dee_burris: (Default)
Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2011-02-03 06:54 pm

Friends of Friends Friday: Wiley

Last summer, my dad and I made the rounds of several little Pope County cemeteries close to the Burris homeplace, looking for graves of Burrises and allied families.

I was surprised to see this stone in Appleton Cemetery - it is considered a "white" cemetery.

Wiley (black boy) died Feb 26 1857
about 28 years old - servant of Joe Poe

Obviously, that's not a 150 year old stone, either in condition or language. I remember that I remarked cryptically to my dad that someone had used a strange euphemism for the word slave when the stone was carved. Dad wondered if there was more to it than that, given that Wiley was buried in a cemetery for whites.

Joe Poe was a landowner in Pope County with a very large family. I checked the 1860 Federal Census Slave Schedule, and did not find him listed, although he and his family were enumerated in the 1860 census.

So I went back to 1850. He had one male slave, 20 years old in that census.

Maybe Dad was right.

Maybe Wiley had more significance to Joe Poe than "just" a slave...

(Anonymous) 2011-02-05 04:51 pm (UTC)(link)
What is your take? Was he maybe an illegitimate child?

[identity profile] 2011-02-05 05:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Don't have a clue...

My gut reaction was that since he was close in age to Josephus Poe (according to census records, Joe was born about 1822, and if the stone is correct, Wiley would have been born about 1829), maybe they grew up together. Maybe Wiley's mother was a house slave, and Josephus "inherited" Wiley from his own family.

But the possibility of kinship would not be out of the question either. The Poes are not my family, so I don't have the benefit of family lore on this one.