Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Alfred

In 1840 Elizabeth Squires’ (1746-1840) last will and testament written in 1830 was the first will in Will Book 1 of Braxton County with the names of enslaved persons. I shared it in Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Sarah and Benjamin back on the 1st of July. Her two youngest sons also lived in Braxton County and owned slaves whose names were mentioned in their wills.

The Squires family is not related to me. After releasing Sarah and Benjamin I had planned on continuing with the enslaved persons of her sons. However, while researching my own family tree, I found documents for two of my ancestors who had enslaved persons. I released the people’s names in Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Nan and Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Shocoe, Neaten, and Nicholas. Now it is time to get back to the Squires family and the slaves found in documents they produced.

Elizabeth’s youngest son Elijah Squires (1787-1858) wrote his last will and testament on 29 April 1858. It was recorded a little more than 4 months later on 7 September 1858.1

Last Will and Testament of Elijah Squires of Braxton County, (West) Virginia

Braxton County Will Book 2, Page 186

I, Elijah Squires of the County of Braxton and State of Virginia do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.
First. I direct that all my debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my death as possible out of the first money that shall come into the hands of my executor.
2nd. I give unto my wife Elizabeth, to hold during her lifetime the following described tracts of land: to wit: one tract Beginning at a beech corner to Robert Farrar and running thence due west to a chestnutoak corner to the home place thence S12E180 poles to a white oak thence a straight line to the beginning containing about 68 acres more or less and including the dwelling house. Also one other tract of 48 acres adjoining on the north side of the above described tract and being the same which was conveyed to me by Nicholas Gibson, and further the said Elizabeth is to have, hold and possess the residue of the home farm except about 38 acres which will be bequeathed to Elijah H. Squires, untill my youngest child is of age, with this provise that if either of the three youngest children should marry before the youngest one is of the age of 21 then such married one shall be entitled to 48 acres of the same to be laid off at one side or end so as to average with the balance of the tract or when one of said children arrives to the age of 21 years whether married or not shall be entitled to a like quantity laid off on the same principal.
I further will and bequeathe to the said Elizabeth the following personal property to wit: one grey mare and the young dun mare and three milks cows and also four of my young cattle such as she may choose to select, and also one third of my sheep of the average of the flock.
I also bequeath to her one waggon and harness for three horses, and one hill side plough and one wind mill. She is allso to have all the household and kitchen furniture if she chooses.
3rd. I give and bequeath to the heirs of my son Taylor Squires decd. a tract of about 30 acres of land adjoining a tract of 100 acres which I formerly gave to him, and bounded as follows, towit: beginning at a sour gum corner to said 100 acre tract and running thence in a line of the same S8E150 poles to a stake, thence N35E100 poles to a stake on a line of tract of land which Asa Squires is to have, thence in said line N49 1/2W104 poles to the beginning.
4th. I give and bequeath to my son Asa Squires for and during his natural life and at his deceace to the heirs of his body, the following described tract of land on Salt Lick creek, and bounded as follows, to wit. beginning at a stake which will be corner to Elijah H. Squires on a line of a 100 acre Survey which was made for Nicholas Gibson and Elijah Squires and running Thence S39E81 poles to a stake on the Hobson line. Thence in said line S35W180 poles to a stake N49 1/2W155 poles to a sour gum corner to Taylor Squires heirs, N33E14 poles to a Sycamore, N65E crossing said creek to a line of land sold by Wm Sisk to Jesse Farrar. Thence down the creek and with lines of said Farrar to where Farrars line will cross a line running due North from the rock corner in the field, thence with said due North line to said Elijah H. Squires line and in the same to the beginning estimated to contain 160 acres.
5th. I give and bequeath to my son James Squires the following described tract of land on Salt Lick Creek to be laid off as follows, beginning at a beech corner to a 700 acre Survey made for said Gibson & Squires and running thence in a line of the same N39W to the Sugar Camp hollow, thence up said hollow to where line to the said creek will include 125 acres by running up said creek with the meanders to the beginning.
6th. I give and bequeath to my son Elijah

Braxton County Will Book 2, Page 187

H. Squires the following described tract of land including his place of residence and bounded as follows to wit: Beginning at a blackoak corner to Robert Farrar and running thence S 8 1/2W200 poles to a stake thence N7E38 poles to a blackoak corner to the home tract, thence S70 1/2E115 poles to a stake on a line of the said 700 acre survey. Thence N13E196 poles to a stake on a line of Wm Hutchison, and in the same S80W100 poles to a beech corner to same, thence with Robert Farrars lines to the beginning supposed to contain 150 acres.
7th. I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Hire the tract of land on which she now resides laying on Elk River and known as the Wm Harris tract, and I also bequeath unto her all the land I own adjoining the said Harris tract.
8th. I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret E. Morrison 125 acres of the following described tract of land to be laid of below and adjoining James Squires, beginning at a stake corner to Asa and E. H. Squires and running thence N13E196 poles to Wm Hutchison line, thence in the same N80E100 poles crossing Salt Lick Creek and Hughes fork to a Sycamore, thence down said fork to its mouth, thence up said creek with its meanders to James Squires corner and with one of his lines to his corner in Sugar Camp hollow, then down said hollow to another of his corners on a line of said 700 acre survey, thence in the last mentioned line to the beginning.
9th. I give and bequeath to my daughter Caroline M. Murphey or the heirs of her body all the residue of my lands not disposed of and particularly described by this will and if after the portions heretofore and hereafter to be named in this will shall be surveyed out, there should not be enough left to make an average share then she is to have enough of the proceed of my personal property to place her on an equal footing with the balance of my heirs.
10th. I give and bequeath unto my three youngest children Franklin F. Squires, Lydia Ann Squires and Elizabeth J. Squires the residue of the home farm not directly willed to my wife or to Elijah H. Squires to be equall divided amongst them amounting to about 48 acres each and at the death of their mother that portion of the land in which she had a life estate is also to be equally divided between the said Franklin F. Squires, Lydia Ann Squires and Elizabeth J. Squires, and I hereby bequeath the same unto them or their heirs, but their right of possession not to commence untill the life estate of their mother shall cease.
11th. I will and direct that all my personal property except my negro man Alfred and one colt which has not been disposed of by this will be valued by Harvey Hire and William Sisk or some other two disinterested (marked out) discreet (written above) men and after so valued to be divided as equal as possible amongst all my heirs according to valuation, the colt above excepted I give to my son Franklin.
12th. I will and direct that my negro man Alfred shall belong equally to my wife Elizabeth and children so that they will all be equally bound to maintain him if it should so happen that before he dies he should not be able to maintain himself, but he is to be at liberty to choose with which of them he will stay or his time may be divided amongst them by agreement but he must earn his living so long as he is able.
13th. I do hereby make and ordain my wife Elizabeth Executrix of this my last will

Braxton County Will Book 2, Page 188

and testament. In witness whereof I, Elijah Squires the testator, have to this will written on one sheet of paper, set my hand and seal this 29. day of April in the year of our Lord 1858.

Elijah Squires *seal*

Signed sealed and delivered in the presence
of us, who have subscribed in the presence
of each other
Attest.  Harvey F. Hyer
. . . . . . . Wm Sisk
. . . . . . . Wm P. Haymond

At a County Court held in and for the County of Braxton at the courthouse of said County on Tuesday the 7th day of September 1858.
The last will and testament of Elijah Squires deceased was proved by the oaths of Wm P Haymond & Harvey F. Hyer witnesses thereto & is ordered to be recorded.

Teste Jno. P. Byrne clk

The U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedule

In 1850 Elijah Squires was listed on the slave schedule of Braxton County, Virginia (now West Virginia) with one black male who was 30 years old. This young man was the only enslaved person noted for Elijah.

Alfred, per the above will, was given the choice of who he wanted to stay with after Elijah’s death. In 1860 the slave schedule does not include the names of Elijah’s widow or any of his children mentioned in the will. Only one Squires is listed, Asa, the brother of Elijah. He did not have a male slave around 40 years old in 1860.

Speculation on the identity of Alfred

What happened to Alfred after the death of Elijah Squires? Did he have a family and are there living descendants who are looking for him?

A chapter entitled “Tragedies” in John Davison Sutton’s  History of Braxton County and central West Virginia includes this short statement on page 307:

Alfred Squires, a colored man, inmate of the county infirmary, was burned to death about 1902. He was alone at the time and was lying in bed smoking. The bed caught fire and he was too aged and infirm to help himself, and perished in the flames. 

I was unable to find a death record for a man named Alfred Squires. However, the 18702 and 18803 census turned up an Alfred Cox with his wife Mary Jane. He was the only black in the county of Braxton with the first name Alfred. His age matches the age seen on the 1850 slave schedule for the enslaved male seen for Elijah Squires. There were no children in the households in 1870 or 1880.

I located a death record for Alfred Cox who died in an accident on 3 October 1896 at the age of 81.4 The informant for the death was Wm. McCoy, superintendent. The circumstances of the accident which caused the death are not mentioned in the entry on the death register.

In 1900 one William M. McCoy was the head of a household marked off as the county poor farm.5 The McCoy household included persons who were identified as inmates of the poor house. Could this be the county infirmary mentioned in the Braxton history? Could the estimated year of death of Alfred Squires be off by about six years?

Were Alfred Cox and Alfred Squires the same person? Did Alfred, the enslaved man of Elijah Squires, use the surname Cox? Hopefully the information found and mentioned in this post will help others who are researching the persons named.

Elijah Squires’ brother Asa also left a last will and testament in Braxton County. It will be shared in next month’s post.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1.   “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HYGF-Y?cc=1909099&wc=Q8BW-M6S%3A179688701%2C179735201 : accessed June 2018), Braxton > Will book, v. 002 1854-1861 > image 114-115 of 180; county courthouses, West Virginia. 
  2.  1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1685; FHL Film: 553184; West Virginia, Braxton County, Franklin, image 32 of 32, Page No. 32, Sheet No. 429B, Lines 20-21, HH #213-213, Alfred Cox household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed accessed 30 September 2018). 
  3.  1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1400; West Virginia, Braxton County, Holly, image 16 of 43, Enumeration District No. 7, Page No. 16, Sheet No. 413D, Lines 31-32, HH #144-144, Alfred Cox household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed accessed 30 September 2018). 
  4.  West Virginia Vital Research Records (index and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (online searchable database and digital images of selected birth, death and marriage records), FHL microfilm 572,705; Alfred Cox, 03 Oct 1896; citing Braxton Co., West Virginia, County Records, county courthouses, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=4568794&Type=Death : accessed 30 September 2018). 
  5.  1900 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1241756; West Virginia, Braxton County, Otter, image 40 of 68, Enumeration District No. 7, Sheet No. 20B, Lines 65-78, HH #347-347, William M. McCoy household (county poor farm). (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 September 2018). 
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Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Shocoe, Neaten, and Nicholas

Our ancestors didn’t live in bubbles. Their interaction with others can often help with the research questions we have – or the questions others have about their own ancestors.

Last month my search for the parents of my 6th great-grandmother Elizabeth Smith (ca. 1737-1793) of Amherst County, formerly of Goochland County, was not successful. But it led to the inventory of a man named John Smith whose goods and chattels were inventoried on 29 January 1755 in Goochland County, Virginia. The inventory included an enslaved person named Nan. She was not the only person I found while trying to solve the question of who Mr. and Mrs. Smith may have been.

Often I find myself reviewing an ancestor’s documentation, checking what has been looked into and what may still need to be searched for. These bits and pieces bring our ancestors’ stories to life. Elizabeth Smith’s story includes a husband and children. She married David Proffitt on 7 April 1757 in St. James Northam Parish, Goochland County, Virginia. When I skimmed over his timeline I realized I didn’t have a record to support his date of death.

To prove when he had died, or at least narrow down an estimate for when the event may have taken place, I checked the Will Books of Amherst County, Virginia. The Letters of Administration for his estate, his Inventory, and Guardian Bond for his grandchildren Augustine and David (my 4th great-grandfather), the sons of his deceased son Augustine (my 5th great-grandfather), were found.

1803 Letters of Administration for John and Rowland Proffitt

On the 19th of April 1803, John and Rowland Proffitt were bound as administrators of the estate of the deceased David Proffitt. John and Rowland were his two oldest sons. They were given letters of administration as their father did not leave a last will and testament.1

1803 Inventory of David Proffitt of Amherst County, Virginia

On the 6th day of May 1803, three undersigned subscribers appraised the Estate of David Profitt decd.

Inventory of the estate of David Profitt (part 1)

The inventory began with:

One old negro man Shocoe £25
one negro woman Neaten £80
one negro boy Nicholas £65

and continued with livestock, tools, household goods, furniture, etc. from the estate of David Profitt (as the name was spelled).2

Inventory of the estate of David Profitt (part 2)

Given under our hands the 6th day of May 1803.
Shelton Crosthwait
Charles Edmunds
Zachary White.

At a court held for Amherst County the 20th day of June 1803. This Inventory & Appraisement of the Estate of David Profitt decd was this day returned into Court & ordered to be Recorded.3

Releasing: Shocoe, Neaten, and Nicholas

My 6th great-grandfather David Proffitt died before 19 April 1803, the date his sons were bound as administrators of his estate. He likely died the same or previous month.

Tax lists for Amherst County are available free online on Binns Genealogy for the years 1782, 1790, and 1799. These show David had one enslaved person in 1782 and 1790 and two in 1799. Shocoe may have been part of David’s household as early as 1782 as he was described as an old man. Did Neaten become part of the household between 1790 and 1799? What about Nicholas? Was he a son of Shocoe and Neaten, or only of Neaten, or neither of them? Did he become part of the household in the period between 1790 and 1799 or only after 1799?

At the time of David’s death there were ten living children, only my 5th great-grandfather Augustine pre-deceased his father. I have only found the 1830 administrator’s bond and inventory for the estate of John Proffitt, David’s oldest son. There were no enslaved persons in the inventory. Will Shocoe, Neaten, or Nicholas be found with one or more of the other children of David Proffitt? Future research may answer this question.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1.  “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (images), Ancestry.com, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Amherst Will Books, Vol 3-4, 1786-1810, Will Book 4, page 366, image 538 of 673. Letters of Administration for the estate of David Proffitt. (Ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018). 
  2.  Ibid., Will Book 4, page 117, image 412 of 673. Inventory of the estate of David Profitt(part 1). (Ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Will Book 4, page 118, image 413 of 673. Inventory of the estate of David Profitt (part 2). (Ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018). 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Nan

Vera Marie Badertscher wrote a post recently on her blog Ancestors in Aprons about an ancestor she had been reluctant to research. In her post, Anne Marie Smith, Church and Family, I was reminded I have an ancestress whose maiden name was Smith and I had also been ignoring her.

My 6th great-grandparents David Proffitt and Elizabeth Smith married in St. James Northam Parish, Goochland County, Virginia, on 7 April 1757. This was recorded by Rev. William Douglas who kept a register from 1750 to 1797 known as The Douglas register. It is a detailed record of births, marriages, and deaths for St. James Northam Parish. The entry for David and Elizabeth’s marriage does not give the names of their parents but it does indicate they were both of the St. James Northam Parish.

Who were her parents? (Spoiler: I’m still searching!) Which Smith families were living in the parish at the time? Since this register included births, marriages, and deaths I checked to see if there were any Smith’s who might have been married at the time my Elizabeth Smith was born. I estimate her birth at about 1736, assuming she was 21 at the time of her marriage in 1757. The only marriage in the parish which was a possibility was for a John Smith and Susannah Raison on 7 October 1736. There are also birth entries for six children of this couple in the register. None were named Elizabeth.

I then took a different approach. In hopes of finding a will mentioning Elizabeth Proffitt formerly Elizabeth Smith as a daughter of a Mr. [first name unknown] Smith, I checked the wills of Goochland County for the time period. I found a John Smith whose inventory was presented and ordered to be recorded in Goochland County court on 18 February 1755. This John Smith could not be the same John Smith seen above as his wife Susannah gave birth to twins 29 November 1756, nearly two years later.

Although I cannot confirm John Smith whose goods and chattels were inventoried on 29 January 1755 was related to my 6th great-grandmother Elizabeth Smith, I did discover this man likely owned a slave named Nan. The inventory list does not stipulate Nan was a man, woman, or child but the value given on the list certainly points to Nan being an enslaved person.

1755 Inventory of John Smith of Goochland County, Virginia

1755 Inventory of John Smith of Goochland County, Virginia. Source: “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (images), Ancestry.com, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Goochland Deed Books With Wills, Inventories, Vol 6-8, 1749-1765, Will Book 6, page 449, image 243 of 719. (Ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018).

Inventory of the Goods & Chattles of John Smith Decd of Goochland County January the 29th 1755.
Nan £35
1 Horse
1 Maire
4 Iron Potts
1 Tub 2 old pans 1 Cask 1 old Tub 1 pail 3 Piggens
1 brass kettle 1 bottle 1 looking Glass 1/2 Dozn. knives & forks
1 Ladle 1 Tub 2 Sifters 1 Can 4 hoes 2 Iron Wedges
5 Hoes 2 broad axes 1 Saddle 2 bridles 1 womans saddle
1 Coller & Hames 1 bag 2 Books
1 Bed & furniture
1 Dito & Dito
1 Chest 1 Trunk 1 Butter Pott 1 Bos
A percill of puter
2 Mugs 2 Vials 2 Ticklers 1 drinking Glass gra?
2 Rasors 1 pr. Spectacles 1 lb. Shott 1 box Iron & heters
1 Skillett 1 pr. Tongues & Shovell 1 Gun
1 peper Box Ink Glass 1 Candlestick & tin Can
1 Cross Cutt 2 Chairs 1 pr. Shares
a parcell of Carpenders Tools Shoe Tools
7 head of  Cattle 1 Trowel Hoe

In Obediance to an Order of Goochland Court We the Subscribers being first Sworn have Appraised the Estate of John Smith Decd. Given under our Hands.
John Mosely
Charles Rice
Joseph Pace
At a Court held for Goochland County February 18th 1755 This Inventory was presented in Court and Ordered to be Recorded.
Teste. Val Wood, Clerk

The search was not fruitful for the parents of my Elizabeth Smith. However, I also took another look at her husband David Proffitt and realized I did not have records proving his date of death. The Proffitt or Prophet line is yet another I have been reluctant to research. I located the Letters of Administration for his estate, his Inventory (which also included names of enslaved persons), and Guardian Bond for his grandchildren David (my 4th great-grandfather) and Augustine, the sons of his deceased son Augustine (my 5th great-grandfather). I’d like to thank Vera for pushing me to take a closer look at ancestors I’ve been ignoring.

Last month I shared Elizabeth Squires’ last will and testament when I released the names of Sarah and Benjamin. I had planned on continuing with her two sons who also left wills with slaves named. However, releasing the name of Nan who I found while searching for my unknown Smith 7th great-grandfather took precedence. Next up, in a week, will be the names found in the inventory of David Proffit. Elijah and Asa Squires’ wills will be shared during August.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Sarah and Benjamin

Manumission is the term which may be applied to all the various processes by which negroes in Virginia were taken from a condition of slavery and legally raised to a status of freedom, saving only that act of the nation by which slavery was abolished in al the States and to which is properly applied the term emancipation. There are three general methods by which slaves in Virginia were manumitted or legally set free during the life of the institution of slavery: (1) by an act of the legislature, (2) by last will and testament, and (3) by deed. A still more general classification recognizes only two kinds of manumission–public and private, the first of the three methods above being classed as public manumission and the last two of the three bearing the name of private manumission.1

Elizabeth Squires chose manumission by last will and testament. Written in 1830 while she was living in Lewis County, (West) Virginia, the last will and testament of Elizabeth Squires was presented to the Braxton County court during the April term of 1840. Mrs. Squires’ residence remained the same. The area of Lewis County where she lived became Braxton County in 1836. She did not mention her children by name in her will. The purpose of her will was to free her two slaves, Sarah and her son Benjamin.2

The Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth Squires

Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth Squires, Braxton County Will book 1 1836-1854, page 38.

I Elizabeth Squires of Lewis County do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following that is having been desirous for some years past that my negro woman Sarah and Benjamin her son should be Emancipated and to the enjoyment of their freedom I therefore Bequeath that my negro man Benjamin and Sarah his mother be set free and forever hereafter to enjoy their freedom as others in like circumstances and that none of my children or heirs to the estate may never after my death set up any pretended claim to the said negroes Sarah and Benjamin and that Benjamin under the aforesaid consideration be requested and further compeled to keep find and support his mother Sarah while they should live, having left the said Benjamin and Sarah his mother in the County of Faquier (sic) (where they now live) when I moved to this County and having been made somewhat acquainted of the difficulties of Emancipating Slaves in this State request the County Court of Faquier (sic) after this being recorded in Lewis to grant the permission of it in that was that may most promote the enjoyment of their freedom. I witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my Seal this 28th day of June 1830.
………………………………………………………………….Elizabeth Squires (her mark)
Signed Sealed published and declared
by Elizabeth Squires as and for her last will
and testament in the presence and hearing
of us who at her request and in her
presence have subscribed our names as
Witneses
Elijah Squires
Shadrack Chaney
Asa Squires

Braxton County court April term 1840
The last will and testament of Elizabeth Squires was presented in court proven by the oathes of Asa Squires & Elijah Squires two subscribing witnesses and admited to record.
……………………..Teste (signature illegible) C.B.C. [Clerk Braxton County]

Elizabeth Squires died ten years after she wrote her last will and testament in which she desired to have her slaves Benjamin and his mother Sarah manumitted. She left them in Fauquier County when she moved to Lewis County were her two youngest sons Elijah and Asa lived. She was enumerated in Lewis County in 1830 in her son Asa Squires’ household in the age range 80 to 89 years.3 She died shortly before her 94th birthday.

Elizabeth Squires’ last will and testament was the first will in Will Book 1 of Braxton County with names of enslaved persons. Both of her sons who lived in Braxton County owned slaves and named them in their wills in 1854 and 1858. They will be shared in the next two Slave Name Roll Project posts.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. John Henderson Russell, The Free Negro in Virginia, 1619-1865, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press (1913), 42. 
  2.  “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HYL7-9?cc=1909099&wc=Q8BW-MZL%3A179688701%2C179712101 : accessed 30 June 2018), Braxton > Will book, v. 001 1836-1854 > image 24 of 177; county courthouses, West Virginia. 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, NARA Roll M19_191, FHL Film 0029670, Virginia, Lewis, images 59-60 of 74, page 256, line 22, Asa Squires. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2018). 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Jordan, Winny, and Thomas

While researching the children of my 5th great-grandfather James Sims (1754-1845) of Nicholas County, Virginia (now West Virginia) I found records documenting the slaves of Charles Hunter, father-in-law of James’ son John. Charles Hunter wrote his last will and testament on 3 July 1847; it was proved and recorded a year later on 10 July 1848 in Kanawha County, Virginia (now West Virginia).

The Last Will and Testament of Charles Hunter

1847 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hunter (part 1)

I Charles Hunter do make this my last Will and Testament as follows, to wit, Item. I will and desire that all my personal property of any kind whatsoever be sold by my executor hereafter to be named and equally divided among my six children or their heirs to wit: Polly Forqueran, the heirs of George Hunter, James Hunter, Mildred Sims, Patsy Childers, the heirs of Nancy Cook.1

1847 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hunter (part 2)

Item. I give and bequeath to my son James a bed and bedding. I desire that my daughter Patsy may have my case of liquors at the valuation fixed by the Appraiser. I will and direct my Executor that in the sale of any personal property that the negro woman Winny and her son Thomas be sold together and that they shall not be seperated.
Item. I will and direct that all my real estate be sold and equally divided among my five children or their heirs. Argo.(?) Polly Forqueran, the heirs of George Hunter, James Hunter, Patsey Childers, and the heirs of Nancy Cook having already conveyed One hundred acres of Land to John Sims, which I consider as equal to his part.
Item. I will and direct that whatever property I have devised to my son James, or may devise, may be placed in to the hands of David Childers, who shall act as a Trustee, investing the money or property in some safe manner for his support.
I give to my son James a sorrell colt, two years old.
I do hereby declare this to be my last Will and Testament revoking all others and I hereby appoint John Sims and David Childers my executors. In Witness whereof I have hereonto set my hand and seal this 3rd day of July 1847.
………………………………………………………………………Charles Hunter (his mark)
Signed, sealed and acknowledged
in presence of Ph. R. Thompson
……………………….Lilburn Sims
……………………….Wm. H. Cunningham

At a court held for Kanawha County the 10th day of July 1848
This last Will and Testament of Charles Hunter dec’d was this day proved by the oath of Philip R. Thompson & William H. Cunningham subscribing witness thereto and ordered to be recorded.
Teste H. W. Quarrier Clk2

1848 Bills of Sale

The list of property sold at the estate sale of Charles Hunter decd on the 18th day of August 1848 does not include the enslaved Winny and her son Thomas mentioned in the will.3

On the 20th day of November 1848 another sale was held. David J. W. Clarkson bought 2 negros Tom & Winney for $562 and a Negro man Jordan for $440.50.4

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedule

In 1850 D. J. W. Clarkson (David Josiah Wood Clarkson) was living in Kanawha County. He had five enslaved persons: 46 yo female black, 45 yo female black, 22 yo female mulatto, 10 yo female mulatto, and 12 yo male black. He had no adult male. Does this mean Jordan was deceased or sold before 1850? Could the young 12 years old boy be Thomas/Tom? If he is little Tom, which of the two older women may have been Winny as Charles Hunter stipulated Thomas was not to be separated from his mother?

By 1860 Clarkson was still in Kanawha but not found on the slave schedule. There was however a John N. Clarkson (seen in a family tree as David’s brother) on the 1860 Slave Schedule with many slaves. In 1870 David Clarkson was in Lafayette County, Missouri where he died in 1873. His widow Sarah Elizabeth Quarrier was back in Kanawha by 1880.

During the Civil War David J. W. Clarkson was engaged with his brothers in the manufacture of salt. Could knowing his occupation be helpful to anyone searching for Jordan, Winny, and Thomas?

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING An Unnamed Black Woman


  1.  “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4P95-4T?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-15W%3A179690301%2C179690302 : 21 June 2016), Kanawha > Will book, v. 001 1820-1858 > image 212 of 377; county courthouses, West Virginia. 
  2.  “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4P95-DL?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-15W%3A179690301%2C179690302 : 22 June 2016), Kanawha > Will book, v. 001 1820-1858 > image 213 of 377; county courthouses, West Virginia. 
  3.   “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4P95-P3?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-15W%3A179690301%2C179690302 : 22 June 2016), Kanawha > Will book, v. 001 1820-1858 > image 218+219 of 377; county courthouses, West Virginia. 
  4.  “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4P95-8X?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-15W%3A179690301%2C179690302 : 22 June 2016), Kanawha > Will book, v. 001 1820-1858 > image 219 of 377; county courthouses, West Virginia. 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: An Unnamed Black Woman

A Black Woman valued at $150 was found on a list of appraised property belonging to Isaac Jenkins (deceased) of Fayette County, Virginia (now West Virginia) on 7 November 1845. She was the most valuable “item” on the list of property. The estate was appraised by John P. Huddleston, Job Huddleston, and Mason Coleman. [See line 8 in the listing below.]

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9S4-W3?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 71 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

A Sale Bill of the Isaac Jenkins Estate was filed in the January Court 1847. The enslaved woman did not appear on this bill.

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9S4-W3?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 71 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

On 28 October 1848 in Fayette County, John W. Dempsey, Mason Coleman, and Edin Nugent were nominated and appointed by the County Court as appraisers of the personal and real estate of Nancy Jenkins, deceased. They presented a list which included one Negro woman valued at $100. [See line 8 in the list.]

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9S7-KY?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 103 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

The appraisers returned the list on 28 October 1848 and it was admitted to be recorded on the 3 February 1852.

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SW-DG?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 104 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

A list of property sold 17 November 1848 belonging to the Estate of the late Nancy Jenkins, deceased, was presented and admitted to be recorded on 3 February 1852. The administrator of the estate was F. A. Settle.

The last line of the sale bill includes one black woman bought by Mary Lewis for $131.

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SW-DG?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 104 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Nancy Jenkins née Martin was the widow of Isaac Jenkins. They had no living children when Isaac died. Their daughter Margaret had married Carey Harrison Boatright in 1825 and predeceased them in 1828. She left one daughter, Minerva Frances Boatright born in 1826. Minerva married Francis Asbury Settle in 1842. Therefore the administrator of Nancy Jenkins’ estate, F. A. Settle, was the husband of her only grandchild.

Isaac’s father John Jenkins died 30 July 1831 and the appraisement and inventory of his estate was the first entry in the Will Book of the newly formed county of Fayette. He did not have slaves listed.

In 1840 Isaac and Nancy were found on the census of Fayette County with two black persons in their household. One was a free Colored female under the age of 10 and the other was a female slave age 24 thru 35. This woman is most likely the enslaved woman found in the estates of both Isaac and Nancy Jenkins. Was the young girl who was listed as a free person the daughter of this unnamed woman? Why would a child be listed as free?

There was only one Mary Lewis in Fayette County in 1850. She was a 15-year-old girl and unlikely the person who bought the unnamed woman. Perhaps Mary Lewis was from one of the neighboring counties of Kanawha, Nicholas, or Greenbrier.

There were two Lewis men in Fayette County in 1850 who owned slaves: William and Samuel. William who owned three slaves did not have a wife in 1850. Samuel’s wife’s name was Frances and he owned eight slaves.

Although this enslaved woman did not have a name, I felt the records should be shared in case someone is looking for her.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING An Unnamed Black Woman

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Hannah

An autosomal DNA match with a distant cousin with the surname Landrum in their family tree had me looking into the parentage and ancestors of my 4th great-grandmother Margaret “Patsy” Landrum who married William Dempsey in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1799.

Patsy was the orphan daughter of James Landrum who was mentioned in the will of his mother Elizabeth Landrum in 1755.1

Elizabeth Landrum’s last will and testament was written on 22 October 1755 and presented to be recorded on 18 November 1755. The executors/administrators’ bond followed the will and was dated 18 November 1755. A condition of the bond was the inventory and appraisal of the estate. The inventory ordered on 18 November 1755 was recorded on 16 December 1755.

1755 Appraisal and Inventory of the Estate of Elizabeth Landrum of St. Anne’s Parish in Essex County, Virginia

Inventory of the estate of Elizabeth Landrum (part 1)

The inventory included one Negro woman called Hannah and valued at £20.2

Inventory of the estate of Elizabeth Landrum (part 2)

Hannah, the enslaved woman mentioned in this inventory, was not mentioned in the estate of Samuel Landrum who predeceased his wife Elizabeth in 1750. He did not leave a will and his wife was the administratrix of his estate.3 An appraisement and inventory of the estate was duly recorded and did not include any enslaved persons. One-third of the estate was allotted to the widow.4

Samuel Landrum predeceased his mother Mary Landrum who wrote a will after his death in which she mentioned his being deceased.5 Neither the will nor the inventory ordered to be made included slaves.6

Samuel’s father James Landrum died about 1739 leaving a last will and testament which included the names of two enslaved persons. Their names were shared in Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Willobey and Plimoth.

Samuel did not receive a slave from his father which makes me believe Hannah may have been acquired by Elizabeth after the death of her husband  Samuel. Another possibility being that Elizabeth inherited Hannah from her parents. Unfortunately, at this time, the maiden name and parentage of Elizabeth Landrum are not known.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (images), Ancestry.com, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, page 77, image 473 of 519. Last will and testament of Elizabeth Landrum dated 22 October 1755, presented and recorded on 18 November 1755. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, pages 81 and 82, images 475 and 476 of 519. Appraisal and inventory of the estate of Elizabeth Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  3.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, page 385, image 215 of 519. Administrators’ Bond for the estate of Samuel Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  4.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, pages 397-399, images 221-222 of 519. Appraisal and inventory of the estate of Samuel Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  5.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 9-10, 1750-1756, 1760-1761, page 310, image 315 of 539. Last will and testament of Mary Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  6.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 9-10, 1750-1756, 1760-1761, pages 322-323, images 327-328 of 539. Appraisal and inventory of the estate of Mary Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 

Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What?

Making the first contact with a DNA match has us running the gamut of emotions from excitement at finding the match to the disappointment of there being no tree. From the joy of hearing back to the exasperation of never receiving a reply. From the frustrations of the trying to explain your need to use a chromosome browser to evaluate the match to the delight of making contact with cousins who are ready to work with you.

Running the gamut of emotions…

I have tried different approaches in writing messages to DNA matches on Ancestry.  Keeping them short, giving more or less information, asking right out to upload to GEDmatch, sending my email in the subject line, including links to articles on my blog about shared ancestors, etc. The number of persons who reply is very low. The list of reasons for this is too long to go into.

So I’ve decided to use my blog to write to my cousins. I will continue to write short messages and include a link to this post. The instructions are up to date – I tried them out while writing. If anything changes, I can fix them and won’t have to copy/paste and re-write instructions I have been sending in messages or emails.

Dear Cousin,

We have a DNA match, now what? Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and getting back to me. AncestryDNA does not offer a chromosome browser. I find the best solution to be GEDmatch.

GEDmatch provides DNA and genealogical analysis tools for amateur and professional researchers and genealogists. Most tools are free, but we do provide some premium tools for users who wish to help support us with contributions. You will need to upload DNA and / or genealogical (GEDCOM) data to make use of the tools here. Registration requires your name, email and a password of your choice.

Did you notice in the quote that MOST TOOLS ARE FREE? Yes, there are some premium tools which require payment but the chromosome browsers we are lacking on AncestryDNA are on GEDmatch and FREE.

Would you please consider transferring your raw DNA to GEDmatch? Here are the latest instructions: [If you already have your GEDmatch kit number,  scroll down to Thank you to continue reading.]

Register with GEDmatch

To use GEDmatch you need to register for the site. The link is https://www.gedmatch.com/login1.php

GEDmatch screenshot

Fill out the form per instructions and click on Register.

Download raw DNA file

The next step would be to download your raw DNA from Ancestry. If you haven’t done this before:

On your AncestryDNA page in the upper right hand corner click on Settings. On the right is a Download RAW DNA Data button.

AncestryDNA screenshot

You will be prompted to enter your Ancestry password and check the box showing you understand Ancestry is not responsible for the file they are sending you. Click Confirm.

AncestryDNA screenshot

As soon as you click Confirm a window will open advising you that they are sending an email to proceed with the download. It may take up to 5 minutes for the email to come in.

AncestryDNA screenshot

The email has a Confirm Data Download button. Be sure to make a note of where you save the file on your computer. The request expires after 7 days or after the first use.

Upload raw DNA file

Login to GEDmatch. Click on Generic Upload FAST on the right side under File Uploads. Fill out the form and upload the file without unzipping it.

Screenshot courtesy of GEDmatch

(If you are a Mac user the file may have been unzipped during download. As a Mac user, you are likely aware of this and know the procedure to get it zipped. The zipped file may be in the Trash.)

Meanwhile…

It doesn’t take long to upload the file but the processing on site may take a day or two. This means you will NOT be able to use all features right away. A one-to-one compare will work before processing is finished. To try this one out, compare your kit to one I manage:  (see the kit number in my message to you). Please email your number to me as I won’t see you’ve been added until it’s completely processed. If our match is lower than my top 2000 matches it will not show on my list but I can still do comparisons with your number.

What else can you do?

While you are waiting for your kit to tokenize (GEDmatch lingo) consider exporting a GEDCOM from your genealogy software and uploading it to GEDmatch. Using genealogy software allows you to export as many or as few individuals in your tree as you need.

Screenshot courtesy of GEDmatch

If you have a tree on Ancestry you can export your family tree data, as a GEDCOM file, to your computer via Trees > Create & Manage Trees > Manage Tree > right side > Export Tree.

When you click on either of the versions to upload a GEDCOM file to GEDmatch you will find some suggestions pertaining to the file. The most important thing to remember is that the GEDCOM will be public and viewable to all persons who have access to the GEDmatch site. For this reason, it is recommended that you privatize living individuals prior to uploading.

You’ve uploaded the raw DNA and your GEDCOM file (optional, but so very valuable to your matches) to GEDmatch. On the homepage, there are some things which will be useful to you.

User Lookup : This lets you check by kit number, GEDCOM number, or email address to get more information on a person using GEDmatch.

GEDCOM + DNA Matches : This will generate a list of all persons who match you (or whoever’s kit # you search) and who have a GEDCOM file attached to their kit. This is practical as you won’t have to use the User Lookup to check each kit to see if they have a GEDCOM file. Closest DNA matches are at the top of the list.

One-to-many matches : as soon as your kit is processed you will be able to check all matches to your kit. It will generate a list limited to the first 2000 matches with the closest matches at the top. When you do this the table will have some boxes in the first column (kit #) highlighted in different shades of green. The darkest are new matches. As time goes by the color gets lighter and finally turns white. In the column GED/WikiTree you will find links to a match’s GEDCOM file or WikiTree. The Select column allows you to choose 3 or more kits for further comparison. Click on the Submit button at the top in the text area for additional display and processing options.

People who match one or both of 2 kits : When you check your kit and another kit with this tool it will give a list of all matches shared by both at the top, followed by a list of all kits who match the first and not the second, followed by a list of all kits who match the second and not the first. I check all the boxes (of the people who share), submit, and then use 2-D Chromosome Browser to view the matching segments on the chromosomes. This helps to narrow down the matches both kits have to others on the same chromosome segment. As chromosomes are two-sided further analysis is needed to determine if the matches are paternal or maternal.

This is not a complete list of what you can do on GEDmatch but the most useful in the beginning. DNA is a complicated subject when you are new to it. Take it slowly and one day, after you have read something for the 3rd, 5th, 10th time it will sink in and seem EASY.

Thank you!

Thank you, cousin, for taking the time to read this. If you already have your AncestryDNA on GEDmatch please send me your kit number. Usernames on Ancestry do not always match up with the name or alias used on GEDmatch.

If you decide to upload your raw DNA to GEDmatch, I will do a one-to-one compare between our two kits as soon as I know your kit number. Then I’ll add the chromosome information to Genome Mate Pro (GMP), the program I use to keep track of all matches and to map chromosomes. I can then assign the segment(s) we share to the Most Recent Common Ancestor(s) (MRCA) and Voilà!

 

Cropped view of the Segment Map generated by Genome Mate Pro

I will have our shared segment(s) in living color on my chromosome map and can use them to assist with other matches on the same segment. In turn, if we don’t know who our MRCA is, the other matches on the same segment will aid in the analysis.

There are also other possibilities: FTDNA and MyHeritage will accept uploads of raw DNA from AncestryDNA and they both have chromosome browsers. It would be very much appreciated if you choose to upload your raw DNA to any of these sites. But if you don’t feel comfortable doing this I will understand and we can continue working together, using the tools available on AncestryDNA (Shared Matches, Circles, Map and Locations, Pedigree and Surnames).

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me and I will do my best to help. While we are on the subject, the following articles may be worthwhile to you for managing your DNA results on AncestryDNA:
6 AncestryDNA Notes for Easier Comparison and
How I Use and Manage AncestryDNA Notes.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Mary, Isaac, Charles, and John

I’m rewriting the biography of my ancestor James Sims. The first set of documents being perused are the census. As I study the pre-1850 census listings of my 5th great-grandfather and his children, I’m paying close attention to ALL persons in the households including enslaved persons.

James Sims was known to have had slaves. They were featured in my three-part series on the slaves of James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015. Today on the anniversary of these posts, I would like to feature four more enslaved persons found in a Sims household.

RELEASING Kate, Isaac, Charles, and John

James’ oldest son Jeremiah Sims had three colored persons in his household in Clark County, Ohio, in 1820.1 The headings of the columns are nearly impossible to read and do not match up with the census extraction form for 1820.2 There are too few columns for Slaves and Free Colored Persons. On the page with Jeremiah’s entry, there are two columns with the numbers 2 and 1 – separated by a double line. Could this be to distinguish the number of slaves from free colored persons? Or male from female? The ages and gender of these persons cannot be obtained from the sheet due to the lack of columns. Who are these people?

1820 U.S. Federal Census, Ohio, Clark, German Township, Jeremiah Sims

The answer may lie in the history of Ohio. Slavery was abolished in Ohio by the state’s original constitution when it was formed in 1803. Jeremiah did not settle in Ohio until about 1804. The 1810 census for Ohio with the exception of the county of Washington is lost. This means no record of Jeremiah having slaves in 1810. Who could these people be and were they free or enslaved?

Jeremiah Sims’ Relationship to Thomas Milhollin

Jeremiah was married to Sarah Milhollin, daughter of Thomas Milhollin and Jane McClintic, on 26 November 1800.3 Her mother Jane died about 1801 and her father was living at the time Jeremiah and Sarah went to Ohio around 1804. When did Thomas Milhollin die? Did he own slaves? Did he leave a will?

The Will and Codicil

The Last Will and Testament of Thomas Milhollin
The Last Will and Testament of Thomas Milhollin

The Last Will and Testament of Thomas Milhollin dated 21 September 1818 was witnessed by Charles Cameron and Charles L. Francisco.4 It was probated in Bath County, Virginia, in the December Court 1818. Executors were Charles Cameron, Robert Kincaid, and Charles L. Francisco. Thomas made the following bequests:

  • All private property (except slaves) to be sold together with the gristmill, sawmill and everything pertaining thereto
  • To daughter Mary all other lands adjoining part sold, with the gristmill, sawmill, and everything pertaining thereto. Daughter Mary to pay executors $200 within two years
  • To Mary featherbed and furniture already claimed by her, all cow beasts claimed by her, falling leaf table and small trunk
  • To son Thomas all other lands, including the part he lives on, son Thomas to pay executors $300 within two years
  • Executors to pay $100 each to sons William and Patrick and to daughter Elizabeth
  • To daughter Sarah $500 “this I give her in compliance with a promise made at the request of her mother”
  • Executors to pay son William $100 to be applied in schooling a son of Mary Akeman’s (now Mary Hoover) which son Andrew was said to be a child of my son Patrick, on condition of the mother’s consent and the child being bound to son William
  • (see Bequest Concerning Slaves below)
  • Balance to daughters Sarah and Margaret and to John Milhollin, a natural son of daughter Esther, dec, who now lives with my brother Patrick Milhollin

Codicil to the will: two tracts being purchased from John Bollar are also to be sold. Dated 8 November 1818 and witnessed by Charles and Rachel Cameron.

The Inventory

The Inventory of the Estate of Thomas Milhollin
The Inventory of the Estate of Thomas Milhollin

The Inventory of the Estate of Thomas Milhollin was submitted on 18 December 1818 by Adam Givin, Charles Cameron, B. Thomson, and Alexander McClintic.5 It included the following items: cart, farm implements, tools, kitchen furniture, saddle and saddle bags and pair of stillards, household furniture, shoemakers tools, gun and shot pouch, old books, wearing apparel, hemp, rye, broke flax, barrels, still, 2 axle tres, oats, wheat, corn, 5 stacks of hay, 13 hogs, 3 horses, 19 cattle, and Negroes named Kate, Isaac, Charles, and John.

Section in the inventory with the names of the enslaved persons

In the middle of page 233 we find:

1 Negro Woman named Kate 150.00
1 negro boy named Isaac 500.00
1 negro boy named Charles 400.00
1 negro boy named John 250.00

The Sale of the Estate

The Sale of the Estate of Thomas Milhollin

The sale of the estate was on 8 December 1818.6 Three pages of items with the names of the buyers and the price they paid. The enslaved persons were not sold.

A Bequest Concerning Slaves

Thomas Milhollin made the following bequest in his last will and testament concerning the slaves found in his inventory.

As it is my desire that my slaves to wit. Kate and her three children Isaac, Charles, and John, should not be retained in Slavery after my decease I will and direct that my daughter Mary and my son Thomas out of the legacies left them do furnish my said slaves Kate and her three children with two suits of strong new cloths and with money necessary for conveying them to the state of Ohio and that my said son Thomas carry them there and deliver them to my son-in-law Jeremiah Sims and that said Jeremiah Sims bind the said Isaac, Charles, and John to learn some trade agreeable to the Laws of that commonwealth until they severally arrive to the age of twenty one years, at which time it is my will that they be free and that the said Jeremiah Sims have and enjoy the services of the said Kate until her residence there under the laws of that state and my will now intitle her to her freedom and also should it be necessary upon the introduction of my said slaves into the State of Ohio to pay any tax to the commonwealth it is my will that the said Jeremiah Sims pay the same out of the legacies left by me to his wife Sarah.

The three children were to be bound to Jeremiah Sims to learn a trade until the age of 21, then freed. Kate was to work for Jeremiah Sims until freed under the laws of Ohio.

1820 U.S. Federal Census, Ohio, Clark, German Township, Jeremiah Sims

On the 1820 census, three persons of color were in the Sims household in Germantown in Clark County, Ohio. Were they the three sons of Kate? Two sons and Kate? Was Kate living in a different household? Had Isaac already reached the age of 21 and freed?

By 1830 Jeremiah was deceased and his widow Sarah had her own household with 2 sons and a daughter. Next door was her son William. Her oldest son Thomas who had married in 1822 has not been located in 1830. Sarah and William did not have slaves or free colored persons in their household.

Is it possible Jeremiah Sims, who died in 1824, left a will including bequests concerning the young men bound to him?

The Last Will and Testament of Jeremiah Sims

On 8 January 1824, Jeremiah Sims wrote his last will and testament.7 No mention was made of slaves. There was, however, a codicil to the will.

Codicil to the Last Will and Testament of Jeremiah Sims

I, Jeremiah Sims, do further add this codicil to my last will and testament, that is to say, it is my will that the two coulered boys living in my family to wit Charles and John shall be bound out at the discretion of my executors aforesaid. Witness my hand and seal to this day above written (8 January 1818). Jeremiah Sims
Saul Henkle
John Callison
James Callison

By 1824, it would appear that Isaac had reached the age of 21 or for some other reason was no longer living in the family of Jeremiah Sims. Charles and John had likely not yet reached the age of 21.

Jeremiah Sims did not include surnames for the two young men living in his family. What surname or surnames did Kate, Isaac, Charles, and John choose to use? Did they remain in Clark County, or even in Ohio?

This was written in hopes of the names of Kate and her sons Isaac, Charles, and John being familiar to a descendant searching for them.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_88, image 33, page 18, Ohio, Clark, Green, German, image 3 of 3, line 41. Jeremiah Sims (ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  2. Ancestry.com, U.S. Census Forms, 1820 census, https://c.mfcreative.com/pdf/trees/charts/1820.pdf 
  3. Eliza Warwick Wise, Bath County Marriage Bonds and Ministers Returns 1791-1853 (Bath County Historical Society, Inc. 1978). 
  4. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (images), Ancestry.com, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Bath Will Books, Vol 1-3, 1791-1830; Vol 2, pages 229-232, images 439-440 of 746. Last Will and Testament of Thomas Milhollin. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 February 2018). 
  5. Ibid., pages 232-233, images 440-441 of 746. Inventory of Estate of Thomas Milhollin. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 February 2018). 
  6.  Ibid., pages 236-238, images 442-443 of 746. Sale of the estate of Thomas Milhollin. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 February 2018). 
  7. “Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998,” (index and images), Ancestry.com, citing original data from Ohio County, District and Probate Courts,, Clark Wills, Vol A1, 1819-1835; Vol 2, 1835-1855, p 94-96, images 56-57 of 565. 1824 Last Will and Testament of Jeremiah Sims and Codicil. (Ancestry.com : accessed 26 February 2018). 

My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2018

De Vältesdag, deen den 14. Februar a ville Länner gefeiert gëtt, ass deen Dag vun den Verléiften.  Ouni déi Koppelen, déi virun eis gelieft hun géifen mir net existéieren.

Valentine’s Day reminds me of the couples who came before me – without whom I would not exist.

This is my fifth year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day.  I first learned this way of keeping tabs on the progress in my genealogy research from Barbara Schmidt in 2014. She posted her latest Ancestor Score February 2018 last week.

My Ancestor Score

The names of 57 new ancestors were added to my family tree database during the year. Most of these are 6th and 7th great-grandparents who were found while writing about my Luxembourgish and German 5th great-grandparents last year.

Generation 6 is still hanging in there at 30 of 32 ancestors. I continue to search for the key to the door of my most frustrating DEMPSEY brick wall. Who were the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY 1820-1867 of Fayette County, West Virginia?

I wrote the above last year and it’s still the case and has been for at least a half-dozen years or longer.

My focus this year is on the American ancestors as I organize and set up the groundwork for more serious DNA research. I am now seeing descendants of William A. W. DEMPSEY in my matches. I have matches for descendants of his four sons (James Alexander, John Henry, William Henderson, and Elijah Lewis) and daughter Mary Virginia. I’m still looking for matches who descend from Lizzie and Eunice, the other two daughters. All I need is for all of the matches to upload their raw DNA to GEDmatch so I can compare the chromosomes, separate the chromosomes coming from his wife Sarah Ann WOOD, and compare all unknowns with what is left in hopes of finding matches who descend from William’s parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents. Sounds easy?

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s ancestor score looks a lot better mostly due to their paternal line being mainly from Luxembourg. Ninety-five percent of their ancestors to the 8th generation are known. Their numbers for the next two generations are quite high compared to mine – even when you consider the difference in generations.

Stats for previous years are included in both tables above. The posts from previous years can be found here:

Have you done your Ancestor Score recently? I’d love to have a look. Please post your link in a comment below. Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.