From Slavery to Freedom – 56 Former Cleage & Hurst Slaves

I pulled this list together using documents from the plantations of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage and Elijah Hurst. All four were located in McMinn County, Tennessee. During 2015, I am going to go through the list and write about each person that I can find after Freedom in 1865. I completed 4 earlier.  You can read their story by clicking on the linked names.  I will start tomorrow with a general description of each plantation.

  1. Bill Cleage – 1807
  2. Henry Cleage – 1824
  3. Lea Cleage –
  4. Fannie Cleage –
  5. Peter Cleage – 1817
  6. Jerry Cleage – 1831
  7. Bob Cleage- 1830
  8. Jim Cleage 11832
  9. Big Annie Cleage
  10. Matilda Cleage
  11. Charity Cleage – 1838
  12. Caroline Cleage – 1836
  13. Jim Cleage  – 1822
  14. Joe Cleage  – 1844
  15. Sally Cleage  – 1842
  16. Arch Cleage  – 1836
  17. Margth Cleage   – 1838
  18. Charles Cleage  – b.1828
  19. Mary Cleage  – 1821
  20. Henry Cleage  – 1848
  21. Lydia Cleage   – 1851
  22. Joe Cleage  – 1808
  23. Jane Cleage  – 1834
  24. Lynd Cleage  – 1841
  25. Frank Cleage  – 1813
  26. Phillip Cleage  – 1831
  27. Lewis Cleage  – 1830
  28. Sam Cleage  – 1850
  29. Jeff Cleage  – 1837
  30. Martha Cleage  – 1831
  31. Lea Cleage  – 1818
  32. Julian Cleage  – 1809
  33. Patsy Cleage  – 1847
  34. Amy Cleage – 1825
  35. Jeff Cleage – 1858
  36. Juda Cleage – 1814
  37. Charles Cleage – 1848
  38. Angelen Cleage – 1850
  39. Lewis Cleage – 1852
  40. Laura Cleage – 1859
  41. Frank Cleage – younger than Laura
  42. Jane Cleage –
  43. Adaline Cleage –
  44. Tom Cleage –
  45. Frank Cleage – 1816
  46. Tom Lane Cleage –
  47. Harry Hurst
  48. Jeff Hurst
  49. Rachel Hurst
  50. Peter Hurst
  51. Auston Hurst
  52. Tom Hurst
  53. Nancy Hurst
  54. Judi Hurst
  55. Jerry Hurst
  56. Dorcus Hurst (bill of sale 29 Jan 1827)

 

Bill of Sale for Charity, Caroline, Jim, Joe, Sally, Arch, Margth, Bill, Charles, Mary, Henry and Lydia Cleage

This is a copy of a companion Bill of Sale to the one that conveyed my 2 X great grandfather Frank Cleage from David Cleage, Walter Nutter and Elizabeth H. Nutter to Alexander Cleage.  After the death of Samuel Cleage, father of David, Elizabeth and Alexander, died there was some shuffling around of slaves, livestock and household property between the sibling.  In each document 12 slaves and the same amount of money are exchanged.  This is one of three Bills of Sale that I have of those transactions.  It is transcribed below. As always, click on them to enlarge.  There was no punctuation in the document and I added none.bill of sale david cleage 5Bill of sale - David Cleage

Know all men by these presents that we Alexander Cleage and Walter Nutter and his wife Elizabeth H Nutter have this day bargained and sold to David Cleage and his heirs and assigns forever Charity fourteen,  Caroline sixteen  Jim thirty  Joe eight  Sally near ten  Arch sixteen  Margth fourteen  Bill forty five  Charles twenty four  Mary thirty one  Henry four  Lydia one year of age

For five thousand two hundred and fifty dollars being his distribution share out of the proceeds of the slaves of Samuel Cleage deceased  We warrant said negroes (sic) to be slaves for life and that we as the heirs at law of Samuel Cleage have a right to convey them

Given under our hands and seals this 20th day of March 1852

Witness

Sam H Jordon                                            Alex Cleage

Geo W Mayo                                      Walter Nutter

Elizabeth H Nutter

State of Tennessee

County of McMinn

Personally appeared before me Geo W Mayo clerk of the county court of said county Alexander Cleage  Walter Nutter and Elizabeth H Nutter wife of said Nutter the bargainers to the above bill of sale with whom I am personally acquainted each of whom acknowledge the due execution of the same on the day and year it bears date and for the purpose therein expressed and that the said Elizabeth Nutter wife of the aforementioned Walter Nutter was by me examined privately and apart from her said husband Walter Nutter who declared that she executed same knowingly & free from any compulsion or restraint on the part of her said husband Walter Nutter

Given under my hand at office in Athens the 20th day of March 1852

Geo W Mayo clerk

Bill of Sale

Alex Cleage

Walter Nutter

Elizabeth H Nutter

to

David Cleage

Bill of Sale for Joe, Jane, Lynd, Frank, Phillip, Lewis, Sam, Jeff, Martha, Lea, Julian and Patsy Cleage

This is a copy of the Bill of Sale that conveyed my 2 X great grandfather Frank Cleage from David Cleage, Walter Nutter and Elizabeth H. Nutter to Alexander Cleage.  After the death of Samuel Cleage, father of David, Elizabeth and Alexander, died there was some shuffling around of slaves, livestock and household property between the siblings.  This is one of three Bills of Sale that I have of those transactions.  The documents are transcribed below. As always, click on them to enlarge.  There was no punctuation in the document and I added none.

slave docs cleage to alexto alex coverKnow all men by these presents that we David Cleage and Walter Nutter and his wife Elizabeth H Nutter have this day bargained and sold to Alexander Cleage and his heirs and assigns forever Joe forty four years of age  Jane eighteen  Lynd eleven  Frank thirty nine  Phillip forty  Lewis twenty six  Sam ten  Jeff five  Martha twenty one  Lea thirty four  Julian forty three  Patsy five

For five thousand two hundred and fifty dollars being his distribution share out of the proceeds of the slaves of Samuel Cleage deceased  We warrant said negroes (sic) to be slaves for life and that we as the heirs at law of Samuel Cleage have a right to convey them

Given under our hands and seals this 20th day of March 1852

Witness

Sam H Jordon                                            David Cleage

Geo W Mayo                                               Walter Nutter

                                                                       Elizabeth H Nutter

State of Tennessee

County of McMinn

Personally appeared before me Geo W Mayo clerk of the county court of said county David Cleage  Walter Nutter and Elizabeth H Nutter wife of said Nutter the bargainers to the above bill of sale with whom I am personally acquainted each of whom acknowledge the due execution of the same on the day and year it bears date and for the purpose therein expressed and that the said Elizabeth Nutter wife of the aforementioned Walter Nutter was by me examined privately and apart from her said husband Walter Nutter who declared that she executed same knowingly & free from any compulsion or restraint on the part of her said husband Walter Nutter

Given under my hand at office in Athens the 20th day of March 1852

Geo W Mayo clerk

Bill of Sale

David Cleage

Walter Nutter

Elizabeth H Nutter

to

Alex Cleage

 

Cleages In Black and White

Several days ago, I found the will of Alexander Cleage, which mentioned my Cleage Ancestors: Frank, Juda and Lewis Cleage by name, as he willed them to his wife. After finding the will, I did two things.  First, I went back through the other documents I have concerning the white Cleages and slavery.  I found a bill of sale wherein David Cleage and his sister Elizabeth sold some of their inherited slaves (including my great-great grandfather, Frank) to Alexander.  I had believed that my family went from Samuel Cleage to son David, and remained with him, after Samuel’s death.  This cleared that up.

Next, I set up a tree for the white Cleages on Ancestry.com. Through the shakey leaves I found another will. This one for Elijah Hurst, father of Alexander’s wife Jemima Hurst Cleage. In the will, Elijah deeds Jemima my great-great grandmother, Juda, who (along with several other slaves) he had already given her when she married.  There was a wealth of information and documentation available on Ancestry which I am going through now.

After going through those documents, I will modify the timelines I have for Frank and Juda Cleage.  I am also going to be looking for traditions surrounding giving ones daughter a couple of slaves to take with her when she married.  This is the second case of that I have found in my family.  My great great grandmother Eliza was given to Edmund Harrison’s daughter Martha Harrison, when she married Milton Saffold.

This is the year that I plan to devote some real time to writing up my family history. More about that later.

Related Posts

Article of Agreement Between Samuel Cleage and Overseer – 1834

Cleage Bricks

The Will – 1860

Elijah Hurst Last Will and Testament – 1848

Jemima Hurst age 52
Jemima Hurst age 52

This Will was written by Elijah Hurst, the father of Jemima Hurst Cleage, who married Alexander Cleage, who owned my 2X great grandparents and their 5 children.  In it he leaves Juda (my 2X great grandmother) to Jemima.  She already had possession of her.

Elijah Hurst Last Will and Testament

State of Tenn.  McMinn Co.Will of Elijah HurstMcMinn Co Will Book D, Mar 1841-Dec 1848, Microfilm roll 104, TSLA, pp 245-255.

Dec 2 1844.   Elijah Hurst Will Recorded.   I Elijah Hurst do make and ordain this my last will and testament.

  • 1st It is my will and desire that all my just debts be paid.
  • 2nd I give and bequeath to my son Russel R. Hurst my negro boy Harry during his life; and at his death it is my will and desire that said boy Harry go to his heirs.
  • 3rd I will and bequeath to my son John L. Hurst my negro boy Jeff during his life; and at his death I give and bequeath said boy Jeff to his heirs.
  • 4th I will and bequeath to my son Russel my Cate Tract of land during his life; and at his death I desire the same to go the heirs of said Russel; and in consideration thereof he is to pay a debt I am owing the bank for said tract of land.
  • 5th It is my will and desire that my executor manumit my negro woman Rachel when her tenth child shall have attained the age of ten years; and it is my wish that she remain in McMinn County and that my executors support her out of my estate when she gets too old to support herself.
  • 6th I will and bequeath to my wife Mary the following negroes during her natural life:  Big Peter, Auston, Tom, Nancy, Judi, and Jerry; and at her death I wish them equally divided among my four children; and I will and bequeath to my dear wife Mary all my household and kitchen furniture and such of my farming utensils as my executors may think necessary for her convenience together with all my stock of horses, cattle, and hogs.
  • 7th I will and bequeath to my daughter Jemima Cleage and her heirs forever the four negroes she has had possession of Big Anny, Judi, Jane, and Matilda together with all the other property I have given her.
  • 8th It is my wish that my daughter Sarah Ann Calloway have and enjoy all the property conveyed heretofore in trust for her benefit and I will and bequeath to my daughter Sarah Ann Calloway my baroush carriage and harnesses in consideration of some losses   Sarah sustained on my account.
  • 9th It is my wish and desire that my executors get my mother and sister Delilah to remove from Claibourne County to the County of McMinn and that they attend to them carefully:  For that trouble and for taking care of my dear wife Mary, I have given them Harry and Jeff.
  • 10th It is my will and I do hereby release my son Russel R. Hurst from all debts and accounts he is  owing me on the condition that he attends to the interest of my wife while she lives.
  • 11th It is my will and desire that nothing be ex______ in this my last will and testament to interrupt the partnership existing between my son John L. Hurst and myself until the five years have expired.
  • 12th I do hereby constitute and appoint my two sons Russel R. Hurst and John L. Hurst my executors of this my last will and testament and do authorize and desire that they should act without giving bond and security for the trust, re_____ signed, sealed, published and declared to be my last will and testament this 12th day of December 1833.  Signed Elijah Hurst (Seal).  Witnesses:  Justus Steed, Andrew John, W. F. Keith

Alexander Cleage’s Last Will & Testament – 1860

Athens, Tennessee about 1919. Probably taken by my grandfather Albert B. Cleage, SR
Athens, Tennessee about 1919. Probably taken by my grandfather Albert B. Cleage, SR.  Men unknown.

I hadn’t planned yesterday to go to Family Search and look for the Will of Alexander Cleage, but I did.

“I give and devise to my beloved wife Jemima Cleage for and during her natural life the following described Negro slaves – to wit: … Juda and her five children  to wit: Charles, Angelen, Lewis, Laura and Frank… I also give and bequeath to her for her natural life a negro man called Frank the husband of Juda…” 

 30th day of May 1860 Alexander Cleage

Juda and Frank Cleage were my two times great grandparents. Their son Lewis Cleage was my great grandfather, my own grandfather Albert B. Cleage’s, father. I have several other documents that trace them through slavery – a letter to the overseer in 1838 and a bill of sale that mention Frank in 1852, a marriage record for Frank and Juda Cleage in 1866 and the 1870 census, Lewis’ death certificate in 1918.

By the time the will was probated 1 March 1875, my people had been free for 10 years.

These records give me a bare bones outline of their lives. I have no photographs, no stories. Nobody’s memories. These bones and their names. I read the will over and over until I felt it inside of me. I saw my cousins faces, my children’s faces.  All descended from these two people – Frank and Juda Cleage and their son, Lewis Cleage. I wish I could see their faces. I wish I knew their stories. I wish someone had shared memories.  One thing I know is that I will tell the parts of their stories that I can piece together and I will say their names. Frank Cleage born 1816 in North Carolina. Juda Cleage born 1814 in Tennessee. Lewis Cleage born 1852 in Athens Tennessee and died 1918 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

You can see a copy of the will here: Last Will and Testament of Alexander Cleage

Click to see more Sepia Saturday posts.
Click to see more Sepia Saturday posts.

Watch Night – Born into Slavery and Died in Freedom

Angela Walton-Raji of the blog My Ancestor’s Name suggested that tonight we observe Watch Night by naming our ancestors who were born into slavery but lived to see freedom. I decided to join her.

I have no photograph of Annie Williams (mother of Eliza Williams Allen) who was born about 1820 in Virginia and died after 1880 in Montgomery, Alabama.

I do not have a photograph of  Matilda Brewster (mother of Dock Allen) who was born in Georgia.

Eliza
Eliza Williams Allen B. Alabama 1839 – 1917
docallen
Dock Allen B. Georgia 1839 – D. Alabama 1909

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eliza Williams Allen was my great great grandmother. She was born in Alabama about 1839 and died free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1917. She was a seamstress.  You can read more about Eliza here A Chart of the People in Eliza’s Life and Eliza’s Story – Part 1 with links to the other 3 parts.

Dock Allen was my great great grandfather. He was born a slave in Georgia about 1839 and died free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1909.  He was a cabinet maker. You can read more about Dock Allen here Dock Allen’s Story.

I have no photographs of  my great grandparents William Graham who was born about 1851 or his wife Mary Jackson Graham born about 1856. Both were born in Alabama and died dates unknown.  William Graham was a farmer. They were my grandfather Mershell C. Graham’s parents. I know very little about them but I have been gathering information which I will post soon.

I do not have photographs of my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s paternal grandparents.  Her grandfather Joseph Turner was born in Alabama about 1839. He died in Lowndes County, AL in 1919. He was a farmer and owned his own land. His wife Emma Jones Turner was born about 1840 in South Carolina and died about 1901 in Lowndes County Alabama.  You can read more about them here,  Emma and Joe Turner of Gordensville, Lowndes County, Alabama.

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage.
Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage.

Frank Cleage was born around 1816 in North Carolina. He was enslaved on the plantation of first Samuel Cleage and then his son Alexander Cleage.  I do not have a picture of Frank Cleage and have no stories about him. His name appears on my great grandfather, Louis Cleage’s death certificate.

In the 1870 Census he was living with his wife, Judy and six children, including my great grandfather, in Athens, Tennessee. I also have a marriage record for Frank and Judy dated 20 August, 1866.  I don’t know if they were married before and the children are theirs or if they came together after slavery. Judy was born about 1814.

Frank is mentioned in a work agreement between Samuel Cleage and his overseer in this post – Article of Agreement – 1834.

They were both born in slavery and lived most of their lives as slaves but they lived to see freedom and to see their children free.

No photograph of Louis Cleage B. 1852 in Tennessee and died 1919 in Indianapolis, IN.  Louis and Celia were my grandfather Albert B. Cleage’s parents. Louis was a laborer. You can read more about Louis Cleage here – Lewis Cleage – Work Day Wednesday.

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman was born into slavery about 1855 in Virginia.  She died about 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. She was a cook. You can read more about Celia Rice Cleage here Celia Rice Cleage Sherman.

I do not have photographs of my great grandmother Anna Allen Reed who was born about 1849 in Lebanon, Kentucky and died in 1911 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She was my grandmother Pearl’s mother.

Anna’s mother Clara, my great great grandmother, was born 1829 in Kentucky and died after 1880 in Kentucky.  I need to write them up. You can see some of their descendents here My Father’s Mother’s People.

 

Stolen from Africa – Fearless Females

Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

africa_americaI don’t have any immigration stories, passenger lists, passports or even the names of the women who came to the United States, probably in the 18th century, against their will from Africa.  Until I took an mtdna test several years ago and persuaded my father’s sister to do the same I didn’t know what part of Africa they were from. We have no oral history of the Middle Passage.

In 2008 my sister received a free mtdna testing kit from African Ancestry.  Since she wasn’t interested, she passed it on to me. The results came back L3e for the haplogroup and they said I shared dna with the Mende people of Sierra Leone.

Later I decided to test again with Family Tree and my father’s sister also tested. My results came back L3e3*.  My aunts came back L3e2*. They said her results were the same as a broad area of Sub-Sarahan Bantu speaking groups.

In 2011 23andMe had a free offer to entice more African Americans to test and I took it. The results came back L3e3b.  Neither of these testers were so specific with a group as African Ancestry was.  They were more general, saying that L3e3b is one of the Sub-Saharan groups. One said they had matches from both Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. One map I found shows the group originating around Ethiopia and migrating out towards West Africa.

Reading online I found that most African Americans in the United States left from a fort on  Bunce Island in Sierra Leone. The photos on the left of the the montage show the fort back when it was being used and then the overgrown, green island and fort as they are today.I also found that most slave ships coming into the United States docked on Sullivan’s Island outside of Charleston, South Carolina.  The people were sold at auction on the north side of the Exchange building in Charleston, shown on the far left side of the photo. Other photos include maps of Sierra Leone and Charleston/Sullivan’s Island, an actual photograph taken in the 1800’s aboard a slave ship, and an old drawing of the auctioning off of slaves.

In 1974-1975 my family and I lived in Mt. Pleasant, right outside of Charleston.  My husband was working for the Emergency Land Fund trying to help black farmers save their land. We often went swimming at the beach on Sullivan’s Island, without knowing that our African ancestors probably landed near there after crossing the Atlantic ocean during the 1700s.

When my oldest daughter was born in 1970 we decided to give her a family name and an African name. I picked a name out of a children’s story we had in the Black Conscience Library. The name was Jilo. We could never find out what kind of name Jilo was or what it meant. After I received the information that Eliza’s line went back to the Mende people of Sierra Leone, I found a list of names and found that the name Jilo comes from  Sierra Leone.

In the spring of 2013 my daughter Ife, her two children and I went to Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, to see the place where the slave ships landed.

The view of the harbor from Fort Moultrie, South Carolina.

My grandson and I standing by the sign on Sullivan's Island.
Sanding with my grandson next to the sign on Sullivan’s commemorating the entry site for the thousands of Africans that arrived through that port.

To see photos of my mtdna line click My Matrilineal Line and More.

Off The Same Plantation, but Not A Relative

Eliza was also owned by Col. Harrison.  Her mother, Annie Williams, was born in Virginia. I am trying to figure out if any information in this article can help me in my research.

The Montgomery Advertiser, Wednesday Morning, November 14, 1917

“Old Charles,” Faithful Servant For Almost a Century, Passes Away


Charles Leftwich, born into slavery in “Old Virginny,” at Lynchburg in 1831, in early manhood sold to a new master and carried to bondage to Lowndes County, Ala. died here November 7 at four score years and six.  His death was mourned by white and black alike.  He heard the “angel voices calling”, and in death as in life, ever obedient, he answered the call.  In youth, In young manhood, in middle life, and finally while body was bent and head hung low, as those who knew him say, he was loving, faithful, and true.  “Old Charles” is no more, but through the avenue of almost a century he walked among friends he made because of his deeply affectionate nature and entire faithfulness.

Servant of Col. Harrison

As a slave and faithful and devoted servant of Colonel Edmund Harrison, of Lowndes County, when the war broke out Charles was selected by his master as a body guard for the latter’s son-in-law Winston Hunter, when the young man began his service in the Confederate States Army.

Through the blazing heat of Summer, in the sleet, slush, ice, and bitter winds of Winter, for four long and trying years, while the confederacy’s fortunes lay in the troubled balance of the great Civil War, steadfast and true the faithful negro served his warrior master.  It was but natural that a peculiarly strong affection bound the two together, a bond of attachment none the less strong because of any difference of color, it is said.

Return To Old Home

After the war and Charles was free, he returned to the plantation of Colonel Harrison as to his natural home, and there remained until the death of the older master.  Throughout the trying days of the reconstruction immediately following the war there was no change in the former slave.  Day and night he remained true to those who had been good to him, an every ready protector of the women and children in the times that tried men’s souls.

Sorrow stricken after the death of others to whom he was so attached, after the death of “ol morster”, Charles came to Montgomery.  Events changed others – but not Charles, for into life, in ease and in plenty, in privation and in misery, this man with a black skin but a spotless character plodded his humble way as nobly within the city’s gates as he had for many years out where the birds twittered and the balm of the Southern sunshine itself ever the silken corn and fields of snowy cotton.

Served in Kessler Family

About ten years before his death “old Charles” began service with Mr. And Mrs. W.D.C. Kessler.  He soon became so attached to the Kesslers’ first born, then a baby boy, that he was installed as a nurse.  Then this splendid character proved as good a nurse as the gentlest woman.  To other boys were born to the Kesslers, and as each came Charles took him in charge, and guarded them as only he could do.  all of the children were devoted to him and his pride and affection for them were beautiful evidences of his own great goodness.  He wold often say that it was his only desire that he should live long enough for “his boys” to remember him so well that never would they forget him.  That this wish is daily gratified there are several who will attest.

Sale of Stock, Negroes and a Fine Carriage and Horses – Amanuesis Monday

On Monday, 9th January next, we will sell at the Artesian Basin, in the city of Montgomery, at public auction, the following described personal property of the estate of John H. Murphy, deceased:
Seventy-five Shares of Stock in the Montgomery Insurance Company:
Fifty Shares of Stock in Alabama and Florida Rail Road Company
Six Shares of Stock in the Montgomery Gas Light Company.
Also, twenty-three NEGROES, among which are three good brick-layers, and plasters and several fine house servants, cooks, &c.  The negroes will be sold in families, and catalogues funished on the day of sale.
Also, a fine Carriage and pair of Horses.
The Stocks will be sold for cash.  The Negroes and Carriages and Horses on credit of 6 months, for approved Bills of Exchange with interest from date.
EDMUND HARRISON,
HENRY G. SEMPLE,
Executors of J.H. Murphy, dec’d.
dec 26 – d&wtds           [M.]

Edmund Harrison once owned my Great Great Grandmother Eliza Williams Allen and her mother Annie Williams.  The article that confirmed that information is here “She was owned before the war by Colonel Edmund Harrison of this county.” I found this article on Genealogy Bank.