Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lewis Weathersby Couldn't Prove Meritorious Service

Siblings James Pearly Crossley and Mazie Crossley Robinson
Children of Nathaniel Crossley, Sr
Grandchildren of Andrew Crossley
Great Grandchildren of Sylvester Crossley
Great Great Grandchildren of Thomas and Lucy Crossley

Lewis Weathersby tried to emancipate six family members of one slave family prior to his death in 1843 but was deterred by the laws of Mississippi, which required the consent of the legislature upon proof of meritorious service.

Meritorious manumission could be granted to a slave who distinguished himself by saving the life of a white master or his property, inventing something that a white slave master could make a profit from or snitching on a slave rebellion. The laws of Mississippi specified that the owner had to cite some meritorious service by the slave as the ground for his petition.

Lewis Weathersby did not prove meritorious service; manumission for the family was denied. Lewis did not give up on emancipating the family, parents Thomas and Lucy, and their children Matilda, Sylvester, Andrew and Dicy. He made provisions in his will for the family to be nicely situated, offering them quasi freedom which his heirs saw as emancipating the family, circumventing the decision of the Mississippi legislature.

Between the state of Mississippi protecting the institution of slavery, deaths, and the greed of the family, the portion of Lewis Weathersby's will concerning the family was never fulfilled.

How are the siblings connected to my family?
The siblings' mother was Estella Scott Crossley
Estella Scott was the daughter of James Pearly Scott and Catherine Markham.
Catherine Markham Scott and my great grandfather Monroe Markham were siblings.

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African American Roots
by Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom
The Slaves of Liberty, Freedom in Amite County, Mississippi 1820-1868
by Dale Edwyna Smith
Amite County Chancery Court Records, Case Number: 4588, Lewis Weathersby
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas

1 comment:

  1. At least he tried. Too bad everything was against them. Thank goodness we're free now!