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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Runaways and Resistance Against Slavery in Williamson County

In the course of my research, I have come across numerous instances of the enslaved fighting back against the conditions that kept them in bondage. There were a few reports of organized slave insurrections in Williamson County and many accounts of individuals attempting to run away from bondage. 

Slave Insurrections. In December 1838 and again in December 1856 the newspapers reported on possible "slave insurrections." Its not clear to me whether these revolts were actual or just feared - but they demonstrate that the white population understood how tenuous their position was in maintaining their status of power.
The Mississippi Free Trader Saturday December 15, 1838
The Baltimore Sunday Thursday Dec 20, 1838
Vermont Phoenix, Friday January 4, 1839
Hartford Courant Wednesday Dec. 10, 1856
Runaway Ads. Further proof that the enslaved continuously resisted the condition of their enslavement and attempted to run away is found in the many newspaper ads published in the newspapers in middle Tennessee during the more than 150 years that slavery existed in this area.  Here are just a sampling of them from Williamson County.
Nashville Whig Wednesday, May 12 1813
A boy named Abraham was a runaway
from John H. Easton in Franklin.
Nashville Whig, Tuesday, Mar 8, 1814
A boy named Moses had runaway from David Craig,
six miles east of Franklin
The Mississippi Free Trader, Wednesday, January 3, 1816
A man named Winser, a cooper, had run away in Mississippi,
and was expected to head back toward Nashville
and was sought by his owner Stephen Nolen in Williamson County
Nashville Whig, Wednesday April 2, 1817
Three people, probably a family, a man Calloway,
a woman and child ran away from Stephens
who bought them from William Bissel
of Williamson County. They were being
held in a jail in Hickman County.
Nashville Whig Saturday May 1, 1819
A man named Peter ran away from Riley Slocumb near Franklin.
He was a shoemaker.
Nashville Whig Wednesday June 28, 1820
 A man named Patrick, a shoemaker, ran away rom J. H. Hall near Franklin. 
Nashville Whig Wednesday August 1, 1821
A man named Perry ran away from John Hightower from Williamson County. 
Nashville Whig, Wednesday May 28, 1823
A man named Charlie, a blacksmith, ran away from Thomas Cash 9 miles south of Franklin.
He was originally purchased from the Rev. Gideon Blackburn of Williamson County. 
Nashville Whig, Monday, January 10, 1825
A man named Ben ran away and was expected
to go to Nolensville in Williamson County.
He used to be enslaved by Amos Johnson there.
He was being sought by George Sterling Smith in Huntsville, Alabama
Nashville Whig, Monday, October 3, 1825
A girl named Eliza Kemp ran away.
She belonged to the heirs of J. Camp and was being sought by Peter Perkins
(probably administrator of the estate)  who lived three miles northwest of Franklin.
Nashville Republican & Gazette, Tuesday April 1, 1834
A man named Joshua, a Baptist preacher,
had runaway from Serene J. Hulme near Franklin, TN
Nashville Republican & State Gazette, Tuesday, September 2, 1834
A man named Elijah ran away from an area near the Harpeth River in Williamson County.
He used to be enslaved by J.A. Gregory and had come from Green Country, Kentucky. 
The Tennessean, Tuesday, February 24, 1835
A man named Nicholas ran away from John Edmonson Jr. ,
11 miles south of Nashville in Williamson County.
Mississippi Free Trader, Tuesday, August 18, 1835
A "yellow" runaway named Granville was listed
as belonging to Thomas Manning of Franklin, Tennessee;
He was in the Yalobusha County, Mississippi Jail since June 29th, 1835. 
The Tennessean Thursday, June 9, 1836
L. R. Starkes was searching for a man named Jefferson who
runaway from Laurel Hill in Williamson County,
6 miles south of Franklin. Jefferson had been a body servant
(house servant) and had pierced ears.
The Tennessean, Tuesday July 2, 1839
Two men Ruffin and Jesse had run away from
Charles Locke at Hardeman's Crossroads
in Williamson County, Tennessee.
The Tennessean, Monday August 1, 1842
A man named Eli ran away from John Haley near  Eagleville
He was born in Virginia, sold to Mississippi and then brought to Tennessee.
Nashville Republican & Gazette, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 1844
A man named Albert, a carpenter, ran away
 from Thomas K. Handy in Franklin, Tenn.
The Tennessean Friday, September 20, 1844
A 12 year old boy named Ned ran away from John Haley of Eagleville.  
Republican Banner, Wednesday, July 2, 1845
 A man named Jordan ranaway.
Previously enslaved by Thomas A. Pankey of Franklin, Tenn. 
Nashville Republican Banner Wednesday, July 2 1845
A man named Harrison Black (its unusual that is identified with a last name)
has runaway from Thomas Brown , 6 miles from Franklin, Tenn.
Nashville Union and American, Saturday July 30, 1859
Runaway man named Harry belonged to a man named Owen of Franklin, Tenn.
Nashville Union and American, Tuesday February 12, 1861
Four people were being sought - Aggy, her daughter Liza, son Burton, and Joshua.
All of them sold by Newton Jordan to W. Pettus.  Newton Jordan was accused of stealing them away from the Triune area of Williamson County.
Nashville Union and American, Saturday June 22, 1861
A man named Davy ran away from Edward Eggleston.
He was "raised near Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee"
and bought from Dr. Gale near Nashville in the fall of 1849.
He "has the marks of the whip on his back, one scar from the whip extends fro his side. 

The Nashville Daily Union, Sunday, April 20, 1862
A man named Sam was being held in jail in Davison County.
He belonged to Robert Owen of Williamson County.
The Nashville Daily Union, Sunday May 11 1862
A man named Jerry said he belonged to Thomas Handy of Williamson County,
he was being held in Davidson County jail.

1 comment:

  1. Your research always sheds more light on a difficult part of our history! You must write a book!