This is my 4th year participating in the A-Z Challenge. I am writing about people who were born into slavery and lived to be free. Sometimes I also write about the descendants of slaves who were born free.
Ellen Logan was born into slavery about 1835 in Louisville, Kentucky. She cooked for the Peaslee family both during slavery and after. Ellen had an independent streak and stood up for herself even during slavery. In Chapter 12 of the book “Slightly Historical” written by Peaslee family member Alice Norcross Cane, Ellen was described this way,
“Ellen was the cook. She was argumentative and could answer her mistress’s reproaches glibly. These reproaches were mainly regarding Ellen getting in a family way no matter what measures were taken to protect her.”
In 1870, Ellen continued to live in the Peaslee household. Her five children also lived there, Cary Logan 15, was a servant; Libbie Logan 6, Frank Logan 4 and one month old Ellen Logan. Neither Ellen or Cary could read or write.
Just three years later, in 1873 Ellen Logan died in childbirth. She was ill for 9 days before she died on August 12. She was listed as married. Her address was on 5th near Chestnut, which was the Peaslee house. Ellen was 38 years old. On the page before the one on which Ellen Logan’s death appeared, there is an entry for a premature baby girl with only the name “Ellen”. The address is the same as Ellen Logan’s. The baby was born nine days before Ellen died and lived one day.
Ellen was buried in Eastern Cemetery on the 13th of August. Eastern Cemetery is one of the oldest in Louisville. It was one of the first to allow black and white to be buried in the same cemetery.
“Originally owned by Fourth Street Methodist Church (now known as Trinity Temple United Methodist Church), it was one of the first cemeteries to bury Blacks and Whites on the same property. The grounds are the final resting place for individuals from all walks of life. Slaves, Odd Fellows, Free Masons, Louisville’s famous Black ministers, Union and Confederate veterans, and Servicemen and women from wars all the way up to Vietnam are all interred at Eastern.” Eastern was neglected for many years and became overgrown with gravestones damaged and falling down. There is a group now dedicated to putting it in order. You can read more about it and see recent photographs at this link History of Eastern Cemetery.
Ellen Logan’s oldest daughter Cary worked as a servant and died in 1894. Her daughter Libbie grew up, worked and got married and lived into her 80s. The little boy Frank followed the Northern troops when they left town and was never heard from again. This is according to the book quoted above. I have not found the first baby Ellen from the 1870 census living with either of her older sisters.
Resources used in writing this were: The 1870 Census and Kentucky Death Records from Ancestry.com. I would like to thank my friend Zann Carter for sharing the information from the book “Slightly Historical” by Alice Norcross Cane, that helped put meat on the bones of this story.