As I am building the tree for Robert Diggs Wimberly (the person whom I suspect owned my ancestor Maria), I am coming across a few more clues that I think lend support to my theory.
Before starting his tree, I had the following items to lead me to believe he may have been her slave owner:
- Maria and her husband Rufus live right next to him in the 1870 census, which indicates that Robert had a real estate value of $17,000. One of the things I learned in Beth Wilson’s lecture was that with this amount of real estate value, it tended to indicate the person owned slaves.
- There are only two other white Wimberly’s families in Edgecombe County, NC from 1850-1870 and they are the families of Robert’s sons, George & Joseph. His son George also has a large real estate value ($15,000).
- The 1850 and 1860 slave schedules show that between them, Robert and his son George owned around 80 slaves. They were the only Wimberly slaveholders in the county.
- I have a hypothesis that Maria’s father’s was Allen Wimberly (I could do a separate list for that, which I probably should), but Allen was married to a Della Battle as demonstrated by county cohabitation records and the Battle Plantation was near the Wimberly lands. I still have to do research of land and property to better understand this.
I think this is itself is already compelling, but I wanted to find out if I could actually find more information to support my hypothesis. Over the weekend, I’ve learned:
- Rufus & Mariah had sons named Barnes and Sterling. Sterling is a Wimberly family name – Robert’s brother was named George Sterling Wimberly, and their mother had a brother named Sterling. Barnes appears to also be a family name as I now know that a relative of Robert’s mother married a Barnes who later would live on the Wimberly property in Edgecombe County. I do not yet know this exact relationship.
I can’t wait to see what else I discover and I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the available county records (another tip from Beth – scour all the available county records you can get your hands on.)