Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Emily's Will~Releasing the Names

Many face the situation of finding the enslaved in our ancestor's records. 
This will of my 4th great grandmother Emily Elizabeth (Vaughn) Dargan (1797-1865) is interesting as it was written in May of 1865 just days before the end of the Civil War.
Living in Sumter County, South Carolina all her life, she saw firsthand the horrors of war and a complete change of lifestyle. 

Will of Emily Vaughn
Source: Sumter, South Carolina, “South Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1670-1990”, database and images, Ancestry ( accessed 26 January 2018), image for Emily Dargan, 9 May,1865 will pg. 256-25710-11, citing “Will Book, Vol D-1-E2, 1823-1868”

  She wrote these words 
I will and bequeath my servant boy William to my eight grandchildren viz Milton, Henry, Burgess, Bradford , Bernard, Dargan, Frances, Mary V., Alice Scarborough and to their heirs forever for their equal use and benifit. I will and bequeath my servant boy Iassac an my carriages and horses to my daughter Francis Elizabeth and her heirs forever. Should the following negros viz. Dick, Jim. Wesley, Adam, Amy, Annette, Nelly, Lea, Molly, & Jane which have been taken by the  army of the United States be still my property, or should they or any of them be at any time restored to my estate, I will and bequeath the same to my children and grandchildren and their heirs forever to be equally divided between them, except for my daughter Martha and her children; my granchildren only taking the share which is her or their part if living at the time would be entitled in an equal division of my property among my children.         
Could it really be just days before the end of the war, there was doubt in Emily's mind as to the outcome and ultimate freedom for her "servant boys" and "negros" who had been taken from her?

William, Isaac, Dick, Jim, Wesley, Adam, Amy, Annette, Nelly Lea, Molly, and Jane

 All but William and Isaac were no longer living on the property. If as Emily stated they were taken by the Union Army, where did they go? Were they still in the area or had they escaped north? Why were William and Isaac left behind? 
Perhaps other records will come to light to answer those questions.

As with all my posts releasing the names of the enslaved found while researching, this post will be shared with the Slave Name Roll Project. By extracting their names out of Emily's will and posting online it is hoped their descendants will be able to locate them and reunite them with their family as they are added to the family tree.  

Do you have slave owners in your family tree? If so, won't you consider releasing the names of the enslaved in their records? 

This post was written for 52 Ancestors, week 9 "Where There's a Will" from Amy Johnson Crow.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Helping you climb your family tree,


1 comment:

  1. I was not aware of the Slave Name Roll Project. Thanks of passing on that information!