LD Haning
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    34

    Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    This was a article in the Tennessean - Thursday, 02/22/07 thought it was quite interesting. and a peice of history not often seen .

    Steven

    =============================================



    Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history
    Descendant traces wealthy Midstate landowner

    By Colby Sledge - Staff Writer - Tennessean


    http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs....=2007702220382


    Like many wealthy landowners of the pre-Civil War South, Sherrod Bryant owned slaves. They probably worked much of Bryant's 700 acres in Middle Tennessee, an area larger than that of Andrew Jackson's Hermitage plantation.

    The slaves under Bryant helped raise hogs for their owner, who had a large family and was always looking to buy more property. Unlike many slave owners, however, Sherrod Bryant was black.

    Today, the notion of a black man owning black slaves seems contradictory Bryant himself was a free black and perhaps even hypocritical. According to Bryant's descendants, however, their ancestor, who was never a slave, was simply following the normal pattern of life for a rich landowner in the Upper South.

    "I think at some point some of the members (of the family) might not have looked upon it very favorably, but the more we discuss it, the more we suddenly realize that to gain wealth during that time, if you had a lot of property, you had to have slaves to help you cultivate it," said Carl Bryant, a fourth-generation descendant of Sherrod.

    Ancestor's life studied

    For the past six years, Carl, a retired Air Force veteran, has studied the life of Sherrod Bryant, who probably was among the wealthiest blacks in Tennessee in the 1800s. Upon his arrival to the state in 1806 from North Carolina, the then 25-year-old Sherrod Bryant set to purchasing land, acquiring seven different parcels in the still-fledgling Midstate between 1811 and 1852.

    That land included 300 acres known as Bryant Grove on the Rutherford County side of Long Hunter State Park, as well as the area of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville.

    Along the way, he picked up slaves to help him work the land, Carl Bryant said. He used a genealogy Web site along with an inventory list from county archives that listed 22 slaves under Sherrod's possession, including some who appeared to be children of older slaves.

    "That was just a fact, that if you had a lot of property and you were a big farmer plus you had to feed your family, you had slaves because where would you find help?" Carl Bryant said.

    There have been several cases of free blacks owning slaves in the pre-Civil War South, according to Dr. George Smith, a Murfreesboro physician and Civil War re-enactor who said he began studying the issue of blacks owning slaves after hearing of Sherrod Bryant.

    Smith said free blacks would often purchase slaves to free them, but Carl Bryant said he had no evidence that Sherrod freed his slaves after his death in 1854.

    "Most of our impressions of slavery has been influenced by TV and movies," Smith said. "But slavery was a peculiar institution, and Sherrod Bryant was part of that."

    Dr. David Carlton, a professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in the history of the South, said that while it was possible for a free black to own a large amount of slaves, it certainly wasn't common.

    "Generally speaking, 20 slaves is treated by historians as the lower limit of farming a plantation," Carlton said.

    He was 'one of a kind'

    Carl Bryant went through county archives in Nashville, Murfreesboro and Lebanon as well as federal census records and genealogy records from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to discover more about Sherrod.

    He hasn't been able to find much about Sherrod's parents, however, information crucial to understanding the source of Sherrod's wealth.

    The Bryant family contains mixed-race lineage, Carl said, and he wonders whether Sherrod's father was white.

    "He knew all the right people," Carl said of Sherrod, who had a letter issued by influential members of Davidson County that asked that Sherrod be treated "in every respect as if he were a white man" when purchasing land.

    "It's a very, very important untold part of Tennessee history," said Dan Whittle, president of Friends of Long Hunter State Park.

    Whittle said he became interested in Sherrod Bryant's story after driving through the park one day and noticing a sign signifying Bryant's status as one of the wealthiest free blacks in Tennessee.

    "He was a successful free black entrepreneur with papers and was really unique in Tennessee history kind of a one-of-a-kind person up until that era," he said.

    Sherrod Bryant is buried in Bryanttown Cemetery on Elm Hill Pike, where the inscription on his marker reads, "Here rests from his labors Sherod (sic) Bryant, whose honesty, piety and industry were examples."

    Those virtues, and not simply his slave holdings, are what Carl Bryant wants his notable ancestor to be remembered for.

    "Many pioneers that came have died and have been forgotten," he said. "I don't want him to be forgotten."
    Steven Cone
    "The Dippin' Gourd Mess"
    "Silver Spring Mess"
    Stones River Nat'l Battlefield Volunteer
    Living Historian and Battlefield Preservationist
    ACPP ; CWPT ; BONPS ; STFB


    January 18-20, 2008 "The Calm Before The Storm"
    April 19, 2008 "Fort Granger" Federal Living History: Franklin, TN"
    June 20-22, 2008 "The Eastern Flank" Federal Living History: Franklin, TN

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Brookhaven, Mississippi
    Posts
    349

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Obviously Black Slave owners wasn't that common when only one in twenty whites owned slaves, so proportionately the ratio would be less. I've studied slavery a bit, and find it interesting just how many black slave owners there really were. In the Teche area of South Louisiana there was a community of free blacks who owned slaves and were outraged when Banks confiscated their property to build earthworks during the Red River Campaign. Outraged so much so that they sued the Federal Government after the war for loss of property.

    A good source for this is a hard to find copy of work commissioned by Henry Watkins Allen and I think entitled "The atrocities of the Federal Army in South Louisiana" Title is probably not right I'll recheck that when I get home. However the book is a compilation of affadavits from the citizens of the area and is a record of what was stolen, destroyed, and done to the people in the way of Banks' army during the Louisana campaign.

    Interesting that this black man could come into Tennessee and purchase property and slaves, work and compete with other plantations and avoid being "whipped" by those Wite Devil's and disrobed of his free status. I thought all slave owners and white people in general beat all blacks into submission

    Great article, thanks for the info.
    Dennis Neal
    "He who feels no pride in his ancestors is unworthy to be remembered by his descendants"
    David F. Boyd, Major 9th Louisiana
    Visit the site of the 16th Louisiana at
    http://www.16thlainf.com/
    J. M. Wesson Lodge 317

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    34

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Although therir # where few i'm sure .. It none the less a story that should be told.

    Thank you for info as well.

    Steven
    Steven Cone
    "The Dippin' Gourd Mess"
    "Silver Spring Mess"
    Stones River Nat'l Battlefield Volunteer
    Living Historian and Battlefield Preservationist
    ACPP ; CWPT ; BONPS ; STFB


    January 18-20, 2008 "The Calm Before The Storm"
    April 19, 2008 "Fort Granger" Federal Living History: Franklin, TN"
    June 20-22, 2008 "The Eastern Flank" Federal Living History: Franklin, TN

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
    Posts
    119

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    If anyone is interested in this subject, he/she should pickup Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860 by Larry Koger

    Here is some interesting info. from the book...

    William Ellison, Sr. (Ellerson in the 1860 Census) was a free mulatto who, in 1850, owned 37 slaves and in 1860, owned 63 slaves. His occupation is listed as a gin maker in Sumter District, South Carolina in both the 1850 and 1860 censuses.

    The book is really great, including an appendix with the names of the black slave owners from 1790-1860 and two appendices on transactions of sale.

    Regards,

    Chris
    Christopher P. Young
    Army of Tennessee
    Our Federal Union, It Must Be Preserved
    "Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character." Secretary of State Henry Clay, July 27,1827

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Berkeley Springs, WV
    Posts
    119

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Here's another good book about free blacks owning slaves "Myne Owne Ground" Race & Freedom on Virginia's Eastern shore 1640-1676 By: T. H. Breen and Stephen Innes, published by Oxford Press. I know the time frame is much earlier then the Civil War but if you want to read about the subject of blacks owning slaves, it's a good read. These's guys owned white slaves, indentures, indians, and blacks. Also, if i remember correctly (and I'm not sure the time frame) but the largest slave owner in the north was black, I read it somwhere but for the life of me can't remember where, but it always stuck out because not only was it a reference to slavery in the north, but because they were owned by a black. I think as was mentioned in the article it was a "peculiar institution", and all sides of it need to be shown and understood.
    Robert Ambrose

    Park Ranger
    Gambrill State Park, Maryland
    5th Virginia Infantry Co. K

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,096

    Post Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Perhaps the defining book of a free black slaveowner is William Johnson's Natchez: The Ante-Bellum Diary of a Free Negro edited by William Ransom Hogan and Edwin Adams Davis. Johnson's home was owned by Natchez National Historic Site in Mississippi. Unfortunately, Johnson's quest to fit in with white society led to his death in 1851.
    Sincerely,
    Emmanuel Dabney
    Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
    http://www.agsas.org

    "God hasten the day when war shall cease, when slavery shall be blotted from the face of the earth, and when, instead of destruction and desolation, peace, prosperity, liberty, and virtue shall rule the earth!"--John C. Brock, Commissary Sergeant, 43d United States Colored Troops

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    34

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Thank you all for the wonderful extra info.
    Steven Cone
    "The Dippin' Gourd Mess"
    "Silver Spring Mess"
    Stones River Nat'l Battlefield Volunteer
    Living Historian and Battlefield Preservationist
    ACPP ; CWPT ; BONPS ; STFB


    January 18-20, 2008 "The Calm Before The Storm"
    April 19, 2008 "Fort Granger" Federal Living History: Franklin, TN"
    June 20-22, 2008 "The Eastern Flank" Federal Living History: Franklin, TN

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    112

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Just an FYI: When interpreting history don't get caught on our modern preferred use of the word "peculiar" as a synonym for "strange." It translated as "distinct" or "special" when used to describe the institution of slavery in the period we study.
    -steve tyler-

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northeast Mississippi
    Posts
    123

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Mr. Dabney is correct!
    Was told about the book years ago, unless I am incorrect it is reprinted again.

    http://mshistory.k12.ms.us/features/...hnsonobit.html

    http://www.nps.gov/natc/historycultu...iamjohnson.htm

    http://pages.prodigy.net/gmccallum/_...m/index10.html
    Dean Burchfield

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Southwest Virginia, in the Blue Ridge
    Posts
    150

    Re: Black slave owner an 'untold part' of history

    Here is an interesting web site:

    http://www.slavenorth.com/
    Gil Davis Tercenio

    "A man with a rifle is a citizen; a man without one is merely a subject." - the late Mark Horton, Captain of Co G, 28th Ala Inf CSA, a real hero

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Slave reenacting?
    By Eric Burke in forum The Sinks
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: 01-09-2008, 11:07 AM
  2. Slave Narrative
    By Michael Comer in forum History of the Civil War
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-29-2004, 11:52 AM
  3. Outstanding slave narrative.
    By Vuhginyuh in forum Civilian Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-04-2004, 02:22 PM
  4. 'Cold Mountain' Freezes Out Black History
    By marlin teat in forum The Sinks
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: 01-29-2004, 03:32 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Help Us Stay Online
Google