Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Things in Common & Diverse Results

The other day, Cousins Carol and Karen and I were chatting via email about slaves. They can put names to some of their slaves, I can't. After our emails slowed down, I went back and checked everything I had on my ancestor and came to the conclusion that I just had no luck. Here's why.

One ancestor, J. P. Bowman of Lafayette County, Missouri owned slaves in 1850. By 1860, according to newspaper accounts, they had mostly flown the coop. You see, Missouri was a border state, involved with fighting with Kansans over the slave issue and it seems that the Missouri river acted as a means of escape.  J. P. Bowman, of the Missouri State Guards (Confederate) died of exposure after the battle of Pea Ridge. Of course he died in intestate, so there were no probate records from which to cull slaves' names.

Those slaves were gone by the time of the1860 census. He inherited some in November of 1860, but no other record of them has been found.
Another ancestor, Garland Webb, also owned quite a few slaves. I can't find any mention of any names for his slaves, either. Garland also was Confederate, but died in 1895. 

There are a couple slaves named way back in the will of Francis Kirtley who died in 1762 in Culpeper county, Virginia. They were left to his descendants.

But something was poking me in my memory bank. I thought I did remember a letter received by my great-great grandfather, John P. Bowman from his brother Robert T. I did some digging and ...

There was a slave mentioned and by name.  Old Aggy is mentioned by name in a letter dated Nov 19 1860 between R T Bowman and J P Bowman, brothers who were the heirs of William Bowman. The slaves were to be drawn by lots, but R T knew that since he was living in Covington, Kentucky they could escape north easily. But the concern was for the old Negro woman who could no longer fend for herself.

Did I find this in our family papers? Wills? Census? No, I found it on a film at the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne labeled "Lafayette County Miscellaneous Materials, folder 4: Correspondence (to Sheriff John Bowman). Interestingly enough, most of the correspondence is personal, not business.

So even though, cousins Carol, Karen and I have common roots and similar research methodology our research results are often diverse.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

1 comment:

  1. Yes, our results are frequently diverse, that is one of the beauties of sharing and discussing. You have reminded me that I have some follow up work to do on my discoveries last week.