Monday, April 11, 2011

Elizabeth Bryant's Sons
James and Daniel McDaniel, Union Soldiers

James and Amanda McDaniel
Photograph Courtesy of James Scott

Elizabeth and her children lived on the farm of father and son, John and James McDaniel, near Meadville, Franklin County, Mississippi. They lived between two Union occupied towns, Natchez and Vicksburg. Once Elizabeth's family learned of the occupation of Natchez and they had the opportunity, several of them fled to Natchez.

Elizabeth was from Virginia, born about 1813, during the presidency of James Madison to parents whose names are unknown. When she was a young woman in her late teens, she was sold from the people, places and things familiar to her, purchased by John McDaniel about 1834. She was admired and respected by the people in her community. She worked the fields, helped with domestic chores and acquired the skills of midwifery.

Elizabeth's husband was on the farm of William Coleman, within walking distance, across county lines in Jefferson County. Coleman and McDaniel were long time friends as were their slaves. Neither family were large slave owning families. They slowly acquired slaves through births and an occasional purchase. By the Civil War, each family had enough slaves to put them in the planter's class, they had over 20 slaves. In 1860, the Coleman family owned 22 slaves, and John McDaniel owned 38 slaves. John's son, James McDaniel owned 22 slaves.

After the death of his first wife, John Bryant became the husband of Elizabeth, he was a decade older than Elizabeth. He was sickly with a hernia but he was a productive worker, good with the hoe. The couple was married by Elizabeth's owner John McDaniel, as he required a wedding ceremony for his slaves, and they celebrated their union with a wedding supper among the slaves.

John and Elizabeth had seven children, all born into slavery. Two of their sons would serve in the Union army. Both would enlist using the surname Mack, a name they knew their family would recognize.

JAMES "MACK" MCDANIEL also known as "Jim Mack," was the first of eight children born to John and Elizabeth. James would chose to use the McDaniel surname, passing the surname to his descendants. He was born about 1840 on John McDaniel's plantation. James' wife AMANDA was the slave of James McDaniel. Amanda was purchased in Natchez, MS, about 1856 or 1858. James and Amanda were married on the McDaniel Plantation according to Amanda, "three years before the War commenced."

James left the plantation in 1864 going to Natchez, MS, to join the United States Colored Troops, leaving behind his wife and two children. He enlisted with Company E, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry on September 05, 1864, the same day his brother Daniel enlisted. James was about 24 years old at enlistment. He was described as 5 feet 8 and a half inches tall. He was a stout, robust man with black hair and eyes. As with most of the men who served during the Civil War, James suffered measles, pneumonia, bronchitis, acute diarrhea, constipation, and fevers. He was discharged at Vicksburg, Warren County, MS, on April 30, 1866.

After returning home to his family, James and family moved to Malcolm Buie's place in 1866 where Amanda, James' wife, was the Buie's cook. James worked for Dr. Gray and he would visit Amanda on Sundays. Eventually, James purchased their own 120 acres of land near Union Church, Jefferson County.

James was diagnosed with kidney disease known as Brights Disease by Dr. J. J. McLean in 1868 or 1869, and Dr. Clark diagnosed him with diabetes in 1867 or 1868. James remained healthy looking and survived kidney disease much longer than Dr. McLean expected. James suffered with backaches, bladder and urination problems. Amanda would saturate his back with liniment and coal oil. He worked hard to provide for his family, hiring others to do the hard labor he could not do. At the time of his death, James was in the process of buying additional land. Special Examiner F. T. Dennis of the United States Pension Board copied this statement from Amanda's bible; "James McDaniel died May 02, 1887 aged 49 yrs, 10 months - sick 2 weeks, in bed 2 days." James died of Brights Disease.

James and Amanda had a total of 12 children, 10 children survived to adulthood. They were: Margaret b. 1863 , Ellen b. February 1865, Mary b. February 1868/1870, William b. December 1868, twins Reed and Luberta b. May 15, 1871, John b. May 05, 1872, Preston April 15, 1877, Cameron b. May 01, 1878, and Melvin b. September 01, 1880. Elizabeth Bryant, James' mother, was the midwife at the birth of each child.

Amanda and her eligible children received a pension for James' services.

James and Amanda's descendants are all over the United States and continue to use the surname McDaniel.

DANIEL "MACK" MCDANIEL was born about 1845 on John McDaniel's plantation. He lived in the same house with his mother. Daniel ran away from the McDaniel's plantation in 1864. He enlisted September 05, 1864, in Natchez, MS, with Company E, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry.

He was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall with black hair and eyes and dark copper complexion. He was about 19 years of age when he enlisted.

Daniel sent money, a watch, and shoes home to help support his family. Too embarrassed to see John McDaniel when he came to Natchez for business, Daniel would send the gifts by his brother-in-law Israel Etta to give to McDaniel, and McDaniel would give the gifts to Elizabeth.

Daniel died February 06, 1865, of bronchitis and pneumonia following measles at a Natchez hospital. He did not leave a wife nor children. His mother applied for dependent mother pension which was approved.
Sources:
Civil War Federal Pension Records of Daniel Mack
Civil War Federal Pension Records of James Mack
Slave Schedule - 1860 Franklin County, MS
Slave Schedule - 1860 Jefferson County, MS
Links
Tombstone Tuesday - Elizabeth Bryant
Elizabeth Bryant's Will
Meeting and Researching with Art Thomas

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