What follows are extracts from documents listed in the Index made of the Probate Records as posted on my website previously.
Additional information of value to slave history as found in these original documents is meant to supplement that already posted on my website,
Slave Data Base – Hancock County, MS, dated July 24, 2014 and
New Slave Data Base – Hancock County MS, dated August 13, 2015.
For simplicity, those postings are called below Slave Data Base #1, and Slave Data Base #2.
Some of the comments refer to the earlier posts simply to state that a list of slaves in the Probate document offers no new data. In other cases, some analysis may be offered when thought proper.
This book is entirely devoted to the minutes of the County Probate Court, covering no less than 767 pages. Records from years 1853 through 1859 are included.
The earliest years covered is the same as that of Deed Books A and B, specifically 1853. This is not by coincidence. A reader may need to know that a courthouse fire in Gainesville occurred in 1853, destroying many county records. A serious attempt was made afterwards to record both deeds and probate records from that date.
It is clear that in the case of the deed records, many documents were re-recordings of earlier transactions, allowed by a special act of the legislature.
This is not so for the probate records. Most of the first 300 pages of the total 767 are dated 1853. As the next 400 pages span the years 1854 through 1859, it is evident that the average entries per year would have been much lower
Contents extracted to include particulars of slave history.
p. 20: Estate of Eulalie Casanova
FG Casanova, administrator, approved April 25, 1853
Court issued order of partition. Administrator was to distribute among the heirs Negroes in the estate who had been evaluated. Heirs of legal age must decide before Feb. term whether they would take slaves at stated value. He who would get more than his share would pay the surplus in money to others. Property to remain in hands of adm until sold and all debts paid.
Distribution was as follows:
To Rosalie Marti – Isadore, a negro boy about 7 $250.
“ Lindore, “ about 7 300
“ Julian “ about 14 400
To Caroline Perdue – Mary, a Negro woman 16 700
To Joseph Casanova, Hannah “ 28 600
“ Charles, a Negro boy 5 250
“ Hampton, “ boy 3 200
To Louisa Elder – Fanny, a Negro girl 11 350
“ Charlotte “ 9 275
To Francis Casanova, Hampton man 41 800
“ Marguerita, woman 70 60
In addition, a woman named Rachel, 42, was sold for 700, but it is not clear to whom.
p. 22: Distribution of Jesse Cowand estate
June 27, 1853
Negro Jim sold to Trudeau for $755
Rosetta, woman “ 425
Maria, girl, sold to Jane Atkin 320
Robert, man, “ John Petit 955
Collins, boy “ EF Russ 225
William, man “ R Trudeau 1125
Windsor, “ “ EF Russ (guardian)
Marthy, girl “ “ 590
Jack, man “ “ 445
Sarah, girl and 3 children, to
B/ Bourgeois 1710
Daniel, man, sold to A Cowand 1520
Eliza, woman and 3 children,
sold to James McArthur 1300
Next was a mule for $75, then horses, cattle, oxen, wagon,, pleasure boat, sweet potatoes, ham, etc.
p. ? Estate of Amelia Russ
November 29, 1851
Court has ordered sale of slaves.
Bob sold to John Russ $770
Zilpha to FR Witten 415
Edingborough to Mrs. A Mead 430
Sam to EF Russ 700
Coco to SE Russ 660
p. 64: Inventory of estate of Andrew Seal
Includes no slaves.
p. 67: Will of Mary Butler – 1844
Will leaves $500 to each granddaughter, children of son James Butler, namely Jane Amanda Scott and Mary Ann Ward to be paid in 4 years, to purchase young Negro woman.
Also, to granddaughter, Mary Agnes Daniell, five Negroes as follows:
Maria, Judy and 2 children Lucy and Moses and their future increase.
Also, to granddaughter Sarah Hamlin Pray, Negro girl named Harriot.
To my granddaughter Mentoria [?] Amanda Daniell one Negro girl named Adel.
To granddaughter Anna Daniell one Negro girl named – nill.
“ Mary Susan Daniell “ Lanco.
“ Eugenia Amelia Stansbury two young Negroes named John and Lavinia.
“All their increase” was mentioned in the case of all female slaves above.
To my grandson James Butler Daniell, $600.
Any other slaves to remain in the undistributed possession of my son in law Lewis Daniell.
There follows a list of the good, chattels, and personal estate including slaves and with the value of each.
These are already found in Slave Data Base 1.
Worthy of mention is the wording at top of list: “Names of each article.”
p. 77: Will of Antoine Bayard
Leaves to wife Dargine four slaves: Hounnoute 13, Nanette 13, Louise 13, and a mulatto boy Jean 14.
Inventory is listed including same 16 slaves found in Data Base 1, with their values. Also, one other heads the list, that being Polomie, age 36.
Results of sale of Dec 1849:
Fine and Joe sold to John Dedeaux.
Benoit and Mary Anne and her child Adele sold to Joseph Bosetto.
Polomie and children Henry and Philip sold to Auguste Lafitte.
Touche sold to Joseph Lizanna.
Mimi and Helene sold to Antoine Bayard, Jr.
Etienne to Pierre Saucier.
p. 98: Estate of DF Guex
p. 107: Appointment of guardian of minor heirs of James Farr
Mother of children has intermarried, with one Redding Bird.
Up to now, court seems to have ordered that labor of certain slaves would support the education and care of the children. Now, they have made application for letters of guardianship and wish to remove prior guardian. They charge that he had taken possession of twelve slaves, to wit: Lucy, Darcas and child, Charlotte, Hagar and her two children, David, Bet, Edmund a boy, Jerry a boy, Martha, Jess a man, Manuel, Elijah.
Redding Bird and wife acknowledge that they have received this and other property.
Unlike most inventories, in this case a long list of possessions precedes the list of slave. List follows:
Negro woman, Hagar – $330.25
William – $1100
Gilbert – $1100
Woman and child, Rachael and Isadore – 900
Woman and child, Rose and Monday – 900
Boy Edmund – 750
They (petitioner or heirs?) were desirous of a division of slaves and that they are incapable of a division in kind. Petitioners allege that a sale will be absolutely necessary as a preliminary step to distribution.
p. 122: Inventory of estate of Calvin Merrill
Inventory contains list of possessions, promissory notes, etc., and includes item “One negro man named Parker” worth $700
p. 134: Estate of Carlos Lesassier
Inventory is small list of possessions of little value; no slaves.
p. 135: Estate of Eulalie Casanova
Slave to be sold for purpose of paying off debts. Heirs deem it more advantageous to our joint interest that the said Negro woman Rachel be sold at private sale for the value set upon her. Attorney to deliver and ordinary Bill of Sale with the usual warranty.
p. 201: Estate of Henry Jarrell
Long list of possessions and values includes slaves as follows:
Hagar – $550
William – 1100
Gilbert – 1100
Rachel and Isadore – 900
Rose and Monday – 900
Edmund, a boy – 750
Jarrell is said to have died intestate, possessed of personal property of an unproductive and perishable nature. All persons interested would be benefited by a sale therof.
Decedent died leaving the following slaves for life:
Gilbert – Negro woman and her child Isadore
Rose and child Monday
Because of number of heirs and of slaves, administrators are desirous of a division and they are incapable of a division in kind.
Heirs listed, including infant, Rodney Clark.
p. 222: Guardianship of heirs of Doby, Sam White administrator
[NB: Slaves sold for high amounts.]
Large number of bidders at auction. Sale as follows:
Slave Paul to Wm. Poitevent – $1130
Washington “ – 1355
Madaline and children Mary Ann and Rose to
EF Russ – 1710
Terissa and child Octavine to O. Favre – 1335
p. 233: Estate of Antoine Bayard – 1849. Includes will. Info repeat of earlier report. Slave list same as that in Data Base 1.
Value of each slave given.
p. 265: Estate of Matilda Fayard
Small estate, including one slave. Administrator advised to recover possession of Negro slave.
p. 287: Appraisal of assets of Cadet Lafontaine; includes ½ of Schooner Southern
July 30, 1852
Charles, a Negro man 20 – $600
Peter “ 19 600
Caroline and two children, James and Henry – 800
p. 326: Estate of John William Gause. Mentions Wootan and Carroll plantations; Wootan said to be an old Gause plantation.
October 23, 1854
Sale took place at Green J. Wootan’s place, bid by Redding Byrd for land known as Wootan’s Plantation.
p. 363: Inventory of estate of Alfred A. Farr
Feb 27, 1854
360 acres on Pearl River
Data base 1 contains lists of slaves, some – but not all – overlapping with this one, which is as follows:
Jesse, dark complexion, 38
Jesey, about 17
Lucey, woman about 50
Dearcos, a yellow woman about 36
Hagar, about 33
Martha, a girl about 15
Charlotte “ 5
Betsy “ 1
p. 364: Estate of Elisha Benjamin
p. 367: Inventory of estate of Ann E. William, Louisa and Gertrude Mitchell, infant, heirs of James Mitchell; property now in hands of undersigned guardian, Sarah Mitchell
August 21, 1855
Negro man Jack, 55 $300
Ben 30 1000
Sam 25 1000
Judy 45 300
Sylvy 23 800
Maria 12 600
Alpha 6 400
Lewis 3 250
Richmond 1 ½ 200
Phillis 60 000
p. 368: Estate of James Mitchell
August 21, 1855
Personal estate divided into five parts, as Schedule B, and includes same list as above.
p. 389: Estate of Matthew Landrum
Jan 24, 1854
Inventory of Landrum, late of Jones County:
Negro woman and infant Catherine $1000
Boy Tom, 600
Girl Pink 500
Boy Joe 350
There were seven heirs to the above, said to be “incapable of petition.”[sic] Apparently meaning partition.
Heirs may appear at court to show cause if against sale.
p. 409: Will of Marceline McArthur
Will allows children Solomon, Elizabeth and Thomas to choose own guardian. Youngest is son Lott, 14, for whom testator named Charles Frazar as guardian.
Will directs that slave Piere shall be hired out from year to year until Lott is of age. Proceeds to be used for support, schooling, clothing for all children. Slave not to be hired out of county and not on water craft.
Also, woman slave Cendrella and two children and increase shall remain in the family.
p. 444: Estate of Genarve Nicaise
p. 450: Guardianship of heirs of PRR Pray
Oct 23, 1855
Inventory lists lands before slaves, perhaps because value higher for the lands. Slave list and values same as on Slave Data base 1.
p. 457 Appraisal of assets of John E. Jones
List and values are same as shown in Data Base 1, but something unusual is in the inventory document. It shows a division of the slaves by bracketing them off into two families. The presumed reason was that it was desired that when sold, members of the families would not be separated.
Family 1: Maria, Richmond, Charles, Caroline.
Family 2: Jane, Minerva, Julia.
p. 459: Estate of Samuel J. Peters
Peters was a wealthy man who lived principally at Buena Vista in the Bouligny area upriver from New Orleans. These documents were included in Hancock County because he owned property in that county too.
The multi-page, complicated will mentions the value of the Hancock County property as $8000.
Several “servants” are listed, but without any connection to Mississippi. They were William, Thisdon, Lucy, Nancy and Rosalie; after William’s name is the wording, “given him his freedom.”
The will includes the following: To my faithful servant William Stewart bought by me in 1830 of TB Printel and Thomas Cookney by act before William Boswell not. pub. I will and bequeath his freedom and it is my desire that my executor do without unnecessary delay all that may be needed to emancipate him with privilege to remain in Louisiana.
Several deeds relating to the Mississippi property can be found on line in Deed Books A and B.
p. 484: Estate of John James
Following are sales of same list as shown on Data Base 1, probably as appraisements; values of sales slightly different. Values are for families, indicating they were sold in groups.
Negro man Cipio sold to Buy & Screws [?] $326
Woman Jane and 2 children 1545
“ Maria and 3 children 1825
p. 510: Estate of Genave [sic] Nicaise
Same slave list can be found in Data Base 1, but it is notable that values are substantially lower in the appraisement shown in this document. Jim is valued at $500; Gustave at 800; Paul at 800.
What is noteworthy in this document is the fact that two of the three appraisers signed their oath with their marks. The editor believes he has seen similar occasions, and this may not prove to be very unusual. It is an indication of just how illiterate some of the citizenry may have been, as the job of appraiser of an estate seems to have been a very responsible one to which responsible parties would be appointed.
Indeed, the judge’s written charge was very specific: “This is to authorize you jointly to appraise the goods, chattels and personal estate of Genevive Nicaise…so far as they shall come to your sight and knowledge…a certificate of lwhereof you are to return, annexted [sic] to an Inventory … in dollars and cents, and the said Inventory you are to set down in a column or columns opposite to each articles, the value thereof.”
p. 513: Estate of Joaquin Robira
Robira does not appear in either Data Base 1 or 2; therefore, the list here is a new addition to data base.
Negro woman Dorothie age 34 $500
Mulatto woman Harriet 41 750
Negro girl Antoinette 7 250
Mulatto girl Louise 14 800
Negro woman Susan 28 450
Mulatto man Thomas 37 sickly 150
p. 525: Settlement of estate William C. Mackie
Mackie estate does not seem to be covered in either Slave Data base 1 or 2; therefore, list that follows is new addition to data bases.
Pinckney, a negro boy 14 $900
Thom “ 10 500
James, a negro man 28 1000
Harriet girl 3 300
Susaney, negro woman 28 400
Petition of Wm Poitevent, administrator, “shows that the debts due and owing by said intestate…cannot be paid, other than a sale of said slaves there being no money or other assets.”
This petition appears in some other estates, using very similar language. It is this editor’s observation that the courts may have been lenient to such requests, perhaps for good reason. After all, it may be difficult to divide in equal shares a few slaves to beneficiaries numbering more than a few, especially when the slaves have vastly different values.
Still, it may be worth further study, as it occurs to this editor that sales may not always have been best for either the family members or the slaves. Regardless of the morality of slavery, it is known that there were case where slave and master were devoted to each other.
p. 536: Mackie (continued)
Account of Sales
Negro man Jim 28 to S. G. Randall $1350
“ Pickney Mulatto boy 15 to TA Mitchell 1176
“ Tom a boy 10 to Thomas Leonard, Sr. 650
Lenancy and her child Hariet age 45 and 3
to Thomas Leonard, Sr. 910
p. 563: Bazile Ladner, Sen.
NB: This is new info, not found in Data Base 1 or 2.
Like a similar case above, two of the three appraisers sign with the letter X. A difference here, however, is the usual wording “his mark” does not follow the letter. Still, it would appear that these appraisers are not literate.
Negro man Pierre 24 $900
Negress Maroute 22 1000
Negro girl Victoire 9 450
Negro girl Margueritte 7 400
NB: If above ages are correct and if one presumes this is a family, Maroute would have been 13 when Victoire was born.
p. 590: Estate of John Russ
This inventory is essentially the same as that found in Data Base 1.
p. 594: Petition for sale of John Russ estate, made by Administratrix Susan Russ
Petition if for sale of perishable items, including cattle, oxen, sheep, carts, wagons, and other personal estate. Even though the wording does not include slaves, it is possible that they are included as other personal estate. In point of fact, they are the lead items in the “inventory and appraisement of the goods and chattels and persona belonging to the estate,” and are given values.
Petition states that all those interested in the distribution … will be benefited by an immediate sale thereof.
Editor should see p. 595 ff to see if judge granted petition.
p. 595: Petition of Delilah Farr
On Data Base 1 there are multiple listings under Farr, and may duplicate the ones in this listing. The list below gives some specifics – like age – that may not be in Data Base.
In part three of the will, is the reading, “I give and devise to my nephew Alfred Farr and unto his heirs the following named Negros, to wit:”
Part seven of the will includes the following:
“I give and devise in trust, unto Alfred Farr and Farr Proctor, as my executors, hereinafter appointed for Alfred A. Farr, and Margaret D. Farr, minor heirs of James Farr, deceased, the following named Negros as severally named to wit:”
Green 5 months
Part seven continues: “I do expressly direct, that the negroes as named and devised under trust in this clause to Alfred A. Farr and Margaret D. Farr remain after my death in the possessions of my executor.”
p. 634: Will of Florentine Netto
Part the second reads as follow: “I give and bequeath to my unfortunate son Pierre Netto (who is at this time unsound of mind and body) my slave named John, a slave for life, aged about 32 years for and during his natural life , the said slave John being my separate property by inheritance from my father’s estate.
Part the third provides that after death of Pierre, slave John must be sold and the proceeds be equally divided among children of testator.
Florentine Netto signed with her mark, after specifically stating, “I have hereinto set my hand and seal by my usual mark not knowing how to write …”
p. 696: Estate of Delilah Farr
Inventory and appraisement of goods and chattels repeats names found in Slave Data Base #1. Although the following may be substantially duplicative of names, the list is offered here in its entirely because the values are so much higher than given previously.
Also, there are at least a couple of additions, one being Emilene, with two children, and the other Milly and two children. Latter appears to be a different Milly and not the one on Data Base #1 as the name of her child is different.
The list follows:
Silvy $ 500
Joshua, a boy 1200
Sarah and child Charles 1300
Mary and child Bob 1300
Emilene and children Anna and Melinda 1600
Hannah a girl 700
Vina, a girl 750
Amanda, a girl 1100
Milly and children Clarissa and John 1600
Mack, a boy 500
Hagar, a girl 1200
Frank, a boy 750
Orange, a boy 850
Amelia, a girl 650
Rachel, a girl 300
Green, a boy 200
p. 764: Estate of John Russ
Estate divided into four shares, naming particular heirs to be willed certain slaves, as follows:
Lot 1: To Evander Russ
Emeline and child 850
Lot 2: To Julia Russ
Lot 3: to Charles Russ
Lot 4: To Susan A. Johnson