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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Lucinda White and her Children, Sally and Jane

I request help finding Lucinda White and her children Sally and Jane (together or separately) in the 1870 census. In 1866 she was living in Charleston, SC. The children were in Georgia. I have searched online censuses in vain.

Background: An Indenture of Apprenticeship in the loose papers of Upson County Court records that on November 23, 1866, Judge Thomas S. Sharman (who was also the local Freedmen's Bureau agent) bound out Sallie McDonald (about 13 years old) and Jane McDonald (about eleven years old) to James McDonald.

McDonald claimed he had them in his possession at the time of Emancipation, and that they had no relatives to care for them. The children were to learn “husbandry & ordinary housework.”

James McDonald an elderly, blind Baptist preacher, served as pastor of Thomaston's Bethesda Baptist Church, 1865-66. He moved to Stone Mountain, Ga., about December 1866, but died in Rome, Ga., in 1869.


The story of Lucinda White and her children next appears in the correspondence of the Freedmen's Bureau -- but I followed the trail of one letter back and forth across the state of Georgia . . . ending up losing the trail! I never found Lucinda White's original letter, just brief summaries recorded in books of "registered letters received" and "endorsements sent and received".

On December 24, 1866, the Assistant Commissioner for South Carolina, Gen. R. K. Scott, received the following:

"[Lucinda White (freedwoman)] Requests transportation to this place for her two children Sally & Jane McDonald, said to be living with James McDonald, at Thomaston, Upson Co., Ga."

On December 27, 1866, Gen. Scott forwarded the letter to Maj. Gen Oliver O. Howard in Washington DC "requesting transportation from Thomaston, Ga., to Charleston, S.C., for her two children Sally and Jane McDonald."

Four days later, Dec’r 31, 1866. Gen. Howard's adjutant forwarded the letter to Gen. H. M. Whittelsey, Chief Quartermaster for the Bureau, who was in charge of disbursing all funds for travel.

Gen. Whittelsey did not feel he had enough information, so the same day he sent the letter to the Assistant Commissioner for Georgia, who was stationed in Savannah: "Respectfully referred to Bt. Maj. Gen. Davis Tillson, ass’t com’r State of Georgia, for investigation and report as to the circumstances &c. of the children for whom transportation is asked."

A month later, Jan'y 30, 1867, Gen. Tillson forwarded Lucinda White's letter to the agent at Thomaston, Upson County: "Respectfully referred to Thos. S. Sharman Esq., Agent Bureau R.F. & A.L. for Upson County, for investigation and report in compliance with endorsement of Bv’t. Brig. Gen. Henry M. Whittelsey, Chief q.m. Bureau R.F. & A.L. - This paper to be returned with report."

Unfortunately, the civilian agent, Judge Sharman, was in the middle of resigning, with no relief appointed to replace him, so he put little effort into following up on Lucinda's children. He turned over his records to a military officer, Captain Sellers, at Macon.

On Feb 22, 1867, Capt Sellers sent Lucinda White's letter back to Gen. Tillson at Savannah, enclosing a letter from Sharman that merely said: "I will say that the old Gentleman that had those minor Girl children has removed, as I understand, to the Stone Mountain Geo."

Lucinda White's letter next went from Savannah to Altanta, forwarded to Lt. John Leonard, the Sub-Assistant Commissioner who had jurisdiction over the part of Georgia that included Stone Mountain.

Here the correspondence trail ends because the book of "endorsements sent and received" for the Sub-Assistant Commissioner at Atlanta is missing through May 1867.

I have never found Lucinda White's original letter. I do not know if she was ever reunited with her two daughters.

Any ideas, anyone?

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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