Posts Tagged ‘slaves’

Craigheads Owned Slaves? (part two)

May 10, 2014

Before I make the claim that some Pennsylvania Craigheads, particularly those who were ancestors of the Craighead Naturalists, once owned slaves, I should be absolutely certain it is true. The first thing to do was to look at the actual census documents to make sure had the right census page and had interpreted it correctly. I quickly found the 1800 Federal Census page for Thomas Craighead. That page not only included him but his son Thomas Jr. as well as some neighboring farmers. (See below) Deciphering the census page was, and remains, a challenge. The page appears to have been hand drawn in a ledger book. Column headings, such as they are, are not obvious. From’s analysis and comments from the National Archives, I imputed the first five columns that contained numbers represented free white males in five different age brackets. The second five numeric columns represent the number of free white females in five different age brackets living on the property. The eleventh and twelfth numeric columns, the rightmost columns on the page, had no entries and contained few entries. Thomas Craighead Sr. had nothing in his eleventh column and three is his twelfth column. Alex Carothers has one in his eleventh column and Daniel Holmes has ones in both columns. No one else on the page has an entry in either column.

Verifying how the entries in the eleventh and twelfth columns were determined to represent slaves posed a significant problem. listed Daniel Homes has having one slaves and one other (non-white?) free person in addition to all the free whites living at his home. Alex Carothers was more of a problem. Several searches involving several spellings were required to receive his record as interpreted his name as being spelled Corathers. That he had one other free person living at his home and a one in column eleven supports the conclusion that column eleven contains the number of free whites and column twelve contains the number of slaves. Non-citizen Indians were not counted because they were enumerated on their tribal rolls, at least in theory.

The next piece of the puzzle was contacting to find out how they converted these handwritten ledgers into searchable text.

1800 Fed Census Thomas Craighead 3 slaves

<end of part 2>

Pennsylvania Craigheads Owned Slaves?

May 7, 2014

Sometimes we all get whacked unexpectedly by something we never expected to be a problem. I was well aware that some Southern Craigheads had been slaveholders but never considered the possibility their Pennsylvania cousins might have been also. Until I read the March 1805 will of Thomas Craighead, eldest son of John Craighead, the first Craighead to settle along the Yellow Breeches Creek in what is now Cumberland County, Pennsylvania that is.

A distant cousin of the Craigheads I have been researching and writing about who lives far from here recently enlisted me to help him research the actual properties certain Craigheads owned and lived upon. Since John Craighead left no will, or at least one that was recorded at the county courthouse, I requested and received a copy of his oldest son Thomas’s will, knowing from the family’s genealogy that he lived on the Mansion farm all his life and likely inherited it from his father. His will verified that he did own the Mansion farm and provided information regarding its size while also identifying other parcels Thomas owned. Bequeaths in the will revealed a truth not known by recent generations.

He left the Mansion farm including “…my cash, bonds, notes, debts, stock, the services of my negroes, and all my other personal property…” to sons Richard and William. William was his youngest son, just eighteen when Thomas died. Richard never married and lived with William and his family the rest of his life. By leaving his negroes to his sons, Thomas Craighead acknowledged the fact they were slaves. If they were free blacks, they wouldn’t have been his property and wouldn’t have been bequeathed to anyone in his will. In an attempt to verify this, I searched for censuses listing Thomas, Richard and William for the 1800-1820 timeframe. listed Thomas Craighead Sr. as having three slaves on the 1800 federal census, Richard as having two slaves on the 1810 enumeration, and William as having three “free colored persons” living on the farm in 1820. The shift from slaves to freed black people could have been a result of An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1780. This was all very logical but there was a glitch.

<End of part 1>