Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Slave Name Roll Project* : Estate of Samuel Slade, Pike County, Georgia

"Power of Words" by Antonio Litterio,
via Wikimedia.org

* Blogger Schalene Dagutis, through her blog Tangled Roots and Trees, developed the Slave Name Roll Project in 2015. This project encourages the listing of the names of slaves as their names are found through our research of wills, probate documents, and property records. It gives us the opportunity to provide this information so that present day descendants can make a connection to their enslaved ancestors.

Over the past year I have been researching wills and probate records as to a means of learning more about my ancestors. I contined to come across information which indicated that some of my southern ancestors had been slave owners. Included in some of the wills and probate records was very specific information about individual slaves - their names, ages, physical descriptions, sometimes even a mention of family relationships. Some wills also specified what was to happen to specific slaves following the ancestor's death. Probate returns sometimes documented the person who purchased a specific slave during the settlement of the estate. 

This type of information from ancestors' legal documents could prove helpful to those exploring their African-American roots. I also realized that posting this type of information is something important to do. Participating in the Slave Name Roll Project has presented the opportunity to share this information, information which might otherwise remain difficult for others to find.

The first will I revisited was that of Samuel Slade of Pike County, Georgia.(1) Samuel's will was signed on 25 June 1858 and filed for probate 6 August 1860. In his will he makes specific mention of the following slaves:

  • Frank, age 11, dark complexion, to be given to Slade's daughter Frances Ann Bankston
  • John, age 13, dark complexion, to be given to Slade's daughter Abi Hall
  • Henry, age 18, yellow complexion, to be given to Slade's son Samuel Slade
  • Lawrence (a woman) to be given to Slade's daughter Abi Hall
  • Susan to be given to Slade's daughter Aletha S Keneday
Later probate records and returns for the administration of Samuel Slade's will contained another list of slaves.(2) These named slaves were Dave, Joe, Susan, Larance, Hester, Willis, Lewis, Mandy, Hannah, Emily, Ned, Clark, Jordan, Elijah, Vilot, and Jane; no age or physical description was given for any of these listed. There was nothing to indicate whether Susan and Larance were the same individuals listed in Samuel's will or if they were other people.

Thank you to blogger True E. Lewis. Her quote expresses a powerful reason for participating in this project.(3)
"It's honorable to do .. You're RELEASING their Names and their Souls for their Descendants to hopefully find them one day. Every time this happens they are REJOICING. They have been in a book or what have you for so long."
1. Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992; Pike County Record of Wills, Book C-D, 1844-1912, p 203-205; accessed on Ancestry.com.
2. Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990; Pike County Returns and Inventories 1861-1883, vol BA, p 224-225; accessed on FamilySearch.org.
3. Lewis, True E. "A Quote For the Remembered and Released Slaves", 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for contributing to the Slave Name Roll Project. I have added a link to this post to the project page.