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Re: Article on Strom Thurmonds' Biracial Daughter

Date: Friday, 19 December 2003, at 11:14 p.m.

I am able to follow several of my lines back, but for this story I wanted to share my South Carolina ancestors. Strom Thurmond, and his ilk wanted to keep blacks in a slavery state. That is what his racial segregation speeches were about. In that servitile state, he is able to use and abuse black women without fear of retribution.

I have traced one of my maternal lines to the Natives who inhabited Lancaster County Virginia. Another line goes back to Brecon Wales, and the Moors who accompanied King Arthur in 462 AD. I have even submitted to DNA testing, and the test proved my Lewis line. Another Virginia line was a servant to George Washingtons family, in Westmoreland County Virginia. That is what my book, Notes And Documents of Free Persons of Color, details.

South Carolina was one of the worst slave holding states. Great Great Grandmother, Leah Ruths son, Samuel was in Savannah, when the Civil War broke out. He was about twelve years old, and a house slave. He and his brother, Daniel were seperated, and Samuel believed his brother was killed. Daniel was light enough to pass for white, but once he began speaking the whites would know he was a slave. Also, the roving bands of newly freed slaves would kill anyone they perceived to be white. With these odds, Samuel felt his brother was dead, no matter what.

The 54th Massachusetts caught up with Samuel running down the street screaming. That was the first time he had ever seen blacks in a position of powere. He thought they were going to kill him, but they assured him he was safe. They brought Samuel north to New Jersey, where he was fostered out. When he was about nineteen years old, Samuel was sent to Coatesville to live with Quaker farmers. They taught him how to farm, and assisted him in purchasing a farm (some of the land is still in the family). Samuels children only had one complaint about him, the way he whipped them. He would pull them up, in the barn and whip them backs, the same way he was whipped as a slave. Samuel was a prominent farmer in Chester County for many years, and was a member of the Farm Association.

Most of the information I have on my ancestors came from my mother, and documents I collected over the years. They did not talk a lot about what happened in the South. For instance, my Great Grandfather, Samuel Ruth believed his brother Daniel was dead. Daniel Ruth was alive and well in Savannah after the Civil War. He was sent to school in Savannah, and after graduating went to Canada, where he passed for white. The last time he wrote his brother, Samuel, he told him that he was going to pass. He never heard from him again. As for my paternal grandparents, they never returned to South Carolina.

Thank you for your comments.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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