Births Deaths Marriages, Enslaved People, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Collateral kin: the Rickses.

Both of my grandfathers died long before I was born. In 1958, however, my paternal grandmother married Jonah Catellus Ricks and moved to Philadelphia with him. He died just before I turned three, but I am told I was fiercely attached to him.

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Hattie Henderson Ricks and Jonah C. Ricks, Philadelphia, circa 1957.

Among the cache of funeral programs my grandmother left is a trove memorializing services for Granddaddy Ricks’ people, many of whom migrated to Philadelphia with him. His father, Jonah Lewis Ricks, lived in Philly for a time, but returned to North Carolina in late adulthood and died in Wilson in 1960.

Jonah L. Ricks was born near Bailey, Nash County, in 1885. His mother, Nancy Jones Ricks, was born about 1865 in western Wilson County to Jacob and Milly Powell Jones, both born into free families of color. (Jacob was a grandson of Bethana Jones.) Jonah’s father was Joseph Ricks.

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Jonah L. Ricks, Wilson, 1953.

Joseph’s death certificate, filed in Nash County in 1949, asserts that he was born about 1876 in Nash County to Square [sic] and Nicey Ricks. However, the censuses of 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 consistently list 1860 as his birth year.

What follows is a summary of research I conducted to pierce the veil of slavery and shed light on Joseph Ricks’ family just before and after Emancipation.

Initially, I was unable to find either Joseph Ricks or his parents in the 1870 and 1880 censuses. However, I had found a Kinchen R. Ricks (1858-1915) whose Nash County death certificate listed his parents as Squire Ricks and Nicie Braswell, so I looked for him instead. In the 1880 census of Jackson township, Nash County, 22 year-old Kenchin Ricks appears as a servant in the household of Marmaduke Ricks. Next door is this household: Sqare Perry, wife Nicy, and their children, including 18 year-old Joseph. I went back ten years to 1870 to find, in Chesterfield township, Nash County: Esqire Perry, 52, wife Nicey, 47, and children Primus, 22, Willie, 18, Mary J., 16, Rebecca, 13, Kinchen, 11, Joseph, 9, Robert, 8, and Matilda, 6. Also sharing the household were Judy Finch, 19, and her 7 month-old Nancy, and Sham Freeman, 63, Silva, 58, Mary, 25, and Rosa Freeman, 18. Thus I determined that Joseph Ricks was known as Joseph Perry as a child.  His parents were known as Squire and Nicey Perry and, I later determined, all of his siblings except brother Kinchen retained the surname Perry.

Squire Perry was born circa 1815, according to census records. His wife Nicey was born circa 1824. As neither appears in censuses earlier than 1870, I assumed that both were born slaves. I consulted Timothy Rackley’s volumes on Nash County estate divisions and slave cohabitations and discovered records of the division of the estate of Clabourn Finch, which was conducted 18 December 1849.  Finch’s property, which included slaves Jacob, Benjamin, Squire, Sam, Henry, Gilbert, Adam, Primus, and Nicy and her child, was divided among his heirs.  Squire, valued at $550, went to Finch’s daughter Betsy and her husband Jacob Strickland.  Nicy and child, valued at $700, went to Finch’s daughter Nicy and her husband Marmaduke Ricks. Thus, the family was divided during the last decade and a half of slavery.

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Page from the estate of Clabourn Finch, Nash County, 1849. The enslaved people distributed to his heirs at November Term of court differ slightly from those listed in this inventory.

The 1850 slave census of Nash County shows Jacob Strickland as the owner of four slaves and Marmaduke Ricks as the owner of ten. The 1860 slave census of Sullivants township, Nash County, lists him as the owner of 18 slaves.

Among post-Emancipation Nash County cohabitation records, I discovered that, on 19 August 1866, Esquire Strickland and Nicey Ricks registered their 22-year marriage with a Nash County Justice of the Peace.  At the time they reunited, each was using the surname of his or her most recent former owner. By the 1870 census, however, as noted above, Squire had settled upon Perry.

It is probably not coincidence that another of Clabourn Finch’s daughters, Ann C., was married to a Perry. Clabourn Finch’s slaves were divided among his children at his death and may have been further sold or traded within the family. At present, Squire’s reason for choosing Perry rather than Ricks or Strickland is not clear, nor is the basis for Joseph Ricks’ report on his brother Kinchen’s death certificate that their mother’s maiden was Braswell. Similarly, the reason that two of their sons, Kinchen and Joseph, reverted to Ricks is unclear.

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Original photographs and funeral program in my possession. Federal population schedules; North Carolina Certificates of Death filed in Nash and Wilson Counties; Timothy W. Rackley, Nash County North Carolina Division of Estate Slaves & Cohabitation Record 1862-1866; Rackley, Nash County North Carolina Division of Estate Slaves 1829-1861; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

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Agriculture, Enslaved People, Land, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Kinchen’s Kinchen’s Kinchen’s Kinchen ….

“I found your blog posts on line,” he said. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk to you some more about them. Kinchen Taylor was my ancestor.”

It took a little while, but we finally caught up as I sat waiting for a flight to Philadelphia. I’ll call him “Cal.” He goes by a different nickname, but he bears — with pride, but some chagrin — the same name as his forebear. It’s been passed down generation after generation after generation and, in spite of himself, he passed it on, too.

Cal grew up within shouting distance of the Kinchen C. Taylor house that I wrote about, and his father and uncle are among the last of Kinchen Taylor’s descendants holding property passed down from him. He’s a few years than I am, and he thinks Kinchen Senior’s house was already in shambles during his childhood. He was aware that Kinchen had accumulated vast tracts of farm and woodland in northern Nash County, but dismayed that he had owned so many slaves. That he had owned any at all, really. Without them, of course, his great-great-great-grandfather’s thousands of acres would have been a wilderness of swamp and impenetrable forest. Cal also wondered if we were perhaps related, but I have no reason to believe that we are.

Many thanks to “Cal” for reaching out and for sharing his connection to Taylor Crossroads.

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Enslaved People, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

$100 reward for Lewis.

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Tarboro’ Press, 1 March 1845.

I first thought that the Kinchen Taylor in this ad was one of other Kinchen Taylors in Nash County in the antebellum period. However, a bit of research revealed that Kinchen Taylor of Fishing Creek had a son, Josiah, who died in late 1846 or early 1847. Josiah Taylor’s modest estate, administered by his brother-in-law Benjamin D. Mann, included no slaves. Nonetheless, it appears here that Josiah sold at least one slave who actually belonged to his father. Was this Lewis related to the “Big Lewis” listed in Kinchen’s estate in 1853? Was he ever captured? How many other Lewises were sold away from Kinchen’s plantation, their links to their families permanently sundered? (And their perplexed descendants, known to each other only via mysterious DNA matches, left to ponder lost connections.)

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Civil War, Free People of Color, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Politics

He would be murdered if he did not cease.

 

Weekly Standard Raleigh 5 6 1868 Jacob Ing

Raleigh Weekly Standard, 6 May 1868.

Jacob Ing’s radical ideas surfaced well before Reconstruction. As made clear in his last will and testament, he had a long relationship with a free woman of color named Chaney Jones (also known as Hester or Easter Jones) and fathered several children for whom he provided. One, daughter Lucinda, was the first legal wife of my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis.

[Small world: Jacob Ing witnessed the last will and testament of Reubin Taylor of Nash and Edgecombe Counties and served as executor of the estate of Reubin’s sons Dempsey and Kinchen Taylor, who owned my great-great-grandparents.]

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Enslaved People, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Where did they go?, no. 4: Taylor.

Kinchen Taylor’s death in 1853 sent shockwaves through the community of enslaved men and women who labored on his plantation. In addition to more than 100 slaves, Taylor owned more several thousand acres of land in northern Nash County. Half of Taylor’s children were minors, and his slaves had to have known that the division and distribution of his property would wrench apart their community.

Taylor’s executors filed at least two inventories of his property, listing his slaves in no apparent order, but grouping mothers with their youngest children. My great-great-grandfather Green, about 38 years old in the 1856 inventory and valued at $750, is #30, while his wife Fereby and their oldest children Dallas, Peter and Henrietta are #88-91. Though some of Kinchen Taylor’s slaves were apportioned to Taylor’s adult children, most, including Green and his family, were placed in a pool to be later divided among the minors. Or sold for their benefit. (In the meantime, adults and older children were likely leased to nearby farmers who needed labor.) Inevitably, this estate division sundered families, and none could have known that freedom — and the chance to regather their kin — was just a decade away.

Who were the men and women that Kinchen Taylor enslaved? What became of them?  Using names culled from the estate papers, I present them here, in alphabetical order, with notes recording what I know.

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Albert.  Valued at $1110.

Allen Sr. Valued at $1110.

  • “Allen Black” in list of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor. (This could be either Allen Sr. or Jr.)

Allen Jr.  Valued at $800.

Amanuel.  Valued at $870.

Amy and child Patience.  Valued at $510.

  • Amy and Patience included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitakers, Nash County: Ned Taylor, 39, wife Silva, 35, and children Myra, 16, William Ann, 17, James, 12, Eddie, 5, Aron, 3, and Ernest, 1 month; plus Simon Taylor, 75, “father,” and Amy Taylor, 80, “mother.”

Ann/Anna.  Valued at $621.

  • Anna included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Arnold.  Valued at $870.

  • In 1866 in Nash County, Arnold Taylor and Matilda Harrison registered a 20-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #351, Arnold Taylor, 45, wife Matilda, 40, and children Virgil, 17, Alice, 16, Ida, 14, Temperance, 12, Cora, 10, General, 8, Sherman, 6, William, 2, and John, 1 month.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: at #550, Kinchen Taylor, 87, and wife Anicha, 65. At #551, Arnold Taylor, 54, wife Matilda, 47, and children Tempie, 18, Cora, 17, General, 18, Sherman, 15, William H., 12, Jefferson, 10, and Ann M., 3. At #552, Virgil Taylor, 25, wife Secie, 19, and “baby boy,” 4 months.

Berry.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.

Betsey.  Valued at $200.

Bill. Valued at $1310.

Bob.  Valued at $935.

  • Bob included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son, John A. Taylor.

Cain.  Valued at $695.

  • Cain included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Carter.  Valued at $1230.

Cato.  Valued at $1080.

  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #332, Cato Taylor, 30, and wife Sarah, 22.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: Cator Taylor, 43, wife Sarah, 28, and children George, 10, Lee, 8, Peggie Ann, 6, Lucinda, 4, Cicero, 2, and Nero, 4. [Next door: Sip, 55, and Harriet Taylor, 50. There’s no Sip or Scipio listed among Kinchen Taylor’s slaves, but was he related to Cato? The family shows a penchant for classical Roman names.]
  • In the 1900 census of North Whitaker, Nash County: Cato Taylor, born March 1837; wife Sarah, born Jan 1849; and children Lee, 32, Cicero, 23, Blanche, 20, Mary, 15, Pink, 13, Indiana, 8, and grandsons Arthur, 8, and Clifton, 5. Sarah reported 8 of 11 children living.
  • In the 1910 census of North Whitakers, Nash County: Kato Taylor, 70, wife Sarah, 60, children Blanche, 26, Mary, 21, and India 17, and grandchildren Lizzie, 13, Vinnie, 12, and Arthur, 19. Next door: Lee Taylor, 41, wife Mattie, 24, and children Roy, 5, Brisco, 2, and Dan, 3 months. Cato reported having been married twice; Sarah, once, and 10 of her 11 children were living.
  • Mary Taylor Hilliard died 22 February 1914 in Nash County. Age 24. She was born in Nash County to Cato Taylor and Sarah Taylor. Informant, J.H. Cutchin. 
  • Lee Taylor died 11 March 1918 in North Whitakers, nash Ciunty. He was about 50 years old, born in Nash County to Cater Taylor and Sahrah [last name unknown]. Informant, Lumilia Hill. Buried Edgecombe County.
  • In the 1920 census of North Whitakers, Nash County: Nick Wright, 40, wife Endie, 23, and daughter Jennie, 4, with mother-in-law Sarah Taylor, 56, and father-in-law Cator Taylor, 58. Next door: Arch Wright, 39, wife Blanche 33, and children Bertha, 11, and Marion, 4.
  • Kater Taylor died 11 February 1922 in North Whitakers township, Nash County. Married to Sarah Taylor. Born 1830 to unknown parents. Informant, Nick Wright.
  • Sarah Taylor died 21 January 1924 in North Whitakers. Widow of Kater Taylor. Born 1834 to Nathan and Sindie Ricks. Informant, Nick Right.
  • Essix Taylor died 10 November 1931 in Whitakers, Nash County. He was born 15 November 1854 in Nash County to Kater Taylor and an unknown mother. Informant, Lumilia Hill. Buried Edgecombe County.

Ceasar.  Valued at $1080.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Jane, Caesar, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.
  • Caesar included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy; #335, Caesar Taylor, 34, wife Ann, 22, and daughter Amy, 3; #336, Edward Taylor, 32, wife Sylva, 23, and children Almira, 4, and James, 2.

Chaney.  Valued at $150.

  • Chaney included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Chapman.  Valued at $900.

  • Chapman included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Clara.  Valued at $300.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Big Tom, Little Tom and Clary to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • Clara included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #352, Clara Taylor, 72, in the household of Mariah Wheless.

Daniel.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.

Dawson.  Valued at $195.

  • Dawson included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight.

Doctor.  Valued at $1020.

  • Doctor included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Old Dred.  Valued $370.

  • Dred included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Edmon.  Valued at $780.

  • Edmond included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Eliza.  Valued at $640.

Elizabeth.  Valued at $70.

  • Elizabeth included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Ella.  Valued at $535.

  • Ella included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter, Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Ellick.  Valued at $846.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Isham, “Fany’s child Sandy,” and Simon “now in his possession” to son Kinchen C. Taylor. (Sandy and Ellick are nicknames for “Alexander.”)
  • Ellick included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Elvira and children Joe, Faulcon and Ann.  Valued at $1100.

Emily.  Valued at $720.

Eveline and children Willie/Wiley, Caroline and Isham.  Valued at $1100.

Eveline and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Fanny and children Margarett, Lucy, Leah and Jolly.  Valued at $1490.

  • Fanny and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Feriby and children Dallas, Peter and Henrietta.  Valued at $1230.

  • In the 1870 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County: Green Taylor, 52, wife Phebe, and children Dallas, 19, Christiana, 14, McKenzie, 13, Mike, 9, and Sally, 1.  
  • In the 1880 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County, Green Taylor, 64; wife Phoebe; daughters Christiana, Kinsey, and Sarah; four granddaughters, Nannie, 5; Carrie, 1; Lizzie, 8; and Louisa, 5; and one grandson, Isaiah, 2.
  • Mike Taylor died 8 Jan 1927 in Wilson NC.  About 68 years old.  Widower of Rachel Taylor.  Born Wilson County NC to Green and Faraby Taylor.  Buried 9 Jan 1927, Wilson NC.  Informant, Roddrick Taylor.

Frances and children Della, Carter and George.  Valued at $1250.

  • Frances and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight.

Green.  Valued at $750.

  • In the 1870 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County, Green Taylor, 52, wife Phebe, and children Dallas, 19, Christiana, 14, McKenzie, 13, Mike, 9, and Sally, 1.
  • In the 1880 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County, Green Taylor, 64; wife Phoebe; daughters Christiana, Kinsey, and Sarah; four granddaughters, Nannie, 5; Carrie, 1; Lizzie, 8; and Louisa, 5; and one grandson, Isaiah, 2.
  • Mike Taylor died 8 Jan 1927 in Wilson NC.  About 68 years old.  Widower of Rachel Taylor.  Born Wilson County NC to Green and Faraby Taylor.  Buried 9 Jan 1927, Wilson NC.  Informant, Roddrick Taylor.

Haley/Hilly and children Hasty, Amy and Glasgo.  Valued at $1310.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Haley, Hasty, Amy, Glasgow, Alfred and Susan to daughter Caroline Taylor Knight.

Handy.  Valued at $780.

  • Handy included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Hanna.  Valued at $625.

  • Hanna included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Cooper Henry.  Valued at $340.

  • Cooper Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Long Henry.  Valued at $60.

  • Long Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Yellow Henry.  Valued at $780.

  • Yellow Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Ida.  Valued at $740.

  • Ida included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Isaac.

  • Isaac included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Isabella and children Henrietta, Lucy and Joe.  Valued at $930.

  • Isabella included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Jack.  Valued at $450.

  • Jack in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Jane.  Valued at $640.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Jane, Caesar, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.
  • Jane included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Jane Taylor and Jack Earl registered their 4-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of  Liberty, Nash County: at #327, John Earl, 25, Jane, 22, and children John H., 5, and Conner, 1.

Jefferson/Jeffrey.  Valued at $770.

Jim Sr.  Valued at $333.

  • Jim included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight. (This may be Jim Sr. or Jr.)
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #329, James Taylor, 60, and wife Chaney, 65.

Jim Jr.  Valued at $580.

Joe.

  • Joe included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor or to son Benjamin Taylor.

John Sr. Valued at $1025.

  • John included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

John Jr.  Valued at $670.

  • A second John included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Julia/July Ann.  Valued at $200.

Old Kinchen.  Valued at $360.

  • “Old Kinchen” included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #360, Kinchen Taylor, 70, and wife Bettie, 70, in the household of Kinchen Burtin, 32.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: at #550, Kinchen Taylor, 87, and wife Anicha, 65. At #551, Arnold Taylor, 54, wife Matilda, 47, and children Tempie, 18, Cora, 17, General, 18, Sherman, 15, William H., 12, Jefferson, 10, and Ann M., 3. At #552, Virgil Taylor, 25, wife Secie, 19, and “baby boy,” 4 months.

Levinia and children Thadious and Frank.  Valued at $1000.

  • Levinia and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Big Lewis.  Valued at $40.

Lucinda and children Ella, Olive and Angeline.  Valued at $1240.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Lucinda, Jane, Washington and Ellin to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • Lucinda and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Thomas Taylor and Lucinda Taylor registered their 35-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.

Lucy Sr. and child Turner.  Valued at $640.

  • Lucy and Turner included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.
  • Perhaps, in the 1870 census, Liberty, Nash County: at #359, William Taylor, 24, and Lucy Taylor, 52.

Lucy.

  • Lucy included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Margarett.  Valued at $790.

  • Margaret included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Mariah.  Valued at $770.

  • Mariah included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight.

Matilda and child Calvin.  Valued at $405.

  • Matilda and children Calvin, Lucy and Violet included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Moll and child Martha.  Valued at $640.

  • Molly and Martha included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter, Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Mourning.  Valued at $290.

  • Mourning included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Mourning Taylor and Jacob Ing registered their 20-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of Formosa, Halifax County NC: Jacob Ing, 70, and wife Mourning, 65.

Ned.  Valued at $990.

  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy; #335, Caesar Taylor, 34, wife Ann, 22, and daughter Amy, 3; #336, Edward Taylor, 32, wife Sylva, 23, and children Almira, 4, and James, 2.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitakers, Nash County: Ned Taylor, 39, wife Silva, 35, and children Myra, 16, William Ann, 17, James, 12, Eddie, 5, Aron, 3, and Ernest, 1 month; plus Simon Taylor, 75, “father,” and Amy Taylor, 80, “mother.”
  • Miry Gunter died 16 April 1919 in Whitakers, Nash County. Widow. Born about 1865 in Edgecombe County to Ned Taylor of Nash County and Sylvia Bridges of Edgecombe County. Informant, Ed Taylor. Buried Whitakers.
  • Frank Taylor died 31 March 1923 in North Whitakers, Nash County. Married to Pearlie Taylor. Born 16 August 1881 in Nash County to Ned Taylor of Nash County and Sylvia Bridget of Edgecombe County. Informant C.W. Williams. Buried Edgecombe County.
  • Annie Parker died 23 April 1951 in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. Born 8 December 1871 in Nash County to Ned Taylor and Sylvester Williams. Informant, W.E. Parker.
  • Mary Ella Hunter died 12 October 1959 in Whitakers, Nash County. Born 1 May 1889 in Nash County to Ned Taylor and Sylvia Taylor.

Nick.  Valued at $795.

  • Nick included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Penny and children Carter Jr., Mary and George.  Valued at $1300.

  • Penny and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter, Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Pink.  Valued at $830.

  • Pink included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Pink Taylor and Abel Earl registered their 4-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.

Rosetta.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.

Sam.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.
  • Sam included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Simon.  Valued at $465.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Isham, “Tany’s child Sandy,” and Simon “now in his possession” to son Kinchen C. Taylor.
  • Simon included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy; #335, Caesar Taylor, 34, wife Ann, 22, and daughter Amy, 3; #336, Edward Taylor, 32, wife Sylva, 23, and children Almira, 4, and James, 2.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitakers, Nash County: Ned Taylor, 39, wife Silva, 35, and children Myra, 16, William Ann, 17, James, 12, Eddie, 5, Aron, 3, and Ernest, 1 month; plus Simon Taylor, 75, “father,” and Amy Taylor, 80, “mother.”

Susan.  Valued at $800.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Haley, Hasty, Amy, Glasgow, Alfred and Susan to daughter Caroline Taylor Knight.

Tom.  Valued at $570.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Big Tom, Little Tom and Clary to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • “Big Tom” included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Thomas Taylor and Lucinda Taylor registered their 35-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #323, Thomas Taylor, 62, wife Lucinda, 50, and children Vinah, 20, Augustine, 18, and Jackson, 8. (Kinchen Taylor’s son Kinchen C. Taylor and family lived at #328, in this house.)

Tom Jr.  Valued at $820.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Big Tom, Little Tom and Clary to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • “Little Tom” included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #323, Thomas Taylor Jr., 35, wife Caroline, 25, and children George, 2, and John, 6 months. 
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: Thomas Taylor, 36, wife Caroline, 30, and children George, 13, Mack, 11, Rosella, 6, Eddie, 5, Cindy, 3, and Fannie, 4 months.
  • Lucinda Arrington died 26 February 1933 in Rocky Mount, Nash County. Married to W.E. Arrington. Age 40. Born in Nash County to Thomas Taylor and Carolin Taylor. Informant, W.E. Arrington.
  • Lena Taylor died 19 July 1946 in South Whitakers, Nash County. Married to John Taylor. Born 31 December 1883 to Thomas Taylor and Carolina [last name unknown.] Buried Jerusalem cemetery.
  • Rose Ella Williams died 26 November 1960 in Nashville, Nash County. Resided Whitakers. Married to Robert Williams. Born in Nash County to Tom Taylor and Carolyn [last name unknown.] Informant, Thomas W. Williams. Buried “Jewrusalem,” Edgecombe County.

Toney.  Valued at $980.

Virgil.  Valued at $750.

  • Virgil in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Washington.  Valued at $990.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Lucinda, Jane, Washington and Ellin to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • Washington included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.

William Henry.  Valued at $750.

  • William Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.
  • Perhaps, in the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #339, William Taylor, 21, wife Hannah, 23, and son Cato, 5; or, at #359, William Taylor, 24, and Lucy Taylor, 52.

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Some preliminary thoughts: there were several unrelated white Taylor extended families in antebellum Nash County, North Carolina (not to mention bordering counties) and, while Kinchen may have been the largest among them, many owned slaves. Some of men and women listed died before freedom came or were sold away. Even taking these fates into account, surprisingly few African-Americans Taylors registered cohabitations in 1866 or were enumerated in the county in 1870. No doubt, many freedmen elected some other surname or moved a few miles away into adjoining counties. Women and small children may have adopted the surname of a husband (alive, dead or otherwise absent) or father (ditto). Moreover, as older children were not grouped with their mothers in the inventories, the relationships among members of the community are obscured. Naming patterns and living arrangements disclosed in censuses hint at such connections. Tracing Kinchen Taylor’s slaves has been frustratingly difficult, but I don’t quit.

Sources: the file of Kinchen Taylor (1853), Nash County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, https://familysearch.org, original, North Carolina State Archives; Nash County Cohabitation Records, North Carolina State Archives; federal censuses.

 

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Enslaved People, Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Where we lived: Taylor’s Crossroads.

A plat included among Kinchen Taylor’s estate papers revealed the core of the man’s property.  With little difficulty, I matched waterways shown on one parcel with creeks running in modern Nash County. Fishing Creek forms its northern border with Halifax County, and Beaverdam Swamp flows into it a few miles northwest of the town of Whitakers. The hundreds of acres in the fork of these creeks belonged to Kinchen Taylor. For years I harbored a fantasy of hiring a prop plane to fly over this land while I scoured the ground for brick piers and broken chimneys and heaps of hewn logs and any other traces of Kinchen’s plantation.

Last year, I turned to the practical and learned that the I-house built by Kinchen’s son Kinchen Carter Taylor is not only still standing near Whitakers, but has been renovated and is occupied. After some sleuthing, I contacted the current resident, B.B., told him my interest in the place, and asked if I might be able to visit.  His response was quick and unequivocal: “Anytime.”

On disgracefully short notice, I emailed B.B. just before I went home last December. Would he have some time to show me around over the holidays? We made tentative plans for after Christmas and firmed them up a few days later. B.B. had to leave town for work, but his wife A. was more than happy to give me a tour.

On a sunny Saturday, I pointed my car north on US 301 and drove 40 minutes up to Whitakers. In the middle of town, I made a left and headed out Bellamy Mill Road toward Taylor’s Crossroads. Here’s the area on a 1918 map of Nash County:

Taylors XRoads

(A) marks the location of the largest chunk of Kinchen Taylor’s property at the fork of Fishing Creek and Beaverdam Swamp. (At some point the confluence was dammed to create Gum Lake shown above.) (B) is where Kinchen C. Taylor built his house, probably in the 1850s, on land inherited from his father called the Duncan Cain tract.

Taylors lived on the land well into the 20th century. In the 1980s, B.B.’s parents bought the house and surrounding acreage and set about repairing and renovating the abandoned dwelling, which looked like this:

IMG_4804

As set forth in Richard L. Mattson’s The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina, “[t]his Greek Revival house symbolizes the role of the Taylor family in the early settlement of the Whitakers vicinity. It was built in the 1850s, probably by Kinchen Carter Taylor, whose father (also Kinchen Taylor) may have occupied a house (demolished) across the road. … Though deteriorating, this house remains one of Nash’s finest examples of the vernacular Greek Revival. The facade includes such notable features as end chimneys with tumbled-brick shoulders, moulded gable returns, and heavy square porch columns with simple square capitals. The central-hall plan is entered through original double doors framed by sidelights and transom. The rear kitchen ell, which may have been moved up to the house at a later date, includes an engaged porch, close eaves, and a nine-over-six windows. … The house stands at the northwest corner of Taylor’s Crossroads. Located well back from the road and shaded by a cluster of oak trees, the Kinchen Carter Taylor House still evokes the image of the plantation seat it once was.”

A.B. warmly welcomed me when I pulled up beside the house. She graciously shared not only the photo above, but a map drawn by Kinchen C. Taylor’s nearly 100 year-old grandson that showed the locations of surrounding outbuildings, groves and pastures. Where possible, the character of the original house has been preserved in its interior, and I could not help but wonder if my Taylors, Green and Fereby, who had belonged to Kinchen C.’s father, had ever walked where I did. Even if not, they surely knew this house and were intimately familiar with its inhabitants.

IMG_4813

Many thanks to Mark Bunn for alerting me that this house is still standing and putting me in touch with its owners and to them for opening their doors to give me a glimpse of my family’s world.

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DNA, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

DNAnigma, no. 7: Locus, Eatmon, et al.

ImageMartin John Locus (1843-1926) and Delphia Taylor Locus (1850-1923). Martin was the son of Martin Locus and Eliza Brantley Locus of southeastern Nash and later western Wilson County. Delphia was the daughter of Dempsey Taylor and Eliza Pace Taylor of northern Nash County.

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I knew Locuses (and Lucases, their later variant) growing up. There were a few who actually lived in Wilson, but most were from the western part of the county and Nash County.  There is no tradition of Locus ancestry in my family history, and nothing I’ve documented suggests it. However, DNA testing has revealed too many matches with descendants of the Locuses (and related families, like Brantley and Eatman) to ignore.  So far:

  • R.B.W. is my father’s estimated 2nd-4th cousin. They match on chromosomes 5, 18, 20, 21 and 22, and she lists Blackwell, Eatman, Hawkins and Lucas among her surnames.
  • M.F. is my father’s estimated 3rd to 5th cousin. She lists Locus/Lucas, Eatman, Brantley and Howard among her surnames.
  • E.F. is author of Free in a Slave Society:The Locus/Lucas Family of Virginia and North Carolina, Tri-Racial, Black-Identified, over 250 Years of History, a compendium of research notes, charts and photographs chronicling one of the largest free colored families in the antebellum United States. He notes that the Locus/Lucases intermarried with several free colored families, including Deans, Wiggins, Pulley, Taylor, Wells, Blackwell, Colston, Richardson, Brantley, Howard, High, Williams, Hagans, Evans, Tayborne, Eatman, Vaughn, Strickland, Jones, Pridgen and Allen. E.F. matches my father on a tiny stretch of chromosome 19 (which I did not inherit); 23andme estimates that they are 3rd to distant cousins.
  • T.W.is my estimated 4th-6th cousin per Ancestry DNA. Her father was born in Wilson County and is descended from Locus/Lucases and Evanses (another free family of color).
  • T.J. is an adoptee whose birth mother is believed to be a Jones and Locus. She is an estimated 3rd to distant cousin to my father.

What’s the link? I know it’s on my father’s side. Common sense tells me that the most likely connections are:

  • Leasy Hagans. Leasy Hagans appears in a Nash County census and may have originally lived north and west of where she settled in Wayne. It is not clear whether Hagans is her maiden or married name.  Nor is the father of her children known. Was she, or he, a Locus? An Eatman? A Brantley?
  • Tony Eatman. Willis Barnes‘ death certificate lists his parents as Tony Eatman and Annie Eatmon. Tony was born free about 1795 and is listed as a farmer in the household of white Theophilus Eatman in the 1850 census of Nash County. (He also is listed as the groom’s father on the marriage license of Jack Williamson and Hester Williamson in 1868.) One potential problem with Tony as my Locus link, though, was explained here. If Willis Barnes were Rachel Taylor’s stepfather, I am not descended from Tony Eatman at all.
  • Green or Fereby Taylor. Delphia Taylor Locus was the daughter of Eliza Pace and Dempsey Taylor, a free man of color born circa 1820 in northern Nash County. His relationship to another Dempsey Taylor in the area is assumed, but has not been proven. One white Dempsey (there were several) was the son of Reuben Taylor and the brother of Kinchen Taylor, Green and Fereby’s owner. There is no tradition of white ancestry among the Taylors, but their Y-DNA haplogroup appears to be J2b1, which is European. Was Green — or Fereby, for that matter — descended from Kinchen Taylor or one of his relatives?

Photo courtesy of Europe Ahmad Farmer.

 
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