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.
Article of Agreement Between Samuel Cleage and Overseer – 1834
16 thoughts on “Cleages In Black and White”
Wow! This is wonderful. You certainly have learned a wealth of information. This is another reason why I keep my membership to Ancestry.com. You never know who may hold the answers you need.
I’ve found a lot on FamilySearch too. The combination works well for me. I forgot to mention, but I’m going to look them up in old newspapers too.
I wish I had this kind of documented history for my own family. It’s so cool 🙂
Takes a lot of digging and luck, but it’s worth it to me.
I think it’s wonderful that you are able to find this information on your Ancestors. Your well documented research and the tools you use is very helpful. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Bernita, I’m so glad so much is available online now. And that someone mentioned probate records were on familysearch.org!
This is awesome! What a great find. It is always good to circle back and revisit our previous research. I have begun to do that more often myself. I am so excited for you! I look forward to learning more! Thank you for sharing!
It is good to take a second look. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that I already found some information I spend more time looking for. Not so much now that I organized my records, but still, I forget what’s there if I don’t look. And also I see old records with new eyes when I find a new record.
I never thought to set up a separate tree for slave owners to get hints. Will do that…thanks for the tip. And what a coincidence because I found out last week that my 2x great-grandmother on my mother’s side was also gifted to the slave owner’s daughter when she married. I am also interested in that tradition. I hope you will write about it.
If I could just figure out how to word that tradition for google! I will surely write about it once I find it.
On a hunch, I googled “slaves were given as dowry” just to see what would come up. This record, A Dowry of Slaves, is from The National Archives Experience (never heard of it before but looks like a good resource) http://digitalvaults.org/record/3457.html
Oh, that is good. Now I guess I need to look for dowrys for my slave holding families. Thank you!
What a great find and thank you for sharing.
Thank you for visiting!
I think the moral of this particular story is the value of going back over our research and checking for new information, You could happily have decided the job was done based on your assumption of transfer to David and been none the wiser. great research as always.
Yep. Never stop until you are sure, I guess that’s the lesson.
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