Abbeville Co, SC - Enslavement Data and Queries
[Data and Queries]: Please remember to contribute your data and/or queries!
I have compiled a list of the 1468 owners listed on the Abbeville Co, SC 1860 Slave Schedule! The "meat" of this document is a large spreadsheet (30 pages) which is now online. You may check for particular surnames to see whether they were listed as slave owners:
[Surnames ABNEY - DEVLIN] [Surnames DICKSON - LAWTON]
[Surnames LEE - REYNOLDS] [Surnames RICH - ZIMMERMAN]
If you find information on enslaved African Americans in wills, bills of sale, plantation day books, or other documents please consider submitting them to this page where they can be placed under the Data and Queries Section. Send information, suggestions, and questions to Sonia Walker.
Like genealogists across the country, African American genealogists climb back into time through federal censuses: 1920, 1910, 1900, 1880, 1870. As many African Americans finish the 1870 census we hesitate, wondering whether we should even scan the 1860 census.
When I read the 1860 census, I recorded the names of all free Africans in Abbeville Co, SC. My ancestors were not there, but I noted the repetition of the surname being researched by an African Canadian, perhaps a clue for his research. The other names are all possible clues for people who may not yet have begun their quests or people I will meet on the net tomorrow!
Since my ancestors had resided in Abbeville Co, SC for 50 years, the logical assumption is that they were there in 1860, but they were not free. I did a "neighborhood survey" of the 1870 census by recording all the families living near my family. I recorded the names five pages before and five pages after my families. There were few European Americans near, sometimes none. Why? How would I find the last persons who held my family in slavery? With the 1870 neighborhood survey we look again to the 1860 to see who might have had the assets to own enslaved Africans. One reason I did not find many European American families near my father's ancestors was that James Edward Calhoun owned the Millwood Plantation, and more than 200 enslaved Africans were held there in 1860. Family oral tradition held that my paternal great-grandfathers were among them. A three-part slave ledger dating from 1839 - 1847 provided evidentiary support, not to mention the fact that my father was born to a family of tenant farmers on the Millwood Estate Lands in 1918!
The 1860 Slave Schedule was a shock. I knew that I would not find the names of enslaved people listed. I knew that it really wasn't a document that would provide me with direct information, but I had to look at it. Pages of ancestors, viewed through the decades of the census, suddenly on the 1860 became the property of others. Awestruck, I created an index to the slave owners because that would be the first step in deobjectifying the more than 20,000 enslaved people in the county.
As genealogists, we don't change history: warts, skeletons, politics, enslavement- we hoard it all. One of my goals is to pinpoint my ancestors in 1860. Were they on a large plantation or a small farm? Were spouses living together or separately? I am blessed that my 97 year old maternal grandmother is in my life. Her mother, Leah, born ca 1866 according to the census and 1868 by family memory, died when Gram was 5. Her father died when she was 7. Many of the old stories are gone. At times our elders who've raised doctors, teachers, and PhDs seem embarrassed to speak of "slavery days." I don't understand the embarrassment. Yet Gram was pleased to learn that her mother, for whom many women in our family are named, was given the name of her grandmother, Leah, a woman born about 1805 and died after 1870. Whatever happened "in those days" they never chose to be enslaved, but they did choose to survive the period of enslavement. We are because they were.
When I created this web page in May 1997 I had just completed the booklet of slaveholders and still did not have a clue on where to find those who held my maternal grandmother's ancestors. I was just beginning to find information to substantiate the rich oral traditions of my father's ancestral history. I have now accumulated a great deal of information on my father's family history and found a significant clue to who might have held my maternal ancestors in 1848. For these accomplishments I thank first and foremost God, the leader of my life, my living family, my ancestors who guide my path, my Afrigeneas family and all of my net neighbors who contribute advice, queries and data to this page!
This page is dedicated to our ancestors who guide our research.
Samuel S. Walker, Sr.
(b. 26 June 1918 Millwood Estate Lands, Calhoun Falls, Abbeville Co, SC - d. 24 March 2001 Batavia, NY)
(b. 17 January 1916 - d. 10 April 2001 Cincinnati, OH)
Mildred Belcher Thomas
(b. February 1923 - d. January 2002 Buffalo, NY)
(b. 1933 Buffalo, NY - d. February 2002 Buffalo, NY)
Of related interest is a document listing the free African Americans in 1860 Abbeville Co, SC.
Visit the American Local History Network where this page is listed for other helpful connections.
References, Hints, and Slave Narratives - Please send your suggestions in!
Abbeville Co, SCGenWeb Project Page SCGenWeb Project Page
Afrigeneas - focused on African American Genealogy. Be sure to visit the SC State Resource Page!
A database of information on the period of enslavement is maintained by Afrigeneas, a mailing list pertaining to African American genealogy. Submit information on enslavement for all states to email@example.com or use the online form. Search the Afrigeneas Archives for additional information on the period of enslavement in various states.
Contents of the booklet, _Abbeville Co, SC A Compilation of Data from the 1860 Slave Schedule and List of Free African Americans on the 1860 Census_:
Slave Schedule - Alphabetical Index of Owners (Cross-Referenced to their location on the 1860 Census Population Schedule, 28 pp),
Post Offices & Brief Statistics (3 pp)
Free Persons of Color from the Census Population Schedule (8 pp), and
Possible Slave Owners (not on the slave schedule, but identified based on a Personal Estate Value of $1000 or more from the census, 3 pp).
Created 15 May 1997
Updated: 15 March 2002