Rowan County, North Carolina, 1863. The Civil War is dragging on, and the Rebs need money. In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States of America had passed a statute authorizing a tax (at 50 cents per $100 valuation) to help finance the war effort. Taxable property included real estate, slaves, merchandise, stocks, securities, and money, and later agricultural products and anything else they could think of. In the 1863 assessment, for the first time, the North Carolina General Assembly required taxpayers to list their slaves by name. Assessments for only eight counties survive. Rowan is one of them.
Look in the bottom left corner. J.W. McNeely identified his seven slaves for the tax assessor, who duly recorded: Lucinda, age 47, value $750. Julius, 25, $1500. Henry, 22, $1500. Archy, 14, $1200. Mary, 13, $1000. Stanhope, 11, $900. And Sandy, 12, $950. Total valuation of Lucinda, her sons, and grandchildren: $7600. Remember Alice, the 3 year-old that Sam and J.W. McNeely bought with Lucinda? She was Archy’s mother, and Mary, Stanhope and Sandy were probably her children, too. Alice herself is gone — dead or sold — and John is not listed, though that seems to be oversight. Julius was born a few years after the McNeelys purchased his mother. His father is unknown, but was probably an enslaved man on a neighboring farm. Henry, though, was John Wilson McNeely’s boy. His only child, in fact. And worth exactly $1500.