AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: Walden-Chesnut-Langston Connections
In Response To: Walden/Goins Families in North Carolina ()
Their possible connection comes through their Sampson ancestors.
Langston Hughes' grandmother's name was Mary Sampson, and she was adopted by James Patterson after her parent's death. She migrated with the Patterson family to Ohio, and was known by her adopted surname. She had a first cousin, Mary Jane Patterson, who also attended Oberlin. This Mary Patterson was the first black graduate of Oberlin, not Langston's grandmother.
I've never found a concrete record of Mary Sampson Patterson's parent's names. I've only found a reference that says they died when she was young. I contacted Oberlin College many years ago and found some confusing info. Mary Sampson's daughter, Carrie Langston Clarke (Langston's mother), filled out a form naming James Patterson as her mother's father, and Johanna Waldon as her mother's mother. The form also noted that her mother married (probably Louis Leary) on May 12, 1858 in Oberlin, and that she was born on September 17, 1841 or 1843 in Fayetteville. She was Presbyterian and died on April 8, 1913 in Lawrence, Kansas.
My one guess would be if someone could locate Mary Sampson Patterson's marriage record to Charles Langston in 1870/71--this might identify her birth parents.
Charles Chesnutt's mother's name was Ann(a) Maria Sampson. His grandmother's name was Chloe Sampson.
My guess stems from my being descended from Sampsons. When I visited Fayeteville a few years back, the church historian at St. Joseph's Episcopal Church, who is also a relative, claimed that the two writers were cousins. My gggrandmother was Caledonia Sampson Barge, daughter of Henry Sampson and Caroline Williams Sampson. Some record sources claim Henry Sampson was also the father of Ann(a) Sampson.
My family's oral history claims Henry Sampson was a white slave owner. The Chesnutt-connected story claims the same. However I don't know of anyone who has found any records on this man. I was on a trail several years ago, and discovered that a man of the same name filed for bankruptcy. But when I requested copies of the records from the National Archives in Atlanta, they told me that all of the contents of the file were missing-the file was empty.
Charles Chesnutt, although of a different faith, witnessed several marriages and baptisms/christenings at St. Joseph's Church in the 1870's. My Barge/Williams ancestors were early members of this church, also being free people of color.
I have visited Fayetteville and Raleigh in hopes of finding connecting documents in Cumberland County records, but to no avail. I cannot place the Sampson families prior to the 1830's in any good records. The problem is that I cannot pinpoint where they lived prior to Fayetteville. Some research leads suggest Sampson county, others, New Hanover, and since Fayetteville was once part of another area--Bladen County. I have not had the time to expand my research to these areas other than searching through secondary sources.
So if you have access to the facilities, you might want to try these areas, or search through the pre-1830 Cumberland County records. The big migration to Ohio from North Carolina I think, took place in the 1840's (at least Chesnutt's parents left at that time).
I hope this helps. Do you have any other leads, oral history, or references to the two being related?
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