Monday, October 17, 2011

Indentured Servitude in Virginia

Page 20 of "So Obscure A Person” begins the tale of Alexander STINSON's adventures as an Indentured Servant in Williamsburg, Virginia, even to his bequeathal in the will of his Tavern-keeper owner to her heirs or to be sold at public auction. So what exactly was this Indentured Servitude that our forebear was subjected to?

Indentured Servitude was commonly practiced in the early settlement days of America, especially in the Tidewater Colonies of Maryland and Virginia. The use of indentured servants for labor was practiced long before the arrival of slaves to Virginia, as the very-intensive labor required to raise crops such as tobacco need a large scale importation of farm laborers. The scheme was invented to pay the ocean passage for an immigrant, and then for that new laborer to be bound by an indenture contract for five to seven years. Even after the importation of slaves began, indentured service continued. The British crown even used the scheme to export undesirables, including debtors and criminals from Great Britain. In 1681, more than twice as many plantation laborers were indentured whites than black slaves.

"Servant in the colonial era meant about the same as employee in ours; and within the class there was as wide a variation as today between a migrant farm laborer in California and a master electrician. In the English colonies, a servant was usually a person whose passage was paid, or assisted, in return for working for a certain number of years--usually four or five for an adult. When released from this apprenticeship, the servant became a freeman like any other. Servants in Virginia might be of any class, from poor gentleman, to convicted felon. The average servant was a respectable young person who wished to better himself in the New World but could not afford the cost of outfit and passage. During the four or five years he worked for his master, he became acclimated, learned how to grow tobacco and corn, and in many instances learned a trade. During this term of service the servant received only food and clothing; but at the end, the former servant could set up as a yeoman farmer, vote, and even be elected to the assembly."

Morison goes on to say that the range of membership in the servant class varied from respectable young men and women; to Scottish and Irish prisoners taken in the civil wars; to boys and girls that were kidnapped and sold to ships' masters who then resold them on arrival in the New World; to convicted felons. These latter in turn might vary from people imprisoned for nothing worse than stealing a loaf of bread, to hardened habitual criminals." (Samuel Eliot Morison, "The Oxford History of the American People," Oxford University Press, New York, 1965, page 82)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Slaves of the Cabell Family of Nelson County

Derek Nicholas has created a webside and CD documenting his research on the slave descendants of the CABELL family of Nelson County, Virginia. Slave Descendants of the CABELL Family is his website and it includes the NICHOLAS, VENABLE, ALLEN, WOODSON, and MAYO families of the Warminster, Lovingston, Midway Mills area of Nelson County, Virginia.

The early CABELL family of Virginia and its connections with the STINSON family of Buckingham County, Virginia is documented beginning on page 173 of "So Obscure A Person.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jesse and Eliza TONEY of Buckingham

I have received information from a reader who has found his grandmother on page 97 of "So Obscure A Person” as "Eliza TONEY," implied daughter of Cary and Martha STINSON of Buckingham County, Virginia. His Buckingham County, Virginia grandmother had told him that her grandmother was an Eliza Irvine STINSON who married Jesse F. TONEY. "Jesse F and Elisa TONEY" appear on the 1850 Census of Buckingham County, Virginia, with a family of children, ages 1 to 16 years. "Elisa TONEY" was born about 1820 and, if all of the children are hers, it implies that she and Jesse married about 1834, according to their births.

The children in their household of 1850, were descendants of the first Alexander STINSON of Buckingham County, Virginia. Their names were:
  • Martha J Toney F 16y
  • John O Toney M 14y
  • Samuel E Toney M 12y
  • William F Toney M 10y
  • Penella Toney F 9y
  • Stephen W Toney M 7y
  • George M Toney M 6y
  • James Toney M 5y
  • Ann E Toney F 1y
©Edna Barney 2011. All my writings herein are Copyright ©Edna Barney. It is unlawful to copy and paste them elsewhere. You may copy and paste the URL link to this post or the URL link to this blog.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Robert STINSON, Abbeville, Alabama

Robert STINSON was born 12 May 1862, and died at the advanced age of 82, on 10 July 1944, at Abbeville, Henry County, Alabama, according to his death record. His parents and his ancestry back to Alexander STINSON of Buckingham, Virginia are documented on page 100 of "So Obscure A Person."

James STINSON of Alabama

I have received the following email, which I will answer below:
Edna, I found info about your book on the Buckingham Va Stinsons. I am looking for information about a James Stinson who was born in 1803 in Va. He may have lived in South Carolina for a while, but he settled in Pickens Co, Al where I have found him in 1840, 1850, and 1860. He married Nancy Cotton, daughter of Abner Cotton, in 1836 in Nohubee, Miss. He was a cotton broker, along with Drury Miller, my husband’s 2gtgrandfather’s brother, and a James Chalmers. He may have been related to Robert Stinson who lived in Lancaster/Kershaw SC ( married to Martha George). Any help with this man’s identity would be greatly appreciated. I am not finding much..
Carol
ANSWER: Carol - I do not know about this James STINSON (1803-p1860), nor the Robert STINSON of South Carolina. They may be descendants of the STINSONs from Buckingham County who went to Wilkes County, Georgia. "The Lincoln County, Georgia Land Lottery of 1805, listed Archibald STINSON, Joseph STINSON, Alexander TINSON and the orphans of Edmund ADCOCK." These people are cited beginning on page 79, through Generation 3, of my STINSON genealogy - "So Obscure A Person.”

Perhaps someone reading here may be able to give you some clues or information. For example, please see this previous comment about a STINSON family of North Alabama:  September 1, 2009 10:34 PM