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NC Rare Slave List Uncovered

This was on another list I subscribe to:

Subject: [Black_History] N.C. Archivists Uncover Rare Slave List.

N.C. Archivists Uncover Rare Slave List

By WILLIAM L. HOLMES : Associated Press Writer
Apr 23, 2004 : 7:02 pm ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A renegade census taker charged with recording the population of a rural county in 1860 left behind a rare record of slave names.

The find by a state archivist researching his family background stunned historians and genealogists who routinely find slaves listed only by gender, age and color -- black or mulatto.

The handwritten Camden County record, discovered over the summer, was compiled by census taker Jesse Bell and includes the first names of the slaves owned by each family. Under the entry for farmer A.P. Cherry, for example, Bell listed the names of 16 slaves -- ranging from 55-year-old Moses to 3-month-old Enoch. The letter "S" is written beside each name on the 19-inch-by-15-inch yellowed ledger paper, which has the header "Free Inhabitants."

The names are not listed in the official federal index of the 1860 census.

"We see a lot of things here at the archives, but there are very few things that make us stop," said Earl Ijames, an archivist for the state Department of Cultural Resources who helped verify the record first noticed by colleague Chris Meekins.

Listing the names of slaves violated census regulations of the time, said Michael Hovland, a historian with the U.S. Census Bureau. Census takers were instructed to list only the number of slaves and their vital information -- and even that was in a part of the census report separate from the list of free people. Slaves were considered property and each counted as three-fifths of a person when determining population.

The 1860 Census lists the population of Camden, which borders Virginia, as 5,343, including 2,127 slaves.

Hovland said he has never seen or heard of a census document that included slave names.

Ijames suspects that Bell may have included the slaves' names on purpose since the Census Bureau had an unquestionable policy on the matter.

"I think he did it kind of tongue-in-cheek. He probably could not help but understand the personable nature of people and that they were people, not property," Ijames said.

"Your Roots is the History"


Messages In This Thread

NC Rare Slave List Uncovered
Slave Census Schedules with Names!
Re: Slave Census Schedules with Names!

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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