AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
John Shivers(Chavis?) of Opelousas
Hi, in the 1792 Opelousas census of Free mulattoes and negroes, I found a man named, John Shivers,mulatto. I've read that Shivers is a variation of the name Chavis, who were free people of color who originated in Virginia in the 17th/18th century. There was a branch of the Chavis family that made it to St. Landry Parish. If this Shivers is indeed Chavis, then they came to the area early when Louisiana was a part of the Spanish empire. I've read that being a free people of color in the Upper South was extremely difficult and I'm thinking that maybe John Shivers came to Louisiana because it was better for a free person of color in Louisiana due to the rights they had to owning property, not having their movements restricted and being allowed to stay within Louisiana instead of requiring to leave after a certain time period. The Chavis family intermarried with free creoles of color in St. Landry(Gradenigo,LaChapelle) which included my relatives. Also some of the free Johnsons of Virginia made it into Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana and intermarried with french creoles of color as well. Some married into the Metoyer family. I talked to someone who was descended from the Johnsons of Virigina and the Metoyers. This sounds like an interesting historical study of how free people of color in Colonial America looking for a better life and more freedom journeyed to Colonial louisiana and intermarried with the free creole of color community.