Tuesday, August 27, 2013

African American Monument
Vicksburg National Military Park

"Commemorating the service of the 1st and 3rd Mississippi Infantry Regiments, African descent and all Mississippians of African descent who participated in the Vicksburg Campaign." Written on Monument

The monument consists of three men representing two soldiers of African descent, and a field hand. A wounded soldier is between one soldier and the field hand representing the sacrifice in blood made by black soldiers. The first soldier gazes toward a future in freedom and the field hand looks back at the past of slavery.

Several men connected to my family by blood and plantation served with the Colored Troops at Vicksburg. They enlisted and were discharged at Vicksburg.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
Affidavit in the Case of Harriet Christmas

Southern Division
Widow No 703285
Benjamin Christmas
Co H 50 U. S. C. Infantry

Personally came before me A. W. Russell a Justice of the Peace in and for the County of Copiah and state of Mississippi, Robert Austin and Andrew Winston, who having been be me first duly sworn on oath say: That their first post office address is at Spencer, Copiah County, Mississippi, and that they are both above the age of sixty two. That they personally know the claimant, Harriet Christmas, and know the property that she owns and has had since the 7th day of August that the property consists in the entirety of one cow, and two mules, and two horses; and that these is all the property that the said claimant owns or has had since the 7th day of August 1899. That the said claimant has no income by and that of her daily labor, and no means of support other than that.

Witness our signatures this 29 day of Nov 1899.

Robert his mark x Austin
Andrew his mark x Winston

Personally came before me A. W. Russell a Justice of the Peace in and for the County of Copiah and state of Mississippi, Robt Austin and Andrew Winston, each of whom states on oath that he knows the contents of the forgoing affidavit and that the same is true as stated.

Witness my offical signature this 29 day of Nov 1899

A. W. Russwll, J. P. (Seal)

Harriet Ashmore/Brown was married to Benjamin Christmas who served with Company H, 50th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. He enlisted 14 Dec 1863 at Vicksburg, discharged 20 Mar 1866 at Vicksburg.

Harriet and Benjamin married about 1860. They had several children: Fanny born about 1860, Bettie/Elizabeth born Nov 2 1862, Silva born about 1865, and Amanda born June 18 1868.

Benjamin was a slave of Peachy R Taliaferro. After Peachy's death in 1852, Benjamin was allotted to Peachy's eldest son, Richard H Taliaferro. Benjamin was valued at $1300 in 1858.

Benjamin died 01 Jul 1899, Harriet died 16 Jul 1916.

Federal Pension Case of Benjamin Christmas
Peachy R Taliaferro's Probate Records
Harriet Christmas' Death Certificate

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Bradley Family
Giving them back their Name

Great Grandchildren of Arthur and Patience Bradley
Grandchildren of Howard and Rose Monroe Bradley
Children of James Howard Bradley, Sr., and his wife Ella Demyers

For awhile now, I have been researching the slaves owned by Peachy R Taliaferro of Copiah County, MS, who owned members of my paternal family. Peachy's 1852 inventory list did not group the slaves into family groups but they did attempt to keep parents and their young children together when they were allotted.

Along with other slaves, this group was allotted to Peachy's wife Sarah in 1858: ARTHUR $700, PATIENCE $600, SUSAN $500, HOWARD $200, JACK $900, POLLY ANN $500, ELICK (Alexander) $500. LUCINDA @ $1200 was allotted to Peachy's son Charles.

Elick was Alexander on Peachy's 1852 inventory list. Some southerns pronounce Alex as E-lick.

I went to the 1870 Copiah County census searching for Arthur, without a surname, to see if Arthur and Patience were found as a couple.

Bingo! ARTHUR and PATIENCE Bradley, in their 50s, were found with their children ELLIC, POLLIE, Thornton, and William, the last two born after the 1858 allotment. Living next door was HOWARD and his family and next door to him JACKSON and his wife. On the other side of Arthur were Robert and Lucinda Austin, also slaves of Taliaferro.

Per Lucinda's death certificate, she was also a Bradley. She was the daughter of Harrison Bradley and Patience.

I followed the families in 1880 and discovered in Robert Austin's household his brother-in-law Alex Bradley. Robert and Lucinda married shortly before or after the slaves were allotted because their first child was born about 1859, a daughter Ella. Robert and Lucinda named a daughter Patience. Both Robert and Lucinda were allotted to Peachy's son Charles.

Nothing in Peachy's documents identifies the relationship of the people who lived on his land. Death certificates, census records and circumstantial evidence links this family.

Photograph courtesy of Melvia Ella Cherry Dean
Ella Demyers is a paternal cousin

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy 80th Mama

My mother with her first born son.
Alzheimer's Disease may have silence you
but we still hear you.
Love you, Sweetie

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dogtrot House

The dogtrot, also known as a breezeway house, dog-run, or possum-trot, is a style of house that was common throughout the Southeastern United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sometimes I dream of owning a dogtrot in rural Mississippi. Welcoming visitors to sit in the breezeway while we drink ice lemon tea and have long conversations.

This dogtrot is located in the Grand Gulf Military State Park.

Love the porch and breezeway.

Come inside one of the big rooms, rest your feet.

On the backside

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Robert Austin
50th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

Spring Hill Plantation circa 1930s
Built after fire destroyed the original.

Robert Austin was named as a fellow slave and comrade in the pension records of Thomas Taliaferro. Robert was a slave on the Peachy R Taliaferro's Spring Hill Plantation in Copiah County, MS. Robert was born about 1835 in Mississippi, described as a mulatto in the 1870 and 1880 Copiah County censuses.

After Peachy's death in 1852, Robert was given to Peachy's son Charles Adams Taliaferro. Robert was valued at $700 on Peachy's inventory list.

He enlisted with Company D, 50th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry.

I have seen Robert's name on other comrades pension records as a witness but I did not find a pension record for Robert.

Robert married Lucinda Bradley, a daughter of Harrison and Patience Bradley. The couple children were: Ella, Sallie, Ann, Dora, Eliza, Rachael, Patience, Harrison, Bettie, Robert, Jr., and Andrew. Benjamin L Austin was born about 1864 to Robert and Fannie Grant or Fannie Sims.

Records for Robert
1852 - Inventory Listing of Slaves for Peachy R Taliaferro - Robert, Jr., Valued at $700
1858 - Disbursement of PRT's Slaves - Yellow Bob/Bob Valued at $1500/$1450 - Distributed to Charles Adams Taliaferro
1863 - Enlisted with Colored Troops
1866 - Disharged at Vicksburg
1870 - Copiah County - Robert Austin, 35, with wife and children
1880 - Copiah County - Robert Austin, 43, with wife, children and other relatives.
1900 - Copiah County - Robert Austin, 65, with wife and children

Robert's Children Marriages
Ella married Robert Newsome
Sallie married Lewis Newell
Ann married Moses Thompson
Bettie Austin married George Lynch
Robert, Jr., married Donie Smith
Andrew married Mariah Copeland
Benjamin married Lucy Frenzley, daughter of Thornton Frenzley and Mariah Lee. A Thornton and Mariah were named on the inventory, Thornton valued @ $900, Mariah @ $800. Thornton was not named during the disbursement of slaves. Mariah was named, valued at $1150, allotted to Peachy's son Charles. Thornton and Mariah, with their daughter Lucy, were found in the 1870 and 1880 Copiah censuses.

Robert died before 1913. Lucinda died 01 Jul 1913 in Copiah County. She was buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery.

Read the general affidavit of Robert Austin in the pension case of Thomas Taliaferro. Robert explains his relationship with Thomas.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
Old School Group Picture 1930s?

School is back in session in Mississippi. Time to bring up an old school photograph. The photograph may be of children in Lincoln County, MS, or a surrounding county.
Photograph Courtesy of
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 S. Jackson St
Brookhaven, MS 39601

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
Willie Scott and Doll

Willie Scott and his first wife Doll
Willie was the son of Frank Scott and Mary Lou McDaniel.
Willie was born in Feb 1930, died in Nov 2008.

Willie was my mother's half second cousin.

Photograph courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
Virginia of Somerset Plantation

Aunt HARDENIA had charge of the milk house. Her grown daughter, Ann Liza, helped her- you know her – but there were other women to milk the cows. VIRGINIA, another of Aunt Hardenia’s daughters, a woman of about twenty was in training as a house servant. From Edwina Burnley Memoirs

Virginia was born between 1842-1855 per census records.

1870 - 25 yrs - born about 1845
1880 - 25 yrs - born about 1855
1900 - 50 yrs - born April 1850
1910 - 61 yrs - born about 1849
1920 - 78 yrs - born about 1842
1930 - 86 yrs - born about 1844
I think the Virginia mentioned in the memoir was the wife of John T Demyers, the brother of my 2nd great grandmother Alice Demyers Overton Usher. In the 1880 census for Copiah County, Mississippi, Hardenia Williams is in the household of her daughter's family. Virginia's death certificate confirms her mother's name was Ardenia Williams. Virginia died 17 Aug 1930, buried in the Lucky Hit Cemetery.

The Lucky Hit Plantation was a neighboring plantation to Somerset Plantation. Lucky Hit was owned by Hezekiah George David Brown who I believe was the slave owner of members of the Demyers family, including Virginia's husband John T Demyers. John died before Virginia, between 1909-1910.

Edwin Burnley owned (pink on map) Somerset Plantation. Per the 1860 Copiah County slave schedule, Burnley owned 60 slaves. Edwin's daughters, "Edwina Burnley and Bertha Burnley Ricketts, wrote the memoir describing their family and their childhood at Somerset plantation, near Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS. Their father, Edwin Burnley (b. 1798), moved to Mississippi from Virginia in 1832 and married Maria Louisa Baxter (1820-1907) of Persippany, N.J., in 1852. The memoir describes plantation life, including many details about activities, relatives, neighbors, and slaves."

Edwina Burnley Memoirs
Map courtesy of Beverley Ballantine