“Dear Lisa,” he wrote. “I read with interest your letter of October 31….”
I was new at research and utterly clueless about where to start looking for information about slave forebears when I reached out to the late, great Hugh B. Johnston, Wilson County’s pre-eminent historian and genealogist. I was thrilled to receive his prompt reply. The letter was brief, but encouraging, and though I’d hoped for a complete and annotated report that left no end loose, I was confident that a breakthrough loomed just around the bend.
Unfortunately, here I am, nearly 27 years later, with the same fundamental questions burning:
- Was Rachel Barnes the daughter of Willis Barnes, or his step-daughter as the 1880 census indicates? If the latter, who was her father?
- Did Willis Barnes belong to Joshua Barnes?
- Was Toney Eatman, a free man of color from Nash County, Willis’ father? Was Annie Barnes Eatman his mother?
- Was Cherry Battle‘s first name actually Charity?
- Did she belong to Amos J. Battle?