Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Jack

Following my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims I’ve made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. 

I’ve come to a standstill in my search of ancestors who owned slaves. There may be some I have not discovered. To fill in I would like to share slave names I have come across while doing random searches for others.

Every now and then I’ll take some time out of my own research to reply to a query in one of the Facebook genealogy groups I belong to. While checking for information on an ARTHUR family in the Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index – Library of Virginia I came across this slave name.

It’s Honorable to do… You’re RELEASING their Names and their Souls for their Descendants to hopefully find them one day. Every time this Happens they are Rejoicing. They have been in a book or what have you for so long.
                                                        ~ True A. Lewis

Today I’m RELEASING Jack.

slaveJack
Exrs of William Arthur vs Charles Gwatkins, Bedford County, Virginia, File Number 1791-004 (image 6 of 17) http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=019-1791-004

Franklin County Sct.
This deposition of Thomas Scruggs Showeth, that Jack a Negro fellow lately sold by the Sheriff of Bedford to Satisfy the Commonwealth’s execution against the Estate of Gross Scruggs Deceased, was in the Possion [possession] of the Said Gross Scruggs from Winter 1776 till after the Death of the said Gross Scruggs which was in the Spring 1789, that in the Lifetime of the said Gross Scruggs and not many years before his Death, two or three Seizures of the said Gross Scrugg’s Estate was made by the Sheriff and as many Sales appointed when the said Slave Jack was always brought fourth on Part of the Estate of the said Deceased and Exposed to Sale, that on all such Occasions he was on the Spot and Knows of no Claim was being set up by any One to the said Slave till after the Death of the said Gross Scruggs, that said Slave was about Seven or Eight Years Old (and not big enough to Ride to Mill) when he first came to the Possession of the said Gross Scruggs, that he has heard Elizabeth Scruggs, the widow of the said Gross say that said slave Jack was given to her by her Father; that he never heard anything to the Contrary Said or Surmissed till after the Death of said Gross Scruggs, that he is Persuaded if any claim had been set up to the said slave at any Earlier Period he must in all Probability have Known it, that Gross Scruggs in his Lifetime Uniformly Listed and Paid Tax on said Slave as his Property, that Since the Death of said Gross Scruggs and since William Arthurs Executors has Sued the Sheriff for said Slave, he has heard William Arthur say that his Father Benjamin Arthur never Expected to Recover on said Action, that such Suit was not brought of his own Will but to Please & gratify some of the Children who was dissatisfied and further this deponant sayeth not done at Hailsford Franklin County the 12th day of March 1791. Signed   Thos Scruggs

Franklin County Sct.
The above Deposition sworn to and subscribed in our prasence and in presence of John Hook, at the House of the said John Hook, none of the opposite party present but a certificate produced to us as anexed of due notice being given to Benjamin Arthur. Certifyed by us this 12th day of March 1791.   Signed   Jonathan [illegible]   &   John      [illegible]

Note: William Arthur was the father of Benjamin and Elizabeth and the grandfather of William Arthur who Thomas Scruggs mentions in the above.

On image 9 of the same case two statements were made.

David Irvine claimed, “that Sum time before the war with Grate Britan he was in company with William Arthur Decd at New London, and heard him say that he had never givin nor never sold a Negro to any of his children in his lifetime, the Reson the said Arther gave that he wold not give his Negroes to his children was that he had not Negroes enught to give any one of his Children one and have then anuf to work for him & his wife – in their Auld age.”

Robert Hughes claimed, “that after the Decease of Wm Arthur the said Hughes Being one of the Appraisers of the said Arthurs Estate, Barnabas Arthur the acting Executor of the said Estate Desired that a Negro Boy Named Jack should be appraised with the rest of the Estate and that he the said Jack Belonged to it tho than in the prosion (sic) of Gross Scrugs and absent at the time of appraisment.”

The will of William ARTHUR was not included in packet of chancery records. The will of Gross SCRUGGS does not mention the slave Jack or any slaves for that matter.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

As a military brat I've lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Married 36 years with two grown children. When I’m not doing genealogy, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful countryside in Luxembourg and surrounding countries.

2 thoughts on “Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Jack”

  1. I found this blog while on the search for information on a Scruggs connection and am looking at wills as part of trying to find help for a bi-racial adoptee. I see that the ancestor that you are speaking of is “Gross Scruggs”. I have a marriage in my line of Henry Scruggs (b.1658) and Ann Gross (b. 1665), they are in Colonial VA and I am wondering if there is a connection. I have already been able to find that Henry’s grandson Richard (b.1720, VA. d.1799, GA) is the common ancestor for the adoptee that I am trying to help but I am wondering if you may be able to help us more as this seems to be major (and worth while) project for you. If you believe that you may be able to help in any way, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. I can be reached at ak.putnam@yahoo.com, Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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