AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: Moss/Morse FPOC Bedford Origin
In Response To: Moss/Morse FPOC Bedford Origin ()
Hi Brenda. The Moss family history is on my site. One branch of the family (descendants of Temp Moss) appear to have moved to Bedford County from Prince Edward County about 1779 when Tempy's children were bound apprentices to white planters. Her possible son Richard was clearly identified as a "Negro" in the tax list. (Note that Richard was one of the most common first names used by the Moss family).
1779 is far too late in history for there to have been a Native American tribe living outside a reservation in a community controlled by whites in Virginia. Native American tribes and whites had such different cultures that it proved impossible for them to coexist. (Or at least the whites who were in control felt that way). In Virginia counties like Accomack and Northampton that did have Native American populations, Native Americans appear in the county court records, accused or accusing whites of murder, theft, arson, etc., about 1690-1710.
Indians do not appear in Bedford County court records, and I don't know of any other historical record which says they were living there. Of course, it is possible that some of the free “Mulatto" people living in the county had some Indian ancestry.
The Cherokees were at war with the colonists for much of early American history. You occasionally come across a record in the county court minutes in which an Indian asks permission to pass through a county, but I have not seen that in the Bedford County records and never in any county for a Cherokee since they would have been viewed as an enemy combatant.
The Johns family was a light-skinned family from York County, Virginia. I have not found any evidence that they had Indian ancestry, but it is possible they had some. They would not have had any tribal affiliation since they had been farming like the English settlers as early as 1724, and they married into quite a number of the lighter-skinned, free African American families.
Some researchers discontinue researching the wealth of information available at their state archives when they hear they have Indian ancestry, thinking there must be some separate records for Indian tribes. However, we know that members of the Moss family were apprenticed to the Ewing family of Bedford County in 1779 and appear in the county court order books, tax lists, marriage bonds from adjoining Campbell County, and probably many other county records at the Library of Virginia.
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