Tag: Boone

A Lucky Glimpse: Family Lines of Slaves

 

Fraser, enslaved families, Boone, Hickman, Atkinson

A few weeks ago, my first cousin and I found an old, weathered journal in her attic. This journal was one among many, in an unexamined box of documents left to her by her mother.

The cover reads, “Negro’s Age’s 1848,” [sic] and underneath, “L. L. Fraser.”  The writing is barely visible in a bright light.

NegrosAges

There are 37 handwritten pages. The title of each page is the first name of the parent—typically an enslaved African-American woman. Underneath is a list of children, by first name and birth date. The dates range from 1804 through 1879.

Several Fraser patriarchs owned slaves in my family. Here is a father-son-grandson line:

  • John Baxter Fraser, 1767-1820  ( my 3 x g grandfather)
  • Ladson Lawrence Fraser Sr., 1804-1889 (2 x g grandfather)
  • Ladson Lawrence Fraser, Jr., 1862-1918 (great-grandfather)

These three men all believed in keeping slave families together—they did not separate them by selling them or willing them to others. Therefore, Ladson Lawrence Fraser Sr. lived with the same enslaved families all his life, in the Sumter district of South Carolina. By scrutinizing this “Negroes’ Ages” journal, we can find tentative generational lines for some of Ladson’s enslaved families.

I’m color-coding in bold for clarity. Parent is green. Children are red. Grandchildren are blue.

Nanny’s Descendants:

One enslaved woman, Nanny, was given to Ladson Lawrence in his father’s 1820 will. See November 2012 post. Ladson received six slaves: “Dick, & his wife Kate, Nanny & her three children vix. Heram, Rufus, and Susanna.

Here is a page from the “Negroes’ Ages” journal:

Fraser, enslaved families, POCGenealogy, Washington, Lynch, Postel

  •  Nanny’s Children  No. 14th
  • 1 Herram was born [Deceased 1843] May 5th 1813
  • 1 Rufus was born Oct. 9th 1816
  • 2 Sue was born March 18th 1818
  • 3 Cyrus was born May 15th 1820
  • 4 Brister  was born June 7th 1824
  • 5 Minirva was born June 30th 1828
  • 6 Isaiah was born Sept. 23 1834
  •  Cyrus died April 13th 1882
  • Isaiah died Aug 27 1889
  • Sue died Feb. 8th 1900 age 82 yr 10 m 8 d.
  • Rufus died Apr. 12 1904 Age 87 yr 6 m

Notice that here are  the birth and death dates for four of Nanny’s children: Rufus, Sue, Cyrus, and Isaiah.

Their death dates are after Emancipation. These people may have stayed with their former owners (Frasers in the Sumter district) under one of those newly established work contracts. I’ve read how oppressive such contracts usually were. I always hope for exceptions—a little light in the deep woods.

Another journal page gives the children of Sue, Nanny’s first daughter:

Fraser, enslaved ancestors, Jones, Paris, Atchison, POC genealogy

Sue’s Children  No. 18

  • 1 [crossed out, perhaps died in infancy]
  • 2 Betsy was born Dec. 26 1848
  • 3 Hiram (?) was born Sep. 1st 1852
  • 4 Minerva was born Aug 1st 1854
  • 5      Nanny died Feb. 58   Jan 23 1857
  • Betsy died Dec 2nd 1884

I believe this Sue is likely Nanny’s daughter because the comparative ages seem right, and there are no others named “Sue” in this journal. We may have three generations here:

  • Nanny
  • Sue b. 1818 d. 1900
  • Betsy b. 1848 d. 1884  (There is no list of Betsy’s children.) 

Nanny’s second daughter, Minirva/Minerva b. 1828 [not the same as Sue’s daughter Minerva] had many children. Here is the  journal page:

Minerva'sChildren

  • Minerva’s Children  No. 13
  • 1 Martha was born Dec 7th 1846
  • 2 Robert was born May 21st 1850
  • 3 Susan was born April 11th 1852
  • 4 Ralph [crossed out] Dead April 1st 1854
  • 5 Winny was born April 26 1856
  • 6 Nanny was born June 10 1858
  • 7 Lizzie was born May 28th 1860
  • 8 Mariah was born Nov. 25 1862
  • 9 Ralph was born Oct 31 1864
  • Willie was born Feby 1870

Again we have two more generations after Minerva’s mother, Nanny.

Minerva and her children probably lived past Emancipation.  The census or the Freedmen’s Bureau may hold clues.

Finally, Sue’s son Hiram b. 1852 may have taken the surname Hickman after Emancipation. Hickman was a popular middle name within the Fraser family. Hiram’s age would fit with these birth dates for his children in the journal:

Hickman, Fraser, enslaved families, slavery, African-American genealogy 

  •  Hiram Hickman’s children
  • Charley – 4 years old Decr 1st 1872
  • Brister – 2 years old March 19th 1873
  • Fanny – 9 years old Feby – 1873

If my guess is correct, then, this journal when seen as a whole includes four generations of at least one family line of slaves. (I’ve coded the great-grandchildren pink.)

  • Nanny
  • Sue and Minerva
  • Hiram and many other grandchildren (above)
  • Charley, Brister and Fanny

Hiram’s  family might be in the 1870 census under that “Hickman” surname, in the Sumter, SC district. This family line might easily yield to more research. With luck.

Any genealogical clues are precious. I’m tagging this blog with surnames that were also used as middle names in the Fraser family, just in case the Fraser slaves adopted these last names when freed:

  • Atchison
  • Atkinson
  • Baxter
  • Boone
  • Hickman
  • Jones
  • Lynch
  • Paris
  • Postel
  • Washington

Maybe there are other slaveholders’ journals out there, waiting to be found—with birth dates, death dates, and relationships that can be inferred.

I’m copying each page of this “Negroes’ Ages” journal with my Flip-Pal before I turn it over to the South Carolina Historical Society for the archive. Maybe these pages can be used to detect more family lines. I’ll put them in a later post.

And I’m fervently hoping there is someone out there in genealogy land who will find this post helpful in their family research.

Ancestors, Land, the British Empire, and Slaves. Part 2.

 

English settlers arrived at the eastern Caribbean island of Barbados in the 1620s, as early settlers of the infant British Empire. In 1656, my 9 x great grandmother and grandfather, Elizabeth Baker and Theophilus Patey, were married there. He was about 23, she about 20.

The colonists in Barbados were also virtually “in” England—politically.

In fact, the brief civil war in Barbados, in 1650-51, echoed the English civil war of 1649-60. What was the fighting about? Slavery (in metaphor), freedom, and the rights of Englishmen.

Patey, Boone, Fraser, South Carolina, Slavery

The Parliament Building in Barbados. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Let’s make a long story short here. A fierce debate about government was playing out in England, with bloody outcomes. Here’s an easy outline:

James I (1603-1625)

Charles I (1625-1649)

Rump Parliament, Oliver then Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector (1649-1659)

Charles II (1660-1685)

James II (1685-1688)

Notice: Two kings, then a no-king period from 1649 to 1660, then two more kings.

Parliament debated extensively, for years, about whether Charles I was acting too much like a tyrant. In 1649 a Rump Parliament led a High Court of Justice to convict Charles I of “treason.” Charles was beheaded on a scaffold in Whitehall, and the office of King was formally abolished.

England had killed its king. A dreaded taboo had been broken (as in Shakespeare plays like Hamlet, Macbeth, and Lear). Oliver Cromwell, a staunch Puritan with an Army, now ruled England. He finally dissolved Parliament and set himself up as Lord Protector. When he died in 1658, his son Richard couldn’t sustain the Protectorate.

So Charles II (son of Charles I) restored the office of King in1660 when he returned from exile and took the throne. Oliver Cromwell’s body was exhumed from its place in Westminster Abbey, decapitated, and buried in a common pit.

These events sharply polarized Englishmen. The Royalists (Cavaliers) believed in monarchy. The Parliamentarians (Roundheads) believed in Parliament and Cromwell, more or less. These divisions could have bloody consequences.

And this polarization crossed the Atlantic.

The white planters in Barbados knew their political differences as Royalists vs. Parliamentarians. Yet they agreed to suspend all disputes, because as a group they were busy growing rich by cultivating sugar with slave labor.

This political calm lasted until King Charles I was beheaded in 1649. Then the Royalists in Barbados grew angry. Soon, three more events stoked the flame.

  • In 1650 Charles II-to-be, from exile, sent Lord Willoughby, the Earl of Carlisle, overseas to govern Barbados. It was a Royalist “strike.”
  • Right away, Parliament struck back. It forbade Barbados to trade with Dutch ships (the ones that supplied African slaves). Royalists in Barbados could now convince their Parliamentarian fellow planters that Cromwell was out to destroy their sugar trade.
  • Finally, the Commonwealth of England in 1651, under Cromwell, sent an invasion force to Barbados—a fleet and an army, to force all English planters to knuckle under to the current government.
 Well, nobody expected the Royal Navy. Not even the Barbadians.
  • Patey, Boone, Fraser, British Empire, Royal Navy

    Lord Nelson (1758-1805), consummate hero of The Royal Navy, in National Heroes Square in Barbados. photo credit: Wikipedia

While waiting for the invasion force, the white planters in Barbados met with their Royalist Governor (sent by the exiled Charles II). They were fired up to “defend themselves against the slavery that is intended to be imposed on them.” [my italics]

Theophilus would have been 18, old enough to bear arms, and Elizabeth a few years younger. They would both have been able to recognize the vast difference between the slavery of Africans on the sugar plantations and the “slavery” their own class feared from Cromwell’s tyranny. I imagine they carried this lesson with them to Charles Town in Carolina in the 1670s.

The planters issued a proclamation to the English Parliament on 18 Feb 1651, embracing to the death their principles of freedom and courage.(1) Its purpose was:

  • To announce to the inhabitants of Barbados that they “would be brought into contempt and slavery, if the same (Cromwell’s invasion) be not timely prevented,” and
  • To resolve that Barbadians will not “prostitute our freedom and privileges to which we are borne, to the will and opinion of any one; neither do we thinke our number so contemptible, nor our resolution so weake, to be forced or persuaded to so ignoble a submission, and we cannot think that there are those amongst us, who are soe simple, and so unworthily minded, that they would not rather chuse a noble death, then forsake their ould liberties and privileges.”

The rhetorical bedrock here is the language of liberty vs. slavery. In this way, the planters resemble the writers of our Declaration of Independence. Neither group focuses on the enslavement of Africans.

The colonists of Barbados put up a stiff resistance, and a hundred of them died in the first battle. It wasn’t long before the invasion leader turned the allegiance of the island’s Parliamentarians against its Royalists. The 1652 Charter of Barbados set mild conditions of surrender, with all rebellion forgiven and all lands restored.

The Charter allowed “that all trade be free with all nations that do trade and are in amity with England.” This suggests to me that the Triangle Trade was restored to Barbados, despite the Anglo-Dutch war (1652-1654).

Soon, Barbados was stable enough that young Theophilus Patey and Elizabeth Baker could be married at St. Michael’s Parish in 1656 and start a family on the island.

Patey, Boone, Fraser, Slaves, British Empire

Barbados. St. Michaels in the southwest of the Island.

By 1660, the white planters of Barbados were back in business with as much trade, and as many slaves, as they had ever had. Or more.

Notes:

(1) Dr. Karl Watson writes, “It is interesting to note that in almost every warning or advisory issued by the Barbadians, slavery was used as a metaphor for the political control which England wished to establish over the island. It is more than ironic that the political directorate of an island, whose economy depended on slavery and the majority of whose population were slaves, should have used this institution as a rallying call for freedom for themselves.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancestors, Land, the British Empire, and Slaves. Part 1.

Hello to my 9 x great grandfather, Theophilus Patey. In 1656, he was getting married to my 9 x great grandmother Elizabeth Baker. They were on the small (21 x 14 miles) eastern Caribbean island of Barbados, in St. Michael’s Parish.

Fraser, Boone, Barbados, slaves, Mariann Regan, Theophilus Patey

Marriage in an Anglican Church

He was probably 23, and she was about 20. Both had recently come from England.

Boone, Fraser, slaves, Mariann Regan, Theophilus Patey

Elizabeth Baker is Christened

They soon had eight children. Yet with the high disease and mortality rate on the island, five of their children died very young. Three other children survived. Finally, in the 1670s, the family moved to Charles Town, in the province of Carolina. Their most long-lived daughter, Elizabeth Patey, married Major John Boone, who founded Boone Hall Plantation on the 470 South Carolina acres given him by Theophilus Patey. (See my post of January 8, 2013).

Theophilus and Elizabeth were probably among those “good families” and “well-to-do Royalists” who were given land in the new colony of Barbados. Glancing at their ancestors, I’ve found one “Sir” and one “Lady.”  Early English settlers like these, with “good financial backgrounds and social connections in England,” embody the British Empire beginning to take shape.

In those early years, the island of Barbados was free for the taking. King James claimed it in 1625, and the first settlers arrive in 1627. There were 80 settlers on that first ship, including 10 slaves. These slaves may have been “kidnapped or runaway English or Irish youth,” or they may have been African slaves. The Barbados settlement was financed by a London merchant who held the title to this island and two others, with the blessing of the Crown.

The Barbados economy, along with its slave population, rocketed upwards in the 1640s. That’s when the Sephardic Jews in Dutch Brazil taught Barbados planters how to cultivate sugar cane, and the Dutch slave traders began to sell them both equipment and African slaves. These slaves often died from bad conditions, overwork, and a climate of disease in Barbados. Yet Dutch ships could always replenish the slave supply. Later, whites from Britain and Ireland were also transported to Barbados, as indentured servants or prisoners, for heavy labor.

Boone, Fraser, Theophilus Patey, Mariann Regan, slavery

Slaves on a Sugar Plantation, with Overseer

So Barbados struck it rich, and that London merchant shared in the profits. With no labor shortage, and with a Triangle Trade that guaranteed them slaves and a market for their sugar, Barbados had more trade by 1660 than all other English colonies combined.

Yet a few dominant white planters began to consolidate all that wealth. And gradually, other whites, depressed by their declining income and fearful of slave uprisings (three uprisings failed in the 1600s), began to leave the island. Slaves from Africa kept coming, though. In 1644 Barbados had about 22,000 whites and 800 Africans. By 1700 there were about 15,000 whites and 50,000 Africans. My ancestors Theophilus and Elizabeth took part in this exodus, leaving between 1670 and 1678.

Boone, Fraser, Theophilus Paty, slavery, Mariann Regan

Theophilus Patey arrives in South Carolina

Whites moved from Barbados to Virginia, Georgia, the Carolinas, and the entire east coast of North America in the 1600s and 1700s, so that many people can trace their ancestors to Barbados.

Part 2 Next Week: Civil War in England comes to Barbados.