Friday, May 4, 2012

Friend of Friends Friday - the slaves of Lucinda (Berry) Harris

This is my first real look at the details of the slaves owned by my 4th-great-grandmother, Lucinda Harris, while she lived in Platte County, Missouri. She and her children lived there between 1850-1860 at least, but left for Montana sometime between 1860 and 1870, presumably after the Civil War emancipated her slaves.

In the 1850 US Federal Census slave schedule, Lucinda is listed as owning 12 slaves, all black (no mixed/mulattoes). They, along with Lucinda and her seven children (ages 6 to 22) lived on land Lucinda owned in Green Township, Platte County, Missouri. The slaves are known only by ages and gender, as follows:

34 f
32 m
23 f
22 m
8 f
6 m
6 m
5 m
4 f
4 f
3 m
1/12 m (1 month old male)

It looks like she possibly had two families - two adults in their 30s, two adults in their 20s, and eight children, possibly even two sets of twins.

Then, in 1860, Lucinda is found in Weston Township, Platte County, Missouri, with only two of her children still living with her, John and Lewis, as well as Lewis' presumed wife Mary and their (again presumed) son Lewis. There's another man named F. P. Vaughn, but I have no idea who he was, maybe a boarder. At this time, Lucinda owned 14 slaves, but the ages for many of them don't match up to those of the slaves listed in 1850. I'm guessing that those missing were either sold or had died in the interim. Here are the details of the 1860 slaves, again all black:

45 m (possibly same as person 1 in 1850)
21 f
18 f (possibly same as person 5 in 1850)
17 m (possibly same as person 6 in 1850)
17 m (possibly same as person 7 in 1850)
24 f
16 f
14 m
13 m (possibly same as person 11 in 1850)
11 m (possibly same as person 12 in 1850)
7 m
5 f
4 f
2 f

Just going by ages and genders, it looks like only one of the adults listed in 1850 is still listed with Lucinda in 1860. Five of the children in the 1860 list look like they could be some of those listed in 1850, including the possible twin boys. So of the 14 slaves she owned in 1860, it looks like four of them were owned by someone else in 1850, and four of them were not then born. At least the little ones in 1860 would only have five more years before they were freed, and hopefully would not have to remember too much of what it was like being a slave.

At this point, this is all I know about them. I'm hoping to find out whether Woodford County, Kentucky kept a register of slaves received through wills, like I saw on a recent episode of Finding Your Roots. If Lucinda received any of these slaves through her husband's or father's, that register might give some more details. This is important, because we have a family story that some of the emancipated slaves moved to Montana with Lucinda, and I would like to see if I can find record of any of the freed slaves living in Montana. Knowing the names of those slaves owned by Lucinda in Missouri would be a big step towards knowing who to look for in Montana.

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