Jones Co. (NC)

And Yes, They Were Sold

Today I give a hat tip to my cousin Marissa who followed up on a blog post of mine from last year.  Back in November 2015 I blogged about a petition from Jones County, NC in 1847 that may have included slaves associated with my own family ancestry.  In the petition, six white slaveholders, John S. Koonce and wife Susan, Isiah Wood and wife Elizabeth, Benjamin Brown, Asa Brown, Zachius Brown, Mary Brown, Orne Brown, and Isaac Brown requested division of ownership of six slaves – likely, selling them and splitting the proceeds. The six slaves were named as James, Jonas, Mariah, Allen, Hannah, & Susan (sometimes called Harriett).

The names in bold are names that belong to former slaves in my own family history with the surname Koonce, so that led to my interest in this record. Well, thanks to Marissa, I now know that they were indeed sold at public auction.

On January 1, 1848 they were sold as follows:

  • Jonas, Mariah, and a slave named Chaney were all sold to Joseph Brock (total $1250.25)
  • Allen and Sarah were sold to Benjamin Brock for $300 and $297 respectively
  • Susan (or Harriet) was sold to Franklin Thompson for $180
  • James was sold to Stephanie Humphrey for $718

The documentation for this sale appears in the estate file records of William Brown (Elizabeth Wood’s 1st husband).

public auction of slaves – see file at FamilySearch.org

The documentation notes that the sale was advertised first, so an interesting follow-up would be to search for newspaper announcements.

 

A Possible Brick Wall Buster via the Digital Library on American Slavery?

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Lisa Louise Cooke for the Family Tree Magazine monthly podcast! The theme of November’s episode is about busting through brick walls and Lisa interviewed me for a segment covering resources from the magazine’s 101 Best Websites list. Listen to Lisa, myself, and her other guests in the November 2015 episode to learn more about busting brick walls.

One resource I covered was the Digital Library on American Slavery. Covering the database was easy for me. As I stated during the podcast, it is one that is “near and dear to my heart” as it is a project out of UNC-Greensboro. I was raised in Greensboro so the city has a fond place in my heart. When this database first came out, I’d back then, found a record in it for whom I believe to be my family, but didn’t follow-up on obtaining the full petition until Sunday as I prepared for the podcast interview. I’m so happy I did follow-up too!

This image is excerpted from a North Carolina legislative petition (#21284706) addressed in the Jones County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in November 1847. Six white slaveholders, John S. Koonce and wife Susan, Isiah Wood and wife Elizabeth, Benjamin Brown, Asa Brown, Zachius Brown, Mary Brown, Orne Brown, and Isaac Brown (the last five being children in the care of Zachius Brown) appeared to request division of ownership of six slaves – they were requesting 1/8th share each. Obtaining that 1/8th share could have meant selling them and splitting the proceeds. The Digital Library on American Slavery provided the index, but through information on their page on “Obtaining Copies of Petitions,” I was able to get the full petition.

Well, the six slaves at hand here are James, Jonas, Mariah, Allen, Hannah, & Sarah (sometimes called Harriett).  I highlight three of these slaves’ names because they match names found among my own family!.  The reasons being as follows:

  • Independent of this record, I’d traced my Koonce line back to a former slave, James Koonce of Jones County.  From census records, I know James had two partners, Susan and then Isariah (sometimes appearing as Mariah in documents I’ve already located).
  • James’ mother was named Hannah.
  • From oral family history shared by a cousin of mine, Isariah/Mariah was probably just a Koonce by marriage, and may have been the offspring of a white Wood male family member. Given that this petition has both Koonce & Wood family members, it makes this an intriguing possibility for being tied into my family tree 
  • The name “Caff” appears next to Jonas’ name, and MY James’ first wife Susan was a “Craff” in documentation I have in my files. Could Caff/Craff be one and the same name?

I think I have already identified who John S. Koonce is (I’m thinking it is John Speight Koonce) and I found Isaiah & Elizabeth Wood in records as well. This is definitely something I need to research further! Perhaps this clue can lead me to busting my own brick wall! Research in action. 🙂

So, thanks to Lisa for the impetus I needed to finally request this record! And for my readers, be sure to check FamilyTree Magazine’s podcast page over the next few days to look for the November 2015 episode and hear the show!