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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Georgia & Mitchell Graham – Alabama

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.  Today I will write about Georgia and Mitchell Graham of Alabama.

I started by searching for the Georgia listed among the enslaved in the estate file of Judge William A. Graham. In 1860 she was 8 years old and valued at $700. I found a Georgia in 1870 living with her mother Millie Washington and Millie’s husband George and seven year old George, in Elmore, Elmore County, Alabama, ten miles from the Judge’s plantation in Prattville. There was a Millie listed in the estate file.  In the file she was “not valued” and no age or monetary value was given. Millie Washington found in 1870 was 58, which would have made her only about 48 in 1860. I wasn’t sure if these were the people from the Graham plantation, but I followed them anyway because her name started with “G” and because their story was so varied and interesting.

Mitchell Graham and Georgia Washington were married in Elmore County on January 8, 1876. Four years later we find them with three small children. Georgia’s widowed mother lived with them. They were farming their own land. Fifteen acres were improved and 25 acres were wooded.  The value of his farm, including land, implements and animals, was $150.  He had $3 worth of farm implements and $75 worth of livestock.  The value of all farm products (sold, consumed and on hand) for 1879 was $125.  He had one working ox, no milch cow, 1 swine and 4 barnyard fowl.  Mitchell planted four acres of Indian corn which yielded 40 bushels. He planted 15 acres of cotton and got two bales.

By 1897 the family had left the farm and moved 108 miles north to the city of Birmingham, Alabama. They rented their home. In 1900 Mitchell, 46, was working as a laborer in a rock quarry, as did one of his sons. Georgie was 44 had birthed 12 children. Eight were living.  Seven of the children, from age two to age 22 were living at home.  They had been married 24 years. Everybody in the household was literate.  Georgia didn’t work outside the home. The oldest son worked as farm labor. The oldest daughter worked as a cook. The fifteen year old son was an errand boy and the next two children were in school. The baby was two.

Ten years later Georgia, 49, and Mitchell, 50, owned their home, although it did have a mortage. Mitchell and one of his sons worked as a builder at a pipe shop and had been out of work for 16 weeks.  Three of the children were still home, including 12 year old Stella who attended school. Two grandchilden, ages six and three, lived with them and they had a border.  Georgia worked as a laundress from home and had not been out of work at all.  One of the sons and the border were coal miners and had not been out of work.

In 1917 and 1925 Mitchell appears in the City Directory as an Evangelist and a minister. I could not find them in the 1920 census.  Mitchell died on October 29, 1925.  He was 73.  Georgia died on January 15, 1928.  She was 76.  I found it inspiring that they were so open to change.  And I loved finding so much information about them.

Special note to my husband who is my proof reader:  Take the age changes from census to census with a grain of salt.

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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Frazer Lane – Kentucky

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.  Today I will write about Frazer Lane, who was mentioned in my A post about Allen Lane.

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“…It is my will that my four Negroes be free at my death, namely Perry, Allen, Frazer, and Mariah, and that my sons Henry S. Lane and Higgins Lane by my Executors to execute this my will. In witness thereof I hereunto set my name this 22nd day of July 1841.

James H. Lane

I also will that Samuel Stone and Newton Reid be my Executors in connexion with Henry S. Lane and Higgins Lane as aforesaid. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand this 28th September 1846. I also do will to Perry (note: from census records I believe this name should be Jerry) and to Allen and to Frazer their Horses as known by the name of their horses at present.

James H. Lane, the slave owner who wrote the above Will, was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky where he farmed. He outlived 2 wives and left a third a widow when he died in 1846. He had 8 children and 4 slaves.

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Frazer was born into slavery in 1808.  Slaves were not enumerated by name in censuses. In the 1810 through 1840 census no one in the household was enumerated by name except the head of household.  Looking at those censuses we find that James Hardage Lane had 4 slaves.

In 1850 Frazer was enumerated by name along with all the other free people, including 165 other black people, in Montgomery, Kentucky.  He was 42 years old and shared a house with Allen and Jerry.  They were laborers, probably on nearby farms.

In 1860 Frazer, age 53, owned $600 worth of real estate and had personal estate worth $285. He was farming and married to Nellie, who was 50 years old.

In 1870 Frazer was 65 and farming. There is no value for real estate but he had $308 personal estate. Nellie was 60 with no occupation given. Also sharing the house was Jerry, 76, listed as a laborer. And 23 year old Mary Lane. All are listed as unable to read or write and born in Kentucky. There were still no relationships listed so I can speculate that Mary was his daughter, but I don’t know.  Jerry and Frazer were listed as black while Nellie and Mary were listed as mulatto.

The 1880 census was the last I found for Frazer and Nellie Lane.  They were now 72 and 71.  They are in Montgomery county, Mt. Sterling post office.  Frazer is still farming. Nellie is keeping house. Living with them is ten year old Horace Borne with occupation of houseboy. Frazer and Horace are listed as born in Kentucky while Nellie and her parents are listed as born in Virginia.  I wonder if this was the first time she actually spoke to the enumerator.  Nobody could read or write.

You will notice that there is not an even ten year age gain between the ten year censuses.  That could be because different people gave information to the enumerator. In this case the difference is actually minimal.  Sometimes people gain 20 years or only two years during that ten year period.

What I wish I could have found – If Mary was their daughter and what happened to her. If Horace was a relative and what happened to him. When they died and of what.  What happened to the farmland he owned in 1860.

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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Ellen Logan – Louisville, Kentucky

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.

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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.

death record for Ellen
Death record for Ellen Logan (underlined) Columns from L to R are: Death date, name, sex, color, marital status, age, cause of death, length of illness, doctor, day of death, where,address, date of burial, cemetery name. Click to enlarge

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.

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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Descendants- Emanuel Graham Alabama

This is my 4th year participating in the A-Z Challenge.  I will be writing about people who were born into slavery and were later free.  In a few cases I will be writing about the descendants of enslaved people who were born free.

Pedigree View - Printer Friendly - Ancestry.com

Emanuel Graham and his family are not related to me. I chose to highlight only one of his descendants for each generation. He had many, many more descendants.

Emanuel Graham was born into slavery about 1823.  He and his family appear in Judge William A. Graham’s Estate Record in 1860. After freedom he continued to live and raise his family in Prattville, Alabama. He worked as a laborer. Emanuel never learned to read or write.

Emanuel’s son James Graham was born into slavery in 1848 in Alabama. He was a farmer and eventually owned his own farm.  His children could read and write, although he never learned to.

James’ son Haywood Graham completed the eighth grade in Prattville, Alabama. He farmed on rented land until moving to Youngstown, Ohio with his wife and children between 1920 and 1930. He worked as a laborer at a coke plant and on road construction. He rented his house for $16.50 a month. His children attended high school.  In 1942 he worked for the W.P.A. Haywood died in Dayton, Ohio in 1975.

Haywood’s son Morris Graham was born in 1920 in Prattville Alabama. He completed four years of high school and worked as a porter. He died in Youngstown Ohio in 2004.

I found this information using Census Records, Death Records and Directories.

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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Census Records for Prissa Jackson – Alabama

This is my 4th year participating in the A-Z Challenge.  I will be writing about people who were born into slavery and were later free.  In a few cases I will be writing about the descendants of enslaved people who were born free.  I believe Prissa to be my 2x great grandmother.  I am still working on proving it.

1840 Long census pg 2 slaves
Click to enlarge.

Today I am going to write about census records I found for  Prissa Jackson. Some of them are speculation because there are no names.  Prissa Jackson was born into slavery about 1838 in Alabama on Lunceford Long’s plantation in what was then Autauga County Alabama and in 1866 became Elmore County.  The first census we will look at will be Long’s 1840 Census.  Nobody is named except for Lunceford Long. Page 2 of the 1840 Census for Langford Long shows the enslaved members of the household and tells in what industry and how many are employed. In this case 45 employed in Agriculture.  Prissa would have been one of the enslaved 18 females under 10.

slave census 1850 lunceford long
1850 slave census Click to enlarge.

The 1850 slave census for Lunsford Long starts on page 56 and continues on the next page with 21 more names. Prissa would have been one of the unnamed female slaves about age 12.

1860 Census for Lunceford Long’s household. He is listed as a planter with real estate worth $15,000 and personal property worth $240,000. In the same household, his son James is also listed as a planter with personal property worth $34,000. His widowed daughter, Tempe, also in the household is listed as a planter with real estate worth $6,000 and personal property worth $34,000. Personal property included the value of people you enslaved.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

In 1860 the number of slave cabins was added to the census. Long had 25 cabins for 160 people.  Prissa would have been about 22 in 1860, give or take a few years.

Next there should be the 1866 Alabama State Census. It was the first census taken after the the Civil War. It included both the black and white population, seperatly.  Unfortunately the census for Elmore County isn’t online. Maybe there was confusion as Elmore County was formed in 1866 from parts of Autauga, Coosa and Montgomery counties.  The form for the 1866 census was similar to the 1840 census and only included the name of the head of household.

Prissa finally appears by name, with the rest of her household in the 1870 census.  Click to enlarge. Unfortunately I have not found Prissa in any other censuses.

1870 Census including Prissa Jackson & her family.
1870 Census including Prissa Jackson & her family.  Her husband Joseph is a farmer.  The younger children are in school.
1870 United States Federal Census

Name: Prissa Jackson
Age in 1870: 38
Birth Year: abt 1832
Birthplace: Alabama
Home in 1870: Township 17, Elmore, Alabama
Race: Black
Gender: Female
Post Office: Wetumpka

Name               Age
Joseph Jackson     32
Prissa Jackson     38
Abba Jackson       24
Griffin Jackson    18
Frank Jackson      16
Mary Jackson       14
Lizza Jackson      12
Victor Jackson     10
Jams Jackson        9

Source Citation
Year: 1870; Census Place: Township 17, Elmore, Alabama; Roll: M593_15; Page: 20B; Image: 231; Family History Library Film: 545514
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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Betsy & John Graham – Autauga County Alabama

This is my 4th year participating in the A-Z Challenge.  I will be writing about people who were born into slavery and were later free.  In a few cases I will be writing about the descendants of enslaved people who were born free.  They are not related to me.

List of enslaved from the estate file of William A. Graham 1860. Click to enlarge.
List of enslaved from the estate file of William A. Graham 1860. Click to enlarge.

Betsey Graham was born into slavery about 1848 in Alabama. In 1860 she is found on the list, shown above, of Judge William Archibald Graham’s slaves. Her husband John is also listed.  The list appears to be arranged in family groups with parents and their children in descending age together.  Betsey’s parents were Manuel and Elsie Graham. John’s mother was Rose.

Judge Graham’s plantation in Autauga County Alabama was a far cry from James Hardage Lane’s farm in Montgomery County Kentucky that I described yesterday.  Judge Graham’s plantation consisted of 300 improved and 700 unimproved acres.  There were 4 horses; 14 asses and mules; 300 swine; 10 milch cows; 4 working oxen and 56 other cattle.  $800 worth of stock was slaughtered. In 1850 the livestock was valued at $4,400. $1,000 in 1850 money equals about $30,000 of buying power today.

Crops included 30 bushels of rye; 4,000 bushels of Indian corn; 50 bushels of oats; 100 bales of ginned cotton weighing 400 lbs per bale; 400 bushels of peas and beans; 10 bushels of Irish potatoes; 400 bushels of sweet potatoes; 300 lbs of butter and 30 tons of hay.

In the 1860 census Judge Graham was a planter with $29,000 worth of real estate and $64,000 worth of personal property (which included slaves).  His 39 slaves lived in six cabins. When his estate was being valued there were 56 slaves on the plantation.  He was married once and had nine children.  All of them were literate.

The first census taken in Alabama after the Civil War was in 1866.  John and Betsy were married with two children under the age of 10. In 1870 they had three children. Martha was the oldest at eight, Alice was five and Richard was three. John worked as a farm laborer and Betsy worked as a domestic servant. They were both illiterate and remained so for the rest of their lives.

In 1880 John was working as a laborer. Betsy was working as a servant. Richard, was the only child still at home. He was 16, attending school and working as a laborer.  He was literate.  I realize that Richard was three only ten years before in the 1870 census.That’s the way it goes.  You have to take the ages in the census with a grain of salt. He was probably 13. His parents had gained 20 years between 1870 and 1880.

In 1900 John and Betsy were no longer living together. John, 55 lived with his mother, Rose in a rented house. He worked as a laborer. Betsy, also listed as 55 and lived with Eliza Graham Fay, one of Judge Graham’s daughters.  Betsy was the cook. She had given birth to three children and two were living. John and Betsy were listed as widow and widower.  It was not uncommon for separated couples to claim their spouse was dead.

In 1900, of the three children, I could only find the daughter Alice who had married to Brag Green, a laborer. They had been married ten years and had two children ages nine and seven who were both attending school.  They rented their house.

In 1910 John was living alone and working as a laborer on a truck farm. John listed himself as single. Betsy was living with the Booth family as cook.  I did not look to see if the Booth family was related to the Grahams. Betsy listed herself as a widow. Daughter Alice was a widow working as a nurse for a private family and living with her 17 year old daughter, Bula in a rented house. Bula was literate, Alice was not.

The last time I found any of the family was in the 1930 census. Betsy 81, was living with her daughter Alice 62 in a rented house worth $1. Neither was working.  The only death record I found was for Alice.  She died in 1932 in Hayneville, Lowndes County Alabama. She had been working as a cook for a private family and was a widow.

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I found the information for this post in various census records; death records; marriage records on Ancestry.com and Family Search.  The Estate file of William Archibald Graham was on Family Search.

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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Allen Lane – Born 1810 in Kentucky

This is my first offering for the 2016 A to Z Challenge.  This is my 4th year and I will be writing about people who were born into slavery and were later free.  In a few cases I will be writing about the descendants of enslaved people who were born free.

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“…It is my will that my four Negroes be free at my death, namely Perry, Allen, Frazer, and Mariah, and that my sons Henry S. Lane and Higgins Lane by my Executors to execute this my will. In witness thereof I hereunto set my name this 22nd day of July 1841.

James H. Lane

I also will that Samuel Stone and Newton Reid be my Executors in connexion with Henry S. Lane and Higgins Lane as aforesaid. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand this 28th September 1846. I also do will to Perry (note: from census records I believe this name should be Jerry) and to Allen and to Frazer their Horses as known by the name of their horses at present.”

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James H. Lane, the slave owner who wrote the above Will, was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky where he farmed. He outlived 2 wives and left a third a widow when he died in 1846. He had 8 children and 4 slaves.

Allen Lane was born into slavery about 1810,  Jerry about 1794, Frazier in 1808 and Mariah about 1816.  Slaves were not enumerated by name in censuses. In the 1810 through 1840 census no one in the household was enumerated by name except the head of household.  Looking at those censuses we find that James Hardage Lane had 4 slaves.

Now I enter the area of speculation in creating a timeline for their lives.  In 1810 age ranges were not given, just the total number so perhaps there was an enslaved woman.  Three of them were probably baby and toddler Allen and Frazier, the child Jerry.  Mariah was not born until 6 years later so perhaps there was a grown woman of childbearing age who was mother of the younger children.

In 1820 James H. Lane again still 4 slaves.  This time age ranges are given and he had 2 males under 14 (probably Frazier and Allen), 1 male 14 – 25 (probably Jerry) and 1 female under 14 (Probably Mariah).  These four slaves gained 10 years in the 1830 and 1840 censuses. In 1841 James H. Lane wrote the above Will.  In 1846 he died and Allen, Frazier, Jerry and Mariah were free.

In 1850 they were enumerated along with the general population, as were 165 other free black people in Montgomery County, Kentucky.  Allen(40), Jerry(56) and Frazier(42) were living together. They were laborers, probably on farms. Mariah(34) was  nearby living with one of James H. Lanes daughters and her family, Evalina Lane Reid.

Allen Lane was the father of four children born during slavery. They were not living with him, either before or after slavery. I was unable to find them until the 1870 census.  They were Maria born in 1837, Margaret born in 1838, Amelia born in 1844 and Thomas born in 1850.  Although Allen Lane’s name appears on their death certificates no mother is named.

I was unable to find him in the 1860 census, but in 1870 Allen Lane was 60 years old.  He was enumerated as a mulatto living in Sharpsburg, Bath county Kentucky in a large household. He was a laborer. Mariah Lane, 50 years old and a 10 year old girl, Malinda Lane were among the group.  They were listed as black with no employment. None of the three were literate and Malinda was not in school.

In 1880 Allen Lane was enumerated in Hamilton County Ohio, College Hill with his daughter Amelia Lane Franklin and her family. This time his birth year is given as 1793 and his age as 87. According to the 1810 birthdate used before, he would have been 70. He is listed as a widower. Both Allen and Amelia’s husband Benjamin are listed as laborers.  There are 5 children in the home, all born in Ohio. 15 year old Anna is working and literate.  9 year old Margaret  and 8 year old Matilda are in school and can read and write. The two youngest children are 5 and 4 months and too young for school.  The three adults are illiterate.

I have not found a death certificate for Allen Lane yet.  He does not appear in the 1900 census.

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To write this I drew upon Census records, Death Certificates and the Will of James Hardage Lane.  You can click on the link to see the whole Will.  To find out more about free people of color, enslaved people and white people in Montgomery County before the Civil War in 1850, 1860 and in 1870, click this link Free and Enslaved in Montgomery County Kentucky.

Things I wish I knew – Who was the 4th enslaved person living with the Lane family in 1810?  Who was Allen Lane’s wife and where were she and the children?  What kind of crops James H. Lane grew on his farm.  That I had photographs of everybody.

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A-Z Challenge 2016 African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Telling Their Story A-Z Challenge 2016 – Theme Reveal

atoz-theme-reveal-2016+v2

This is my 4th year participating in the A to Z challenge.  This year I will be telling the stories of  people who were enslaved but made it to Freedom. I found them in photographs shared by friends, names in Bills of sale and Wills.  They were from Kentucky, Alabama and Ohio.  Some of them left a lot of information. Some left only a name on a photograph and the information in a census record. I discovered some while researching my own extended family history.  They all left a story.

Pinkey Porter copyright Becky
Pinkey Porter holding baby William Turner. Photograph from the collection of Becky Leach.
Margaret Lane Alley
Margaret Lane Alley.  Photograph from the collection of Zann Carter.
Major Lee Zeigler
From a newspaper article.