Monday, July 25, 2011

Mappy Monday - The Mystery of an old "Negro Settlement"

US General Land Office Map - 1879

Several months ago on another blog, I posted a story about a community that had no name----it was only known for almost three decades as simply Negro Settlement.

For 30 years, this simall and mysterious black community lived in Indian Territory, just north of the Chickasaw Nation.  They were not transients because a number of cartographers documented them for more than three decades. Then they vanished----with no trace, and no local knowledge of who they were.  And what was this settlement really called?  Surely those who lived there called it something---but what?  Who were the people?
1887 Map Reflecting the same settlement
Chicago: Henry S. Stebbins, 1887; From Crams Universal Atlas of the World

1893 Rand McNally Map

Having taken a maps class, I hope to be able to pinpoint more accurately where this might be today.  Since writing the original post, I have heard from a gentleman who owns property near that site and he did agree that I was somewhat close to the community when I used google map images . He also went to the local courthouse and found a map that was created in the 1870s, reflecting the same community.  And he did state that the images that I used from Google Maps was fairly close to the area.

Possible site near Slaughterville Oklahoma where the old Negro Settlement thrived.

There is still today little activity along the banks of  Walnut Creek which is nearby, and also the railroad running close by.

My hope is that I might be able to locate also some of the narratives from the Indian Pioneer Papers---1930's era interviews conducted in Oklahoma that might make a reference to the old settlement.
The mystery continues but I am anxious to apply some mapping skills to learn much more.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Always Searching and Sometimes Finding

Page from Educable Children's List Tippah County Mississippi, 1878
Source: Family Search  Image 66 0f 135

A member of the AfriGeneas community recently shared information on the main Genealogy message board that the Educable Children's List from Mississippi was now online through Family Search.

I decided to take a look at the list for Tippah County. My gr. gr. grandmother Amanda Young Barr and her children lived there.  Amanda was now remarried to Mr.  Pleasant Barr after the Civil War when her husband Berry Young did not return.  She and Pleas had one child Elijah, and Pleas helped her raise her younger children as well. Well, several years ago I located Amanda and Pleas Barr and the family in the 1870 and 1880 census for the town of Ripley Mississippi. Today I decided to see if I could find any of Amanda's children, and if I could recognize any names that I knew from the family research.  The roster was simple with names of the children their ages and the race of the child.

The roster (in 1878) asks for Name, Age, Sex, and two columns for race

My first surprise came when I saw the name of my gr. gr. grandfather.  He was clearly one of the oldest students--but literacy must have been important to him.  There he was Counsulle Martin, (later it was written by the family as Council), and he was listed as 20 years old. This was five years before he married my gr. gr. grandmother Harriet Young.

Mr. gr. gr. grandfather Counsulle Martin's name appears on this  page.
Source:  Family Search page 60 - 135

I continued to look at the record and there on page 66 were three of the four names that I had hoped to find. There was Aunt Frances Young (her nickname was Frank and she was listed as Frank on the document), Aunt Violet Young, and there was Elijah Barr. Elijah was the son of Amanda and Pleasant Barr. I know that education was important to the family and the Barrs were fairly well known in the Ripley Mississippi community. (Elijah's father Pleasant was one of the founders of the St. Paul's Methodist Church which still exists in Ripley, to this day.)

Frank (Frances) Violet, and Elijah were listed together on this 1878 list.

I was also delighted to see another set of relatives, the children of Amanda's sister Nancy. She had married into the Gambell family and sure enough there were her children as well!

The Gambell cousins were also listed on the same list, in the town or Orizaba

I was disappointed that my gr. grandmother Harriet did not appear on the list. She would have appeared with 
her sisters Frank (Frances) and Violet Young, and her brother Elijah Barr. However,---finding the ancestors that I did find was a great treat and adds another dimension---they were clearly interested in learning and literacy was so important for former slaves. I know that education was strongly emphasized by Amanda and her husband and this interest in education carried forth into later generations from which several teachers and educators came.

I did not find my relatives in the 1885 list, but the find in 1878 was still a wonderful find. But 1892 was also interesting. My Aunt Frances (aka Frank) had a child by that time. The child's name was Cora, and this is truly a name unknown to me before! And Cora was listed next to a child whose name was G. May(?).  The parent was S.E  Bryant, and name I recognized, for S.E. Bryant (Sam Bryant)  was the man who married Alice Young---one of Amanda's daughters.  So in 1892---there are two additional names previously unknown to me.

In 1892, the name of the parent or guardian was listed first, followed by the name of the child. 

Two more finds from the same collection.

A small announcement on a message board took me to this collection, and visiting the site was truly worth the time. I pay attention to such announcements of new databases as they become available, and I always look to see if I can use it. 

Usually I continue with my efforts to document the community---but today's finds prove how if one is always searching----you will sometimes find a new data to add to the family file. 

 I am always searching and sometimes I find!