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Friday, November 3, 2017

Free People of Color, Part I

When conducting genealogical research on African Americans in Williamson County, its easy to forget that some of your ancestors may have been free people of color.  We often forget there were free people of color here too since 12,000 people were enslaved by the time the Civil War broke out. More than half of the population was in bondage - no other county in middle Tennessee had more than half its population living in slavery in 1860.


Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population in the Southern States, 1860
However, don't forget to look in emancipation (also called manumission) records and the records for free people of color.  I will write another blog about the laws governing Free People of Color in Williamson County, but this post is primarily a listing of all the names of those individuals that I could find.  I hope that it proves useful to future researchers and someone may find a clue that helps piece your family tree back together.



Emancipations of African Americans in Williamson County

1812 - July Term - Williamson County Court
  • James "Jimmy" Hill (free man of color) appears before the court; states that he was emancipated by Ben Crawley of Amelia County, Virginia by deed dated January 25, 1787 and recorded there; on March 1, 1798 he purchased his wife Virginia and two children Sally and Moses from William Mosley of Chesterfield County, Virginia.  The couple had two more children - Will and Joe - and wants them and his wife to all be issued emancipation papers.  (Guardian Accounts Book 2, Page 14)
    • Philip Sumner and his mother Julia  were emancipated upon the petition of Thomas Edward Sumner in recognition of the service rendered by Julia to the Sumner family. Philip is described as 25 years old and mulatto, single and a blacksmith. Julia is 42 years old of "light complexion" and 5'5" tall.
    1817 - January Term - Williamson County Court
    • Harry Willis and Cyrus Africans were emancipated on the petition of Thomas Edward Sumner 

    Census Records for Free 
    African Americans in Williamson County

    1820 Census 
    • Clarisa Deshan - Female (aged 14-25) with a male under the age of 14 (presumably her son?), listed in the town of Franklin
    • Joel Terrell - appears to be the sole white person (male over the age of 45) living with 8 free people of color: 2 males under 14, 1 male aged 14-25, 3 females under 14, 1 female aged 14-25 and one female 26-44 (perhaps his wife?). 
    • Isaac Williams [note there is also a white Isaac Williams in the 1820 Williamson County census] - Isaac was probably the male aged 26-44, there was also a female under 14 and (perhaps Isaac's wife) a free woman aged 14-25.
    • Elisabeth Franklin was heading a household of 6 free people of color: one male under the age of 14, one male 14-25, one male 45 and older, two females 14 through 25, and one female 45 and old (probably Elisabeth) - Isaac and Elisabeth and recorded right next to each other in the Census book
    • Waller Harris appears to be a male aged 26-44 heading a family made up of perhaps a wife (female aged 26-44) and boy under the age of 14
    Entry from the 1820 Census book for Williamson County (City of Franklin) showing Isaac Williams and Elisabeth Franklin being recorded as a Free man of Color and Colored Woman respectively
    1830 Census 
    • Whitby ? Brickell - This listing was a little hard to decipher because to me, it almost appears to be the name of a company - "Whitby & Brickell" - on the census but I think its a white couple headed by a man named Whitby Brickell with one male slave, and two free people of color - a woman and a young girl.



    • Joseph Anderson - The white family of 8, has three slaves and one free male aged 36-54 years old.
    • Estate of J. Branch - This is really unusual.  The Estate of Joseph Branch claims one slave (a male over the age of 55) and a free colored boy, under the age of ten years old.  In doing some research, he had died just a few years before this Census. It appears as though the boy was in a trust being held by his daughter perhaps - but its not clear why the free man was associated with the trust and they boy wasn't counted with Branch's daughter.  Branch had moved to Williamson County sometime in the 1820s from Halifax County, North Carolina - when he was in that area he had 20 slaves
    • Brooks Gamble - a free black male aged 36-55, who appears to own 5 slaves; in a reference book - he is recorded as owning 11 individuals (but I don't think this is correct)






    1840 Census - aggregate charts available on Ancestry beginning here
    • Portarchone free 20-30 year old female in the white household of Benjamin Portarch; 
    • Blackwell: in the family of Henry Blackwell (all black): two males under 10, one male 35-55, two females under 10, two females ten to 24; 
    • Maury: one female 36 to 55; the family of Ralston Maury (all black) one male and one female 24-36; 
    • Binghamone male 10-24 years old in the white family of William Bingham and one male 10-24 years old in the white family of James Bingham; 
    • John Fitzgerald (a young white male) has a 36-55 year old free black man listed in his family;
    • William Cheatham's (all black) family of one male under the age of 10, one male 35-55, one female under 10, one female 24 to 35 and one female 55 and older;
    • Neeley: one black male living alone named Hannibal Neeley, aged 36-55; 
    • Daniels Williams' family made up of   one male over 55 (probably Daniel!), and three females -one aged 10-24 and two ages 55-100; 
    • Glass: counted next to the Williams' family is one 36-55 year old woman named Hester Glass
    • Brown: one 24-35 year old woman living in the white family of Thomas Brown; 
    • Stockets: living in in the white family of Stephen Stockets are a man and woman each aged 56-100
    • Wyatt: living in the white family of Thomas Wyatt is a female aged 24-35
    • Reuben Nichols (probably the male over the aged of 55) listed as the head of the family with two females aged 35-55 and 55 and over; 
    • Graham: the white Richard A.Graham family listed with two black females under the age of 10 and one black female aged 24-35 (probably their mother); 
    • Merrill: the white Charles A. Merrill family listed with one male under the age of ten and one female age 35-55
    • Saunders Scott is the head of his family comprised of two males under the age of 10, one male 24-35 (probably him!), two females under 10, and one female 10-23 (perhaps his wife; 
    • Aaron Hood is the head of his own household comprised of one male 36-54 (probably Aaron), one female 24-35 (perhaps his wife), and one female 55-99); 
    • Kennedy - in the household of the single man Patrick Kennedy is one male aged 36-54; 
    • Abraham Gant's household of two men  - one aged 10-23, one aged 55-99;
    • Edward Epps' household of female slave aged 50-60, and one free male aged 10-23, one free male aged 56-100, and two females 10-24;
    • Graham - the white household of William Graham contains one female under the age of 10;
    • Robert Haddley (Waddey?), a free male aged 55-99 and in his household a female aged 36 through 54;
    • Moses Hill, a single male aged 24-35;
    • Penny Sumner [indexed as Leemuer], a woman aged 24-35, and presumably her children - three boys under ten, and a daughter aged 10-23 years.
    • Mangrum - in the white household of W.H. Mangrum, a male aged 36-54;
    • Wyatt - in the white household of Spencer Wyatt, a female over 100 years old (!);
    • Owen - in the white household of George W. Owen, four free people (and six slaves), including three boys under ten and a female 24-25 (perhaps their mother?);
    • Johnson - in the white household of James Johnson, one male aged 36-54;
    • McLean - in the white household of James McLean, six free people including three males under ten, two females under ten and one female aged 24-35 (perhaps their mother?). Also 14 slaves and only 2 white people. 
    • Green - in the white household of Mary (Henry?) Green, one female aged 55-99 (also 32 slaves and just 5 white people);
    • Maury - in the white household of Riley D. Maury - one female aged 25-34, along with 3 slaves and 9 white people.
    • Matthew Campbell's household - likely headed by the male aged 35-54 and a woman (his wife perhaps?) aged 24-35, along with some children two males under ten, and a girl under ten.
    • Chadwell - in the white household of John Chadwell - two females - perhaps a mother and daughter? ages 36-54 and 10-23.
    • Elliott - in the white household of Alpheus Elliott - a female aged 10-23 aged. 
    • Jacob Jamieson, perhaps the male at the head of his household aged 36-54, along with a female of the under aged 10-23.  
    • Cynthia McCutchen was probably the female aged 24-35, along with her children? - a daughter aged 10-23, two girls under ten and a son under ten.

    Cynthia McCuthen appears to gave gained her emancipation as a result of the lawsuit that you can read a this link.  At issue was the provision in the will of the James McCutchen who enslaved her and several other individuals:

    'It is my will and desire that my negro man slave named Jack, aged about twenty-four years; also my negro man slave named Ben, aged about nineteen years; also my negro woman slave named Rose, aged about twenty-six years, together with what children she may hereafter have, if any, before the death of my wife Hannah; also my negro girl slave named Eliza, aged about eleven years; also my negro girl slave named Cynthia, aged about seven years; also my negro boy slave named Thomas, aged about four years; also my negro girl slave named Harriet, aged about two years; also my negro girl slave named Maria, aged about two months; the four last mentioned slaves being the children of the above mentioned Rose, shall all and each, at the time of the death of my beloved wife Hannah, to whom they are given during her natural life, as mentioned in the third article, be liberated from slavery, and for ever and entirely set free: provided, those who are not now of age or shall not have arrived at the age of twenty-one years at the happening of the death of my beloved wife Hannah, shall be subject to the following disposition, viz. Eliza shall be at the control and under the direction of my brother Samuel M'Cutchen until her arrival at the age of twenty-one years, and then be set free; Cynthia, Ben, Thomas, Harriet and Maria, shall be at the control and under the direction of James Marshall, my wife's brother, until they shall each, respectively, arrive at the age of twenty-one years; at which time, or times, they are to be each, respectively, liberated, and for ever set free.'
    • Boyd - in the white household of William G. Boyd (3 whites, 26 slaves) and a free male aged 36-54.
    • Pierson - in the white household of Jesse A. Pierson (10 whites, 2 slaves) free female 24-25
    • Peay - in the white household of Susan Peay (Pray) (3 whites, 5 slaves) free male aged 10-23.
    • Crutcher - in the white household of William Crutcher (12 whites, 10 slaves) free male aged 55-99 
    • Horton - in the white household of Henry C. Horton (11 whites, 16 slaves) free male aged 55-99
    • Wallis - in the white household of Andrew S. Wallis (9 whites, 5 slaves) free male aged 24-35
    • Andrews - in the white household of George Andrews (9 whites, 1 slave) free male aged 16-24
    • Dean - in the white household of John Dean (8 white, 7 slaves) free male aged 36-54
    • Clem Ivey household (indexed as Irey) - 2 males under 10, 1 male 36-54 - perhaps Clem?), 4 females under 10, 1 female 36-54 - Clem's wife?)
    • Miles Tate (indexed as Sate) - one free male aged 36-54, the head of his single person household.
    1850 Census
    • District 2- Edward, Margaret and Mary Epps - all mulatto (biracial)
    • District 3 - Franklin Brown (black), living in the home of the William Bingham family (farmers)
    • District 4 - Hannibal Nunley (60 years old male, black), living alone, from Virginia; Daniel & Jane  Williams living Ellen Lemmer - all black;
    • District 5 - George Lewis (21 year old male, black) - part of the white Enoch Brown family?
    • District 6 - Cynthia McGathern and twin? 8 year olds - girl Mahmwell? and boy Alexander - all black from Tennessee
    • District 9 - Viney Campbell, 38 year old black female from Virginia with children? Eliza, Mary Jane, Daniel, and Loudon Lee - all born in Tennessee; 
      • followed by - perhaps? not clear if they are white or black and mulatto - 60 year old black Aaron Hood and 65 year old Elizabeth Hood (mulatto?), with Elizabeth Blackwell (23 year old mulatto); 
      • Martin Scott - 29 year old black male (shoe and boot maker born in Tennessee); 
      • Hale Brown, 22 year old black cabinet maker born in Tennessee - living in the white family of Bailey Coady - also a shoemaker; 
      • Landers Scott (probably Saunders) 45  and wife? Judy 27 with teenage boys Henry and Martin - Sanders is working as a wool carder with assets of $400, they are all from Tennessee ("Landers" is Saunders Scott in the 1840 Census)
      • Elijah Porter, 45 year old mulatto laborer born in Kentucky; 
      • Hannah Henderson, 70 year old black female from North Carolina; 
      • living right next door but counted as a separate house house and dwelling is Jesse Cowles a 67 year old black male carpenter from Virginia; 
      • and living next to Jesse is a white family with a free 40 year old black woman Sarah Scott who was born in Tennessee; 
      • and living next to all of them is another black family headed by Diley Brown a 54 year old black female and her adult sons? Caswell, Frank, Jack, and Haley (noted as a convict) and teenage daughter Parmelia and teenage son Miles. -- summary for District 9 says 16 males, 12 females
    • District 10 - 40 year old mulatto Betsey A. Caudle born in Virginia with 4 year old mulatto son? Frank and 2 year old mulatto son? Fountain, both born in Tennessee - they are living with the white Jonathon Core family; 
      • next door, living with Thomas A. Graham - who is a white farmer and constable - 12 year old Mary Caudle, a mulatto girl born in Tennessee; 
      • next, 17 year old female mulatto Sarah Caudle from Virginia is living nearby with the William Graham family; 
      • on the next page but also nearby is James Caudle, a 12 year old mulatto boy, living with Dr. Jesse G. Cox's family. 
      • David McLemore is a 21 year old mulatto laborer living with George Andrews' family. 
      • Thomas Halfacre  - a 40 year old black laborer and his wife Penelope and children Pleasant, Washington, Thomas, Jackson, Polly, Nancy and Dilly - all from Tennessee. In the late 1840s Jacob Halfacre Sr. (white) emancipated two men - Tom and Peter.  I suspect that Tom is this Thomas Halfacre.
    • District 13 - William Cheatham - 59 year old mulatto wool carder and his wife Betsey - both from Virginia as well as their children - all born in Tennessee - Sarah, Willie E., Jas. C., Ruley N, and a grandparent? John A. Cheatham. The entire family is mulatto
    • District 14 - Benjamin McCutchen - 57 year old black farmer from North Carolina living with his father? 88 year old Clem McCutchen also from North Carolina and his 10 year old daughter? Sara McCutchen, born in Tennessee
      • As described above in the 1840 Census regarding Cynthia McCutchen, I believe that Benjamin McCutchen is the Ben named in James McCutchen's will provision below; perhaps he managed to purchase his father and his daughter was born free (?):
      • 'It is my will and desire that my negro man slave named Jack, aged about twenty-four years; also my negro may slave named Ben [b. 1793] aged about nineteen years; also my negro woman slave named Rose, aged about twenty-six years, together with what children she may hereafter have, if any, before the death of my wife Hannah; also my negro girl slave named Eliza, aged about eleven years; also my negro girl slave named Cynthia, aged about seven years; also my negro boy slave named Thomas, aged about four years; also my negro girl slave named Harriet, aged about two years; also my negro girl slave named Maria, aged about two months; the four last mentioned slaves being the children of the above mentioned Rose, shall all and each, at the time of the death of my beloved wife Hannah, to whom they are given during her natural life, as mentioned in the third article, be liberated from slavery, and for ever and entirely set free: provided, those who are not now of age or shall not have arrived at the age of twenty-one years at the happening of the death of my beloved wife Hannah, shall be subject to the following disposition, viz. Eliza shall be at the control and under the direction of my brother Samuel M'Cutchen until her arrival at the age of twenty-one years, and then be set free; Cynthia, Ben, Thomas, Harriet and Maria, shall be at the control and under the direction of James Marshall, my wife's brother, until they shall each, respectively, arrive at the age of twenty-one years; at which time, or times, they are to be each, respectively, liberated, and for ever set free.'
    • District 19 - Jacob Jamieson a 67 year old black farmer born in Virginia, and his wife Lucy - report a net worth of $2,000 - they have a 13 year old daughter Lucy who was born in Tennessee.
    1860 Census
    • Dick (Richard) Poyner with Mely and Philip, 
    • Saunders and Judy Scott, (probably the "Launders" and Judy Scott from the 1850 Census and the Saunders Scott in the 1840 Census)
    • Chaney Robertson and her presumed children? Jessey, Angeline, Samuel H and Mary, 
    • Caroline, Martha and Martin Scott; this is the same Martin Scott who was listed in the 1850 Census as a boot and shoe maker.  He had purchased a lot and built a house near 11th Avenue on Fair Street.  His daughter Martha married Ephraim Otey, a Confederate Body Servant.  The family attended Shorter Chapel AME Church and sent their daughter Carrie to Wilberforce College in Ohio.  When Carrie returned to Franklin she became a well-known and respected teacher and principal of the all-African American school on Natchez Street.
    • William Cheatham and Bettie, Sarah, Ned, James, and John - and 60 year old Mary Epps living next door; 
    • 81 year old Fannie Prowell living with Thomas M  and Emely D; 
    • Milley Carl was a free black woman (60 years old) born in Virginia living in District 1, with a white family - Jane Carl Jane Carl (50), Phoeby Powell (70), Sallie Stewart (26), and James G Alexander (22).
    • George and Ellen Patton and 90 year old Jennie Hicks; 
    • Betsey Stander (perhaps Caudle) and her children Frank, Fountain, and Virginia - living nearby also free living with white family is James Cander perhaps Caudle; 
    • Maria Towell 38 year old mulatto woman (b 1822), in District 1, she appears to be living with a white family made up of Sperson Waddie 22, his wife ? Mary A Waddie.
    • This is a good article regarding the numbers of free people of color throughout Tennessee in its early days as well as a discussion of their legal status.  
    • This is a good resource if you are researching a family member who was a free person of color.  
    • This website contains information about many free people of color in other states. 

    1 comment:

    1. Looking a General O Dabney, father of Robert Dabney of Giles Co. Tennessee.Any help? Thanks

      ReplyDelete