AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Andrew Holt-Campbell Co. VA
The current newsletter “Chronicle” of the Campbell Co. (VA) Historical Society, Oct 2009, has an interesting article entitled “Andrew Holt Free Man of Color” written by Amelia A. Talley. An 1851 source deed for the New London Methodist Church was found in the Clerk’s Office (I am assuming in Campbell County). The deed was conveying property to the church “to preach and expound God’s Holy Word…for the special, but not exclusive benefit for the colored people”. The man conveying the property was Andrew Holt. Ms. Talley asked “Who was Andrew Holt?”, the records she found would give a picture “ of the life of one free man of color in the early 19th century and his struggle to gain freedom for his 2 sons”.
Andrew Holt appears on the 1850 census for Campbell Co., (along with his wife Juda) born in VA, a baker and a land owner. He is registered in the Free Negro Register in 1860, age 73, 5 feet 11 inches and dark skinned. He had been emancipated by one Thomas Holt in KY., at some point Hunt had probably migrated to KY. After emancipation Holt would return to VA. In 1822 Holt would purchase “one Negro boy named Andrew, son of Judy” for $150 from James Steptoe. The author asks was “Judy”, “Juda”, was Andrew his son?
Other court documents would reveal that Holt bought his first piece of property in 1826 and other land over the course of 10 years. While trying to follow up on another court case Ms. Talley found a 74 page Chancery Case of Andrew Holt vs. Administrators of Henry Stevens, deceased…after 3 years the case ended with Andrew purchasing his 2 sons for $690.74. Holt died between 1854-1858, his will directed that “my 2 coloured boys, Dennis & Burwell who are my children, and who were purchased by me at the sale of he property of Thomas Steptoe, under deed of Trust and Robert Steptoe, shall immediately upon my death, be emancipated and set free by my executors…Burwell was registered as a FPOC, but Dennis’ registration was not”
VA County Court Order/Minute books are wonderful resources, if you haven’t tried them before. No they are not online, but on microfilm. I was unable to locate the 74 page Chancery case (file no. 1853-030) at the LVA site, Chancery Records(www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/ but I probably did not know what I was doing.