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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Melissa Wiggins and her family

Thanks, Erin!

Just a couple of things I neglected to mention...It's spelled "Malissa" on the 1850 census. When I first saw it I thought it looked like "Malipa" because of the old-fashioned "s". And there were two other daughters I forgot to list above, "Malissa" and Priscilla.

When John Broadstreet died in 1854, his older sons were living elsewhere, so his youngest son became the executor. He rented out the land to another farmer for $40 a year, and also "rented out" the slave Primus (who would have been about 60 years old by then) for $60 a year for the next few years.

I did find a mention of "Melissa Wiggins" in the 1855 probate papers. She was one of the dozen or so people listed who owed various small debts to John Broadstreet's estate. The amount she owed was only $1.50 (!) It was earmarked "doubtful" of ever collecting.

I would like to find out what happened to them. I did happen to find one interesting little item on the internet...when I googled "Wiley Wiggins" together with "free man of color", I found a mention of a Wiley Wiggins, age 23, who was living in Carroll County, a nearby county, sometime in the year 1860. The age matches the Wiley Wiggins who is 13 in 1850. It says that he is a Free Man of Color who had been residing in that county six years-- which I think could mean he moved there in 1854 or early 1855. It's only a brief mention, but it says that some citizens of Carroll County were testifying to the county authorities on his behalf, to convince them to let him remain in that county.

I don't know why they were going to send him away, and where to. There is a very long list of similar examples on that certain webpage of other Free Persons of Color who are having to defend their right to stay in their counties, and having to get other citizens to speak to the authorities on their behalf. What was going on here? I would hate to think that some of these men were getting sold downriver as slaves. I hope that's not the case. Or were some of them perhaps part Indian, and did not want to be shipped out to Indian Territory? I haven't seen all of this record, and I'm not sure where I can find it. I would like to put the link to that webpage here, but I use WebTV, and I'm not very computer savvy yet. But if anyone else is interested, they can go directly to it the way I found it, by googling "Wiley Wiggins" together with "free man of color". It might be of interest to people searching for other surnames, because there are hundreds of them listed there. I'm sorry I don't have the name of the site with me at the moment. I'll put it here when I find it. Thanks for your help!


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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