Following my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims I 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. During October, Family History Month, I worked through a large chancery file pulling as much information out of it as possible and posting weekly in hopes of helping the descendants of the slaves mentioned.
I RELEASED Delph, Ben, Sukey, Tom, Jacob, Peggy, Aime, and their children Sandy, Britton, Reuben, Betsey, Pleasant, Benjamin, Cynthia, Calvin, Sarah, Susan, Adeline, John, William, Mary, Alice, Jacob, Ellender, Giles, Edward, Serena, Lucy, Margaret, Sam, an [unnamed] infant, Martha, Charles, and Green (or Gwen) as well as Will, Cintha, Cate, Darkis, Roas, Alesey, Chloe, Charlote, Feby, Jude, Peggy, Rick, Cuffey, Thomas, Sal, Easter, Jude, Lucy and Anthony using information found in Chancery Records file for Administrator of Mary Smith vs Samuel Saunders, Franklin County, Virginia, index number 1851-022.
This is a very interesting case. If the people involved had been my ancestors I would have taken the time to transcribe the entire 127 images and put them in chronological order.
The testimony on Mary Smith by her neighbors gave me the impression she was “fooled over” due to her having a “weak mind” and “drinking spirits.” She was an old lady and may have been promised matrimony by Saunders to get possession of her slaves. She “lived like a negro” in a slave cabin on Saunders plantation until her son took her in.
I believe Delph, the slave given to Mary Smith by her father Robert Hairston per his last will and testament, was the mother of the other six slaves, Ben, Sukey, Jacob, Tom, Peggy, and Aime [not only Ben and Sukey as seen in the bill of sale]. One witness questioned replied:
“She had no kind of property except a gang of little negroes. She had no home, or cow, or fowls as I saw. I was frequently there. She had a little household furniture and precious little of that.”
and being asked if the slaves he saw at Saunders plantation were the same “gang” he saw with Mary Smith he replied,1
“I allowed they were the same, on account of their calling the old negro wench, Delph, mother. I knew the old negro wench well.”
Posts related to the Mary Smith vs Samuel Saunders Chancery Records:
- Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1753-1911. Admr. of Mary Smith v. Samuel Saunders, 1851-022. Local Government Records Collection, Franklin Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=067-1851-022 (image 123 of 127). ↩