Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2010-01 > 1264130100

From: Jeanette Daniels <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] Slave valuations vs. relative age order
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 19:15:00 -0800 (PST)
References: <><COL108-DS158D179B34BF96D824E52A92620@phx.gbl><><COL108-DS29FFC5B1D20B4F021396992620@phx.gbl>
In-Reply-To: <COL108-DS29FFC5B1D20B4F021396992620@phx.gbl>


The records presented in full probates vary from place to place. 
I was lucky to find Lucy listed with her new baby, George and
I had already seen her listed with her child Dean at the first
appraisal of the slaves when Johannah Embry died.  The slaves
were immediately rented out for one year while the probate was
being taken care of.  At that time, they were divided between
some of the family members and the rest sold.

I was hoping that the name of the new slave owner would have
been listed for each group of slaves that was sold.  It was not, but
I have been able to figure out where several of them went anyway. 
I did notice that throughout the other estates that were in the
probate court records, that many of the slaves that were sold had
the name of the new master listed. 

Unfortunately in Harris Co., GA in 1858 through the early 1860s,
the court clerk took the actual vouchers and IOUs and abbreviated
them in the records and then tossed them.  He was not as thorough as some full
probates I have obtained that contained the individual IOUs and
vouchers as handed to the court.  You never know what you will find in them.


----- Original Message ----
From: Michael Hait <>
Sent: Thu, January 21, 2010 8:07:13 PM
Subject: Re: [TGF] Slave valuations vs. relative age order

One of my ongoing projects is abstracting the estate papers of Prince
George's Co.  There were quite a few of these doctors' bills being presented
to the estates for payment.  They are great records if you can find them,
and when they do actually name the slaves - I have seen quite a few that
simply use the terms "boy" and "girl" as well.

More often, at least in the records that I have encountered, you simply find
a note in the administration account stating that payment "on account" was


From: "Jeanette Daniels" <>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 9:38 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] Slave valuations vs. relative age order

> Michael,
> I found midwife and doctor's records for treating the slaves in
> the full probate of Johannah Embry.  This gave the names of
> the mother and two young slave children.  One of the children's
> births was recorded in the full probate because the doctor and
> the midwife wanted to be paid out of the estate.
> Jeanette
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Michael Hait <>
> To:
> Sent: Thu, January 21, 2010 7:23:54 PM
> Subject: Re: [TGF] Slave valuations vs. relative age order
> Dawn,
> Jeannette's recommendations were very good (though the chart did not
> display
> correctly), but be aware that finding plantation records, bible records,
> midwife records, and a few of the other record groups she described, is
> extremely difficult -- and they don't exist for the majority of the
> slaveowners.  A good place to check is a guide to plantation records
> around
> the South, organized by state, that I believe was created by a university
> in
> Virginia.  Unfortunately, I will have to dig into my notes to try to
> remember the location of the guide.  Other guides to manuscripts should
> also
> be checked, as should the special collections of the state archives, state
> and county historical and genealogical societies, and larger university
> libraries in Georgia.
> If I can make one other suggestion, you should also take a look throughout
> the whole inventory book and do two "statistical" analyses.  (1) Where
> slaves ages were provided with values, what comparisons can be made?  (2)
> Did the specific appraisers of this estate appraise other estates, and can
> any comparisons/generalizations be made, both among themselves and among
> other estates from the same area/time period.  This will give you some
> insight into the context of the record that you are investigating, though
> it
> will not prove anything in and of itself.
> Since we are discussing peer review in another thread, I will volunteer to
> review your article as it gets closer to completion, and please let me
> know
> if you would like me to review any of your research in the meantime.  I do
> not have much free time the next month or so, but my schedule will be
> freeing up immensely in March.
> Michael
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Dawn Watson" <>
> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 2:38 PM
> To: <>
> Subject: [TGF] Slave valuations vs. relative age order
>> I am attempting to write my very first scholarly article (a correction of
>> a
>> published lineage). Part of my proof argument revolves around the
>> bequeathal
>> of a "Negro" named Ned from father to son, the son's near-continuous
>> ownership of Ned until the end of Lincoln's War, and the residence of Ned
>> afterwards near the son's widow. I believe establishing Ned's age may be
>> relevant to the argument, at the very least in showing that the Ned who
>> was
>> enumerated with the son and lived near the son's widow was of a similar
>> age
>> (or within the same age range) as the Ned who was bequeathed from father
>> to
>> son, and could thus be the same person.
>> An 1809 inventory of the father's estate lists the following, in this
>> order,
>> with the valuations given after:
>> 1 Negro woman Phereby & her Child Isham 500
>> 1 Negro Girl (Dilsy) 400
>> 1 Do (Levina) 400
>> 1 boy (Ned) 300
>> 1 Boy (Adam) 250
>> 1 Do (Peter) 200
>> Phereby was described as a woman in the will (written and proven in
>> 1809),
>> while Isham, Dilsy, Levina, Adam, and Peter were described as boys or
>> girls.
>> Ned was not given a descriptor of any kind in the will. The apparent
>> children were listed in a different order in the will than in the
>> inventory,
>> probably because the individuals to whom they were bequeathed were listed
>> in
>> apparent birth order. (The family lived in Jackson Co., GA, if that
>> helps.)
>> Given the valuations and the order in which they were listed in the
>> inventory, I deduced that Dilsy, Levina, Ned, Adam, and Peter were listed
>> by
>> their ages relative to one another, with the eldest first and the
>> youngest
>> last. I also concluded that Isham was an infant, probably under the age
>> of
>> two, because he was listed with Phereby. Phereby was probably still of
>> child-bearing age. Given Dilsy and Levina's valuation compared to
>> Phereby's,
>> they had probably reached puberty but, as they were described as girls,
>> had
>> either not acheived "adulthood" (say, 14 to 18 years of age) or did not
>> have
>> sexual partners. If I can establish an age range for Dilsy and Levina,
>> and
>> if the children were listed in order by age, I may be able to establish
>> age
>> ranges for the boys. I'm in the process of reading the largely-intact tax
>> records for this county; while the age ranges for slaves were not given
>> (at
>> least, not in the ones I've looked at so far), an increase in the number
>> of
>> slaves over time *could* indicate the birth(s) of a new slave(s) into the
>> family as much as it could indicate an addition by some other means.
>> Now that I'm reading this over, I think I'm making too much of the small
>> amount of information contained in the inventory and will. This is the
>> only
>> information I have to work with at the moment, however, and so I'm trying
>> to
>> make the best of it. Ned is the only one I've been able to track outside
>> of the records created by the probation of this estate, and only because
>> he
>> stayed in the family, so to speak. I would be happier if I could find
>> some
>> sort of record detailing how each slave was acquired by this family; I
>> have
>> my suspicions, but without deeds or some other record of transfer or
>> acquisition (the search for such is ongoing and apparently never-ending),
>> I
>> hesitate to formulate even the most tentative hypothesis.
>> At any rate, my questions to the list are:
>> 1) Is it reasonable to conclude that these individuals were inventoried
>> and
>> valued according to age, or am I way off base? My assumption is that
>> slaves at or near their prime, for lack of a better phrase, would be
>> valued
>> higher than those who were still maturing, hence the staggered values.
>> 2) Does anyone know of any articles or books that discuss slave
>> valuations,
>> and specifically any that deal with valuations vs. age? I've been reading
>> Black/African-American research guides and NGSQ articles on slave
>> genealogies, all of which have been incredibly helpful, and I have a list
>> of
>> related articles from other journals I'm trying to obtain. But perhaps
>> I'm
>> missing a pertinent reference?
>> I appreciate any and all insight into this matter.
>> Sincerely,
>> Dawn Watson
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