“It’s Honorable to do…You’re RELEASING their Names and their Souls for their Descendants to hopefully find them one day. Every time this Happens they are Rejoicing. They have been in a book or what have you for so long.”
~ True A. Lewis
This is my first post where I will be “releasing” the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. This is a project that many bloggers are participating in, thanks to Schalene Jennings Dagutis who writes the blog, Tangled Roots and Trees. She has a tab on her blog page “Slave Name Roll Project” where you can find links to all the posts regarding the names of slaves.
Why do this? Because our census takers did not list household names (other than the heads of household), on census records prior to 1850. Therefore, all you will find on these records is a tic mark indicating family members of what age. This includes any slaves on the property. Then, the Civil War took place along with the Emancipation Proclamation. Many of those freed people took the last name of their previous “owners.” In order for their descendants to find them it is up to all of us to “release” the names as we find them on probate and other records.
Here is an example from the 1840 census for my 4th great granduncle, James Hamilton Bowen, a land owner in Virginia.
Name: James Bowen
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Greenbrier, Virginia
Free White Persons - Males - 60 thru 69: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49: 1
Slaves - Males - Under 10: 2
Slaves - Males - 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves - Males - 24 thru 35: 3
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves - Females - 24 thru 35: 1
Slaves - Females - 36 thru 54: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 5
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons - Under 20: 3
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total Slaves: 11
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 18
James Hamilton Bowen (son of Anthony Bowen & Alice Hamilton) was born about 1779. He married first Jane Mann McClintic (1782-1832) on 24 Dec 1800 in Bedford, Virginia. He next married Nancy McClintic(1795-1866) on 29 Oct 1833 in Bath Co., Virginia.
Here are the names of the slaves listed in his Last Will & Testament from 1851. The will is dated 26 Aug 1851, with the codicils being dated 26, 27 and 31 Aug 1851. This will can be found in Will Book 2, page 524, Greenbrier County, Virginia.
I have listed the names as they were written.
“I also give to my wife Nancy, the following slaves, to wit, Charles, Hannah, John and Jullia.”
“to my daughter Jane Pollock’s children, one negro boy named Lewis.”
“I also give to my son, Allen Bowen’s children, tow negroes, Jesse and William.”
“I also give to my daughters, Polly and Eliza, two negro boys, Henry and Alexander.”
“To my daughter Peggy Bright’s children, four slaves, Allice, her son Washington, Peyton and Jimima.”
“I give to my daughter Sally Johnston’s children three negroes, Vina, Samuel and Mary.”
“I give to my daughter Susan Brown’s children three negroes, Willie, Jand and Franklin.”
“I give to my daughter Mirim Wallace three negroes, Rosetta, Minty and Nathan.”
Codicil 1 – “I give to my daughter Jane Pollock a negro boy named Franklin.”
Codicil 2 – “I give to my daughter Susan and her children a negro woman Alice and Washington, formerly given to Peggy Bright. And to Peggy Bright, Mitche first given to Susan Brown. I also give a negro named Jane, lately given to Susan Brown to Jane Pollock.”
It is my hope that in participating in this project the descendants of these individuals can find them.
Copyright © 2010-2016 Diane Gould Hall
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION