Friday, November 26, 2010

Blogging Works

Lillian Merchant Williams
September 26, 1918 - October 21, 2010

One of my purposes for a genealogy blog is to make contact with cousins unknown to me, to increase the family tent. I was pleasantly surprised when cousins Julia Williams Thomas and Angela Thomas contacted me after seeing a post on this blog concerning their direct ancestor Memphis Merchant. My great grandfather Monroe Markham and Memphis' mother Catherine Markham Scott were siblings.

Julia and Angela shared a photo of their mother and grandmother Lillian Merchant Williams, shown in the above picture, who was the daughter of Memphis Merchant.

I am looking forward to meeting these new cousins. Blogging works!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Darkis Goodwin vs Joseph Goodwin

Rubia Earnestine Goodwin Brown Powe
Granddaughter of Joseph and Darkis
1st Cousin of my Mother

Darkis married Joseph Goodwin about 1855 according to the customs of slavery and entered their freedom as a married couple in Copiah County, Mississippi. They didn't have a dollar to their name but manage through hard work to acquire about 600 acres of land and a well stocked supply of farm animals. Joe purchased his first land in 1869, 80 acres from Wesley L. Ainsworth for $500.

Descendants of Joseph Goodwin say he was a mean and cruel man. He had several intimate relationship with women outside of the marriage, which produced several children. He also required that the women who lived on his land submit to sexual intimacies with him. Darkis's divorce records appear to support those assertions naming two women, Martha Jenkins and Caroline Jones, as his concubines.

In 1891, the marriage fell completely apart. Darkis was about 50, she had given birth to eleven children and she had endured hard work, leaving her physically unable to provide for herself. Joe was ready to dissolve the relationship, forcing Darkis from the home by beating her unmercifully and threatening to kill her with an ax. She fled the home, never to return.

Darkis was now penniless and homeless. She realized that she and the children had worked just as hard as Joe for what they had obtained. She sought the courts for relief.

The land was legally title to only Joe, so, she would not receive relief in that area. The courts granted her $50 temporary alimony and all her legal fees would be paid by Joe. The courts recognized the couple's marriage based on Article 22 from the Mississippi Constitution of 1868.
Sec. 22. All persons who have not been married, but are now living together, cohabiting as husband and wife, shall be taken and held for all purposes in law as married, and their children, whether born before or after the ratification of this Constitution, shall be legitimate; and the Legislature may, by law, punish adultery and concubinage.
Joe and Darkis' children were: Elizabeth "Lizzie," Josephine, James, Lydia, Dinah, twins Cora and Dora, Joe, and Albert. The last four children were minors at the time of the divorce. Darkis were given custody of the twins and Joe received his sons, Joe and Albert.

My mother's aunt Alice Marshall married Joe and Dorcas's son, James.

Joe died sometime between 1893 and 1900, Dorcas died in 1918.

Darkis fought for what was rightfully hers and won.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sidney's Five Sons - United States Colored Troops

Lamar Smith and wife Annie Clark
Lamar is a grandson of Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith and Sidney Mitchell sacrificed sons to the Civil War. Sidney Mitchell gave birth to eight children, five of whom were sons. All five of their sons served with the United States Colored Troops. Sidney and her children were slaves on the John Mitchell Plantation in Union Church, Jefferson County, Mississippi. Sidney's husband, Jacob Smith, lived on the Dougald McMillan Plantation, a neighboring plantation, near Caseyville, Copiah County, Mississippi.

Susie Mae Smith Scott
Granddaughter of Jacob Smith

Jacob's descendants married into my maternal family.
Jacob's granddaughter Susie Mae Smith married my mother's 1st cousin once removed Walter Scott.
Jacob's great grandson Robert Smith married my mother's 2nd cousin Magdalene Scott.

Listed below are the five sons of Jacob and Sidney who served with the Colored Troops.

1. William - born about 1836 was a member of Union Church Presbyterian Church. He was received and baptized 20 November 1853. William served with Company G, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. William was married, wife's name unknown. He died during service.

2. Anderson - born about 1838 "ran away to the Yankees," enlisted with Company G, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry in Natchez, Mississippi, on 17 September 1863. He died 24 January 1864, at the Post Hospital in Natchez of small pox and dysentery. He left two wives, Hannah and Betsy, for the Pension Board to decide which woman was the legal wife. Both women had one surviving son with Anderson and both remarried. Betsy's son Jacob was declared Anderson's son and entitled to his father's pension.

3. Bluford - born about 1840 enlisted 25 August 1863, at Natchez with Company G, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry . He was the lone survivor of the five brothers. He was discharged 30 April 1866, at Vicksburg. He married Harriet and the couple had several children. Bluford made claims for a pension based on injury to hip and back. Claims of 1893, 1894, 1896, 1898, were rejected on the grounds that he was not disabled for manual labor in a pensionable degree. The poverty stricken Bluford died about 1898 in Natchez.

4. Willis - born about 1842 enlisted 30 August 1863, at Natchez with Company A, 6th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery. He died 11 July 1864, of a stomach hemorrhage in the Regimental Hospital in Natchez.

5. Daniel - born about 1843 served with Company G, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. He died in the army.

Sources:
Dougald McMillan's Slaves
John Mitchell's 1852 Deed of Gift
Anderson Mitchell Federal Military Pension Records
Bluford Mitchell Federal Military Pension Records

Photographs Courtesy of James E. Scott

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Church Record Sunday - Hickory Block Church

The charter members of Hickory Block Church were first members of Union Church Presbyterian Church of Union Church, Jefferson County, Mississippi. The Union Church Presbyterian Church (UCPC) records contain the names of several African American slaves who were members of the church. The servants' names are on church membership records where they were accepted by examination and baptized into the faith.

The first African American member recorded was a man named Jimes who was admitted September 24, 1824. The last recorded servant member was Perry who was received on October 23, 1864.

What happen to the servant members of Union Church Presbyterian Church after the Civil War? They established a church called Hickory Block which is one of the oldest churches established by African Americans in Jefferson County.

The following is what is revealed in the UCPC records concerning the former servant members.
MARCH 13, 1871
"Where as there are a number of names on our church roll of persons who have been absent for years without making any application for a letter and have been entirely lost sight of by the church and further there are appearing on our church roll the names of 56 colored members who have entirley drawn off from us, never assemble or worship with us and have been regularly reported. Therefore, it was ordered by the Session that the names of all those who have been absent, both white and colored, be dropped from the roll and no more be reported as members of this church until they have their membership renewed."
Miss Lottie Warren, one of the members of UCPC wrote, "It was by their request that they meet unto their own church "HICKORY BLOCK," which church still carries on their Christian work."