Third Inventory of Wiley Turner’s Estate -1857

Wiley Turner died in 1851 in Lowndes County Alabama. The first inventory of his personal property, including those enslaved on his plantation, took place in 1852. You can see a list of names, ages and “values” in this post – Joe Turner in the 1852 Estate File of Wiley Turner.  The second inventory was taken in 1856 when the oldest child came of age – Second Inventory of Wiley Turner’s Estate – 1856.

The third inventory  was taken when the second child, James Mosely Turner, reached the age of 21 and wanted his share of the estate.  #63. Yellow Joe, was my great great grandfather. Click on any image to enlarge.

The State of Alabama}

Lowndes County}

To the Honorable E.H. Cook, Judge of Probate for said county The undersigned commissioners under and by virtue of the accompanying and foregoing commission by your Honor made and directed to them to divide the personal Estate of Wiley Turner deceased so as to set off one fifth thereof to James Turner one of the Heirs and distributees of said deceased shows that in conformity with said order after first having taken an oath before a Justice of the Peace to make such distribution fairly and impartially if the same can be made the proceeded on the 21st of December 1857 and continued and continuous until the 8th of January 1858 to divide and value the personal property of deceased as follows ______

Valuation of entire slave property of deceased – names of

  1. Andrew               $1,300
  2. Fanny                     1,100
  3. Tom                           400
  4. Harriett                    300
  5. Perry                        100
  6. Henry                    1,400
  7. Rachel                   1,000
  8. Emeline                   800
  9. Robin, little          1,000
  10. Frank                        800
  11. Fed (Ned?)          1,100
  12. Clara                        700
  13. Julia                         550
  14. Albert                      500
  15. Freeman                 800
  16. Harrison                 800
  17. Lucy                      1,100
  18. Henry Turner      1,200
  19. Lloyd                     1,200
  20. Margaret                 700
  21. Nelson                   1,250
  22. Betsy                         950
  23. Allen                         300
  24. Peggy                        550
  25. Phillis                       850
  26. Cary                       1,700
  27. Adam                        900
  28. Ellen                          950
  29. Edward                     400
  30. William                     300
  31. George Ann              150
  32. Ben                          1,000
  33. Mary                          900
  34. Peter                          350
  35. Henry McQueen   1,000
  36. Bill Tyus                 1,250
  37. Martha                   1,000
  38. Lewis Tyus            1,200
  39. Amy                           950
  40. Big Robin               1,200
  41. Cherry                       750
  42. Prince                        730
  43. Louisa                        350
  44. Tony                        1,200
  45. Mariah                    1,100
  46. Old Milly                    200
  47. William @@              750
  48. Rachel                        400
  49. Charles                    1,500
  50. William                       400
  51. Fanny                          600
  52. Matt                          1,350
  53. Long Ellen                  550
  54. Moses                          450
  55. Celia                            350
  56. Little Jesse              1,300
  57. Washington           1,250
  58. John                         1,150
  59. Jim                           1,250
  60. George                     1,100
  61. Isaac                            950
  62. Carter                          800
  63. Yellow Joe                1,200
  64. Austin                       1,250
  65. George Morris         1,200
  66. Hannah                        200
  67. Jack                               650
  68. Ellen Bullock               700
  69. Hagar                            700
  70. Sam                               700
  71. Big Jesse                       800
  72. Eliza dark                 1,050
  73. Manerva                   1,000
  74. Eliza Bullock               350
  75. Abigail                          550
  76. Emma                           400
  77. Handy                           250
  78. Turner old man          000

James Wiley Turner’s Lot consisted of:

  1. Henry May
  2. Rachel Patten
  3. Little Robin
  4. Ben
  5. Mary McQueen
  6. Peter
  7. Big Robin
  8. Long Ellen
  9. Moses
  10. Celia
  11. Washington
  12. Carter
  13. John
  14. Hannah
  15. Emeline
  16. Handy

Related Links:

The first list which was made in 1853 > Joe Turner in the 1852 Estate File of Wiley Turner

Second Inventory of Wiley Turner’s Estate – 1856

An article about valuation of the enslaved. It includes several charts about valuation at various ages and in various years, showing that (as I saw in these lists) values soared from 1852 to 1861 – Measuring Worth

9 thoughts on “Third Inventory of Wiley Turner’s Estate -1857

  1. When/how was the first time you came to know that Yellow Joe was your great great grandfather, Kristin? Seeing his name written down like this must have been thrilling when you first discovered it. But at the same time it gives a sickening feeling in the pit of the stomach.

    1. I knew that he lived in that area of Lowndes County and I knew that he was as light as a white person because my grandmother told me he and her father looked something like her grandfather Dock Allen and like her husband Mershell Graham. What they had in common was they both were very light and looked white.

      Wiley Turner was one of the largest slave holders in Lowndes County. I always set up a tree on ancestry for known and suspected slave holders, so I set one up for him and when I found his probate record with all the lists of those enslaved over the years, I was quite interested to see if I could find my 2X great grandparents – Joe and Emma Turner.

      In each list there is one Joe. In the first one Joe was described as Joe (white). After freedom, in the 1870 census (the first one that enumerated black people by name) there was only one Joe Turner in that area – my 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner.

      I have been very glad to have found him in this file. I did not find my great great grandmother, Emma Jones so I am still looking for her.

  2. So it’s part systematic slogging, part process of elimination, part inspired and educated guesswork. Here’s hoping you find your great great grandmother too!

    I had a long talk with my cousin in England, who told me that she has started looking for our grandparents’ grave(s). She got as far as the coordinates–J6–but couldn’t find the actual grave. Next time I’m there we’re going to try to look for it together.

    1. Yes all of that plus spending way to much time sitting here at the computer doing it.

      I hope you all find it! Having the coordinates should help.

  3. Was there a system for deciding one’s value? I get that a strapping young 20-yr old male was more valuable than a 3-yr old girl, but . . . .

    1. I have added a link to the first list, made several months after Wiley Turner’s death that lists name, sex, age and value. Here is something I just found “Figure 1 demonstrates how the price of slaves varied with respect to age, sex, and location during the antebellum period. As one can see, prices were higher in the New South than in the Old South (the states along the Atlantic coast) and higher for males than for females7. The statistics on slave prices show that healthy young adult men in the prime of their working lives had the highest price, followed by females in the childbearing years. Young adult males had more value as they were stronger, could work harder in the fields, and could be expected to work at such a level for more years. Young adult women had value over and above their ability to work in the fields; they were able to have children who by law were also slaves of the owner of the mother. Old and infirm slaves had low, even “negative,” prices because their maintenance costs were potentially higher than the value of their production. Similarly, young children had low prices because the “cost” of raising them usually exceeded their annual production until they became teenagers.” There is even a little chart going from under 5 years old to over 60 years old. Not sure about the “but…” in your comment above and hope this answers it.

  4. This is very powerful history, Kristin. I’ve read all the names and prices and still I’m very troubled to understand the mindset of a Southern slave owner. Making a property list of human beings seems such an abhorrent concept in 2017, yet for the executors of Wiley Turner’s estate it was strictly business. Number 78, Turner old man – $000 was the most startling.

    I belong to a History Book Club and over the last few years we’ve been reading mainly books on American history beginning with the early colonial era. This year we completed several books on the Civil War and then on Reconstruction. We’re at about 1900 now.

    Perhaps the most compelling book I’ve read in the club was: American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry
    by Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette. While reading it I marked several passages on the valuation of slaves. But until I read this book I did not understand that slave prices were driven by supply and demand. When each decade of the early 19th century brought a new expansion of America, i.e. Alabama/ Mississippi, then Louisiana, then Texas, etc., more slaves were needed for the new cash crops – sugar, cotton, etc. This book goes into great detail on how the trading and breeding of slaves worked.

    When estates like Wiley Turner’s were broken up, the value was never in bank accounts, or stocks and bonds, or even in land, which was never a very liquid commodity. The worth was measured in human beings. Easily sold and traded for profit. Seeing your 2X great grandfather’s name in such a hand written document makes this horrid history of America more vivid. Thank you.

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