Tonight in our digital family gathering I'll introduce you to some of the slaves in our Williamson family history.
For years I remember being told an old family tale of a distant ancestor who supposedly sold a slave to Thomas Jefferson. I doubt this can be proved. One thing I can prove is that our family did indeed own slaves; several of them. Our Williamson ancestors were farmers in Virginia and Virginia was a slave state. Owning slaves would be expected if they had sizable farms.
The slave chapter in our family history is detailed in the Wills of a few of our direct ancestors. Let me begin by posting a section of our Williamson family tree.
George Mathew Williamson (our common GG Grandfather through his son, our common Great Grandfather William Jonathan Williamson) was the son of Mathew Williamson and Selina D. Jeffries.
The Wills from the records of Charlotte County, Virginia.
Grandfather White's will mentioned several slaves (15 by my count). Their names were:
Bob: A negro boy
Mary: A negro girl
Milley: A negro girl given as a slave to our 3rd Great Grand Uncle Charles Williamson, son of his daughter Susanna White Williamson married to Cuthbert Williamson Junior.
Lucy: A wench
Aggie: The will mentions that Dick, Yellow Dick, Luce and Aggie are to be divided to his daughters at the time of his wife's death. Therefore our 4th Great Grandmother Susanna White Williamson would have received one slave from her father.
This is the will of our 4th Great Grandfather Cuthbert Williamson Jr. According to his will, each of his children were to be given one slave at his death and when they reach the lawful age. Our 3rd Great Grandfather Mathew is mentioned to receive one slave. The will states that the remainder of his slaves stay with his beloved wife Susannah. Upon her death, the remaining slaves (which would include their dependents) would be divided among his children - again our Grandfather Mathew is mentioned.
It is my opinion that slavery ended along the Williamson line with Mathew. We know that George Mathew Williamson left the south for Illinois shortly after his marriage to Margaret Willis. Illinois was a free state.