Monday, December 31, 2012

Watch Night
Celebration of Freedom

...shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free...
Emancipation Proclamation
January 1 1863
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Monroe Markham
1852 - 1932
In 1863, he was a slave on the David Buie Plantation
Caseyville, Copiah County, MS

There are no stories passed down to me concerning the arrival of freedom for my enslaved family. Through research, I have discovered they gradually took freedom as the days of the Civil War grew into years. Most of my people lived between two major towns the Federal troops captured, Natchez and Vicksburg, MS. Some fled to the Union occupied towns once they heard the news and became freedom fighters, some followed Union troops when they came near the plantation, some remained on the plantation. Joe Buie was on the same plantation in Caseyville, MS, with my great grandfather Monroe Markham. Joe Buie said, "De Yankees stop at our house all de' time. We got right use to 'em, an dey din bothah us much."

Three sets of my great grandparents were born into slavery. Monroe Markham, a maternal great grandfather, was born about 1852. He was still dressed in a shirttail toward the close of the Civil War. A shirt tail was a one piece home made shirt that young slave boys wore up to between 12 - 16 years of age. Monroe remembered the Yankee soldiers passing by the plantation near Caseyville. He was sitting on the fence when one of the soldiers asked him who was his master. Monroe replied, "Prentiss Buie". The soldier told Monroe he had better get back to his master before he shot him. Monroe jumped off the fence and ran back to his Mama as fast as he could.

According to oral history, Prentiss Buie who was born in 1850 was given Monroe when they both were young boys. Prentiss was the last surviving son of David Buie. If emancipation had not occurred, Prentiss would have been the family's slave owner. Monroe married, raised a family of 15 children on the same land where he was enslaved. He died in 1932.

Blogger's Note: Jessie Mae Markham, granddaughter of Monroe Markham, shared the oral history concerning Monroe.


  1. I have often thought of this story of your great grandfather and that he raised his large family on the land of his enslavement. He was very handsome. Do you know the date of this picture?

    1. Cheri, I don't know the date of the picture. Cousin Allie shared the photo. The picture is in one of those old frames...After the death of Prentiss Buie, Monroe and his family was asked or forced from the land. His eldest son James was a landowner, built a small home for the family where Monroe died in 1932, not far from the place of his enslavement.

  2. That must have been something to remain in the same place pretty much your entire life.

    1. Many of the former slaves in the area remained near their enslavers and many prosper. Slavery, a peculiar institution.

  3. Thanks Linda for the information, we relocated to California in 1957. I'm retired and new to, and looking forward to exploring my family history. Hope to hear from you soon.
    God Bless