|This is a photo of Ellen Thomas of Mobile, a former slave. She is not related to any of my family lines. I included the photo here because of the large kettle. A kettle such as this was in my family's possession until the 1970s. You can read Thomas' story at Slave Narratives.|
Researchers looking for their African American ancestors often have a hard time finding family history records, especially names the names of their ancestors. Whenever I find I find slave info that will help other researchers, I’ll post it on Root, Branch and Twig.
Slave ownership ran in the Poore family. In the early decades of the 1800s, more than 20 slaves labored on the Lowndes County, Alabama, plantation of William Hearne, father of Sarah Hearne Poore.
Hearne was born in 1746 in Somerset County, Maryland, and died on September 21, 1832, in Lowndes County, Alabama. He was a veteran of the American Revolution. Sarah also owned slaves as did her brothers and sisters and in-laws.
Below are the names of the slaves listed in Hearne’s will. Following each name is the slave’s sex [Male (M) or Female (F)], age and additional information.
- Sam, M, willed to William Hearne Jr.
- Lindsay, M, willed to Selby Hearne
- Hemp, M, willed to George T. Hearne
- George, M, willed to Ebenezer T. Hearne
- Elizer, F, willed to George T.C. Hearne
- Candace, F, willed to Ebenezer T. Hearne
- Sam, M, elderly, willed to George T.C. and Ebenezer Hearne for care
- Lizza, F, with children willed to Tabitha Hearne Truitt
- Milly, F, with children willed to Abigail Hearne
- Saleth, F, willed to Abigail Hearne
- Candern, F, two children willed to William Hearne Jr.
- Dolly, F, two children willed to Selby Hearne
- Maria, F, two children willed to George T. Hearne
- Tom, M, youth, son of Maria willed to George T. Hearne
- Patience, F, three children willed to Ebenezer T. Hearne
- Cynthia, F, willed to Priscilla Hearne Stephens, wife of John Stephens
- Marsilla, F, willed to Priscilla Hearne Stephens, wife of John Stephens
- Unnamed, F, infant?, possibly daughter of Marsilla
- Nancy, F, willed to Priscilla Hearne Stephens, wife of John Stephens
- Squire, M, youth, possibly the son of Cynthia willed to Priscilla Hearne Stephens, wife of John Stephens
The following is a list of the above slaves as willed to each son or daughter;
William Hearne Jr.
- Candern and two children
- Dolly and two children
George T.C. Hearne
- Sam (elderly slave bequeathed to both George T.C. and Ebenezer Hearne to care for)
- Maria and two children
- Tom (a youth, son of Maria)
Ebenezer T. Hearne
- Patience and three children
Tabith Hearne Truitt
- Lizza with children
- Milly with children
Priscilla Hearne Stephens
- Squire (possibly son of Cynthia)
- Marsilla and her infant
The pattern of bequeathing male, female and children perhaps suggest an effort to keep slave family members together. Since no ages are given, it is difficult to determine this with certainty.
Lizza, Milly, Cynthia and Marsilla may have had husbands who were sold or perhaps their husbands were already the slaves of their new owners. Also, the husbands of these women may have not been included in the will at the time of its writing as William Hearne speaks of “a certain portion of my negro property.”
Source: Kathleen P. Jones and Pauline J. Gandrud, compilers, Alabama Records, Vol. 214, Lowndes County. (Southern Historical Press, 1980).