Saturday, February 4, 2017

SLAVERY IN BOYD COUNTY, KENTUCKY: ‎Teresa Martin Klaiber‎

Teresa Martin Klaiber to Boyd County, Kentucky Genealogy & Historical Research Site
This is the article published in Monographs I of Boyd County that I did. Please if you cite anything give author credit. SLAVERY IN BOYD COUNTY, KENTUCKY
There are two misconceptions leading up to and including the Civil War about slavery. The first is use of the term underground connected with the Underground Railroad. There were no long underground tunnels, only small miserable places designed to hide escaping folks temporarily. The second misconception is that all those who fought for the Union were against slavery. Though General George Gallup, who settled in Boyd County, Kentucky stated “I cannot annoy myself with the prospect of Negro equality for only those who desire it will be annoyed.”
Freedom for slaves who lived even at the edge of the Ohio River could not have been easy. Stand on the Ohio river bank at Ashland. Across the Ohio hills rise up with ragged rocky formations almost from waters edge. If you want to go north you must first get around this geological mass. However to your right and across from Normal, Kentucky is Solida Creek which empties into the Ohio. Nearby is Burlington said to be founded by a Baptist minister who freed all his slaves. Close by Symmes Creek lead folks up a freedom trail. Look left and Ohio’s Underground Trails lead north from Greenup to Wheelersburg. Freedom a precious word to all of us. Freedom that people are willing to die for. Freedom that some only dream of. Freedom north beyond the Ohio River.
Lewis Barnes, a man marked as black by census takers, finally knew what freedom was. He also knew the trail and did not want his family to forget. So when his little girl was born in Boyd County at the close of the Civil War he named her Erie reminding him of the promise land. Hampton Mayo also knew where Canada was beyond the Ohio River and across larger waters where a network of folks helped friends and relatives to that freedom. Least folks forget how to get there and should his new found freedom be taken from him he named yet another little girl Lake Erie at Catlettsburg, Kentucky in 1868.
All along the Ohio River tales of underground activity have been passed from generation to generation. Some documented some whispered. Not only stories of underground activity, but stories of the slaves have been told and retold. It is hard to believe that an interviewer for the WPA, Carl F. Hall, said “we were unable to find any records, in Boyd County, as to slave holders and their slaves, though it is known that many well to do families the Catletts, Davis, Poages, Williams and others were slave holders.” His narrative still managed, with lack of documentation, to be peppered with several stories involving Boyd County. Even during the Centennial of Catlettsburg it was thought that there were no records to substantiate slavery activity. How many stories are there whispering on the wind? How many can be documented in this modern day of research and 133+ years after the fact?
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A Catlettsburg history relates that. John Culver’s trusty slave, Uncle Elias, had been accused of being a runner and would neither deny or admit it. “It was a fact that he helped the slaves to safety on Solida Creek in Ohio, where there was a refuge for runaway slaves.” Solida Creek does empty into the Ohio River directly across from Clyffeside Branch, Ashland. From a refuge on Solida slaves could make their way to Symmes Creek past Mt. Vernon and Olive Furnaces to Poke Patch on the Gallia County, Ohio line. If that was too dangerous they could follow the river to Wheelersburg and on to Portsmouth.
From a study of tax records it appears that John Culver had loss’s among his own slaves. In 1839 Culver tithed three slaves. One of these would be Elias. By 1841 fourteen slaves are tallied. Then tax lists show a roller coaster inconsistency in numbers - 9, 11, 6, 9 - until 1848 when six slaves remain until the settlement of Culver’s estate. Either Culver had loss’s and gains through transactions of slaves and/or Elias was helping friends, from even his very own master, to escape.
Culver left a will probated in 1858 where the court inventoried five slaves: Elias valued at $400.00, Sam value $300., Fanny value $300., girls Hannah value $1000.00 and Martha value $1000. By the 1860 Federal Slave Census Boyd County widow Charlotte Culver is left with the five slaves which are all again named. providing their ages. Elias was 56 years old. The other slaves were Sam 23, Fanny 67, Hannah 10 and Martha 20. Hannah and Martha are marked as mulatto.
Mrs. Culver maintained four slaves as the Civil War progressed. By 1867 Elias Culver, accused runner, is a free “Negro” in Boyd County, Kentucky. He appears to be the same Elias using the surname Diggs in 1870 District #6 Catlettsburg residing next to the Culver family. Ages of slaves and past slaves appear inconsistent throughout records. At the time he gave his age as 64. He is marked as Mulatto, a mattress maker born in Indiana with a female named Deborah,67, born in Maryland.
Besides Elias we find Fanny Culver, now 82 years old, living next door to Mrs. Culver in 1870. Martha remained in Mrs. Culver’s home with the surname Brown and two infant children.
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Our second example tells of “...an underground agent for the Abolitionists who came to Catlettsburg to secure work with Mr. Bill Hampton, who owned many slaves. In a short time all his slaves escaped except Aunt Lucy and Aunt Isabella. This agent was caught and sentenced to serve a term in the pen.”
William Hampton, a minister, was born in Cabell Co [W]VA in 1808 to William and Malinda Hampton. When he was approximately 3 years old the family moved to what was then Greenup County. At the death of William’s father, his mother remarried to L. B. Sharp and removed to Missouri by 1836 . In 1833 Hampton is taxed for 3 slaves in Lawrence County, Kentucky He shows 1 slave in 1839 in Greenup County and no slaves thereafter until 1847 when he acquires another who is also gone by 1850.
William Hampton formed a company with John Culver and others to purchase property from James Wilson Fry. This company was responsible for laying off part of Catlettsburg above Division Street. By 1860 William Hampton is still tithing three slaves. They were Isabella age 51, and Lucy 25, both mentioned in the story and Ransier a 10 month old mulatto.

Lucy’s age is important when reviewing the story about being left behind when Hampton’s slaves supposedly ran from this area. Lucy was born about 1835/6. Thus if such an escape of slaves occurred after she was born, according to the story, it would have been after 1835. A search of order books, civil and criminal Dockets for Greenup County as well as circuit records of Lawrence County and later formed Boyd County show several entries involving Hampton and of course his land transactions but none mention the conviction of a captured Abolitionist. In 1854 Hampton acted as guardian to the heirs of Anthony W. Ferguson involving 13 slaves. All 13 slaves were named in the inventory. When one of the guardian reports was filed in June 1864 it lists $9.48 for medical attention for slaves and $3.92 to John Kouns for a coffin for a Negro child. Nothing unusual seems to occur to any of these slaves under Hampton’s guardianship of heirs.
We do know what happened to Hampton’s slaves Aunt Isabella and Lucy. Isabella becomes Isabelle Fox residing in Catlettsburg in 1870. She is 65 years old, keeping house and born in Kentucky. Lucy Fox is 34 and hires out. Ransom Fox is a mulatto 11 years old living at their home born in Kentucky along with George Fox age 6. Isabella is still alive and states she is 80 years of age in 1880. Lucy now Williams is shown in the same household with Henry Williams a Mulatto age 50 born Virginia, George Fox age 18 cited as Isabella’s grandson and a grand daughter Mary Williams age 9. George married and resided in Boyd County and worked as a porter. He died on April 11, 1912 of organic heart disease. On his death certificate his wife was cited as informant. There was some confusion as to parentage as the father is listed as Lucie Williams and is marked out and Isabel Fox written in and the name of the mother Isabel Fox has been marked out and Lucie Williams written in.
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Alexander Mead was a slave in Greenup County, Kentucky born in 1789. In a personal interview he stated that he got his liberty by buying it with his heels. He says he escaped in 1849. His owner was Benjamin Mead. What Alexander did not explain in the article was how and why he chose 1849 to run. We can safely assume he crossed the river near Ironton and made his way along the trail.
Benjamin Mead and wife Elizabeth lived in the area now Raceland in Greenup County. While this area never became part of Boyd County the Mead’s were actively involved in the Ashland area as well. Alexander also mentions his first wife Hanna Ford who died at Ashland, KY. After Benjamin Mead’s death in 1821 his wife continued to manage their affairs. When Elizabeth died in 1848 the filed estate included the division of slaves. Thirteen slaves were listed by name to be divided among seven heirs shattering the existence they had known. Alexander’s name does not appear on the list. The names of the slaves are: Charlotte, Sarah, Eliah, Jane, Melian, America, Amanda, Reuben, Mary, a female named Anachy, Levi, Maria and William Rielly.
Lots were drawn to decide who would receive each. Elizabeth’s son Benjamin F. Mead received Maria and William Rielly. In 1847 his first appearance on the tax list along with his mother shows that he is tithed for one slave. From 1848 through 1850 he is taxed for two slaves. With the addition of inheritance of two slaves he should have properly been taxed for three. It is this compiler’s opinion that Alexander was given by Elizabeth to son Benjamin prior to her death and that he ran in 1848 arriving in Canada in 1849 as cited in his own personal interview.

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Asberry Parker is cited in the Federal Writers’ Project concerning Boyd County. The article tells that he traveled by night to Canada where he worked until he became wealthy. After the war he returned to Ironton, Ohio where he made his home for the rest of his life. The article does not say who his master was on the Kentucky side of the river.
The 4th Ward, Ironton, Lawrence County, Ohio Federal Census for 1880 lists Asberry Parker born in [West] Virginia age 49 and wife Hannah Parker age 45 born in Kentucky.
A property and slave owner also by the name of Hannah Parker resided in what was Greenup County, Kentucky. She placed a reward for one of her slaves, a male named George in a Scioto County based paper in 1855. The notice was signed by Moses McCoy of Greenup County, Kentucky. Papers in Ohio ran many such ads including another ad involving what would become Boyd County, Kentucky on January 16, 1852. At that time John Wollman, of Catlettsburg, Kentucky offered a $100.00 reward for a Negro man, Ben, thirty years of age, five feet ten inches high. Wollman may have been John Wellman who had a large family near the Clay’s and appears in early Lawrence County records.
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George McVoide, is said to have belonged to the Poage family of Boyd County and also escaped to Canada but no further information is given about him. This may be George listed in the inventory of Eliza M. Poage in Greenup County, Kentucky along with another slave Daniel. Several members of the Poage family had slaves. In late June 1864 Ned an emancipated slave of Thomas H. Poage {s/o George and Ann Allen Poage} came forward in the Boyd County Court and made application for support stating that he was a pauper. The court being advised ruled against Jacob Rice Sr. the administrator of the estate of Jobe Davis. Jobe Davis had put up security in a bond of emancipation of Ned in what at that time was the Carter County court. Davis had land holdings at Marsh Run near Cannonsburg. One of the Jobe Davis slaves, Caroline Davis died of burns in November 1853.
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The slave narrative by Fannie Tippin born in Greenup County, Kentucky 10 July 1864 just two blocks from the bank of the Ohio River describes life with her owners as well as the slave auction block. Fannie tells of Mr. Doll Reed who bought her grandmother Eliza and two children Mary and Bill. Mary was Fannie Tippin’s mother. She states that Mr. Reed tried to buy her grandfather from Mr. Biggs who would not sell him. Reed would buy but never sell his slaves. Fannie’s father belonged to a man named Lawson who drowned when she was small. Fannie talks with great respect about the Reed family which included two daughters Lucy and Annie Reed.
Adolphus L. Reid came from Virginia and settled on a farm near Gray’s Branch later moving from the farm to Greenup. He had five children by his first wife including the mentioned Lucy and Anna. A son Charles married and moved to Texas in the 1870's. Fanny Tippin gave her interview having also migrated to Texas at a later date.
In the interview Fanny gives a vivid description of Greenup’s slave auction. “Reed Landing was a ware house with a gravel road down to the river bank. Between the ware house and the river was the trading block. It was platform about 20 x 30 feet. Slaves was bought and sold there, or auctioned off or swapped for more desirable things. It was a public trading place and shipping place. In bad weather they kep’t the grain and things they was going to ship in the ware house...”
Several slave auctions have been mentioned through the years in Boyd County. A slave block was said to have been in Catlettsburg on Center Street where the Gallup Jewelry Store was at one time. This places the site across from or very near the courthouse. On December 22, 1863 Charles Guilky, jailer for Boyd County reported that one Jack Marlow, a runaway slave had been arrested and confined in the Boyd County Jail by Rhodes Weddington and that Jack had remained in jail and been advertised for six months. No person appeared to claim the slave. The court ordered that they should proceed to sell the slave according to law. As with all sales ordered by the court the sale would take place at or near the doors of the courthouse.
Henry Riekert [1900-1994], owner of what is now called the Cedar Knoll area of Boyd County always proclaimed that there was a slave auction close to where US 60 intersects State Route 3291 in Boyd County. The tract of land which is described as near Cannonsburg was part of land known as the W. L. Geiger Farm. While this compiler could find no documentation citing a sale block the location would have been convenient for farmers that did own slaves residing in that part of the county. The well trod path leading from Ashland to Lawrence County passed through properties of Geiger, Colvin, the Eastham heirs, Davis, Kouns and Bolt families among others. In 1850 Geiger was listed with 4 slaves, Vincent Colvin 3, and among the Eastham’s as many as 11 slaves. Isaac Bolt tithed 6 slaves just across the line in Lawrence county. Shortly after the formation of the county of Boyd these gentleman along with others requested a survey for a road from Cannonsburg to Bolts Fork.
In 1860 W. L. Gieger, Vincent Colvin and Asa Bellew were appointed commissioners to divide
the slaves of Edward Eastham then deceased. Cannonsburg district seemingly has the largest slave activity in the area. During the Civil War Geiger indicates in his own diaries that Union officers and several companies also stayed at his place. In June of 1863 Geiger wrote that Ellington’s Negros ran off but were caught. Certainly the Geiger farm was a central hub for that part of the county.
Riekert and adjoining property owner John G. Martin also told of a possible slave grave yard on a point to the left of what is now Jomar Road. Charles Leece a black widower, succumbed to flux, October 12, 1853 at Cannonsburg. His owner is recorded as W. L. Geiger. While excavation and home development of the point on Jomar Road, in the 1970's and 80's gave no indication of any burials, those that died would logically be put to rest in close proximity. This knoll overlooks the area where the auction block was purportedly located.
Oral history also proclaims Fields Cemetery now overlooking Interstate 64 includes a section of slave burials. This property involved the Eastham family. Iby [nee McGuire] was the widow of Hartwell Eastham and ancestors to the Fields family. In the 1850 Greenup Slave enumeration Ibby Eastham had 3 slaves. Hartwell’s grave along with James W. Eastham are the earliest marked graves in the cemetery. These earliest graves are within a raised wall. To the left of this early family plot are as many as 20 unmarked/unidentified graves. Most are simply marked with field stone. Today these very early graves are at the far end of the cemetery from what is now the entrance gate.
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While auction blocks were scattered throughout the south for business, individuals retained agents to purchase and handle private transactions of slaves. Though it appears that those involving area residents did not always go smoothly. Susan Catlett brought suit against Richard Brown in 1840 in Lawrence County. Catlett stated that a slave, Dinah was being unjustly detained from her. R. M. Biggs of Greenup County testified that he sold the slave in controversy in Lawrence County to Susan Catlett by her agent Thomas H. Martin.
Davis Montgomery of Claburn Co., Mississippi retained Samuel Craig as agent when purchasing a slave in Lawrence County, Kentucky, from Anthony Hampton in 1835. Anthony was a brother to William Hampton of Boyd County. Craig had debts including one to Mr. Catlett and while the slave was in his possession was taken in payment of the debt. The slave named Tempy was to then be sold at the courthouse steps in Louisa, Kentucky to satisfy debt. Anthony Hampton testified that he did sell a 25 year old Negro to Montgomery at the home of Samuel Craig. The sale was stopped and the case dismissed with costs and leave to draw original bill of sale on Craig.
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Not all freedom came from running. Emancipation papers could be signed either by the goodness of the owner and/or by purchasing freedom, of course with the owners permission. An example is the emancipation of Thomas Lawson about 54 years old in Greenup County Court December 1846. The paper was signed by B.B. Metz, William I. Lawson, William Corns, B.B. Lawson, John McConnell and Joseph Hill.
Anticipated freedom could be changed at the master’s will. James Lawson’s will probated in 1845 in Greenup County had several codicils involving handling of his slaves. The will states that Charlotte is to be freed at the death of his wife. Tom was to be freed at the decedents death. In an 1838 codicil Lawson stipulates that Charlotte was to receive $10.00 for every year of service when she is freed at the death of the decedent’s wife. However, Tom is now to serve until the death of Lawson’s wife instead of at James death.
Arthur Parker’s 1837 will stated that slave Jackson Boon was to serve one more year then be freed. Washington was to work until he earned what he cost unless Henry Parker from whom he was originally purchased wanted him back. Ryal and William were to be freed after they reached the age of 24 unless the sale of William and Ryal was needed to pay off debts.
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Historical research is not without flaws. Interpretation of the records can change a historical event dramatically. Evelyn Jackson, Ashland historian stated in her research that “William Hood had a black son, Price Hood by his slave.” Did she utilize Carter County birth records to come to this conclusion? The film is not of best quality and had she compared the format of other entries by midwives she would have noted that they distinguish between son and slave. “Certificate In case of Birth. I hereby certify that on the 11th day of December 1852 a male Mulatto child was born alive at full time at the house of William Hood on Garners fork. This child was the SLAVE of William Hood and [blank] late [blank] who reside on Garners fork of East fork in Carter County. The child was named Price. Dated 2 Feb 1853. Signed Mary Lambert, M.W. This document alone does not make William Hood the father. The designation Mulatto does not automatically make the white owner the father. The registration just before states “son of” and the entry just after “daughter of” while the Hood entry clearly says “slave of.” In 1860 Price is listed as age 6 and W. P. Hood as owner.
I have noted that entries of Mulattos and some blacks do not provide the mother’s name. The column for paternal parent is labeled “Name of father or Owner of Child” There were several Mulatto children born in 1852 including J. F. Wallace “slave of” William Geiger. In each instance the mother’s name is not placed in the column designated for her when it involves slave ownership. Did Jackson have other documentation not readily available or discovered by this compiler? Did she possibly have oral “whisperings” that have long ago lost authorship?
As a compiler I am still hearing “whisperings.” It is clear that Cannonsburg district and Catlettsburg played a greater role in slavery than did newly forming Ashland simply because of geography and development of the day. Whispers of houses in Catlettsburg that were used for the Underground Railroad with tunnels said to run to the river, even though the houses face and are within short distance from the Big Sandy River, still abound. In several cases ownership of the homes were tracked to people who had several slaves themselves neither proving nor disproving the stories. This compiler found no record of any person in what is now Boyd County, other than Elias, admitting to aide slaves. But who among neighbors would breathe a word of any such help or hiding places that would incriminate them when both Union and Confederate feelings were still pro - slavery and so strongly stated by Civil War Union hero General Gallup.

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