Sorry, long day at work.
This thread of mine keeps making the rounds. It started on the Citizens of the CW listserve in February of this year, then to the Common Ground a few days ago, and now here.
In looking back at earlier editions of the Portsmouth Ohio newspaper in order to look at ads, I ran across this from the Feb. 1, 1859, p. 3
"A splendid sugar plantation containing 1,643 acres of land, and 95 negroes, near Bayou Goula, La., belonging to the estate of Samuel S. Harrison, was sold at public auction a few days since and brought the handsome sum of $240,500. The purchaser was Cyprien Ricard, a free man of color, who owned the adjoining plantation, which is worth as much more."
Laura Fitzpatrick, Virginia Mescher, and others did some quick sleuthing, and apparently this was a true sheriff's sale that took place between February 1857 when Samuel Harrison's will was probated and June 26, 1858 when it first appeared in a newspaper.
Apparently the name appears as Ricar in the 1860 census (and I believe that he's listed under his mother). I don't know if Laura's a member of the AC or not, but she did some in depth research and came up with tons of good stuff, which apparently I deleted as I can no longer find all of her posts to me.
“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain.
The 1860 census is has many similar instances of free blacks owning slaves. Oddly enough, this little tid bit of history never makes it to our public schools. My ten year old could tell me nothing about the Civil War, but was very handy with the "facts" about slavery, mean white southern slave owners, segregation, the dipping gourd, underground railroad, whipping slaves, runnaway slaves, and Lincoln the god and his emancipation proclamation.
A good read is "Complicity: How the north promoted, prolonged, and profitted from slavery." Written by three journalists from Conn. Quite an eye opener.
A question for an old post, but as I read this I was trying to remember something about Ft. Frederick, MD.
If I remember, the property where the fort was built, was at the time of the war owned by a slave owning free black man, who leased the land to the Fed. Gov. and they never confiscated his slaves, who seemingly stayed there throughout the war. Please refresh my memory, I talked with some staff there years ago who told me about this. Anyone know?
Rae G. Whitley
Museum of the Horse Soldier
http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=5571 Other sites supposedly say he helped some escaping slaves to go north; don't know how documented that is.
I checked the 1860 slave census on Ancestry.com just now and didn't see a Nathan Williams listed as a slave owner in Maryland.
He'd bought his wife's freedom--don't know how that works; was it technically possible that he "owned" her? I'd be curious if there's more information that he owned slaves.
I had a professor in grad school who specialized in this topic as an interest, and I have read "Myne own ground" which someone mentioned earlier, but he had a book you may want to investigate about slave ownership that I'll add to the mix here, "In My Father's House: Black Slave Ownership in Edgefield, SC". I'll have to dig it out, I'm sure I still have it, I rarely get rid of history books!
24th Mo Vol Inf
Cannoneer, US Army FA Museum Gun Crew
Member, Oklahoma Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
Company of Military Historians
Lawton/Fort Sill, OK
Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay -- and claims a halo for his dishonesty.— Robert A. Heinlein
Good point, Hank. If a free black bought one of his relatives, he would own them unless and until he took whatever steps the state would require for emancipation.
A quick search led me to this second hand discussion of the laws for manumission, which might shed some light on what was required:
(p. 53) "The first general emancipation law in North Carolina was passed in 1830, and remained the law until the Civil War. There was a long and tedious process to be gone through by the owner, beginning with a public notice of his intention six weeks previously; and he must give bonds of $1,000 that the freedman should leave the state in ninety days. A slave could be freed for "meritorious services" without being obliged to leave the state."
Michael A. Schaffner
At least one plantation that I know of in Pointe Coupee Parish, LA, Austerlitz Plantation, was at one time owned by free blacks who were slave owners.
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Henry Watkins Allen Camp #133 (Baton Rouge, LA)
Louisiana State Militia, 10th Brigade
“The Confederate sabreur kissed his blade homeward riding on into the mouth of hell.”
Thank you for the reply. I kept coming up with the same information and also kept finding that he was a wealthy farmer in Washington Co. who sold produce to both sides. I asked an historian of 19th cen. about it. He didn't have documents at hand but we spoke about the farm. We pondered this question: If he had a successful farm, he and his wife didn't do all the labor. So if he didn't have slaves he had to get labor from somewhere. Slaves were still in MD. so leasing "labor" could have been a solution. Thereby he didn't own them proper.
I do remember that the man I spoke with on site years ago related that Ft. Frederick had a muddled history not to be spoken of to the tourists.
I hadn't thought about this in years, but I would like to know more. Thanks again.
Rae G. Whitley
Museum of the Horse Soldier
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)