Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015
Homer Markham

Homer Markham was born about 1893 to William Markham and Mary Howard, in Lincoln County, MS. He was a teacher and farmer. Basic training was at Camp Grant, near Rockford, Illinois. He served as a cook during World War I. Homer was injured and spent time in a Tennessee hospital for disable soldiers. He returned home to Brookhaven, MS, where he married Mary Louise Tillman Harris. No children were born to the union. Homer died 02 Sep 1929, from his injuries.

Photograph from Find a Grave

Homer was my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Cora and Frederick Watson

Cora 1895 - ? ~ Frederick 1877 - 1931

Two of their daughters married brothers, my Markham cousins.
Rayfield Markham married Arzetta Watson 04 Nov 1947
Thallious Markham married Celestine Watson 13 Jan 1948
Both marriages occurred in Lincoln County, MS.

Photograph courtesy of Lauren Dixon, the couple's great granddaughter

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ann and Henry
They Survived

Henry's Daughter, Narcissus Israel Wooley
1866-1938

In May 1837, four months old Henry Israel and his 16 year old mother Ann, arrived on the Buie Plantation in Caseyville, Lincoln County, MS. At the time of their arrival, David Buie, their owner was about 20 years old and unmarried. As an eligible bachelor, David was probably preparing for his future household and bride by purchasing a pair of slaves who would deliver years of service.

The Buie family arrived in the Natchez District between 1805-1810 from North Carolina. They left the Upper South where land was becoming scarce with the divisions of estates and their families began to look westward to the new Mississippi Territory where the land was available.

Reverend C. W. Grafton wrote of the early life around the area. "Everything was young, bright, fresh, and full of life and vigor. The country abounded in game and the streams in fish. The lowlands and sometimes the hills were covered with crane brakes. Farming was an easy matter at that day. Burn away the brakes and plant your corn and you would be sure of an harvest."

I have often wondered how slaves coped after they were sold. I remember reading that some of them felt being sold from place to place as a death. Those they left behind were dead to them.

Henry and Ann were members of a busy household. They helped a young couple realize their American dream. David Buie married Jane McLaurin in 1840, purchased acres of land and by 1850, he owned 30 slaves. The number of slaves held steady in 1860, 31 slaves. Henry, his mother Ann and her husband Jack Buie would be included in that number. Ann had several more children, some did not survive childhood.

Henry and Ann probably worked the fields and where ever needed.

The family did not sit passively when an opportunity to fight for freedom came. Henry's brother Perry Buie served with Company K, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. His mother described Perry as 5 feet 4 inches tall, heavy built, copper or "ginger cake" complexion, eyes black and rather large. Perry enlisted 27 Aug 1863, died 02 Oct 1863 of measles contracted in the service at Natchez.

George Thomas, Henry's sister Rhoda Buie's husband, enlisted September 18, 1864, in Company F, 58th Regiment Infantry. George at the age of 27 heard that General Grant had taken Vicksburg, left Natchez, traveled over sixty miles hiding in cane brakes and fields to reach Vicksburg and join the Yankees. George enlisted under the alias of George Washington and was discharged for disability May 10, 1865. After discharge, he returned to Caseyville, married Rhoda Buie and father at least 10 children.

Henry married Martha Ann Henderson, they eventually owned their own farm. Martha was likely a second wife. The 1870 census has Henry recorded at 31 years of age with wife Martha, 25 years of age. The children in the household were: Lily, 17; Phoebe, 10; Sarah Jane, 5; Narcissus, 4; and Martin, 2. They are living and working on the farm of David Buie. No one in the house can read. All the children are gone, in 1880, except Carey who was 12. Henry and Martha have only a nephew in the household with them in 1900. Henry is not found in 1910 and by 1920, Martha is a widow living in the household of her daughter Narcissus Wooley.

Ann died sometime in late 1896 or early 1897 as she was dropped from the pension rolls June 1897 for failure to claim pension. Henry died between 1900-1920.

Ann and Henry survived slavery, lived several decades in freedom. They have many descendants, some of which are my cousins.

Henry's children married:
Sarah Jane Israel married Joe Buie
Narcissus Israel married Melvin Wooley
Martin Israel married Mary Thompson
Carey Israel married Celia Culver
Lily and Phoebe's spouses are unknown.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Henry Israel
Warrant Sound and Slave for Life

Henry Israel was an arm baby, four months old when he was sold to David Buie in 1837. His mother Ann was 16 years old; she was youthful and fertile. She could endure the long trip from Virginia and ahead of her were years of work and child bearing. David Buie paid $800 for mother and child in Natchez, Mississippi.


The Natchez Daily Courier
November 6th 1855

"I had one child Henry Israel when I came from Virginia. Mr. Buie bought me and him at Natchez." Ann, Henry's mother

ANN'S BILL OF SALE - NATCHEZ - MAY 16TH 1837
Received of David Buie eight hundred dollars in full payment for two negroes, to wit, Ann 16 years of age and her child four months old, both negroes. I warrent(sp) to be sound, and slaves for life.
Theophus Freeman
Teste - Neil Buie

If they traveled by land, Ann and infant son would have been part of a coffle. A coffle was a convoy of slaves, mostly chained or roped together. The average coffle consisted of between 30 and 50 people. Men were placed in front, followed by women without children, children who were able to walk, and lastly, women with infants and small children who had to be carried. Major traders would have as many as 300 people. Determine by the destination, traveling 20 - 25 miles per day, the trip could take up to eight weeks.

"I can see de tragic sight, yet, of my people, chained together by deir han's in pairs, lined up in a long row, wid men leadin' 'em, and men at de end of de line takin' 'em to de auction-block." Ex-Slave, Foster Weathersby in Simpson County, MS

Traveling by water, they probably left Norfolk, VA, on a steam brig, navigating the Atlantic around the Florida Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico. The brig would continue up the Mississippi River to the docks at New Orleans. Slaves destined for the Natchez market were transferred to steamboats for the remainder of the trip. The steam brigs were equipped to carry between 75 and 150 slaves, normally operated between October to May to avoid excessive heat in the tightly packed slave quarters aboard ship.

Once they arrived in Natchez, Ann, baby Henry and the others in their group would be groomed, well fed, and given new clothes for preparation of their impending sale.

"When dey got to Natchez de slaves was put in de pen 'tached to de slave markets. It stood at de forks o' St. Catherine Street an' de Liberty road. Here dey was fed an' washed an' rubbed down lak race hosses. Den dey was dressed up an' put through de paces dat would show off dey muscles. My pappy was sol' as a twelve year old, but he always said he was nigher twenty." Ex-Slave, Isaac Stier of Jefferson County, MS

Charles S. Sydnor’s book, Slavery in Mississippi, described The Forks of the Road Slave Market as follows: "A short distance out of Natchez in the angel of two roads were several low, rough, wooden buildings, that partially enclosed a narrow courtyard. In front of it usually found the saddle horses of planters or of the traders; inside were the Negroes awaiting sale. The entrance of a planter was a signal for the Negroes to line up, the men on one side and the women on the other."

The slave merchandise would be told how to show themselves off, to look cheerful and to speak up. The slaves would be formed into companies, according to size; the men, women, and children into separate groups. With this arrangement, the families among the group would often see the last of each other in this dreaded showroom.

Ann does not mention in her depositions, given in her son's Perry's pension case, if others of her family were sold along with her.

Next post: Ann and Henry arrive on the Buie plantation.

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How does Henry connect to my family?
Henry Israel shared the same plantation with members of my family.

Additional source - African American Migration Experience - The Domestic Slave Trade

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Henry and Naomi Adams Pierce

Naomi Adams (1891-1965) and husband Henry Pierce (1886-1971)

How does the couple connect to my family?
Their son Julius Pierce married my 2nd cousin, Ernestine Coleman.
Their daughter Helen Marie Pierce married my 2nd cousin 1x removed, Paul Scott.

Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas

Sunday, April 19, 2015

School Boy Died after Making Fire in Stove with Coal Oil

Sunday School Class with a stove in the background to the right

Was this the first time he made a fire in the church stove, or one of many? Deacons and older teenage boys of congregations usually had the job of making a fire in the stove so the congregation could arrive to a warm church.

On Sunday morning, February 14, 1943, John Walter Hilliard made a fire using coal oil in an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, MS.. The fire burned the right side of his body, head, back and face. He developed pneumonia and died less than two weeks later on February 23, 1943.

John was born in May 1932, to John and Carrie Hix Hilliard in Lincoln County, MS. He was 10 years old at the time of his death.

I couldn't find any census information on the family. Found was one line from a 1929 Jackson, MS, city directory for Rev John Hilliard and his wife Carrie. The older John's occupation was pastor of an AME church. It is feasible John Walter was a member of the family business.

Research did not connect this family to Hilliard cousins of Lincoln and Franklin Counties, MS.

John Walter Hilliard's Death Certificate

Photograph Courtesy of
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 S. Jackson St
Brookhaven, MS 39601
601-833-3369