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The Gibson Indians

The African American Narratives in the Library of Virginia contain the Brunswick County District Court records for the Amey Evans suit for freedom which were said to have been lost when the case was heard in Richmond City. They include the deposition of Ann Meriwether who deposed in Richmond City on 22 June 1798, that about 40 years previous Amey Evans was about 13 years of age (born 1745), that Amey was owned by Richard Meriwether in Albemarle County who exchanged her for another slave with David Allen because "one of David Allen's negro men had the said Amey for a wife...Sarah Colley was the daughter of Frances Evans by a white man named James Colley...she had "often heard her husband say in his lifetime that Frances Evans was of Indian descent and from the Complexion & strait black hair of Sarah Colley this deponent believes they were descended from Indians." The case abated in May 1799 by the death of the defendant Allen [Evans, Amey, etc.: Freedom Suit, 1799, African American Narrative Digital Collection, LVA]. This was probably the reason court attorney Edmund Randolph told the court the family descended from "Jane Gibson, a free Indian woman." However, when Randolph was appointed as counsel for the plaintiffs, he filed their petition to the court, stating that "they were children of a free woman of colour named Amey, who was the daughter of another free woman of colour named Sarah Colley, who was the daughter of another free woman of colour named Frances Evans who was the daughter of another free woman of colour named Jane Gibson."

Note that Sarah Colley was probably related to George, Charles, Thomas, and George Colley, Jr., "Mulattos" convicted in Charles City County court on 6 September 1758 of failing to list their wives as tithables [Court Order Book, 1758-1762, pages 56, 78, 525].

The first member of the Evans family to obtain his freedom was Thomas Gibson, alias Mingo Jackson, who won his freedom in the Richmond court on 5 April 1792. Mingo Jackson was a "FN" taxable in Richmond City in 1794, 1806 and from 1814 to 1816; taxable on a slave over the age of 12 years in 1794 and 1816, and Thomas Gibson (Blacksmith) was a "fn" taxable in Richmond City in 1796, 1797, 1799, and from 1812 to 1814 [PPTL, 1787-99; 1799-18]. A later case file included a deposition from Abraham Dugard that he had met Thomas Gibson, alias Mingo Jackson, in Richmond in December 1803 [Lynchburg City Chancery file 1821-033]. He was called Thomas Gibson alias Mingo Jackson on 4 December 1796 when Duncan McLaughlin sued him in Henrico County for debt. On 8 September 1798 the Henrico County court charged "a free black man by the name of Symon" with stealing several articles of clothing from a trunk that belonged to "a free black man by the name of Thomas Gibson." Charles Evans testified as a witness for the Commonwealth that he and Thomas were staying at the mill house of Colonel Harvie when they invited a former slave named Symon to spend the night with them [Court Order Book, 1796-8, 543; 1798-9, 242]. This may have been the same Charles Evans who ran away from Lewis Allen but was recovered and "tied and confined to be sent from Richmond, and probably out of the Country" by 7 May 1805 when Edmund Randolph petitioned the court for a prohibition against Allen.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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