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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

A Dickens Tale: A Slave Owner & His Slave Family

Hello All,

In following up an oral family history story of my Dickens ancestors about the family of Kelford H. “”Kelly” Dickens and his slave “Milly” I’ve come across a few documents that in my mind confirm the relationship.

Kelly Dickens is said to have fathered several children by Milly, his slave/housekeeper. Kelly, a bachelor, had a fair amount of slaves as he was a successful Doctor of Medicine and owned property which was farmed by those slaves. Kelly and Milly, while never being able to legally marry in the antebellum North Carolina supposedly maintained a relationship as “co-habitants”.

The following are some of the documents (Census, Death & Photo records)which lead me to believe the “truth of the story”. I would like for the members of this group to review and comment on my findings… Pro and Con.

1. 1860 Census record of K. H. Dickens ………….Edgecombe County, NC
2. 1860 Census slave schedule K. H. Dickens ….Edgecombe County, NC
3. 1870 Census record Kelly & Milly Dickens……Edgecombe County, NC
4. 1880 Census record K. H./H. K. Dickens……….Edgecombe County, NC
5. 1916 DC Lucy (Dickens) Cherry …………………...Edgecombe County, NC
6. Photo Dickens Family …… Lucy, Rose, Lafayette, Henry N. Cherry, Henry Dickens
Lucy married Henry Newberry Cherry ca 1885 . Henry’s father, Henry C. Newberry, was in the
NC legislature following the Civil War.
7. Photo Adah Dickens

Thanks in advance for your review & comments,
Art Thomas

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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