Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
 ~From a headstone in Ireland

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Slaves & Free People of Color - 1800 - 1860


SAt the August 11 Thursday night Archives and History genealogy program in the library, Greg Carroll made a presentation on slaves and free people of color in western Virginia. Carroll noted some of the materials available for research on African Americans in West Virginia but indicated a need to collect more information, such as oral histories.

Slaves & Free People of Color in Western Virginia by Greg Carroll

Camp Douglas, IL

Illinois Prisoner of War Camps

Prisoner Exchange

At the start of the Civil War, a formal exchange system for prisoners of war was not arranged because President Lincoln did not recognize the Confederacy as having wartime rights. However, after the defeat of Union forces at 1st Manassas/ Bull Run, with a large number of Union prisoners held by the Confederacy, the U.S. Congress requested that Lincoln take measures to effect an exchange. Up to this time opposing commanders sometimes would arrange an exchange of their prisoners under a flag of truce, but these transactions were few.
The first government-sanctioned exchanges took place in February 1862, but it was not until July 22 that a formal cartel detailing the exchange system was agreed to by the two governments. Under this agreement, all prisoners were to be released- either exchanged or paroled- within 10 days of capture. An equivalency table was devised in which a certain number of enlisted men could be exchanged for an officer. Excess prisoners who could not be exchanged were to be released on parole, which meant they could not perform any military service until they were officially notified that they had been exchanged.
The system was bogged down by paperwork, and each side found reason to interrupt exchanges from time to time, but the cartel operated reasonably well until it broke down in the summer of 1863. By that time the federal government had begun to use black soldiers in its war effort. Refusing to recognize black soldiers as prisoners of war, the Confederacy reduced them to slave status and threatened to execute as insurrectionists the Union officers who had commanded them. A retaliatory threat by the Union prevented the Confederacy from carrying out any executions but did not restore the cartel. Several times later in the war, the Southern states needed soldiers and requested the exchanges resume, but Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, with plenty of Union soldiers, refused.
Both sides agreed to a prisoner exchange arrangement which operated during the latter half of 1862. Under the cartel, captives remaining after the exchanges were paroled. But the agreement broke down, in part because of Northern refusal to recognize the Confederate authorities as anything other than "rebels," and in part over the Negro question.
Following the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year's Day, 1863, the North began enlisting former slaves into the Federal army. Confederate President Jefferson Davis declared that "all Negro slaves captured in arms" and their White officers should be delivered over to the South to be dealt with according to law. That could mean rigorous prosecution under strict laws relating to Negro insurrections.
Still, special exchanges on a reduced scale continued, but from 1863 onwards, both sides were holding large numbers of prisoners.
On 17 April 1864, General Grant ordered that no more Confederate prisoners were to be paroled or exchanged until there were released a sufficient number of Union officers and men to equal the parolees at Vicksburg and Port Hudson and unless the Confederate authorities would agree to make no distinction whatsoever between White and Negro prisoners.
On 10 August, the Confederate government offered to exchange officer for officer and man for man, accompanying the proposal with a statement on conditions at Andersonville. This offer induced General Grant to reveal his real reason for refusing any further exchanges. "Every man we hold, when released on parole or otherwise," Grant reported to Washington, "becomes an active soldier against us at once either directly or indirectly. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those caught they amount to no more than dead men. At this particular time to release all rebel prisoners North would insure Sherman's defeat and would compromise our safety here." (Rhodes, pp499-500)
In October, Lee proposed to Grant another man-to-man exchange of prisoners. Grant asked whether Lee would turn over Negro troops "the same as White soldiers?" When Lee declared that "Negroes belonging to our citizens are not considered subjects of exchange," the negotiations completely broke down.
After the cessation of prisoner exchanges under the cartel, the camps of the South became crowded and the growing poverty of the Confederacy resulted in excessive suffering in the Southern stockades. Reports about these conditions in the Northern press created the belief that the ill treatment was part of a deliberate policy. The inevitable war hatred made such a belief readily credible.
After the war, Confederate partisans laid responsibility for camp conditions (on both sides) at the feet of the Federal authorities. They pointed to the Northern cancellation of the parole and exchange cartel which put a heavy and unexpected strain on the Southern prisoner program. They also condemned the North for its deliberate cut in rations for Confederate prisoners as a reaction to reports of bad conditions in the Southern camps.

Prisoners were exchanged on the following basis

  • 1 general = 46 privates
  • 1 major general = 40 privates
  • 1 brigadier general = 20 privates
  • 1 colonel = 15 privates
  • 1 lieutenant colonel = 10 privates
  • 1 major = 8 privates
  • 1 captain = 6 privates
  • 1 lieutenant = 4 privates
  • 1 noncommissioned officer = 2 privates

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chickadee & Beverly... It Rhymes!.

Slavery and Emancipation in the Nation's Capital

Damani Davis shows how to use federal records to explore the lives of African American ancestors from Washington, DC.

Find out more in

Slavery and Emancipation in the Nation's Capital: Using Federal Records to Explore the Lives of African American Ancestors

On October 6, 1862, in the nation's capital, two families appeared before a federally appointed board of commissioners that administered all business relating to the April 16 Emancipation Act that abolished slavery in the District of Columbia.1 Alice Addison, the head of a formerly enslaved African American family, was accompanied by her two adult daughters, Rachel and Mary Ann, along with Mary Ann's three children, George, Alice, and James. The other family, their former white owners, was headed by Teresa Soffell, a widow. Her three sons, Richard, John, and James, and her two daughters, Mary and Ann Young, accompanied her. A mutual desire to officially register the Addison family's new status as freed persons prompted their joint appearance. The Soffells hoped to gain the financial compensation promised by Congress to all former slaveholders in the District who had remained loyal to the Union; the Addisons simply desired the comfort and security of having an official record certifying their freedom.

The Soffells had missed the July 15, 1862, compensation deadline mandated under the terms of the April 16 act.2 The Soffells explained to the commissioners that they failed to petition by the deadline because the Addisons were no longer residing on their property at the time the act went into effect.3 The Addisons had fled the city three days earlier on April 13, fearing that President Abraham Lincoln and the federal government planned to forcibly deport them—along with all other ex-slaves—to Africa. The report noted that the Addisons had fled to their father's residence (the father of the two adult daughters) who lived in Montgomery County, Maryland, and was a slave owned by a Harry Cook. The Addisons remained there until September 28, 1862, when they returned to Washington, D.C.4

This glimpse into the lives of two Washington area families—former slaves and slaveholders—is preserved in federal records that relate to slavery and emancipation in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia before and during the Civil War era. These records contain personal information such as names, ages, physical descriptions, and places of residence, as well as collateral information casually provided in recorded testimonies. As shown in the Addison family's case, information concerning the daughter's enslaved father—including details concerning his residence in Montgomery County and the full name of his owner—is found in their testimony explaining their flight.

Slavery existed in the nation's capital from the very beginning of the city's history in 1790, when Congress created the federal territory from lands formerly held by the slave states of Virginia and Maryland. Because of its advantageous location between these two states, Washington became a center of the domestic slave trade in the 19th century and was home of one of the most active slave depots in the nation. The rapid expansion of cotton as the primary cash crop for states throughout the Deep South generated a renewed demand for slave labor. Planters and slave dealers in the declining tobacco-centered Chesapeake region of Maryland and Virginia, sought to capitalize on this demand by selling their surplus labor in a burgeoning domestic slave market. As one historian notes, "Washington offered dealers a convenient transportation nexus between the Upper and Lower South, as the city connected to southern markets via waterways, overland roads, and later rail."5

Within the District of Columbia, slave dealers housed the slaves in crowded pens and prisons as they waited to sell them. "Slave-coffles," long lines of shackled blacks marching from one site to another, gradually generated controversy throughout the nation. As Washington became the focus of abolitionism in the decades before the Civil War, antislavery activists argued that such scenes in the nation's capital disgraced the nation as a whole and its ideals. The Compromise of 1850 abolished active slave trading within the boundaries of the District, but the trade continued to flourish in Maryland and Virginia. As tensions increased nationally in the years leading up to the Civil War, slavery in the nation's capital continued to be a subject of special focus, activism, and compromise.6

The numbers of slaves gradually declined in the District throughout the early 19th century—from approximately 6,400 slaves in 1820 to 3,100 by 1860. Throughout the 1800s, many owners voluntarily manumitted their slaves. Of the city's black population in 1800, those who were enslaved outnumbered those who were free by four to one; however, by 1860 the number of free blacks actually exceeded the number of slaves by three to one.

In the years leading up to D.C. emancipation, the typical slave in Washington worked in some form of domestic service, and female slaves outnumbered males. On the surface, the nature of the institution seemed relatively benign compared to the harsher forms of plantation slavery in parts of the rural South, and most blacks in the District were free. Despite appearances, all African Americans in Washington—both enslaved and free—lived in a state of constant vulnerability. Those who were enslaved feared being sold further south and separated from family and loved ones. Free blacks were required to always have on their person a copy of their "certificate of freedom," and the burden of proving their status was on them. Without proof of status, free blacks could be jailed at anytime. Even if they subsequently proved their status, detained blacks still were responsible for paying for the cost of their stay. If they failed to prove their free status in sufficient time, they risked being sold further south into slavery.

Slavery remained legal in the District until April 16, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia (12 Stat. 376). The D.C. Emancipation Act originally provided for immediate emancipation, compensation to loyal Unionist masters of up to $300 for each slave, and voluntary colonization of former slaves outside the United States. The act required owners claiming compensation to file schedules listing and describing each slave by July 15, 1862. A supplementary act of July 12, 1862 (12 Stat. 538) permitted the submission of schedules by slaves whose owners lived outside of the District of Columbia if the slave had been employed with the owner's consent in the District any time after April 16, 1862. The emancipation records consist of the schedules and supporting documentation submitted as a result of these two acts.
The records are organized generally by the last name of slave owner (act of April 16, 1862) or by the last name of slave (act of July 12, 1862). Several series of records relating to slavery and emancipation in the District of Columbia have been published on microfilm and reproduced on research web sites such as Ancestry.com and Footnote.com. Records of the Board of Commissioners for the Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia, 1862–1863 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M520) relates directly to the management and dispensation of the emancipation acts of April 16 and July 12, 1862. Records of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Relating to Slaves, 1851–1863 (M433), and Habeas Corpus Case Records, 1820–1863, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (M434), contain records relevant to the broader history and social presence of slavery in the District of Columbia.7

Emancipation Papers, Manumission Papers, Affidavits of Freedom, and Case Papers Relating to Fugitive Slave, 1851–1863

The records of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia (in Record Group 21) contain the bulk of documents relating to both free blacks and enslaved blacks who resided in Washington, D.C., and surrounding counties during the antebellum and Civil War eras. The circuit court records include:
  • Manumission papers for blacks who were voluntarily freed by their owners during the decade before the 1862 act
  • Emancipation papers for those freed as a result of the 1862 act
  • Affidavits or certificates of freedom (the official records of proof certifying the status of free blacks)
These files reveal information about free and enslaved individuals from a variety of backgrounds who were part of the everyday life and culture of the region.

Alfred Pope, a notable figure in Washington's African American history, was originally owned by South Carolina congressman Col. John Carter. Pope first appeared in public records as a participant in "The Pearl Affair." In April 1848, 77 slaves—including 38 men and boys, 26 women and girls, and 13 small children or infants—embarked on a schooner, the Pearl, and sailed up the Potomac with hopes of making it to the North. A militia on a steamboat overtook the Pearl at the mouth of the Chesapeake. The majority of the slaves' owners sold the captured fugitives to states in the Deep South; a few, Pope among them, escaped that fate. Later as a free man, Pope became a highly successful businessman, a landowner, a community leader in Georgetown, and a leading member of the black community in Washington.11
Pope's file contains a letter written by a white witness, John Marbury, the executor of his deceased owner's will. Pope submitted the letter to the circuit court to confirm that he was indeed free and to explain how he had lost earlier documents proving his freedom.
The bearer, Alfred Pope, a coloured man, who will hand you this note was a servant of the late Colonel Jno Carter of this town. . . . By Colonel Carters will Alfred was set free, & is now, with my consent as Executor, in the enjoyments of his freedom. . . . Alfred caused this necessary certificate of his freedom to be entered on record in your office & had in his possession a certified copy. About a week since . . . his dwelling house . . . took fire in the night & was destroyed with all his furniture. . . . Alfred wishes to leave the District in search of employment and wants to obtain a copy from the record of the evidence of his being a freed man. I would accompany him to your office to offer in person my testimony to the aforegoing facts but I am very unwell & unable to do so—will you be so kind as to render him the service he needs, by giving him the renewed evidence of his freedom in the proper form? very respectfully, Jno Marbury.12
As part of the Compromise of 1850, the act of September 18, 1850 (9 Stat. 462) provided that claimants to fugitive slaves could recover their slaves, either by applying to federal judges and commissioners for warrants to arrest the fugitives or by arresting the slaves and taking them before the judges or commissioners to establish ownership. The fugitive slave case records are organized by date and contain warrants for arrest and documentation of proof of ownership.
The file of Mary Ann Williams, a fugitive and accused runaway, contains the warrant for her arrest.
Whereas Mary Massey of . . . Alexandria, State of Virginia hath applied to the Circuit Court for the rendition to her of a certain black negro woman named Mary Ann Williams . . . You are hereby commanded forth with . . . to arrest her . . . she being found in your bailiwick, and her safety keep, so that you have her body before the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, . . . immediately.
Upon the capture of Mary Ann Williams, she was delivered back to her owner, Mary Massey:
the said Mary Ann Williams being brought into Court by the Marshal on a warrant issued by the Court in these premises, her identity having been proved by Rudolph Massey—it is thus . . . ordered . . . that the Marshal . . . deliver her[e] the said Mary Ann Williams to the said Mary Massey; and . . . Mary Massey is authorized . . . to transport the said Mary Ann Williams to the State of Virginia from where she escaped.
For those fugitives who successfully eluded capture, there would be no record other than the initial warrant for arrest.13

Library of Congress

I'm always taking a sideways glance via google... to find a picture of Capn James A Anderson....


The Library of Congress has acquired a rare collection of nearly 700 Civil War-era photographs. The collection includes photographs of Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as the women and children they left behind. The collection is available on Flickr, which facilitates the help of viewers in assisting in identifying individuals and objects

These fascinating photographs represent the impact of the war, which involved many young enlisted men and the deaths of more than 600,000 soldiers. The photos feature details that enhance their interest, including horses, drums, muskets, rifles, revolvers, hats and caps, canteens, and a guitar. Among the rarest images are African Americans in uniform, sailors, a Lincoln campaign button, and portraits with families, women, and girls and boys

Best of History Web Site

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chickadee & Beverly... It Rhymes!.

My folks... my momma....used to call me a little chickadee...............

The Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is a small, North American songbird, a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is the state bird of both Maine and Massachusetts in the United States, and the provincial bird of New Brunswick in Canada. It is notable for its capacity to lower its body temperature during cold winter nights, its good spatial memory to relocate the caches where it stores food, and its boldness near humans (they can feed from the hand).

Week #33 Nicknames

Week #33 – Nicknames What was your childhood nickname, and what was the meaning behind it? You can also discuss the nicknames of other family members, both past and present. This challenge runs from Saturday, August 13, 2011 through Friday, August 19, 2011. 

JoAnn Kirk Adams

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We thank you Lord for the gift of life.

Help us to appreciate the unique dignity of every person and the individual contribution they make tothe world, in fulfilment of the task you give them.  Enable us by your grace to promote their well-being, serving you in one another in a spirit of generosity,through Christ Jesus Our Lord.   Amen.

From a Fellow Blogger.....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Leona Mitchell Southern Heights Heritage Center & Museum | TravelOK.com - Oklahoma's Official Travel & Tourism Site

Leona Mitchell Southern Heights Heritage Center & Museum | TravelOK.com - Oklahoma's Official Travel & Tourism Site

616 Leona Mitchell Blvd
Enid, OK 73701
Phone: 580-237-6989  580-402-2524

From Oklahoma City, take I-35 north to Hwy 412 W to Leona Mitchell Place; turn left. From Hwy 81 N, drive to Owen K. Garriott and turn right onto Leona Mitchell Place. Turn right.

One of Enid's best kept secrets, this museum is named in honor of Leona Mitchell, a black Chickasaw benefactor, international opera singer and Enid resident.
   The museum takes great pride in presenting the story of ethnic Native Americans, black Indians and Freedmen from pre-history to present day......

exhibits include collections on African Land Run pioneers, black service organization history and territorial marriages.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 32 - Food, food, food....

Week #32 – Dinner Time Week 32: Dinner Time. On a typical childhood evening, who was around the dinner table? Was the meal served by one person, or was it a free-for-all? What is dinner time like in your family today? 

Family records

Family time

Week 31 - Big Mama's House....

Week #31 – Grandparents’ House Week 31: Grandparents’ House. Describe your grandparents’ house. Was it big or small? How long did they live there? If you do not know this information, feel free to describe the house of another family member you remember from your childhood. 

Which Week is it...??? Jobs, jobs, jobs.....

52 Week challenge 2011  

Week #30 – Employment Week 30: Employment. Describe your first job. What did you do? Were you saving for something in particular, or just trying to make a living? Did that first job provide skills and make an impact on your life today? This challenge runs from Saturday, July 23, 2011 through Friday, July 29,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Generations . . . .

Big Mama and Her Grands

My Mother and Her Grands....

Me and my Grands......