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.

12 comments:

  1. Love it! I'm so glad you are following them like this. And you are so luck to have that photograph of Henry's daughter. The stories are so similar to those I found, and yet individual at the same time.

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    1. Thank you, Kristin. I wish we had more details about their day to day lives.

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  2. "I have often wondered how slaves coped after they were sold." I have often wondered how enslaved people coped at all. Sometimes, I sit in my yard at the end of the day and wonder what they were thinking and feeling after having worked all day in the fields, with little to no protection from the sun or rain or wind or cold, and how they must have felt at night when they lay down on what was no doubt not a comfortable or warm bed, or in summer, too warm, only to know when daylight came, they would be up doing it all over again. One has to admire Ann, and Henry, and those whose names we do not know who were able to survive, and to admire those who did not survive whilst giving their lives in the effort to see a better day and a better place.

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    1. Suzassippi, I wonder about the same things. As I look around at my family, forced separation from them would be difficult for me. I am not sure I would be able to cope, but like them before me, I would likely find a way to cope.

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  3. I wonder if and how they are tied to our Dixon and Buie roots..

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    1. They all lived in the same general area. I am not sure who owned the Dixon family.

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  4. Thanks for your detailed research - it is truly invaluable. In the midst of casually exploring family history online, I stumbled upon your post about Sarah Jane Buie's tombstone and the slave narrative of her husband Joe. Then I found this photo of Narcissus, which I've seen countless times at my grandmother's house and wondered more about the woman she only knew as her father's mother. Thanks to your posts, I've become aware of and acquainted with ancestors I never knew existed. Endless thanks for the time and effort you put into this. I'll probably be up for the rest of the night reading ;-)

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    1. Thank you, KGEdits. One of the purposes of the blog is to connect the ancestors with their descendants so they can be remembered. My Markham family was enslaved on the same plantation with Ann Nelson and her children. Visit often and always open for a chat. Enjoy!

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  5. Linda, thank you for providing information that connects the dots on similar things I've researched. KGEdits, it appears that you and I are both the great great grandchildren of Narcissus and Melvin Wooley (Narsis, as my grandmother Irma, their granddaughter pronounced it..she passed away last month July 13, 2016 at 98 years old in Monticello, MS). Your grandmother's father then is the brother of my grandmother's mother whose name was Golda. She had a brother named Melvin after their dad and sisters named Crimea, Missouri, Irma and other I can't remember right now... there were quite a few siblings. What is the name of your great grandfather (my great great uncle) and other names on your side, Cousin 😄?

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    1. Descendant, Thank you for visiting, come again. I hope you and KGEdits connect.

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    2. Nice to meet ya, cousin! Melvin Jr. is my great-grandfather. Sounds like you know way more about his siblings than I do, so thank you for providing that info. His daughter Pinkie is my paternal grandmother. She turned 85 on August 11. Her brothers Henry and Julius are now deceased, as well as a sister named Mary. Her living sisters are Missouri (who has a daughter named Melvin), Bessie and another we call Aunt Sis, but I can't recall her first name at the moment. They also have a brother named Reese. Apparently, Melvin Jr. was married twice and my grandmother and her siblings are a product of the second marriage (Mary was their mother). I'm not really sure of his first wife's name or how many children they had, although my grandmother has mentioned them briefly.

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  6. LindaRe, thank you for providing the connection! Which of Henry Israel's children are you descended from or are you related through another branch :). KGEdits, Great to make the connection! I believe Melvin Wooley Jr had moved to California. Did he possibly have two daughters who lived in Hattiesburg, MS? Might Pinkie be a nickname and do you know her birth name? She would be the first cousin of my grandmother who just passed--Irma maiden name Newman. Her mother Golda Wooley Newman was the sister of Melvin, Jr. Sounds like many family names were passed along! Irma's nickname was "Aunt Sis".

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