers and Yankees. :wink: Seriously a great many of them were from New England and Pennsylvania who made their way south, some starting in Plymouth Colony. There are no slave records on this side of the family with one exception.

The Woods Family

My seventh great grandfather Michael Woods was born in Ireland and came to American around 1784 with his wife Margaret Campbell. (Jarmon’s Gap in VA was originally called Woods Gap after him. His name is on an historical marker there as a ‘pioneer’) His grandson Michael Marion served in the Revolution and was granted land in Tennessee. He and his son kept very meticulous notes of the births and deaths of the various family members and he included the slaves, not only their names but their birthdays. The family started out in VA, went to live in SC for a while ‘along the Savannah’ and then onto Washington County (present Greene County TN).

The slave records as recorded in his diary.

Tamar gave birth to Rachel on June 6 1783 in Washington County TN

Hannah (was bought from Hezekiah Rice in 1763 at the age of ten years.) Twin girls who were listed as ‘mullatto’ on June 15 1778. Their names were Letty and Lucy.

Letty had two children- Nancy in November 1800 and Terry in 1802.

Lucy’s had three children - Jo on June 3, 1796, Allon December 6 1801 and Alford Dec 15 1805

I can no records of slaves in this side of the family after this although I ‘think’ there were more. There is a family legend of an ancestor who was a minister who freed his slaves well before the war but the slaves choose to remain with him. There are several lay ministers in the family but the only ‘official’ Reverend was a Rev. Charles Gallaher. He was a Methodist His wife’s name was Judith. Unfortunately I know nothing about them, no dates or any other information except their names and that they lived in Roane County TN at one time. Their daughter Susan married Elijah Lawson and their grandson Benjamin Lawson served the C.S.A. 60th Infantry NC State. As far as I can tell he was the only one of my Confederate relatives in my direct line who served the Confederacy of his own free will. (Others served under duress).


Now I am just beginning to search out the Taylor family which is the maternal line of my maternal grandfather. I have a feeling they probably owned slaves. My great aunt told a story walking from their home in Whittier NC with her mother and my grandfather to visit the home of their mother’s father, a man whose name was either William or James Taylor (or some combination). His home was located in TN right across the NC border. It couldn’t have been too far if they could walk to it! Apparently it was around Maryville and this ancestor ‘owned’ a bank. Anyway when they arrived the trio walked up a brick lined driveway to a house with large columns. The house is apparently still standing. They sat down to eat at a formal dinner and my aunt picked up the wrong fork and got her fingers slapped by a ‘colored servant’. This would have happened in the early 1900s. These people had connections in Georgia…from the sound of it I am almost certain that these people owned slaves but I’m having difficulty finding out more about this family but then for all I know they may have gotten rich on the suffering of others after the war…it was pretty well known that my great grandmother ‘had money’ and bought a lot of property in their location in western NC where cousins of mine still live. Wish some of it had trickled down!


And that is the history of the slaves in my family…so far. I have no idea if they were good, bad or indifferent masters and it doesn’t matter. As far as I’m concerned to merely possess another human being is cruel. It is also good to see that this is only a small part of what is really a large family tree. For most of it I’ve gone through the various branches and made the note of ‘No slave records’.
 
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DanF

Captain
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
For me the biggest revelation of all was not that my family owned slaves but that some of the slaves were actually family.

GGG granddad always referred to many of his slaves as his "black children". DNA testing has shown this to be more than a figure of speech. They actually were his children. Court testimony reflects that he thought more highly of his black children than he did of his white children.

His will not only freed them but gave them his property as well.
 

southern blue

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Location
Virginia
For me the biggest revelation of all was not that my family owned slaves but that some of the slaves were actually family.

GGG granddad always referred to many of his slaves as his "black children". DNA testing has shown this to be more than a figure of speech. They actually were his children. Court testimony reflects that he thought more highly of his black children than he did of his white children.

His will not only freed them but gave them his property as well.

I admit I have wondered about those 'mullato' children that my ancestor listed. Also interesting that there is no father mentioned anywhere.
 

18thVirginia

Major
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
Every time that I look at my DNA matches, there seems to be another African American match. The one part of my family that owned slaves I know very little about, other than that they came from Tennessee and Kentucky. So, I can offer little assistance to those searching for their ancestors, as I don't know who the slaveholders were.

But, I have put the slave names that I know about on ancestry.com because it would take some digging through the probate documents of the 1830s to find these names. I've also done that for the slaves that my husband's family owned, where I found them documented in probate records from the 1850s.

I commend you, southern blue, for making this information available here.
 
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DanF

Captain
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
I admit I have wondered about those 'mullato' children that my ancestor listed. Also interesting that there is no father mentioned anywhere.
Many pre civil war travellers commented on the striking family resemblance of many of the mullato house slaves in slaveholders homes.
 

18thVirginia

Major
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
In French Louisiana, the early records in the 1700-1800s actually said "mulattez" or "negresse," so it's somewhat easier to track the fathers or lack of fathers and the status of offspring. Interestingly, some of the slave holders who had lived openly with women and fathered children by them would make a will stating that they had no other heirs.

Which didn't always mean that they disowned the children, but to give them an inheritance, the mulatto heirs had to legally not be their children.
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
One of the things I'm working on in my study of district 1 in Lauderdale county is trying to find names for slaves. I haven't found a lot of wills or probate records online, with the exception of the will of Elizabeth Rice Kirton, who left a handful of named slaves in trust to her grandchildren. I've figured out that some took the name Curtain and some took her granddaughter's married name, Walker. Cupid Walker ran away to South Carolina (where the family originated - it's possible he had family there) and became a USCT, and Peter Curtain was a trusted servant of the Rice family - so trusted in fact that he was sent alone on a journey across Tennessee to retrieve the effects of John Shadrach Rice when he was killed at Brice's Crossroads. Two very different people.

Shadrach Rice's diary mentions digging wells with the help of "Jinx." And lo and behold in the 1870 census there is Jink Rice, of the right age to be the man mentioned in the diary. Unfortunately I haven't had any luck finding much more about him.

I just bought the DNA kit, I'm going to have my mom do it, and then get one of my brothers to do it, in hopes of keeping results from the two sides of our family as separate as possible. I'll be interested to see if I have any African American relations.
 
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Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
For me the biggest revelation of all was not that my family owned slaves but that some of the slaves were actually family.

GGG granddad always referred to many of his slaves as his "black children". DNA testing has shown this to be more than a figure of speech. They actually were his children. Court testimony reflects that he thought more highly of his black children than he did of his white children.

His will not only freed them but gave them his property as well.
Dan, That is quite a remarkable story!
 

DanF

Captain
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Dan, That is quite a remarkable story!
It was quite a surprise to me. And if it wasn't documented in a landmark Tenn. Supreme Court case in 1846 I don't know that I would have believed it.

The white kids tried to break their fathers will so they could get his property and sell the slaves. They lost every challenge all the way up to the Tenn supreme Court.

That is how my family ended up in Kentucky. They bankrupted themselves trying to break the will and ended up sneaking out of Tenn in the middle of the night to avoid their creditors.
 

southern blue

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Location
Virginia
One of the things I'm working on in my study of district 1 in Lauderdale county is trying to find names for slaves. I haven't found a lot of wills or probate records online, with the exception of the will of Elizabeth Rice Kirton, who left a handful of named slaves in trust to her grandchildren. I've figured out that some took the name Curtain and some took her granddaughter's married name, Walker. Cupid Walker ran away to South Carolina (where the family originated - it's possible he had family there) and became a USCT, and Peter Curtain was a trusted servant of the Rice family - so trusted in fact that he was sent alone on a journey across Tennessee to retrieve the effects of John Shadrach Rice when he was killed at Brice's Crossroads. Two very different people.

Shadrach Rice's diary mentions digging wells with the help of "Jinx." And lo and behold in the 1870 census there is Jink Rice, of the right age to be the man mentioned in the diary. Unfortunately I haven't had any luck finding much more about him.

I just bought the DNA kit, I'm going to have my mom do it, and then get one of my brothers to do it, in hopes of keeping results from the two sides of our family as separate as possible. I'll be interested to see if I have any African American relations.

I've done the ancestry DNA test and check the matches frequently. I have been fully expecting to find some African American relatives but so far nothing has turned up.
 
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Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
It was quite a surprise to me. And if it wasn't documented in a landmark Tenn. Supreme Court case in 1846 I don't know that I would have believed it.

The white kids tried to break their fathers will so they could get his property and sell the slaves. They lost every challenge all the way up to the Tenn supreme Court.

That is how my family ended up in Kentucky. They bankrupted themselves trying to break the will and ended up sneaking out of Tenn in the middle of the night to avoid their creditors.
Dan, It really just gets better and better, doesn't it? I mean...I'm sorry your white forebears bankrupted themselves but I'm really glad your ancestor's wishes towards his mixed race offspring were honored by the state.
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
It was quite a surprise to me. And if it wasn't documented in a landmark Tenn. Supreme Court case in 1846 I don't know that I would have believed it.

The white kids tried to break their fathers will so they could get his property and sell the slaves. They lost every challenge all the way up to the Tenn supreme Court.

That is how my family ended up in Kentucky. They bankrupted themselves trying to break the will and ended up sneaking out of Tenn in the middle of the night to avoid their creditors.
There was a thread a while back about an Alabama Supreme Court decision in the 1850's. Same drill, except the slaves had been manumitted by a living owner. His creditors went after the slaves, who were not (pledged as collateral) party to the loan transactions . The court said, "no, way" and upheld the status of the former slaves as free people.

This stuff is really bizarre, but it shows IMO how seriously property rights were taken in the eyes of the law during the era. A slave owner (in life or death) who extended freedom to a slave was in effect transferring it as a property right that was respected by the courts, apparently.
 

DanF

Captain
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Dan, It really just gets better and better, doesn't it? I mean...I'm sorry your white forebears bankrupted themselves but I'm really glad your ancestor's wishes towards his mixed race offspring were honored by the state.
The part that gets me is they had to know that some of the slaves were their own half brothers and sisters and yet they bankrupted themselves trying to break the will so they could sell them.

Serves them right ending up broke debtors on the run from their creditors.
 
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DanF

Captain
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
There was a thread a while back about an Alabama Supreme Court decision in the 1850's. Same drill, except the slaves had been manumitted by a living owner. His creditors went after the slaves, who were not (pledged as collateral) party to the loan transactions . The court said, "no, way" and upheld the status of the former slaves as free people.

This stuff is really bizarre, but it shows IMO how seriously property rights were taken in the eyes of the law during the era. A slave owner (in life or death) who extended freedom to a slave was in effect transferring it as a property right that was respected by the courts, apparently.

The interesting thing about the decision is that in the 1830`s Tenn had passed legislation preventing maumission of slaves unless the owner provided for them to be removed from the state after they were freed.

The courts pretty much ignored that provision. (At least in this case.)
 
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