Amelia. Anthony. Caroline. Charles. Daniel. Eliza. Frank & his wife Charlotte & their children Townsend, Jere, Little Frank, Lewis & Ellen. George. Harry. Jane. Mary. Little Mary. Patty. Rachel. Robert & his wife Milly & their children Easter, Jack, Reuben, Edmund & Rachel. Sarah. Siller. Winny.
These are the men and women and children with whom my great-great-great-grandfather Walker Colvert lived in 1823, the year their master Samuel Colvert died and his estate was divided. Walker and Amelia were sent 300 miles south to Samuel’s son John Alpheus Colvert in North Carolina. Was Amelia Walker’s mother? His sister? No kin at all? Was he an orphan, or did he leave his parents behind in Culpeper County, Virginia? Who among these 30-odd slaves claimed Walker as their own?
Until I learned recently that I share DNA with descendants of Leonard Calvert, the first governor of colonial Maryland, it had never occurred to me that Walker might be blood-kin to his master, also a Calvert descendant. The news set me wondering. Not so much about which Colvert was Walker’s father, or maybe grandfather, but about Walker’s family in general. I’ve long known that four years after his arrival in North Carolina, John Colvert died, and Walker was hired out until John’s son William was old enough to control him. I know that Walker was married at least twice, and had at least four children, but age and circumstances suggest that he fathered even more. Who were they? Where did they go?
Genealogical DNA testing may yield answers to some of these questions. I have learned already that I am distantly related to those Calvert descendants through my father’s family, not my mother’s, and thus Walker was probably not related to his owners at all. I’m still looking for Walker’s children.