dee_burris: (Default)
2013-09-14 08:48 am

The importance of probate records to African American researchers

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been having delightful email and text correspondence with a woman who found some of my Find a Grave records on her family members.

I had gone graving one fine day in Desha and Phillips counties to locate graves and exact dates of death for my research on the Gordon/Martin/McCarroll family tree.
Virtually every family historian knows the importance of finding probate records for their ancestors and collateral relatives. You get so much good information from mining them.

But for African American family historians descended from slaves, 18th and 19th century (and earlier) probate records generally have a bittersweet quality.

They don't mine their ancestors' probate records from that time, because their ancestors didn't own things.

They were owned. And they were included in inventory lists of the master's and his descendants' estates.

My new friend just shared with me that in her quest to find out how her ancestor is related to a white family, she received a probate record with such a list.

And her ancestor was not among the slave inventory.
I can only try to imagine the feeling you have when opening that envelope or electronic file.

On the one hand, you really, really want to see your ancestor listed. So there has to be some disappointment if s/he is not.

And on the other, if your ancestor is on the list - although now you've got some vital information...Well, your mind would have to wander to what kind of life your ancestor might have had.

Keep those lists coming, folks. For those of us who had slaveowner ancestors, we need to post those lists. People are looking.

And yes, some of us had ancestors who owned slaves. I'm not going to pretty that up with some euphemistic phrase.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-04-01 05:39 pm

Friend of Friends Friday: John Callaway, 1775-1834

I found copies of the letters of administration and a better copy of the order of the Clark County Probate Court at the Arkansas History Commission. (John Callaway was my 4th great-grandfather.)

The documents below are recorded at pages 36, 37, 160, 172 and 173 of Probate Book A of the Territory of Arkansas.

Where something is illegible, I'll use question marks. I've retained the same spelling as in the original documents.

Click on the images to make them appear larger.



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Page 36

United States of America.)Clark County
Territory of Arkansas.......) Court in Vacation
County of Clark.............) January 6th AD 1835

To all whom these presents shall come greeting
Whereas John Callaway as It is said hath late died
intestate having whilst living and at the time of
his Death goods and Chattels rights and credits
within said Territory wherefore by the laws of this
Territory the granting administration, and also
the auditing and finally Settling the accounts of
the administration of the estate of the said John
Callaway unto us doth appertain, Wherefore
there is hereby granted unto Amy Callaway
widow and relict of the said John Callaway deceased
and John S T Callaway ample and complete
power to take into their charge and possession by
proper and legal means all and singular the
goods and Chattels rights and credits which did
appertain unto the said John Callaway deceased
at the time of his death and the law directs and
the same to dispose of according to Law and to
make Settlement of the administration at the



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Page 37
times and in the manner prescribed by law.
In testimony where of I have hereunto set
my hand as Clerk and affixed the Seal
of Office this 6th day of January AD 1835
and of the Independence of the United
States of America the 59th

Isaac Ward Clerk

Territory of Arkansas..)
.......................) SS
County of Clark........)

I Isaac Ward Clerk of the County court
of the County aforesaid and ex officio recorder
therefor do hereby Certify that the foregoing
letters of administration granted Amy Callaway
and John S T Callaway, on the estate of John
Callaway deceased was this day by me Recorded
in my office before the same was delivered to
the said aministrators - Witness my hand
as Clerk aforesaid this 6th day of January 1835

Isaac Ward Clerk &
Ex officio recorder



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Page 160
Territory of Arkansas; County of Clark
Clark County Court in vacation
January 6th AD 1835

This day came Amy Callaway and John S
T Callaway in their own proper persons
to my office and on their motion letters of
Administration is granted them on the estate
of John Callaway deceased upon their
entering into Bond with two or more good and suff-
icient securities conditioned as the Law directs
in the ?? sum of eight thousand dollars
which was done accordingly & thereupon took
the Oath prescribed by law as administrators
of the estate of John Callaway deceased, and on
motion of John S T Callaway, administrator
as aforesaid I do hereby appoint David Mobley
Archibald Huddleston and Adam Stroud
appraisers to appraise the slaves and other
personal estate of the said John Callaway
deceased & such part thereof as may be pro-
duced to them by the said administrators.

Isaac Ward Clk



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Page 172
Appraised Bill of Property of the estate of
John Callaway Deceased, CO Adam Stroud
Archibald Huddleston and David Mobley appraisers
of the estate of John Callaway Deceased do appraise
the property as follows to Viz

1 negro woman named Lal............350.00
1 negro Boy Tim....................500.00
1 named Bill.......................400.00
1 Girl named Minnie................300.00
1 Boy named Morel..................300.00
1 Do named Harrison................200.00
1 named Bob........................175.00
1 named Ped........................150.00
1 named Buck........................87.50
1 named Rosie & child..............550.00
1 Clock.............................20.00
1 Buro..............................30.00
1 Dining Table.......................4.00
1 Bed and furniture.................20.00
1 Saddle.............................2.00
1 Bed and Bedstead..................15.00
1 Bed and Bedstead..................30.00
1 Cupboard..........................25.00
1 fall leaf table...................10.00
11 chairs............................5.50
1 Rifle gun.........................15.00
1 Bed and Bedstead..................15.00
1 Yoke of oxen......................30.00
7 ?? of Pot Mettle..................13.50
1 Horse Mill.......................125.00
1 Lot of Hogs.......................20.00
1 Bay Mare Jinny....................20.00
1 Mare Mariah.......................30.00
1 Dunn Mare.........................25.00
A Sorrel Horse......................30.00
1 Bay Horse Henry...................15.00
1 Bay Horse Archy...................25.00
1 Dunn Colt.........................15.00
1 Muly Cow and Calf.................80.00



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Page 173

2 Cows and Calfs....................15.00
Amount Brought Over...............3825.50
3 head of young cattle..............10.00
20 head of geese.....................7.50
7 yoke of oxen......................30.00
1 Loom...............................4.00
1 lot of Ploughs.....................7.00
2 Balls..............................1.00
1 ?? of iron.........................5.00
1 ax and hoc.........................2.00
1 hand saw...........................2.00
1 Dima John..........................1.50
2 Horse Collars......................2.00
2 Balls..............................2.00
1 act on ???........................15.00
1 Do on John F??....................21.00
1 note on Green Davis...............13.00
Cash.................................5.25
1 Plough.............................4.00
..................................3935.00

Archibald Huddleston...)
David Mobley...........)Appraisers
A Stroud...............)

Sworn and subscribed to before this 2nd day
of March AD 1835

? H Rutherford

Territory of Arkansas..)
.......................) SS
County of Clark........)

I James I Ward Clerk of the Circuit
Court of said County do hereby certify that the
foregoing Inventory and appraisement of the
Estate of John Callaway deceased are truly and
completely recorded from this original now on file
in my office. Witness my hand as Clerk of aforesaid
This 9th day of May 1835.

Isaac Ward Clerk



A $3,900 personal property valuation in 1835 would be worth $98,000 in 2009. Not exactly chump change.

Of course, it bugs the hell out of me that the bulk of his "personal property" was other human beings.

Trying to keep it in context...
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-27 05:28 pm

Friends of Friends Friday: "Description of Negroes Purchased for the Corporation of Nashville..."

In December, I ordered back issues of The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History.

My copies of the Journal, all of Volume X (published in 1996/1997), arrived in my mailbox yesterday, and included information abstracted and transcribed from a document in the Metro/Davidson County Archives, Agreements, Loans and Slaves, City of Nashville, Nov 2 1830 to Sept 20, 1851, and enumerated, in part, "Description of Negroes purchased by William Ramsey, Jr. for the Corporation of Nashville." The purchase of the slaves took place in the winter and spring of 1831.

In only one instance is a slave identified with a surname. There are often two ages for the slave, the first being the one on the bill of sale, and the second, the age given by the slave him/herself. If only one age is listed, it was in the bill of sale.

From page 32 of the original document:
  • Ben, otherwise called Boatsman, 5 feet 7 3/4 inches high, dark complexion approaching to Black. a small scar across the upper edge of the right wrist. speaks deliberately when spoken to, purchased of William O'Hara, Ann Arundel County, Maryland. 25/39 years of age. Cost $450
  • Emanuel, 5 feet 3 inches high. Dark yellow complexion, a small scar in his left eye brow. stout and muscular. Purchased of William Finch, Chesterfield County, Va., Raised in Petersburg, Va., by Edward Stokes. 25/35 years of age. Cost $420
  • Jim, 5 feet 2 inches high. dark brown complexion. a scar on the inside of the right knee joint occasioned by a burn. also two scars on the right arm, one below and one above the elbow. Purchased of Thos Hill, Stafford Co., Va. Raised by Robt Ratliff in Fairfax Co., Va. 26/30 years of age. Cost $390
  • Frank, 5 feet 7 inches high. black complexion. two of his upper and all of his under teeth out, Purchased of German Jordan, Campbell Co., Va. Raised by Charles Slaughter of the same county. 34/45 years of age.
  • Lewis, 5 feet 9 3/4 inches high. black complexion. his upper eye tooth out. a scar across his breast, occasioned by a burn, about three inches long, purchased of German Jordan, Campbell County, Va. Raised by John Strange in same county. 32/46 years of age.
  • Moses, 4 feet 7 3/4 inches high. brown complexion. thick prominent under lip, considerable space between his front teeth. a small scar on his right arm below the elbow, occasioned by a burn. purchased of German Jordan, Campbell County , VA. Raised by Richard Shelton, same county. 16 years old. (Note: Frank, Lewis and Moses cost $1,075 together.)
  • Salem, 5 feet 9 inches high. yellow complexion. small scar in his right eyebrow. rather slender made. a scar on his left arm above the elbow occasioned by a burn. purchased of Fras J Lawson Co., Isle of Wright County, Va. Raised by Thos Applewhite, Southampton County, Va. 22 years old. Cost $425
  • Anthony, 5 feet 10 inches high. complexion black. a small scar under the left eye. thick lips. apt to smile when spoken to. purchased of Abednego Goodrich, Isle of Wight County, Va. Raised by Robt Honeycutt, Surry Co., VA. 21 years old. Cost $450
Page 33 of the original document:
  • Charles, 5 feet 8 1/2 inches high. complexion black. large scars on his left elbow, caused by a burn. long chin, which projects downwards. All the toes of the right foot has been injured by being frost bitten, particularly the big toe and the two next to it. Purchased from Susanna Hickman and William Snodgrass, Washington County, Va. Raised by William Adams, Botetourt County, Va. 17 years old.
  • Lucinda - [no description given]
  • Lilburn Henderson - [no description given] (Note: Charles, Lucinda and Lilburn cost $900 together.)
  • Allen, 5 feet 4 1/2 inches high. complexion black. small scar across the back of the right hand. small scar in the left eyebrow. Purchased from Larkin Dorsey, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. raised by the same in same county. 23 years old. Cost $445
  • Jim, 5 feet 8 1/2 inches high. light yellow complexion. his upper front teeth decayed. long bushy hair. purchased from Charles R Owen, Baltimore County, Maryland, raised by John Goodwin in the same county & state. 24/30 years old. Cost $400
  • Moses, 5 feet 5 3/4 inches high. brown complexion. a small scar on his right arm below the elbow about an inch long. high forehead. slender made. purchased from James Carder, Randolph County, Va. 24 years old. Cost $400
  • Allen, 4 feet 10 1/2 inches high. light yellow complexion. slender made. his back much scared (sic) with the whip. purchased from Stepn Beasley, Campbell County, Va. Raised by Barton Robertson, Rockbridge Co. Va. 14 years old. Cost $350
  • Isaac, 6 feet high. yellow complexion. a small scar near the corner of the right eye. thick under lip. swings himself a good deal when walking. his front teeth irregularly set. purchased from Henry Hance, Montgomery Co., Va. Raised by Bill Husky, Wythe Co. Va. 20 years old. Cost $450
  • Vincent, 5 feet 5 inches high. yellow complexion. heavy built. large scar on his right elbow. large scar on the right shin bone, caused by a cut with a scythe blade. purchsed from Jno B Williamson, Henrico Co., Va. raised by Matthew Harvey, Botetourt Co., Va. 22 years old. Cost $445
Page 34 of the original document
  • Peter, 5 feet 4 1/4 inches high. brown complexion. thick under lip. small scar on the upper right side of the right arm just above the elbow joint. heavy built. the joints of the big toes large. his toes turns out very much. purchased from John Goorum, Sussex Co., Va. Raised by the same in the same county. 22 years old. Cost $435
  • Bob, 4 feet 7 3/4 inches high. complexion black. large front teeth. small scar near the corner of the left eye. purchased from Charles Bruce, Stafford County, Va. Raised by the same in the same county. 15 years old. Cost $325
  • Granville, 5 feet 4 1/2 inches high. light yellow complexion. long bushy hair. has an impediment in his speech. purchased of Robt Gibboney at shff sale, Wythe County, Va., was the property of Theodore Johnson, Wythe County, Va. Raised by said Johnson. slender made. 15 years old. Cost $390
  • John, 5 feet 7 inches high. complexion black. a small cut in the edge of the right nostril. large face. small head and eyes. purchased from Thos Simmons, Prince George County, Va. raised by Coleman Simmons, same county. 22/27 years old. Cost $450
  • Isaac, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches high. complexion, dark brown. a scar on the left knee about the size of a half dollar. purchased from Richard J Jones, City of Annapolis, Maryland. raised by Edwd Cosey, Wye neck E Shores, Maryland. 26 years old
  • John, 5 feet 11 1/4 inches high. complexion dark Brown. a small scar in his right eyebrow. rather slender made. has 12 or 13 shot in the calf of his right leg. purchased from Richard J Jones, Annapolis, Maryland and raised as above. 28 years old.
  • Jim, 5 feet 10 1/4 inches high. complexion black. a small scar, or cut on the right point of the chin. his toes much crumpled up. and his toes turns out a good deal. purchased from Richard J Jones, Annapolis, Maryland and raised as above. 30 years old.
    "The last three above named Cost $1350. sold for $1750 8 Nov 1833."
     

dee_burris: (Default)
2010-11-01 08:46 pm
Entry tags:

Jonathan Owsley Callaway, 1803-1855

Jonathan Owsley Callaway was the son of John S T and Amy (Stamps) Callaway. He was born in 1803 in the portion of the Louisiana Purchase that became Ste Genevieve County, Missouri. His father owned large tracts of land in Ste Genevieve County, but there is evidence that Jonathan's parents began selling off the land sometime around 1820-1821, preparatory to their move south to Clark County, AR.

On 10 Nov 1825, Jonathan married Emily Hemphill, daughter of John and Nancy Lawson Hemphill. Emily was born in Georgia in 1799. At the time of her marriage to Jonathan Callaway, Emily was the widow of Thomas Fish, whom she had married in 1820. Thomas Fish died in 1823.

Now, for the children... )
Jonathan is credited with building the first hotel in Arkadelphia, previously called Blakelytown. The name of the hotel was the Merchants Exchange, built in 1842. Later, it was sold to Solomon Spence, who razed it and built another hotel on the site, which was destroyed in a fire in 1872. (Source: Clark Co Historical Journal (1991) at page 96.)

Clark County records show that at the time of his death, Jonathan O Callaway owned several slaves, which were listed with other "property" of his estate:
Jonathan O Callaway (Calloway) died ca ___Mar 1855 (coffin bought). Admin W H Callaway, followed by Samuel D Callaway, "de bonis non" who resigned 15 July 1861. Heirs: Jonathan W Callaway, Lawson Callaway, Emily Callaway, James Callaway, William H Callaway, Samuel D Callaway, Mary Hardy. Slaves belonging to the estate: Green, a man 29 years old; Harrison, a man 32; John, a man 32; Wesley, a man 25; American, a woman 27; Ardilla, a girl 13; Isham, a boy 15; Perry, a boy 11; Julia Ann, a girl 10; Nepha, a girl 18 (went to Mrs. Hardy).

Mrs. Hardy was Jonathan's daughter, Mary T (Callaway) Hardy Wilson.