This is my first Tombstone Tuesday post and since I had the perfect opportunity to do one, I thought I would. This is the tombstone of Kemp Plummer Battle Sr. Kemp was what you would call a “prominent” North Carolinian; he was highly active and involved in many matters of the state, including serving as President of my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kemp is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina next to his wife and other family members. Last month I created his FindAGrave entry, which was surprising to me that he did not already have one given his social position, and two days ago, my picture request was fulfilled by a FindAGrave volunteer!
Now, why would I interested in Kemp? I am interested in him and his family because he was the last slaveowner of a branch of my family. My third great-grandmother, Mariah Wimberly McNair was the daughter of Della Battle and Allen Wimberly. Della and at least one of her children, were slaves of Kemp’s plantation in Edgecomebe County, North Carolina, that he inherited from his father-in-law, James S. Battle. I know that Della was his slave from the wonderful resource of Dr. Barnetta McGhee -White on cohabitation records from North Carolina, Somebody Knows My Name.
I have not yet gotten to the point where I’ve begun to examine family estate and court records (which Robyn describes a perfect example to do so in her recent blog post), but when I do have that opportunity, I want to be clear on all the family members. Creating a Battle family tree, allows me to do so in order that I am adequately prepared.
Hmmm… would you call it ironic that I went to the University of the man who enslaved my ancestors? I personally don’t have any misfeelings about this – history was what it was, but at the same time, I do feel connected in a way, to this family.