Thursday, October 31, 2013

They Fought Back
Murdered the Master - Burned his House
Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
The Age of Slavery - Episode 2

Several heart felt moments were experienced watching the second episode of the PBS series: the personal accounts of Margaret Garner and Frederick Douglass, the 2nd middle passage - transporting slaves from the Upper South to the Lower South, and the resistance to the cruelties of slavery. Re-posted from November 18 2011 is an example of resistance from slaves in the area my people were enslaved.

Slave Coffle
Image from Library of Congress.

Two diarists recorded the murder of William Anderson Killingsworth and the destruction of his home by fire in Lorman, Jefferson County, Mississippi. Slaves of Killingsworth were accused of the murder and setting the house on fire. They were tried, convicted and hung within four months for the crime. While the house was ablaze, unnamed slaves of Killingsworth rescued his body and his three children from the fire.

A motive for the murder is not known, although it was speculated by Killingsworth's descendants that the slaves who committed the crime were field hands, angry with Killingsworth because of his business of tracking and capturing runaway slaves.

Killingsworth owned Richard "Dick" Bailey, the blacksmith, and his wife Maria and their children. They may have helped to recover his body and his children from the burning house. Richard and Maria's descendants married cousins of my cousins.

Union Church, Jefferson County, MS
Photograph courtesy of Georgia Wise

Diary Entries

July 20: There was an awful murder committed at Killingsworth' s last night. He was murdered by his negroes & the house burned down. He had 4 children but the house was discovered & the children were taken out.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Thursday July 20, 1854 - This morning 2 o'clock or before Billy Killingsworth murdered by his negroes and his house burned down. Great many people collect. His runaway Jesse suspected.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Friday July 21, 1854 - People all collect again. Negro boy Albert confess to have seen Jesse murder his master & that he was with him. Caught two of his runaways today, Moses & Lucy.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Saturday July 22, 1854 - In pursuit of Jesse this morning.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Sunday July 23, 1854 - Caught Jesse at the bridge between Grand Gulf & Port Gibson.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Monday July 24, 1854 - Jesse bought back. Acknowledges killing his master and setting the house on fire, and says Albert, Charles and old Bill assisted.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Receipt for Jesse's Jail Fees

Tuesday July 25, 1854 - The above negroes sent to jail to await their trial for murder & arson. Many people present and many were for administering punishment in a summary way.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

July 25: They have taken the negroes that killed Mr. Killingsworth; there was four concerned. They are in jail.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

July 26: Mr. Darden went to Fayette this eve; they were trying those negroes; they were all committed to jail.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Oct. 21: Mr. Darden went to Fayette to serve on the jury to try the Killingsworth negroes.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Oct 23: Old Jesse & Albert were sentenced to be hung in Nov. For killing their master Mr. Killingsworth. They were trying old Bill & Charles for burning the house down.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Nov. 21 Our negro man went to Fayette to see Jesse & Albert hung for murdering their master W. Killingsworth, Jesse confessed that he done it all, that no one helped to do it; exhorted his fellow servants to be faithful & do their duty.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

The slaves accused and convicted of this crime knew the cost they would pay if caught. The practices of tracking and capturing slaves was a crude and cruel business. They likely had loved ones who had experienced the Killingsworth's treatment of capturing runaways.

African American: Many Rivers to Cross Bloggers

William Anderson Killingsworth was born 1821 in Tennessee, son of Anderson Killingsworth and Mary Sweet. He died 19 July 1854 in Jefferson County. Mississippi. He married Nancy Ann Shaw, daughter of Thompson Breckenridge Shaw and Mary Shaw. She was born 1820 in Mississippi, and died 23 June 1853 in Jefferson County, MS. Their children were Francis, Horace, Valencia, William, and Albert.

Frances was attending school at the time of her father's death; Horace died in 1853; Valencia, William and Albert were the children rescued from the fire.

Judy's Family
Annie's Place
Diary of Susan Siller Darden 1854
Hire Appraisement of William A Killingsworth's Slaves - 1861
Diary of Dr. Walter Wade of Rosswood Plantation, Jefferson County, MS, 1834-1854;
Microfilm Number: 36015, Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Jesse's Jail Receipt Courtesy of Anthony Miller

Monday, October 28, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
Found Love in the Slave Pen

Slave Pen
Alexandria, Virginia
Image courtesy of Library of Congress

This is a bitter sweet testimony from Jane Harris Burnett who found love in a slave trader's pen in Richmond, Virginia. She and her future husband Robert Burnett likely were frighten, sold from family, not knowing where they were going and concerned about the new owner. John Torrey purchased them in Natchez, maybe at the Forks of the Road Slave Market. I wonder if Torrey was looking for a couple or if one or both asked him to buy them both.

Deposition A of Jane Burnett
Federal Pension Case of Jane Burnett (Widow of soldier Robert Burnett)
March 23rd 1898
Union Church, Jefferson County, Miss
I and Robert Burnett were bought by Mr John Torrey a number of years before the war from the traders at Natchez, Miss; I had become acquainted with Robert at Richmond, Va., where the traders first had us. My name in Virginia had been Harris, but on Mr Torrey's plantation I went by the name of my new owner. I took up with Robert Burnett at the slave trader's yard at Richmond, Va., and lived with him as his wife until his death in April four or five years ago; I cannot give you the exact date of his death. We were never divorced. Robert Burnett died of dropsy of the heart, so Dr McLean who treated him in his last sickness told me. When the Yankees had taken Natchez, Robert Burnett left for that place and enlisted in Co. C, 58 USCT, in which he served three years. After his discharged he returned home.

General Affidavit of John Torrey
In the year of 1852 February I bought them in Natchez, Miss and they lived as man and wife until 1863 when he went in the war and after he returned in 1866.

Source: Federal Pension Records of Robert Burnett
Private Robert Burnett of 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Digging up the Past at a Richmond Jail

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Many Rivers to Cross
Flora's Mama Born in Africa

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
Private John Culver of the 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Come Let Us Worship

Where and how did our slave ancestors who were Christians worship God? Who preached the message? Looking through records where my ancestors lived, I found five different methods used by my ancestors.

1. Slave Owner(s) Hired Preacher for Negroes
Slave owners of Jefferson County, MS, hired Rev Smily to preach to their Negroes. I haven't found information on Zion Hill but know the family worships(ed) at a Zion Chapel in the area. I don't know if there is a connection between Zion Hill and Zion Chapel.

We the undersigned promise to pay the Rev. J H Smily the sums annexed to our names for his services viz to preach to the Negroes at Zion Hill twice in each month for the balance of this year commencing with April, payable the first of January next. this April 3rd 1858

Wm Shaw $15.00 paid - Shaw owned 53 slaves in 1860
D McArn $20.00 paid - McArn owned 51 slaves in 1860
D H Cameron $5 paid - Cameron owned 21 slaves in 1860
R D Torrey $5 paid - Torrey owned 24 slaves in 1860
M McPherson $5 paid - McPherson owned 8 slaves in 1860
John C McCormick $2 paid - McCormick owned 9 slaves in 1860
J ? Scott $5 paid - J L Scott owned 18, J W Scott owned 22 in 1860
?? paid by corn

Shaw, McArn, Cameron, Torrey, and McCormick owned members of my family.

2. Separate Service in Slave Owner's Church

Mrs Lottie Warren, a member of Union Church Presbyterian Church of Jefferson County. MS, gave this account of the separate church services. The picture of the building in the forefront is the actual building the ancestors used.
Church services were held once a month. On that Sunday two services were held, one for the whites and later in the afternoon one was held for the servants. The Elders of the church always attended these services. The singing of the servants was said to be so beautiful that the people of the village would come outside to hear the singing.

We was let go to church in de white folks meetin' house an' us was taught to be polite an' how to act.
Simon Durr, Simpson County, Mississippi - Simon was enslaved by Michael Durr of Simpson County, the same slave owner of my 2nd great grandfather Josephus Durr.

3. Services in Woods Under Brush Arbor

Picture from Latiba Museum

When we wanted to have our own services we collected up an' went to de woods an' built big brush arbors an' at nite we'd build great big fires an' had sho' nuf services. We could sing an' shout, an' dats what we wanted to do. Dey would hum an' morn all through de services. De preachers didn't hab no book learning but when a darkie wanted to preacher, he was give a try out, by gitting up an' trying to preach a time or two an' if he suited de folks an' they thought he could preach, dey would say fer him to preach an' if he didnt suit 'em dey would say fer him not too.
Robert Weathersby of Simpson County, Mississippi - Robert Weathersby was a part of the same family that enslaved my 2nd great grandfather Josephus Durr.

4. Attended Services with Slave Owner
Us went to meetin' once a month wid de white folks an' set in de back. Us waited on 'em, toted in water an' tended ter de chilluns. When de meetin' was ober us kotched de horses an' led 'em to deir blocks an' brung de carriages 'round fer 'em.
Manda Boggan of Simpson County, MS

On church days I driv' de carriage. I was proud to take my folks to meetin'. I always set in de back pew an' heard de preachin' de same as dey did.
Isaac Stier of Franklin County, MS.

5. Slave Owner Gave Biblical Instructions
We didn' go to church, but Sundays we'd gather 'roun' an' listen to the mistis read a little out o' the Bible. The marster said we didn' need no religion an' he finally stopped her from readin' to us.
Charlie Moses of Lincoln County, Mississippi - Charlie lived in the ancestors hometown, Brookhaven, MS.

How and where did your ancestors worship during slavery?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday
James Burnett 1856-1888

James Burnett
February 08, 1856
June 18, 1888
In Heaven
Hickory Block Cemetery
Union Church, Jefferson County, Mississippi

Monday, October 21, 2013

Search the Slave Owner's Church Records

Atty and Hager Whalum with a Grandchild
Photograph Courtesy of the late Christopher Whalum,
Direct Descendant of Atty and Hager

If church records are available from the area where your ancestors were enslaved, take the time to look them over. You may be surprised at what you find. Church records from the time period are fragile, for public use the records are likely on microfilm or have been transcribed. Check with the public library of the area, college/university library and state archives to see what is available.

I found the Union Church Presbyterian Church Session Records 1820-1887 on microfilm at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. I found a few references to people connected to my family. Below is one of those examples.

Atty, an infant slave was baptized May 17th 1840.
Atty, his parent(s), and other members of his family were members of the Union Church Presbyterian Church in Jefferson County, Mississippi.

The slaves were referred to as servants in the Session Records and the names of over 90 enslaved people were named in the records. Once I realized the slave owners of my family were members of this church, I decided to research the slave members.

Atty was born about 1837-1839 on John Mitchell's plantation in Jefferson County to his mother Mary, and father Henderson Whalum who was a slave of Gilbert Buie. Atty's mother was a slave of John J Mitchell of Jefferson County, MS.

Atty's Father: Henson a servant of G. Buie, Jr.,...were received as members and baptized on May 13, 1834.

Atty's Mother's Nieces and Nephew: ...William...Ally...Edny Catherine...Caroline... were received and baptized November 20, 1853, Slaves of J J Mitchell.

Atty served with the 6th Regiment, United States Heavy Artillery during the Civil War. His pension records confirmed members of his family and slave owners. After the War, he returned to Jefferson County, married Hager Nevils in 1869. The couple had several children: Mary b. 1871, Daniel b. 1876, Alex b. 1878, Sylvester b. 1880, Lou Fannie b. 1882, Lou Augusta b. 1882, Lester b. 1884, Laura b. 1886, Lillie b. 1891, and Thomas b. 1894.

Atty died March 24 1928, buried in the Hickory Block United Methodist Church Cemetery. The African American members of Union Church Presbyterian Church split from the church to form their own church, Hickory Block.

Atty's descendants married into my maternal family.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday's Obituary
Ike Durr 1936-1982

Mr Ike Durr, the fifth child of the late Mr and Mrs Mike Durr, Hazlehurst, Mississippi, was born May 28, 1936. He departed this life Friday, Feb 5, 1982 in Hayne City, Florida. Most of his life was spent in Copiah County, Mississippi. In 1962, he moved to Jackson, Mississippi. Later he moved to the State of Florida where he lived until his death.

Mr Durr leaves to mourn his passing two brothers, Mr Booker T Durr, Florida; Mr Mike Durr, Jr., Jackson, Mississippi; three sisters: Mrs Annie Bell Ealy, Detroit, Michigan; Mrs Alice Dent, Jackson, Mississippi and Mrs Rosie L Scott, Los Angles, California; one sister-in-law, Mrs Albert Durr, Jackson, Mississippi; three uncles, one aunt, nieces, nephewss, and a host of relatives and friends.

Uncle Ike was the youngest of my paternal grandparents' children.
Ike was my father's brother.
Buried at the Mercy Seat AME Church Cemetery
Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Part of the Great Migration
circa 1925

Thaddeus Howard b. 1920, Henry Samuel Howard b. 1923, and
Evelyn Louise Howard b. 1921

These little darlings were a part of the Great Migration. Between 1916 and 1970, more than 6 million African Americans left the rural south for the big cities of the Northeast, Midwest and the West.

They were the children of Henry Howard and Mary Goodwin Young. The two older children were born in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi. The mother reported on the 1930 census that the youngest child, Henry Samuel, was born in Kentucky. The children were the youngest of their mother's nine children.

Mary Goodwin first married Willie Young and had five children with him: Cecil, Martha, Wilma, Jessie, and Ruby. In a previous relationship, she had given birth to a son, Arthur Carter.

Willie Young died 19 Feb 1917 of pellagra at the age of 48. Wikipedia defines the disease as a vitamin deficiency disease most commonly caused by a chronic lack of niacin (vitamin B3) in the diet. The disease is described as the "four D's": diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death.

The second husband was the younger children's father. He was Henry Howard born about 1879. Mary married Henry 26 Jan 1919 in Lincoln County, Mississippi. The marriage lasted almost eleven years. Henry died 21 Dec 1929.

Mary's older daughters had moved to Indianapolis during the early 1920s for better opportunities. After the death of her husband, Mary moved to Indianapolis. Pictured below is her home in Indianapolis. Note the tricycle in the yard for children.

Thaddeus married Mattie Frances Martin. The couple had two boys: Anthony and Barron. Thaddeus died in 1994 in Indianapolis.

Evelyn married Allen Lorenzo Parrish and Novirters Stubbs. Two children were born to Evelyn. She died in 1993 in Indianapolis.

Howard also known as Sam died 02 Dec 1943 in Indianapolis of pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 20.

Photos courtesy of Christi Young.
The children's mother Mary Goodwin Young Howard, and my grandaunt Alice Marshall Goodwin were sisters-in-law.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
The Nathaniel Thomas Family
circa 1960

Nathaniel, Jr., Annie Mae Scott Thomas, Lorraine, Martina, Zettie, Nathaniel Thomas, Sr., and Calvin Thomas, cousin to the family

Photograph courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas, Jr.
The children and I share the same 2nd great grandfather, James Markham.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
I Bought her in Natchez

James and Amanda McDaniel
Photograph Courtesy of James Scott

Amanda McDaniel was married to James McDaniel also known as Jim Mack. James McDaniel served with the 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War. James died of brights disease 02 May 1887; Amanda applied for her widow's pension.

James H. McDaniel, Amanda's former owner, testified that the couple was married and that he performed the ceremony.

Dec 25 1889
Veto, Franklin County, MS

Deposition of James H. McDaniel in the case of Amanda Mack/McDaniel, widow of James McDaniel.

My age is 75 yrs. I am a planter and live near Veto, Miss, which is my post office. I knew "Jim Mack" a negro who belonged to my father John McDaniel. I knew him from his birth and he ran away about 1864 and I understood he enlisted in the U S Army. I also knew Amanda Mack who belonged to me. I bought her in Natchez about 1856 or 58. She had no name but Amanda, A year or so after I bought her here I performed the ceremony of marriage between her and Jim Mack. I always insisted on my slaves being married in that way; I was a Justice of the Peace at the time. They were regarded as man and wife from that time until he ran away, and I know from observation and general report that they lived together as man and wife after the war up to his death. I did not see him for a good while after the war. Whenever I saw him he looked well and hearty. He was a big stout man to all appearance. I don't know that he was sick or made any complaint. I do not know anything as to time or cause of his death. I heard of his death at the time it occurred.

I made no record of the marriage of Amanda and Jim, but I well remember that I performed the ceremony and that they lived as man and wife afterward. Neither of them were ever previously married so far as I know.

I have no interest in this claim. I have heard the above statement read and it is all right.

J. H. McDaniel

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dressed for Frosty Weather
circa 1942

Mildred Adams was eleven years old when this photo was taken. She is dressed in her plaid coat, hat and boots, ready for the cold weather. Mildred was born 06 Dec 1931 in Lincoln County, MS, to Harvey Adams, Sr., and Mary Jane Cook. Mildred married a maternal cousin Willie P Coleman, son of Walter Philip Coleman, Sr., and Violet Edwards.

Mildred's Obituary
Photograph courtesy of Edward B Adams.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Banks Sisters
One Dozen

L to R: Arcola Banks Green, Viola Banks Hilliard, Leola Banks Tillman, Beatrice Banks Thomas, Olivia Banks Young, and Joy Banks Hayes

There were twelve Bank sisters: Mattie Mae, Arcola, Viola, Leola, Beatrice, Mary, Odessa, Olivia, twins Archie Mae and Jannie Mae, Annie Lee, and Joy, born between 1908-1934. They were the daughters of Archie and Jannie Scott Banks of Lincoln County, MS.

I wonder if the sisters were labeled by people outside of the family and family members. Was one known as the smart one, the skinny one, the pretty one, the fat one, the fast one, the ugly one, the quite one, the silly one, the sweet one, the bookish one, the whatever one?

The Banks sisters are maternal cousins.
Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday
Phillip and Sally Demyers

Phillip was the son of Peach and Ardella Chatman Demyers
Burial at Mt Olive MB Church Cemetery
Copiah County, near Hazlehurst, Mississippi

Phillip is a paternal cousin.