Sunday, October 27, 2013

Many Rivers to Cross
Flora's Mama Born in Africa

THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS
The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)- Episode 1

"Through stories of individuals caught in the transatlantic slave trade, we trace the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South."
PBS African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade took place across the Atlantic Ocean from the 16th through to the 19th centuries. The transatlantic slave trade was responsible for the forced migration of between 12 - 15 million people from Africa to the Western Hemisphere. The vast majority of slaves transported to the New World were Africans from the central and western parts of the continent, sold by Africans to European slave traders who then transported them to North and South America.

The slave trade not only led to the violent transportation overseas of millions of Africans but also to the deaths of many millions more. Nobody knows the total number of people who died during slave raiding and wars in Africa, during transportation and imprisonment, or in horrendous conditions during the Middle Passage, the voyage from Africa to the Americas.

The kidnapping of Africans occurred mainly in the region that now stretches from Senegal to Angola.

Major Slave Trading Regions of Africa

Getting my people to the last farm, plantation before they arrived in Mississippi has been my genealogical goal. I didn't put much thought of tracing them back to Africa, until I saw this 1880 census entry for Flora Culver; I then realized it was possible. The first time I saw this census, I starred at the screen, ran my finger across her name to the word Africa.


1880 Federal Census - Caseyville, Lincoln County, MS - Beat 5 - Page131
Flora Culver was 95 years old living in the household of farmer James A Decell
and his family. She was born in Virginia and both parents were born in AFRICA.

I have often wonder about Flora's mama. How old was she when she first arrived in America? Was she as young as the 10 year Priscilla mentioned in the first episode? Was she a teenager?

Prior to arriving in Mississippi, Flora was the slave of Malcolm "Saddler" McNeill of Robeson County, North Carolina. After the death of Malcolm McNeill in 1833, Flora was given to Malcolm's son John David McNeill. John left NC, for Mississippi, between 1836 and 1838, bringing his slaves with him including Flora and her three sons, Daniel, John, and Robert. Flora's daughters remained in North Carolina. John McNeill settled in Caseyville, MS, with his slaves.

Flora was described as an "old woman" on the John McNeill's 1858 inventory listing of slaves, valued at $10. Based on the 1870 and 1880 census records, Flora was born between 1785-1790. Her first child was born in 1815. Going back one generation, 20 years, I estimate Flora's mama was born about 1770. Flora's mama was a child when she arrived in America.

Close your eyes, take yourself back to your child self. Try to imagine the horrific conditions, depravity, the loneliness. Take a moment to remember those young females who were forced immigrants to this county. Remember their strength.

Flora's mama is a direct ancestor of a set of my mother's 1st cousins.
African Americans- Many Rivers to Cross Bloggers
Images from Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Private John Culver of the 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

15 comments:

  1. Chilling, isn't it? I hope you can take it back another generation.

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  2. Getting ready to order records of Malcom McNeil, the family's North Carolina owner. I owe this Priscilla at least this much of my time. I would love to know Flora's mama's name.

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  3. That is lucky that they're available!

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  4. I agree that reading about or listening to accounts of slave trading is chilling and heart breaking. Thank you for your research in connection with Flora McNeil Culver, also an ancestor of my husband.

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    1. Glad you got a chance for a visit, Miss Flora has so many descendants.

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  5. I agree with Kristin and Cheri that it's chilling to think about what it was like for individual people as they were forcibly transported from one continent to another. It had to have been unbelievably frightening for children and teens (as well as for adults).

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    1. Too much for some of the poor souls, some committed suicide.

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  6. Hi Florida is my mothers great great grandmother. This is great information to have.

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    1. Hi Polly, Would like to find straight female line from Flora to present day descendant for DNA test but since all the cousins descend from Flora's three sons, that will not work.

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  7. Great read LindaRe. I like that statement about oweing your Priscilla some of your time!!

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    1. It took the series to get me to think about researching my Priscilla.

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  8. Excellent post! I would have done the same thing and ran my fingers across the screen over the word Africa. I hope you are able to find out more about dear Flora's parents.

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  9. My great aunt told me my great grandmother's greatgrandmother was an African slave with smooth black skin and curly hair. I tracked back and found her greatgrandparents Plenty and Nellie Lee in the census and it said born in Africa.

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    1. When time permits, I hope you can document Nellie's history.

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