If you have problems accessing these articles
or if an article doesn't have a link, please e-mail. About this page: While researching my folks, occasionally I come across an interesting, but unrelated, article, and place it on my Shoebox page. The number of articles about former slaves grew, so I created this page.
Updated 05 Apr 2014 (Added Riddle)
Old newspaper articles (and book mentions) about former slaves, slavery
Articles about individuals
BLACK JOSH -- Anna F. Conway Dean, Morgantown, W.Va., remembers the hanging of Black Josh in 1826 for "assault" on his mistress. He was enslaved by James Collins. Ninety Years Ago: Recollections of a Morgantown Woman Who is 90, Register Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 05 Sept 1907, Page 3. Black Josh was also mentioned in a 1929 article about another case. This article said he killed his mistress. Greathouse Convicted of Second Degree Murder, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., 18 July 1929. BROWN – Frances Brown, Ga., Ark., Okla. Former Slave Dies Here, Sequoyah County Democrat, Okla., 29 Sept 1922, Page 4. CARTER – Jack Carter, barber, La. and Colo. Former slave leaves daughter money. Leslie Carter, New Orleans, former slave-owner and the girl's guardian, helps the young heir. A Colored Girl's Large Inheritance, Le Mars Sentinel, Iowa, 12 Sept 1890, Page 2. COLWELL – Dick Colwell of Ky., Mo., Iowa. Born in Louisville, Ky., and enslaved by D.O. Smart, an uncle by marriage to outlaws Frank and Jesse James and Cole Younger. Ex-Slave Lauds Famous Bandits: Former Servant of James Boys Declares They Were Not As Bad As They Have Been Painted, Shenandoah, Iowa, article reprinted 04 Oct 1925, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., Page 10. COX – The Rev. Reed Cox of Va., born 01 June 1852, enslaved by Isom Cox and later given to Mr. Cox's daughter Mrs. William Bryant. Rev. Cox, a Baptist minister, hosted an annual meeting of ex-slaves in Grayson County, Va. Column also mentions former slave Mariah Watkins (see separate listing on this page) and the hanging of slaves in Grayson County. The Southwest Corner By Goodridge Wilson, The Southwest Times, Pulaski, Va., 29 Sept 1935, Page 4. CRAWFORD – George Crawford, Richmond and Harrisonburg, Va., Hearne, Texas. Formerly enslaved by the Woodson family of Virginia. He wrote to Mrs. Herbert Coffman seeking information on family and friends including Melenda, Margaret, Mahala, Marshall, T______ and Preston Beard, children of Sallie Beard. Former Slave Wants Names -- Wants to Know Whereabouts of Relatives and Former Rockingham Friends, Harrisonburg Daily News Record, Va., 26 May 1915, Page 6. DINGESS-SMITH-MCCOMAS – Virginia. Will of Charles Anderson Dingess of Giles County, Va., dated 26 July 1835, proven in October Court 1835, which made provision for Jane and Rhoda. “…7th: I give and bequeath unto my sister, ELIZABETH SMITH, one negro girl named Jane during the natural life of the said ELIZABETH and at the death of said ELIZABETH the said negro girl with her increase, if any, to be sold by my Executors and the proceeds devised as hereinafter named. 8th: I give and bequeath unto CYNTHIA MCCOMAS, one small yellow girl named Rhoda until 17th day of July 1851, at which time she is to be free requesting my Executors to furnish any sum necessary, not exceeding one hundred dollars to pay her transportation to some place where her and her increase can enjoy the privilege of freedom.” A New River Heritage, Volume V, Bluestone-New River Indian Frontier, by William Sanders, 2004. Page 83. DUNLAP – Savannah Dunlap of Ga. and Chicago. She was born in 1840 on a Georgia plantation. Former Slave 113, Delphos Courant, Ohio, 14 Feb 1953, Page 1. GREEN – Margaret “Mag” Green, Elkins, W.Va. Widow of Richard Green and daughter of Prudence Hall. Her mother brought her from Missouri to Randolph Co., W.Va. Mrs. Green had been enslaved by the Long family. Former Slave Dead, Cumberland Evening Times, Md., 11 Jan 1926, Page 12. HANBACK -- Ann Hanback, Va. and W.Va., dies in 1903 at the home of her granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Lee and Bell Jackson of Hinton, Summers County, W.Va. Centenarian Passes Away, The Hinton Daily News, Hinton, W.Va., 14 Jan 1903. In 1870, Mrs. Hanback was living with Milda S. White in Virginia: Research notes. HAYTER – Adeline Hayter of Kansas, formerly enslaved by Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Luper of West Fork, Tenn. Mr. Luper left Mrs. Hayter money and property and asked that she care for Mrs. Luper. “R.L. Hayter, bootblack at the Lagonda house, Springfield,” had an attorney check out the will. A Former Slave Made Happy: Hon. Thomas Millikin Examines the Will and Pronounces It Sound, The Republican, Hamilton, Ohio, 03 June 1893, Page 3. HILLMAN HUBERT – Camilla Hillman Hubert, Ga. Mrs. Hubert and husband Zack raised 12 children in Hancock Co., Ga. Sons' names listed. Former Slave Survived by Remarkable Family, Charleston Daily Mail (W.Va.), 11 Dec 1925, Page 3.
HOBBS KECKLEY – Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley and George Kirkland. See Lizzie, Va. and Washington DC.
HUDDLESTON – Old Jack, W.Va. Bought by Huddleston family from Stonewall Jackson's mother at Ansted, Fayette County, W.Va. He is mentioned in an article about a family history written by Lawrence M. Huddleston. Book On Huddlestons Stirs Stories, Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 25 July 1974, Page 6. JENKINS – Haaman Jenkins, Fairmont, W.Va. Mr. Jenkins and his mother were enslaved by the Watson family. Former Slave Dies, The Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va., 21 Oct 1927, Page 5. JONES – John Jones, escaped from slavery in Virginia. Yesterday and Today: Ex-Slave Kept Records At Prison Camp by Shirley Donnelly, Post-Herald/Raleigh Register, Beckley, W.Va., 07 June 1975, Page 4. Mr. Jones kept records for a prison camp for Confederate soldiers at Elmira, N.Y. He kept such meticulous records of each Confederate burial that in 1907 the government was able to place a marker at each grave. From Woodlawn National Cemetery site: He "had charge of the burial of every Confederate soldier. He transcribed every record which appeared on the coffin lids into a book he kept for that purpose. The largest number of burials in a day was 48. Mr. Jones saw that the burials were properly and reverently conducted. He received from the government a fee of $2.50 for each body buried." Link to Woodlawn at Find a Grave. JORDAN – Matt Jordan of Fayette Co. W.Va. Mr. Jordan said he was "sold out of my mother's arms." Yesterday and Today: Laurel Creek Spurs Early Growth III by Shirley Donnelly, Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va. 06 Dec 1963, Page 4. Aubrey J. Bishop takes Rev. Donnelly on a tour that includes old "Negro grave yard." Surnames mentioned include Jordan, Burger, Wilson, Martin, Johnson and Brown. LEE – Mary Lee, 84, of Wheeling, W.Va., died in 1908. Survived by son William Lee. Former Slave Dead, Raleigh Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 24 Dec 1908, Page 4. LEE – Joe Lee, 83, of Texas & his former "master," Henry Austin Perry, 80. Only Living Master and Slave in Texas, The Galveston Daily News, 10 May 1936, Page 13. Photos. This story is rich in genealogical detail. Mr. Lee describes himself as a “real African” and says he was a son of Rolla, who was “caught wild in Africa and brought to Galveston and to Quintana and sold to Massa Charles Sayers.” Rolla and wife Cora Lee had Kate (Scott Williams), Albert, Sam, Deal, and twins Joe and Willie. Joe and his first wife, who was not named, had one son, Joe Lee. His second wife was Lizzie. Among other names mentioned were Rachel Thomas, 89, and her son Henry Thomas, 65, who were the Lees’ neighbors. Side note: In one of life’s little coincidences, after working on this article I started reading the new biography about President Obama’s mother (A Singular Woman” by Janny Scott) and spotted the name “Rolla.” Rolla Charles Payne was the father of Obama’s maternal grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham. On Page 29 the author explains, “The name Rolla, which rhymes with ‘wallah,’ is said to have ranked among the top five hundred most popular boys’ names for a time near the end of the nineteenth century…” LIZZIE – Lizzie, Va. and Washington, D.C. Former Slave Life in Washington, Weekly Gazette and Free Press, Janesville, Wisconsin, 09 May 1862, Page 1, reprint from the New York Evening News. The article about Lizzie matches biographical details for Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley. See Wikipedia. Mrs. Keckley and her mother Agnes were enslaved by Armistead Burwell. Mrs. Keckley had one son, George Kirkland. MARTINDALE – Milly Martindale of Kokomo, Ind. Former Slave Dies at 110, Muldrow Press, Okla., 30 July 1909, Page 2. She "was a famous cook and was twice sold on the block." MCDONALD -- Frances McDonald, Mo. and Ill. Born 1808 on tobacco plantation of Captain Robert Berry, Calloway Co., Mo. Married three times: Mr. Yokem, Jesse Porter and Shepard McDonald. Mrs. McDonald was the mother of 16 including Mrs. Henry Fant. The 1920 census for Mt. Pulaski, Logan Co., Ill., lists Henry C. Fant, born abt. 1858, Mo., wife Kate, born abt. 1862, Mo., sons Charles H. and Carl Fant and daughter-in-law Velma Fant. Mt. Pulaski Woman Has Life Of 112 Years, The Decatur Review, Illinois, 26 March 1915, Page 7. MORRIS, RICE – John Morris, also known as John Rice, of Va. and N.Y. Obituary. Born Before The Revolution, The Boston Daily Globe, Mass., 26 Dec 1893, Page 1. MORRIS – Napoleon Morris of Fayette County, W.Va., father of 42. Excerpts from Yesterday and Today, a column by Shirley Donnelly, Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va. A researcher who responded on a discussion board said, "Census data indicates some of those were possibly stepchildren." Full article: Slave Graveyard Visited, Post-Herald, 22 July 1977, Page 4, Shirley Donnelly. PACK – Pres Pack of Monroe and Fayette counties, W.Va. Mr. Pack was enslaved by Anderson Pack of Ballard, Monroe County. Other names mentioned: Harry Pack, one of Pres Pack's two sons; Zenith Pack, a grandson; and Zenith's grandmother, Easter Swope Pack, wife of John Pack. Old Split Rail Added to Museum Pieces, Yesterday and Today, Shirley Donnelly, Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 31 Jan 1974, Page 4. Clyde Spangler of Ballard brought Rev. Donnelly a rail that was split by Pres Pack. PARKS – James "Jim" Parks, grew up on Arlington, Va., land belonging to the Custis-Lee family. Arlington National Cemetery is now located on this property. Although he was a civilian, the War Department allowed his burial at the national cemetery. Former Slave in Long Sleep at Arlington, The Herald-Leader, Steubenville, Ohio, 23 Aug 1929, Page 25. More information and photos are at an Arlington Cemetery site. He was born around 1843 to Lawrence Parks and Patsy Clark. Married twice and fathered 22 children. According to the Arlington National Cemetery site, he was freed in 1862 under the terms of the will of his former owner, George Washington Parke Custis. Mr. Parks, who worked at the cemetery and was a valuable source of information about the history of the land, is the only person buried in Arlington National Cemetery who was born on the property. He is buried at near Selfridge Gate (West Gate) in Section 15, Grave 2 (Grid G-26). PEARL – Caroline Pearl of Parkersburg, W.Va. She was enslaved by the Stalnaker family of Glenville, W.Va.. When Mrs. Pearl was 100, she began having delusions that she was to be sold. Former Slave, 105, Dies, The Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va., 29 Jan 1938, Page 1. RIDDLE -- Jack Johnson Riddle, born 15 Nov 1841 in Marietta, Ga., a son of Tom Riddle and Martha Taylor. Sold to the Pope family in Talladega, Ala. After the Civil War, the family took the surname Riddle after a benefactor. Mr. Riddle died on 06 Dec 1952 in his home in Talladega, Ala. Survived by wife Josie and 80 descendants. (News articles and the Alabama, Deaths and Burials Index, 1881-1974, FHL Film Number: 1908875.) Former Slave, 106 And Wife Get New Home, Birmingham News, 12 Jan 1948. Klan Plays Santa to Ex-Slave, Wife, The Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va., 26 Dec 1948 Page 1. Has the Klan Changed Sheeta? The Milwaukee Journal, 26 Dec 1948, Page 2. Uncle Jack Riddle Marks 109th Birthday, The Tuscaloosa News, 15 Nov 1950, Page 2. 111-Year-Old Talladega Negro, Ex-Slave, Dies, UP/United Press, The Anniston Star, Alabama, 08, 1952, Page 1, and Ex-Slave Was 111 Years Old, The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, Md., 08 Dec 1952, Page 18. A Study In Contrasts, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 14 Dec 1952, Page 10. Obituary, Jet magazine, 01 Jan 1953, Page 59. Photo: "Talladega - Pathways to the Past" by Walter Bell White, Page 113. ROSS – Susan Ross, born in Richmond Va., around 1828; at 8 sold to slaver in Louisville, Ky.; living in Calif. in 1929. Former Slave, 102 Years Old Is Mother of 21 Children, Oakland Tribune, 11 May 1929, Page C3. Photos. "The only reason I wasn't killed in slavery was because I fought back." An article and a news brief on the occasion of her 104th and 106th birthdays: Mrs. Susan Ross, One Time Slave, To Be 104, Tuesday, Oakland Tribune, 06 Aug 1931, Page 1, and Negress 106, San Mateo Times, California, 09 Aug 1933, Page 1.
SANDERS – Va./W.Va., Mich., Ohio. Under Virginia law, freeing a slave was complicated and expensive. It took years of planning for Sampson Sanders to lay the groundwork so 51 slaves could be freed upon his death and remain free. A remarkable story and a rich source of African American genealogy. Most of the freed slaves, who retained the surname of Sanders, migrated to Cass County, Mich. The book also contains the story of Jack Neal, a free man who was kidnapped and sold back into slavery. Other surnames mentioned include Halestock, Rogers, Gallagher, Kilgore, Quesenberry, Summers and Ward. Cabell County's Empire for Freedom: The Manumission of Sampson Sanders' Slaves by Carrie Eldridge, Marshall University Printing Services, July 2004. I got a copy for $20 from an independent bookstore on Abebooks. Amazon has copies for $30.
SHIVERS – T.L. Shivers, Tenn. and Wisc. Photos and article in separate files: Former Slave, Area Farmer 'Has Religion', (photos) and article, The La Crosse Tribune, Wisconsin, 07 Sept 1947, Page 15-16. Article, which includes photos, mentions wife Millie Revels, sons Edgar, Herbert, Alga and Marvin Stivers, daughter Cora Taylor, and sister Mary Harris. SINCLAIR – W.Va. Tombstone of “Freed Slave, Elisebeth Sinclair.” Dates look like: 1797-1838. On the previous page is a photo of “Oldest Shrewsbury-Maxey cemetery of area at the junction of the first road between Clover Bottom and Logan – Wyoming County (W.Va,)” A New River Heritage, Volume IV, with select stories by the late Barty Wyatt, by William Sanders, McClain Printing Co., Parsons, W.Va., 1994. Page 295. SLATER – Isaac Slater, Va. and W.Va. Mr. Slater died at the home of daughter and son-in-law, the Rev. and Mrs. D.D. (Ella) Davis, Charleston, W.Va. Other survivors: Sallie Slater of Philadelphia and Mrs. Dallas Lington of Lynchburg. Death Removes Man 106 Years Old, The Charleston Gazette, 26 Jan 1925, Page 2.
SMALLWOOD – John J. Smallwood, S.C., Mass., Tx, Ky.
- Mt. Vernon News Letter, The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Iowa, 17 Nov 1908, Page 12. The Rev. J.J. Smallwood had charge of the M.E. Church program and spoke on "The Past, Present and Future of the American Negro."
- Divine Will, Restless Heart: the Life and Works of John Jefferson Smallwood by Mary E.C. Drew, his great-great-niece,. Author's page.
SMITH – Dr. E.E. Smith, born 1852. Noted Negro Educator Dies, The Bakersfield Californian, 08 Dec 1933, Page 5. Brief obit says he was a former minister of Liberia and founder and president emeritus of the North Carolina Normal School for Negroes. More about Dr. Ezekiel Ezra Smith: Fayetteville State University SMITH – George Smith of Lexington, Ky., and Texas. Ex-Slave Is Spry At 104 Following Illness 'Way Back', Daily Herald, Big Spring, Texas, 10 Jan 1930, Page 5. Mr. Smith, 104, tells about slavers taking his parents and nine brothers and sisters from Africa. They were sold to Jim Stokes of Lexington, Ky. TALBOTT, WEATHERS – Benjamin & Henry Talbott, Ky., Ind., Texas. Sons Of Former Slave Claim 50 Acres Near Center of Town, Logansport Journal, Ind., 12 May 1905, Page 1. Sale of land in the 1850s owned jointly by two brothers results in a suit a generation later. Henry changed his name to Henry Weathers. THOMPSON – Margaret Thompson of Patoka, Gibson County, Ind. Former Slave, 108, Dies In Old Cabin, The Hammond Times, 09 Jan 1938, Page 12. Survived by two sons and a daughter. They aren't listed. TYLER – John Tyler, born 15 Nov 1812, Md./died Dec 1915, Madison Co., N.Y. Former Slave Dies of Old Age; Passed Century Mark, Syracuse Herald, 06 Dec 1915, Central NY News Section, Page 17. Survivors: Mrs. Francis Gordon & Mrs. Charles Baker. Worked for Gerrit Smith, abolitionist, in Petersboro, N.Y. WATKINS – Mariah Watkins of Tazewell and Grundy, Va. Note: Her name was spelled Mariah in the 1900 federal census, Moriah in a local history, Marih on her tombstone and Maria in a 1935 news article. Mariah, 4, was taken from her mother at a Tazewell, Va., slave sale and sold to John Watkins. Ms. Watkins is the subject of an article in a local history, and a letter included in The Southwest Corner By Goodridge Wilson, The Southwest Times, Pulaski, Va., 29 Sept 1935, Page 4. For more information, go to Hibbitts Cemetery, Grundy, Va.: Find A Grave Memorial# 78608023 WEST – Lucretia West, born a slave, 23 March 1836, in Abington, a section of Pomfret, a town in Windham Co., Conn. In 1884, married Charles Henry West, former slave in Virginia. Former Slave Saw Lincoln, The Corpus Christi Times, 18 May 1938, Page 8. (The 1920 census has Lucretia West, widow, mulatto, born around 1840, living with son-in-law and daughter George A. & Ella E. Tattson in Putnam Ward 3, Windham.) WHITEHEAD – Harry Whitehead of Illinois. Mr. Whitehead, 97, seeks divorce from Anna after she leaves him to live with son Willard in Ind. Former Slave Asks Divorce, Syracuse Herald, Ill., 13 June 1937, Page 4A. YARBROUGH – Louis Yarbrough (1818-1925), Charlotte, S.C., Ga., Tenn. and Massillon, Ohio, died at the home of his daughter Mrs. Georgia Mack. Enslaved by Henry Yarbrough. Former Slave, Dead Here At 107, Saw Thrilling Days In Old South, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, 30 March 1925, Page 1: Part 1 Part 2 Children in addition to Mrs. Mack were Mrs. Lula Pasley, Mrs. Ella Thomas, and Mrs. Viola Pasley, and sons Samuel, Clarence, Fred and Vernon Yarbrough. YOUNG – Judy Young of Rhode Island. Ms. Young lived with the William Green family. Former Slave Is Dead At 110 Years, Evening Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, 29 Sept 1911, Page 8.
Old Pay-Rolls Show Value of Negro Slaves, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va., 12 Aug 1926, Page 12. Article, dateline Mobile, Ala., about old payroll records of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Oldest record "made out and signed" by slaveowner Oliver Beers who was associated with the railroad in 1858. Tom, Washington, Anthony, Jefferson & John (no last names) worked in section gangs before the Civil War.
Washington, DC, based company, with a branch office in Savannah, that was registering former slaveowners, for a fee, with the aim of collecting money for slaves lost through emancipation.. Utopian Dream. With a Strong Probability of Fraudulent Intent, Burlington Hawk-Eye, Iowa, 12 April 1886, Page 8. JONES – The Rev. Richard R. Jones, Va., Pa. Colored Preacher Sues City Of Roanoke, Bluefield Daily Telegram, W.Va., 04 March 1905, Page 1. Sued local officials for failure to protect him against mob violence. (Rev. Jones probably wasn't a former slave. But I thought the story would be of interest.) Negroes Want Soldiers Dispatched to Tuskagee (sic), article with NY dateline, printed in Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, 05 July 1923, Page 14. Lives of R.R. Moton, president of Tuskegee Institute, and surgeons at the veterans hospital in Tuskegee, Ala., threatened. Pictures of the African American Civil War Memorial in Frankfort, Ky. Memorial lists 142 soldiers from Central Kentucky. Find a Grave. These are my photos and anyone is welcome to them. Mose Bunch, photo of a man who was a slave to the Hight family of Summers Co., W.Va. Article about the Hight family. Shared by a visitor to West Virginia Memories.