Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Sculpture honoring Edmonson sisters

Sculptor Erik Blome created the piece to commemorate Emily and Mary Edmonson, two slaves imprisoned in the Bruin Slave Jail located in Alexandria, VA during the 1840s.The slave jail  was the holding place for  thousands of enslaved people who were separated from their families in the Chesapeake region and later sold to slave markets in the Deep South. The site is directly around the street from my office.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Draft of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation

President Abraham Lincoln issued the  final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

Former slave Charlie Smith discusses work and living after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

In honor of my ancestral fathers

                                           Who provided and protected                                                             


          Who struggled and endured

  Who encouraged and inspired their children

                                          Who practiced what they preached


    Who were determined and disciplined


Who never gave up

                                        Who were courageous and demanding


                          Who decided to win

I honor you on this day and everyday for being my inspiration and noble prince.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Prolific Father

This is my first time participating in Randy Seaver’s, Genea-Musings, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenges. The mission for Father's Day, if we chose to accept it, is

1) Determine who is one of the most prolific fathers in your genealogy database or in your ancestry. By prolific, the one who fathered the most children.

2) Tell us about him in your own blog post, in comments to this blog post, or in comments on Facebook.

My most prolific father was Jefferson Haynes (1852-1928), who had seven (7) children by his first wife Sarah Wilkinson (1855-1890) whom he married around 1875 in Leon County, Texas and (25) twenty-five children with his second wife Mattie Perkins (1867-1923) whom he married on 16 Feb 1893 in Leon County, Texas. Between his two wives, he had a total of (32) thirty-two children. Of the (32) thirty-two children, (26) twenty-six lived to adulthood.
Jefferson, the eldest son of Isaac and Adelaide (Brumby) Haynes, was born a slave in Alabama. According to oral history, the family along with the two other families (Brunson and Robinson) was owned by the Brumbys. They were brought to Texas during the Civil War around 1862. After the Civil War, Jefferson and his family eventually settled in the Friendship Community of Leon County, Texas. The community of Friendship is located about five miles south of Jewett and eight miles northwest of Centerville in northwestern Leon County. This was an African American settlement that was established after the Civil War. 
Jefferson was a farmer who purchased his first 50 acres from his father in 1880. Over the course of his life time, he would purchase over 800 acres of land with silver dollars because he did not trust paper money. He was also an active member of the community who was respected by both African Americans and Whites.
At the time of his death, the land was divided between his (19) nineteen living heirs. Each heir was given approximately 31.5 acres.  

Happy Juneteenth!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My First Attempt At A Wordless Wednesday

I received this document in the mail the other day from fellow genealogist Johnie Lee in Red River County, Texas. It came from a property tax book that was discovered a few years ago in the basement of the courthouse. The document shows a Robt F. Whitaker making an oath regarding his taxable property in 1854. Among the items he listed was a slave man (Taff) age 19 valued at $900, a slave girl (Juliet) age 7 valued at $400 and a slave girl (Mary) age 5 valued at $300.The girl Juliet is my great great grandmother and Mary is her sister.

Although this is not the first document I discovered which list my enslaved ancestors, I am always speechless when I do discover or locate such documents. These documents put a face to the institution of chattel slavery.They are no longer just "slaves" - individuals with no identity outside of being enslaved. They are men and women with a family, history, and identity. And it is my responsibility to recover this history and identity so that future generations will know their names and cast away the notion of an anonymous slave.