Rewriting the Biography has become a catch-all for not only the biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) but also his children and their descendants. I took a break from working on this series after doing the census work and posts for his sixteen children.
While I was working on these last year, Patricia Simms Williams shared this lovely tribute written by her grandfather following the death of one of his children. The Genealogy Sketch box puts this family in perspective to James SIMS, Patricia, and myself.
Name:Charles Edward SIMMS Parents: William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS Spouse: Lydia Ellen WILLIAMS and Cora Estella HURLEY (*) Children: Ophelia Virginia, Chusvert, Laura, Cecil James, Charles Erman, Carman, Claude, and Cluster Erwin Whereabouts: West Virginia counties: Fayette, Nicholas, Braxton, and Greenbrier Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd cousin 3 times removed
Charles Edward SIMMS was born in 1866 to William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS. His father died in 1870 and his mother remarried in 1872. He had two siblings and 5 half-siblings.
Charles married his first wife Lydia Ellen WILLIAMS in 1887. She gave him two sons and a daughter before her death. Charles married again in 1896 to Cora Estella HURLEY.
By 1900 the two sons from his first marriage had died and his household included his wife Cora, his daughters Ophelia from his first marriage and Laura B. from his second marriage. Cora was listed as the mother of two children, one living. This would mean Charles had lost three children by 1900.
In 1902 a son was born to Charles and Cora. No record of birth has been found for him nor a record of his death in September 1905. His name and years of birth and death have been passed down in the family history. Cecil James SIMMS died after his father came in contact with measles while stopping off at a neighbor’s house.
This is his recollection and tribute to his son. The scans of the pages with the handwritten poem did not include a title. I’ve taken the liberty to give it this title.
A Darling Little Boy
Returning once unto my home
Along a muddy way
The path that through the fields did come
I took that fatal day.
Near by a neighbor farmhouse stood
I, weary, sad, thought best
to stop with them partake of food
and gain a little rest.
Fate lays her hand in silent state
Unwarned on all of earth
Regardless of the small or great,
Or those of noble birth
Fate, silent stroke here fell on me
I, measles did inhale,
The bellows of life troubled sea
Rose by the stirring gale.
There was a flower in my home,
A darling little boy;
No dearer object there could come,
This precious little toy.
I used to take my darling son
When near the close of day
The busy cares then being done
And sing in joyful lay.
“I never will cease to love him
My, Jimmy, my Jimmy!
I will never cease to love him
He’s done so much for me.”
But when the sickness seized this flower,
It drooping, withered, died
We strove to save it from that power;
It perished by our side.
We sadly laid him in the grave
To wait that coming day;
And trusting Jesus power to save,
Our heats will ever say:
One by one the Savior gathers,
choicest flowers rich, and rare,
He’ll transplant them in his garden,
They will bloom forever there.
Charles Edward Simms (1866-1936)
This poem conveys Charles’ feelings, his love for his son Jimmy, and the sadness of losing him. It was written like a hymn which is not unusual as Charles was a preacher and teacher. In the years which followed Charles was also a manager for Singer sewing machines as well as a jewelry shop owner.
Following the death of his only living son in 1905, Charles’ wife Cora gave him four more sons. Charles, Carman, Claude, and Cluster. Claude died of influenza in 1918 during the epidemic at the age of 4 years and 15 days. Charles and Cora’s daughter Laura had died the previous year. Patricia wrote:
Laura was not married to Joseph Edward Bruffey, the father of her son Joseph Eugene Bruffey. For some reason, Laura’s mother Cora didn’t want her to get married. Laura had polio as a child, childbirth was hard for her and she died the following day after giving birth to Joseph Eugene. The Bruffey’s wanted to raise the baby but grandma Cora refused to let them.
After all of these losses in Charles’ family, his children Ophelia, Charles, Carman, and Cluster lived long lives. Ophelia lived to be 82, Charles 69, Carman 70, and Cluster 93.
When Patricia shared the scans of the poem with me, she wrote:
It should be shared with someone who will take care of it after I’m gone.
By featuring it here, I hope it will not be lost to future generations interested in our SIMS ancestry.
During the past three months, I broke my commitment of writing posts on a monthly basis releasing the names of enslaved persons. Actually, I didn’t blog at all from the end of October to the beginning of January. The Slave Name Roll Project is dear to my heart. I’ll continue to release the names of enslaved persons found in records while researching my own families.
The Last Will and Testament of Asa Squires, written in 1854 and recorded in 1865
I Asa Squires of the County of Braxton and State of Virginia Being of Sound mind and disposing memory for which I thank the Lord, and calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless one with: First: I devise to my beloved wife Sarah C. Squires all the personal property (Slaves only excepted) of my estate including horses, cattle and other stock on the premises together with all the household and kitchen furniture and farming utensils and library and whatever money, bonds and accounts may be due me at my decease after paying my funeral expenses and just debts for her my beloved Sarah C. Squires, to keep to give and dispose of amongst her children, as she may see fit proper to do or have done. Secondly: I bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah C. Squires during her natural lifetime, All my home Sted place to wit: The 120 acres tract of land deeded to me by Uriah Byrne also the 22 acre tract patented to me the 12 Augt 1818 adjoining the Reeder tracts; also, the residue of the 222 acre of patent not deeded to Shadrack Chaney & wife, also, that portion of the 300 acre tract of patent, lying from the top of the ridge between the John Steel place and my home place, bordering on with the 222 acre tract before named, including them all as parcels above named, will as I suppose make 400 acres, more orless, to her during her natural lifetime, also, I bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah C. Squires, Those I warrant to wit: Leonisa, Emily, Harriet, Anjaline, [illegible], and Margaret during her natural lifetime to be taken care of by her on the place or hired out, as she may think best. Thirdly: Immediately after the death of my beloved wife Sara C. Squires the land allotted to her as just above described ?? to for, my son Daniel S. Squires, his heirs and assigns, for his vigilant care and attention to his parents during their natural lifetime, and also to see that the three old colored women Leodina, Emily and Harriet are comfortably provided for after his parents death, their taxes paid, kept at home to enjoy their freedom as well as the laws of the State may permit them to do. Also that to remain with D.S.S. or some of the other heirs (my children, as they may choose
or allot, as the other servants and in the same ways & on the same principles the other servants are. And Fourthly: Having a wish for the welfare & happiness of the servants (all of them, and some of my heirs not wishing to have anything to do with them, ??? have or expect to have any claim on those of my heirs that do or may take care of them and further I entail those Servants to my children and to their bodily heirs not to be liable to be Sold for any debt of theirs ??? Execution or otherwise at any time from among the children & their bodily heirs, Also it is my wish that those of my children who do take care of them and raise them, that at some proper age, Say from 2 to 28 years old, with their consent, they be sent to Liberia Colonized & see appendage to this last will, Having disposed of what property it has pleased the Lord to bless me with in that way and named, that seems the best to me at this time. I now appoint my beloved wife Sara C. Squires, together with my son Danl S. Squires my legal Executors to carry out and Settle this my last will and testament as above witness, expressed and directed fully confiding in their probity? & integrity would not wish them to be bound in any other security for the ?? performance of this my last will and testament. And further I ask that if any one of the children or heirs should not be satisfied with these my views of bequest should attempt to alter the same by a law I wish they attempting to do so by actual suit shall be disinherited and their portion of my Estate & divided with the other heirs. I now commend my Soul and body to God, the Giver and Governer of them, resting fully satisfied in the atonement and merits of Jesus Christ in a full and free salvation. Given under my hand and seal the 15th day of November in the year of our Lord 1854. ………………………………………Asa Squires (Seal) Witness be this my last will & testament Allen S. Berry Asa Squires Jr. William H. Berry
The within will and bequeath was acknowledged before the subscribing witnesses the 22nd April 1856
Braxton County to wit: Recorders Office December 11th 1865 The last will and testament of Asa Squires deceased was this day presented to me as Recorder and proven by the oaths of Allen S. Berry and Asa Squires Jr. Subscribing witness thereto, and ordered to be recorded. ………………………………………Teste G. F. Taylor Recorder
Releasing the Names
In the above will we see: Leonisa, Emily, Harriet, Anjaline, [illegible], and Margaret as well as Leodina, Emily and Harriet. Are the women named Leonisa and Leodina actually the same person? Was the name written incorrectly the first or the second time? It would appear the names were listed from oldest to youngest. If the first three were the oldest, were they also the women referred to as the three old colored women?
There is one name which I found too illegible to read. It looks like Tom with a squiggle and then osi. Unless someone else can read this, this enslaved person’s name cannot be released.
The U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedule
Asa Squires was living at the time of the 1850 and the 1860 census. Slave Schedules are available for both of these census years. In the 1850 listing for Asa Squires there are two older women age 60 and 42.2
In the 1860 listing we see three older women age 65, 50, and 48.3 The three males below 10 years would not have been on the 1850. The ages of the remaining five females and one male don’t exactly match with those in 1850. Who gave the ages of the enslaved persons in 1850 and 1860? Could the three women aged 65, 50, and 48 be Leodina, Emily and Harriet?
In 1870 there was a mulatto woman named Harriet Squires living in Braxton County.4 She was 59 years old. Could she be one of the two women seen in 1860 as 50 and 48 years old? Having the same first name as the third named in the will, would she more likely be the 48 years old woman in 1860 and now 58, only a year off?
I have no proof Harriet Squires was one of women named in Asa Squires will. However, in HH#23-23, two households after Harriet’s, we find Asa’s son Daniel S. Squires with his family. There are no other black or mulatto families in the immediate area.
Does anyone recognize these ladies’ names? Can someone help decipher the name of the woman who is listed as [illegible] in the title of this post?
1850 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules (part of United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850) original records in Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M432, 1,009 rolls. Virginia > Braxton > District 4 > image 1 of 2 > lines 11-18 > Asa Squires. (http://ancestry.com : accessed 27 January 2019). ↩
1860 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules (part of United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1860) original records in Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M653, 1,438 rolls. Virginia > Braxton > District not stated > image 2 of 2 > lines 13-21 > Asa Squires. (http://ancestry.com : accessed 27 January 2019). ↩
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; History Library Film: 553184; West Virginia, Braxton, Clay, image 4 of 55, Page No. 4, Sheet No. 388B, line 11, HH #21-21, Harriet Squires household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 January 2018). ↩
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.
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
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
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
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.
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). ↩
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). ↩
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). ↩
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). ↩
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
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.
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). ↩
In 1842 Elizabeth Bell, a daughter of William Bell, married William Hutchison. He was previously married and had children. In 1850 the William Hutchison household included two of William Bell’s daughters, Jane T. Bell age 53 and Hutchison’s wife Elizabeth age 50.
On the 1850 slave schedule, William Hutchison and Jane Bell are listed one after the other. William had a female black age 26 and a male black age 16 in 1850.
In 1860 William Hutchison had one female black age 33, one male black age 24, one female mulatto age 17, one male mulatto age 13, and one female black age 11.
Hannah J. Hutchison was the informant on the death of her father William Hutchison on 16 May 1866. In his last will and testament written on 6 July 1861 he mentions five slaves: Mark, Mary, Jane, Dick, and Eliza.
The Last Will and Testament of William Hutchison of Braxton County, West Virginia
I William Hutchison of the County of Braxton & State of Virginia do make and publish this my last will and testament whereby revoking and making void all formerly wills by me heretofore made: 1st: I direct that all my debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible out of the first moneys that shall come into the hands of my Executor from any portion of my real or personal estate which I direct to be sold, bonds & e; 2nd: I give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Hutchison the farm on which I now reside which is embraced in the following boundary to wit: Beginning on the line of the survey conveyed by Nicholas Gibson to me, below the house and running a westerly course with the division fence between the lands occupied by myself & Felix Hutchison & continuing same course to Salt Lick Creek, thence up the Creek with the lines of the deed from said Gibson till where a line running with the fence which is between the land occupied by Nathan M. Hutchison & myself & with said line to the corner of the fence in the impovement (sic) the (sic) with the fence along the edge of the corn & old field to the edge of the wods (sic), thence a straight line along the lower end to the original line, thence continuing course about 10 pole, thence a straight line crossing Toms fork at two sugar trees one on each side & running to the top of the point that is opposite the house, Thence up the point along the top to the out line of a tract conveyed to me by C. Hall, C.S. Hurley, H.A. Holt and John S. Hoffman & with lines of same to join the lines of the Gibson Survey & with lines of same to the beginning, to have and to hold during her natural life time, Also my negro Slaves Mark, Mary, Jane and Dick during her lifetime, two head (sic), Six head of cattle which is to be selected by her, also my my (sic) sheep and hogs, farming implements, the grain on hands, also all the grain and grass that is on the land; Jane T. Bell is to have a maintenance to be made of the place during her natural life provided she remains on the place. Also Hannah Jane Hutchison is to have a maintenance to be made off the place during her lifetime or while she lives single provided she remains on the place, and at the decease of my wife Elizabeth, I desire that the above described tract of land be sold upon a credit of one, two, three and four years, also the property that is not made use of if any to be sold on a credit of twelve months & retaining a lien on the land to secure the payment of the purchase money & the proceeds to be applied as followeth viz: Jane T. Bell & Hannah J. Hutchison is annually to receive forty dollars each provide they live single or untill the time they marry then to cease, the residue, fifty dollars to my son Joseph Hutchison in addition to what he has received and debts which I have paid for him, the remainder to be divided into five equal parts, one part to Nathan Hutchison, one to Hannah Jane, one to Felix, one to Miles M. Hutchison, and one to Virginia Kniceley, their heirs & assigns forever. But at the time Hannah Jane receives any portion of her part the the (sic) above annuity of forty dollars is to cease. I also direct that my negro slaves Mark & Mary to have their freedom agreeable to the laws of Virginia at the death of my wife Elizabeth, and Jane and Dick to have their freedom when they arrive to the age of thirty years, agreeable to the laws of Virginia. 3rd: I also give & bequeath to my son Nathan M. Hutchison a certain boundary of land being the upper end of the Gibson Survey and running with the lines of the tract described in the second clause of this instrument and containing all that part of the Gibson Survey that lies between that line and John G. Morrisons line, to him, his heirs and assigns forever. 4th: I give and bequeath to my Daughter Hannah Jane Hutchison the following described tract or parcel of land and bounded as followeth, Beginning at a bunch of white walnuts standing on the bank of Salt Lick corner to land belonging to Eugenes Haymond & with his line a northerly course and passing his corner to the line of the original survey & with same to to (sic) top of the ridge thence along top of the ridge to a line of a Survey made for Morgan Dyer & with same to the Gibson Survey & with a line of same to the lower end of a fence thence crossing Toms fork and running up a steep bank thence along the hill side to the sharp point near the mouth of Toms fork thence to the ford of Toms fork, thence down the creek to the beginning to her and her bodily heirs forever. 5th: I give and bequeath to my son Felix Hutchison The following described tract or parcel of land bounded as viz: Beginning at the mouth of Toms fork thence up Salt Lick Creek to join the tract described in the second clause and with the same reversed to join the tract described in the 4th clause, and with same to the beginning to him his heirs & assigns forever. 6th: I give and bequeath to my son Miles M. Hutchison the described tract or parcel of land, Beginning on the hill side on the right hand side of Toms fork on a line of the tract describe (sic) in second clause an (sic) running with same crossing Toms fork and up the ridge to a line of the original survey and with same to a beech corner on the branch, on a branch which runs down from T. C. Cogers and down said branch to Toms fork & down said _ till the upper end of the hacking & crossing and running up the hill about 20 pole, thence along the hill side about twenty pole from the run cornering at different places to the beginning to him, his heirs and assigns forever. 7th: I give and bequeath to my Daughter Virginia Kniceley the place where she now resides and known as the Coger place containing one hundred acres together with twenty acres to be run off an eight hundred acre Survey conveyed to me by Joseph & C.E. Singleton, to join the line which runs from a chesnut to a beech & on the south west side of the 100 acres, to her, her heirs and assigns forever. 8th: I direct that all my personal property not heretofore mentioned be sold upon a credit of twelve months, and all lands which I
may have except such as before mentioned to be sold on a credit of one two and three year, and the moneys arising from bonds obligations, sale of property and land be applied to the payment of my just debts, and to effectuate this intention I do hereby vest in my Executor full power and authority to dispose of such real estate in fee simple or by special warrantee as he may think best, as I could myself do if living, and if there should be any surplus in the money arising from the sale of the last mentioned land, property & bonds I direct that such surplus if any be equally divided with my wife and six children. 9th: I give and bequeath my Daughter Hannah Jane Hutchison my Negro girl Eliza, to her, her heirs and assigns forever. 9th: If any of the lands heretofore bequeathed should be taken with any other title I direct that they be made equal to the other heirs out of the the (sic) proceeds of the sale of the home place. I Testimony I have signed and seal this my last will and testament this 6th day of July 1861. William Hutchison *Seal*
West Virginia County of Braxton S.S. Recorder’s Office September 10th 1866 being the 2d Monday in the month The following proceedings were had before the Recorder of said County. A writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Wm Hutchison deceased was produced before me in my office, and there being no subscribing witness thereto, Allen S. Berry, David H. Bright, Homer A. Holt, and Wm L. Corley, were sworn, and severally deposed that they are well acquainted with the testators hand writing and verily believe the the (sic) said writing and the name thereto subscribed to be wholly written by the testators own hand, whereupon, the said writing is ordered to be recorded as the true last will and testament of the said Wm Hutchison deceased. Teste. M. H. Morrison Recorder
Are Mark, Mary, Jane, Dick, and Eliza the names of the slaves seen on the 1860 slave schedule: one female black age 33, one male black age 24, one female mulatto age 17, one male mulatto age 13, and one female black age 11? I tried to find persons in the 1870 who would match these five. I believe I may have traced Mark and Eliza but cannot bring forth positive proof and therefore will not share the guesswork in this post.
Robert Kelly was found on the Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, slave schedule in 1850 but he was enumerated in his son’s household in the neighboring county of Braxton.
Cato was a young man in 1821 and would have been at least in his late 40s in 1850. From the above slave schedule listing, Cato was very likely no longer owned by Kelly who had 8 slaves in 1850. Robert Kelly’s last will and testament was located in Braxton County and names 8 enslaved persons and mentions one unnamed man.
RELEASING:Mary and her husband; their children Washington, Granville (a girl), Catharine, and Lucinda; Maddison, Callohill, and Granville (a woman).
The Last Will and Testament of Robert Kelly of Braxton County, (West) Virginia
Know all men by These presents that I, Robert Kelly of the County of Nicholas and State of Virginia do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following, That is to say, 1st. I desire that the perishable part of my Estate be immediately sold after my decease (with the exception of such property as is hereafter willed) and out of the monies arising Therefrom all my Just debts and funeral expenses be paid. 2ndly. I will and bequeath to my two sons John McH. Kelly and Charles William Kelly my farm on Elk River lately purchased from George Molahon and bind my said two sons to pay to said Mollahon five hundred dollars being the last installment of the purchase money due forsaid land, and also to board, clothe and take care of my daughter Mary Virginia Kelly during her natural life and in the event of my Daughter Mary Virginia Kelly being unwilling to live with either of them then in that event they shall out of the value of my land this day willed to them pay to such person as may board clothe and take care of her in a genteel manner a reasonable amount for such board and clothing. 3rdly. I will and bequeath to my son John McH. Kelly my negro man slave Maddison to him and his heirs forever. 4thly. I will and bequeath to my son Charles William Kelly my negro slave Callohill to him and his heirs forever. 5thly. I will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Jane Ann Duffy Two negro girls named Catharine & Lucinda The children of my negro woman slave named Mary to her and her (sic) and the heirs of her own body forever together with the future increase of said negro girls to her and her heirs forever. 6thly. I will and bequeath to my son David O. Kelly my negro boy Washington and my negro girl named Granville two children of my slave Mary. The said negro boy Washington to serve my said son David O. Kelly or his heirs until he arrives at the age of thirty years, and at that age the said negro boy Washington to be free, to him and his heirs forever. 7thly. I will and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Virginia Kelly my negro slave named Granville, one feather bed and bedding to be enjoyed by her during her natural life and at her death I will and desire that the negro woman slave Granville share be free, in consequence of her kindness and attention to my family. 8thly. I will and order that any executors herein after named and my heirs shall if atall in their power conveniently to try and prevent the seperation of my negro woman slave Mary & her husband. 9thly. I will and bequeath to my two sons John McH. Kelly & Charles William Kelly each of them one feather bed and bedding to them and their heirs forever. 10thly. I will and bequeath that all my Estate both real and personal not herein before willed shall after my death be sold and out of the monies arising therefrom first my two sons John McH. Kelly & Charles William Kelly are each to have one hundred dollars and the balance of said proceeds of said sale to be equally divided amongst all my children or their heirs.
And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my two sons John McH. Kelly and Charles William Kelly Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or Testaments by me heretofore made. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 2nd day of August 1849. Signed sealed published and declared by R. Kelly *Seal* Robert Kelly as and for his last will and Testament in the presence and hearing of us who at his request and in his presence have subscribed our names as witnesss. David Eagle John McD. Grose Ro. Hamilton Codicil to the foregoing last will & testament of Robert Kelly, viz. when the foregoing will was made I thought that the two slaves viz. Washington and Granville could be freed by me, at the time mentioned in said will without any confliction with the laws of Virginia. But on mature reflection, I have concluded that if the new constitution of Virginia shall be adopted, which I believe it will that in that event the said Washington‘s freedom is hereby revoked by me, and that he shall be and remain the property of the said D. O. Kelly to him & his heirs forever, and the said Granville‘s freedom is revoked so far as this, that she shall remain & live with my daughter Virginia so long as she lives, and at her death she shall have a right to live with any of my children that she choses during her lifetime. And it is my desire that whichever child of mine that she should make choice to live with to pay her revenue tax as a slave, so as to secure to her a right to live in the state, without her being molested or disturbed by the laws of the state. This codicil signed & sealed by me on this 26th day of September 1851. Teste R. Kelly *Seal* Jno. P. Byrne W. Newlon Braxton County Court September Term 1853. The last will and testament of Robert Kelly Deceased, with a codicil Thereto [illegible] was this day produced in Court, and the will was proved by the oaths of David Eagle and John McD. Grose subscribing witnesses thereto, and the codicil was proved by the oaths of William Newlon & John P. Byrne subscribing witnesses thereto, which will together with the codicil thereto is ordered to be recorded. Teste Jno. P. Byrne Clk
Due to blog format I transcribed without line breaks in the main text of the will and placed numbered items at the beginning of a new line.
Robert Kelly a Resident of Nicholas and Braxton Counties
Robert Kelly appears to have lived in the part of Nicholas County which became Braxton County – his land likely lying in both counties. Note: Braxton County was formed in 1836 from parts of Lewis, Kanawha and Nicholas counties.
In 1820 Robert Kelly had 5 slaves in his household: 1 male under 14 and 4 females 14 thru 25. In 1830 he had 7 slaves in his household: 2 males under 10, 1 male 24 thru 35, 2 females under 10, 1 female 10 thru 23, 1 female 24 thru 35. In 1840 he had 6 slaves in his household: 1 male under 10, 1 male 10 thru 23, 1 male 24 thru 35, 1 male 36 thru 54, 2 females 10 thru 23.
From the information on the 1850 slave schedule and the will of Robert Kelly, I believe these are the names and ages of the enslaved persons. The name Granville was mentioned twice in the will, for a girl and for a woman. Mary’s husband’s name was not given.
I analyzed the ages of the slaves in the pre-1850 census, compared with the 1850 schedule and the will. I believe it is possible Cato was the father of Granville, Mary, and Callohill and may have died before the will was written. This is an assumption on my part and I have no documentation to back it up.
In 1860, several of Robert Kelly’s children are on the slave schedule of Braxton and Nicholas counties:
Braxton: Charles William Kelly with a 23 yrs old male mulatto (Callohill)
Braxton: Mary Virginia Kelly with a 40 yrs old female mulatto (Granville) and a 3 yo female mulatto
Braxton: John McHamilton Kelly with a 33 yrs old male black (Maddison)
Nicholas: David Oliver Kelly with a 30 yrs old female mulatto, a 23 yo male mulatto (Washington), a 6 yo male mulatto, 4 yo male mulatto, and a 2 yo male mulatto.
Robert Kelly, at the time he wrote his will, believed he could easily arrange for two of his slaves to be freed. Within two years he was writing a codicil to the will as he expected a new constitution to be adopted by Virginia which would make it impossible to carry out his wishes.
This codicil makes me wonder how many slave holders changed their minds about freeing their enslaved people because of the laws of their state?