Tag Archives: Slavery

The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum

1 Feb

I’ve written twice on the website about connections between Lauderdale County and the United States Colored Troops (USCT) here and here. While visiting Washington DC for a conference, I finally had the opportunity to visit the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum. Not only is there an excellent exhibit at the museum, but right across the street from the museum is the USCT Memorial complete with a statue and plaques that bear the names of every member of the USCT, who served in the Civil War.

Of particular interest to me was finding the name of Major Gilliland/Gilden/Bates who happens to be my children’s 4th great uncle. Major was enslaved by David Gilliland in Lauderdale County, Tennessee as referenced in his USCT records. He enlisted in the 4th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery. Despite the cold and rain, I found his name.

Major Gilden

Major Gilden

After locating Major’s name I then began to search for Wallace Nixon’s name. Wallace Nixon enlisted in the 3rd Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery. I was able to locate him as well.

Wallace Nixon UCST

Wallace Nixon UCST

I am sure that there are other USCT troops from Lauderdale County and neighboring counties also featured there, but unfortunately, I could only remember these two names during my stop at the museum and memorial. If you are ever in Washington DC, admission to the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum is free, although they do request a donation.

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  • Tiffany
  • Image Sources: My Own

Newspaper Clippings – The Southern Christian Advocate Nov 18, 1880

13 Oct

With the end of enslavement, many freedmen and women set out to find their family and friends that they were separated from. One method of doing so was to place ads in newspapers seeking information on lost loved ones. One of these ads with a Lauderdale County connection is below.

"Lost Friends" November 18, 1880 in the Southern Christian Advocate

“Lost Friends” November 18, 1880 in the Southern Christian Advocate

What is interesting about this ad to me is that it was written in 1880, fifteen years after the end of enslavement. This ad and the countless others like it exemplify not only the brutality of slavery, but also the resounding commitment of those searching to find loved ones that they were for forcibly separated from.

I encourage you to check out the collection of adverstisements featured in the Southern Christian Advocate newspaper through the Historic New Orleans Collection – Historic New Orleans Collection

 

Tiffany

Source: The Historic New Orleans Collection – http://www.hnoc.org/database/lost-friends/index.html, newspaper clipping featured in the Southern Christian Advocate Nov 18, 1880 edition.

Camp Shiloh – Memphis, TN

7 Mar

Camp Shiloh, also known as The Colored People’s Camp, in Memphis, TN was a contraband camp for runaway slaves during the Civil War. Camp Shiloh was located in South Memphis. It is thought that due to the camp being majority female that their spouses had enlisted in the United States Colored Troops and that some were stationed at nearby Ft. Pickering. Camp Shiloh had over 300 houses as well as schools and churches. In 1863 a list was taken of the former slaves living there. The list was known was the Register of Freedmen. On the list were the names of the slaves and their ages, their occupation, the names of their former owners, their health status, and where they were from. I scanned the list for the names of slaves from our area and some of that information is below. I have copied the names exactly as they were listed, so some names may be spelled incorrectly.

You can search for other names on this list by clicking the following link.

http://www.lastroadtofreedom.com/documents/12.pdf

 

Ellen Buchanan 33

  • Owned by Mary Maclin of Haywood County, TN

Winnie Clay 45, Washington Clay 20, Vina Clay 18

  • Owned by Joseph Clay of Haywood County, TN

Jane Carter 40, Emily Carter 18, Sandy Carter 10, Buck Carter 6

  • Owned by Samuel Oldham of Haywood County, TN

Mary Curry 38

  • Owned by James Curry of Haywood County, TN

Albert Cox 42

  • Owned by Samuel Cox of Haywood County, TN

Carolina Burton 30, Alice Burton, Mark Burton 8

  • Owned by John Burton of Haywood County, TN

Margaret Green 26

  • Owned by John Drake of Haywood County, TN

Lutisia Miller 18

  • Owned by William Miller of Haywood County, TN

Ann McLamore 18

  • Owned by Sugar McLamore of Haywood County, TN

Angeline Noel 20

  • Owned by Joseph Clay of Haywood County, TN

Caroline Olden 55, Amelia Olden 10, Isabel Olden 18, Nellie Olden 63

  • Owned by Samuel Olden of Haywood County, TN

Ann Reed 24

  • Owned by John Burton of Haywood County, TN

I became interested in the lives of these former slaves after the end of the Civil War. Did they stay in Memphis or did they return back to Haywood County? I found a few leads, such as an Albert Cox living in Haywood County in 1870 on the US Census, but of course there is no definite way to determine that this was the same Albert Cox who had been at the Shiloh Camp.

 

– Tiffany

Sources: Register of Freedmen – http://www.lastroadtofreedom.com/documents/12.pdf

Information on TN Contraband Camps – http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=305 and http://lastroadtofreedom.org/uploads/3/1/1/7/3117447/tennessee.pdf

 

Best of Black Ripley Awards 2014

29 Jan

In keeping with last year I am back with 2014’s Best of Black Ripley Awards. This is just a way to document the Best of Black Ripley for the past year. This year I am going to highlight the most read posts on the website.

1. 10 Things You Didn’t Know About African American Life in Ripley – #1 Ripley was known for the largest African American Labor Day Celebration in the United States

Just like last year this was the most read post on the blog. Labor Day certainly does hold a special place in the heart of people from Ripley. This post was also the most shared post from this site on Facebook.

You can review the original posting here:
10 Things you Didn’t Know About Black life in Ripley, TN –  1. Ripley was known for the largest African American Labor Day Celebration in the United States

 

2. Lost Ripley – Eylau Plantation

This one was a complete surprise! I was not expecting this one to appear on the list for the most read posts at all. Eylau Plantation was the home of Dr. Samuel Oldham and family. According to the book, Lauderdale County from its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters, Eylau was a show place for the Oldham family. Peters also notes that Oldham treated his slaves kindly (as kindly as you could treat someone you treat as property I suppose).

You can review the original posting here:

Lost Ripley – Eylau Plantation

 

3. Runaway Slave – Memphis Daily Appeal February 21, 1857

The third most read post was the Runaway Slave post in the Memphis Daily Appeal. I always save runaway slave postings whenever I come across them. I cannot help but to think of the desperation and fear that those individuals must have felt as they made their way towards freedom.

You can review the original posting here:

Runaway Slave – Memphis Daily Appeal February 21, 1857

 

4. 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley, TN – 2. The Madison County Area was once involved in a plot to capture a slave thief named John Murrell.

Although this post does not directly involve Ripley, it did take place in the area and is an interesting story involving the Henning family, namesakes of Henning, TN. The story involves plots of slave stealing and inciting slave revolts and helped to create one of the biggest legends in West Tennessee history in John Murrell.

You can review the original posting here:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley, TN – 2. The Madison County Area was once involved in a plot to capture a slave thief named John Murrell. 

 

5. Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home on College Street

And lastly, the 5th most read posting on the site for 2014 belongs to the former Clay Funeral Home on College Street. The Clay Funeral Home was founded by Alex Clay and served the black community in Ripley faithfully. After the original posting, Mr. William Carson provided the site with actual pictures of the funeral home. That type of collaboration is exactly what is needed to preserve the stories that make up this site.

You can review the original posting here:

Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home on College Street

You can view the posting with pictures of Clay Funeral Home here:

Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home – Follow Up

 

There you have it! Those were the most read posts for 2014. What would you like to see featured on the website in 2015?

 

– Tiffany

Moses Briggs – 100 Year Old Slave

12 Aug

In 1860 the United States required that each slave over 100 years old be identified on the 1860 Slave Schedules. I searched for our favorite towns and discovered one 100 year old slave living in Haywood County.

Moses Briggs

Moses Briggs 1860 Slave Schedule for Hiram Bass

Moses Briggs was the slave of Hiram Bass and he is identified as being a 100 year old male. What stood out to me was that Moses did not have the last name of his current slave owner. Taking the last name of your present slave owner was not always something that slaves did. In this instance the Briggs surname could possibly be used to identify a former owner.

Often slave owners would provide additional notes about the slaves. A note on Moses is listed below.

Moses Briggs Notes 1860 Slave Schedule

Moses Briggs Notes 1860 Slave Schedule

I believe that it states “Moses (collects, cultivates?) a hatch of cotton for him”. What do you think it says? Also, what stood out to me was the term “hatch”. Anyone familiar with how much cotton a “hatch” might have been?

 

Hiram Bass died in 1863 and in his will he left Moses to his wife Eliza. Moses is described in Hiram’s will as “Old Man Moses”. This also means that Moses lived to at least 103 years of age. Eliza died in 1867 after emancipation. I could find no results for Moses on the 1870 census. My hope is that he lived long enough to see emancipation.

 

– Tiffany

– Source: 1860 US Slave Schedules for Haywood County, TN, Hiram Bass’ Will via familysearch.org, Eliza Bass’ will via familysearch.org

PT Glass’ Will

24 Jul

If you’ve ever done genealogy for someone from Lauderdale County or even read something written about the history of Lauderdale County chances are that you’ve come across the GLASS surname. I’ve seen it quite a few times in my research and even have some individuals with the GLASS surname in my family tree.

While doing a bit of research I came across the will of PT (Presley Thornton) Glass. I was familiar with the name from reading history books written on Ripley and Lauderdale County. PT Glass had been a merchant in Ripley, secretary of Ripley Male Academy, a slave owner, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, a lawyer, a member of the Tennessee State legislature, a member of the United States Congress, and he even has his own Wikipedia page complete with a photograph of him. If you’ve ever been to Maplewood Cemetery you might have even seen his grave. In doing my research for another subject I had to do a bit of research on him and that’s when I discovered an interesting tidbit in his will upon his death in 1902.

PT Glass Will 1902

PT Glass Will 1902

“I give and bequeath to my former slave Prince Glass five dollars”

 

Adjusted for inflation that 5 dollars in 1902 would be worth 135 dollars today.

Naturally I wanted to find out more about Prince Glass. According to the 1870 US Census Prince Glass was born about 1852 in Tennessee (I also found his year of birth listed as 1847). His parents were Wallace Glass and Matilda Partee Glass. On the 1870 US Census his occupation is listed as farm laborer. By 1880 Prince had married the former Jennie Fitzpatrick and they soon had children named Eddie, Nellie, Prince Jr, Benj, and Katy. Prince died June 30, 1927 and is buried in Ripley, Tennessee.

Prince must have meant something to PT Glass if he left him money when he died. I noticed that PT Glass referred to Prince as his “former slave” instead of  laborer, so I am curious to know if Prince worked for PT in some form after slavery or what type of relationship that they had after slavery or even during slavery.

 

– Tiffany

Source: Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presley_T._Glass, Familysearch.org – TN Probate Court Books, 1795 – 1927, Lauderdale Wills 1885 – 1904 volume F, image 315, page 525

 

 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley

1 Mar

5. Tom, Hiliary, and Sugar Hill

The building known as the Sugar Hill Library was built in 1842 by Joseph Wardlaw. It was the first framed home built in Ripley and it was built using hand hewn logs. In March of 1948 the home, donated by its current owners the WGL Rice family, began a restoration so that it could become the Sugar Hill Library. It operated as a library for 50 years and  currently it is home to the Lauderdale County Chamber of Commerce. The Lauderdale County Museum operates on the first floor.

Sugar Hill c1900

Sugar Hill c1900

So who were Tom and Hiliary and how do they fit into the history of the Wardlaw House also known as Sugar Hill?

Tom and Hiliary are the names of the two slaves owned by Joseph Wardlaw who were credited with building the house that is currently known as Sugar Hill. It is possible that Tom and Hiliary walked from South Carolina when Wardlaw relocated to the Ripley area.

Joseph Wardlaw died in 1863. I searched for his will to see if Tom and Hiliary were listed, but was unable to find a copy.

A check of the 1870 US Census turned up an African American male by the name of Hillary Wardlaw who was born in 1810 in South Carolina and was currently living in Ripley working as a day laborer. So far he seems to match the Hillary that built Sugar Hill. A check of the 1870 US Census also turned up an African American male by the name of Tom Wardlaw who was born in 1810 in Tennessee. Because Tom is a more common name for a male than Hiliary I am not certain that this is the same Tom who built Sugar Hill, but it very well could be him. Tom’s occupation was listed as farmer. Hiliary and Tom both had several children so it is possible that some of their descendants still live in Ripley, drive by Sugar Hill, and are unaware of the family connection.

So there you have it. Tom and Hiliary were the two slaves who built Sugar Hill in 1842. Their work is still standing 172 years later.

Sugar Hill c2014

Sugar Hill c2014

– Tiffany

Source: Lauderdale County from its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters

Image Source: Sugar Hill c 1900 – TNSOS.org, Sugar Hill c 2014 – my own