About this page: While researching my folks, occasionally I come across an interesting, but unrelated, article, and place it on my Shoebox page. The number of articles about former slaves grew, so I created this page. 
E-mailUpdated 14 Feb 2024. Photo: Mose Bunch, photo and writing on back of photo. Shared by a visitor to West Virginia Memories.

Noted African Americans with a West Virginia Connection

Georgia Town (Georgiatown) in Raleigh County, W.Va. (Mentions Alonzo Farley)

Page 1 of 2. GO TO PAGE 2: N-Z 

Old newspaper articles (and book mentions) about 
Americans who were enslaved and their descendants 

LAST SEEN - Thousands of “Information Wanted” advertisements taken out by former slaves searching for long lost family members. 

Articles about individuals
ADDISON, AGNEW AND HALL – Mercer County WV history (1963 article) mentions three African-American men. George Hall saved courthouse records when Princeton burned. George Agnew and Pat Addison were drivers for a “hack line” that began operation in 1900.

ALEXANDER – Johnson Alexander, born in 1857, Lebanon, Va. 101-Year-Old Slave Dies, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, 18 Dec 1961, Page 1.

ALLEN – Andrew Allen, Va. and W.Va. Mr. Allen, about 76, died 1928, Charleston, W.Va. Enslaved by the Allen family, Monroe County, and later sold to Burns family. Mr. Allen was employed by H.D. Gates. Foreman when first brick pavement laid in U.S. Survived by wife Ursula, sons Walter Oliver Fisher Allen and Eugene James Allen, and daughter Estella Allen EasleyObituary. There is a 1928 death record for Charles Andrew AllenAndrew and Ursula Allen - short biography. 

ATHERTON – St. John Atherton, Ga., Alaska. Struck it rich and planned to pay the mortgage on old master’s plantation. Will Be Saved By A Slave: Old African to Use His Klondike Gold for Former Master’s Daughter. The Hutchinson Daily News, Kansas, 06 Oct 1897, Page 8. Chicago Tribune reprint.

AYRES – Henry Ayres, Va. (W.Va.) Broke Jail - wanted poster, 1845, Hampshire Co., Va. 

BALDWIN – Eliza "Liza" Baldwin, a resident of Pax, Fayette County, W.Va.Over 100, "Aunt Liza" Just Rests, Waiting For The Lord, The Raleigh Register, Beckley, W.Va., Aug, 23, 1937, Page 5. Aunt Liza Tells Girls Few Things, Page 1Page 2. The Raleigh Register, Oct. 25, 1939, Page 1, Page 2. She was born in Virginia. According to the 1930 U.S. Census, Mrs. Baldwin was living with two of her grandsons, Clarence Abbott and Herman Marshall. She died in 1940 and was buried in Long Branch Cemetery.  Aunt Liza Dies at 105, The Raleigh Register, Aug. 27, 1940, Page 2. Pax Activities: Funeral Services, The Raleigh Register, Aug. 29, 1940, Page 11. Eliza Baldwin - short  biography  Find A Grave Memorial# 176008124

BOARD – Lucy Board, Va. and W.Va. Lucy Board, Va. and W.Va. Widow of Berry Board, mother of 10 including W.P. and Robert Oscar Board, Anna Hunt and Nannie Motley. Mrs. Board was enslaved by John Board of Bedford Co., Va. Colored Woman, 109, Former Slave, Dies At Vivian Home, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va., 29 Mar 1938, Page 8. Death certificate.

BLACK JOSH – Anna F. Conway Dean, Morgantown, W.Va., remembers the hanging of Black Josh in 1826 for "assault" on his mistress. He was enslaved by James Collins. Ninety Years Ago: Recollections of a Morgantown Woman Who is 90, Register Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 05 Sept 1907, Page 3. Black Josh was also mentioned in a 1929 article about another case. This article said he killed his mistress.  Greathouse Convicted of Second Degree Murder, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., 18 July 1929. 

BRADLEY –  Nannie Smith Bradley of Tennessee and West Virginia.

BROWN – Frances Brown, Ga., Ark., Okla. Former Slave Dies Here, Sequoyah County Democrat, Okla., 29 Sept 1922, Page 4.

BUTLER – Wilson Butler, Ga., N.J. Cooking Then And Now, The Bluefield Telegraph, W.Va., 05 Sept 1935, Page 6. Mr. Butler, a New Jersey resident, formerly of Nashville, Ga., comments about the "modern kitchen." He was formerly enslaved. 

BUTTS  – Jonathan Sebastian Butts & Ellen Ferguson Butts, Va. & W.Va. Other  surnames mentioned: Lundy, Dundy, Johnson, Bolling & Pennix. 

CALENDAR – Ben Calendar of Jumping Branch district, W.Va. The Greatest Man, The Raleigh Register, Monday, May 2, 1938, Page 4. Benjamine Calendar - a short biography.

CARTER – Jack Carter, barber, La. and Colo. Former slave leaves daughter money. Leslie Carter, New Orleans, former slave-owner and the girl's guardian, helps the young heir. A Colored Girl's Large Inheritance, Le Mars Sentinel, Iowa, 12 Sept 1890, Page 2.

CLAYBORNE – CLAIBORNE -- George Clayborne Sr. and Mary Jane Smith were married in 1868. The couple migrated from Montgomery County, Va., where they had been enslaved, to Floyd County, Va., and then to West Virginia. The George and Mary Clayborne family of Virginia and West Virginia (link to pdf).

COLWELL  Dick Colwell of Ky., Mo., Iowa. Born in Louisville, Ky., and enslaved by D.O. Smart, an uncle by marriage to outlaws Frank and Jesse James and Cole Younger. Ex-Slave Lauds Famous Bandits: Former Servant of James Boys Declares They Were Not As Bad As They Have Been Painted, Shenandoah, Iowa, article reprinted 04 Oct 1925, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., Page 10. 

COUSINS – Amy Cousins of Albemarle County, Va., and the Washington, D.C., area. Obituary.

COX – The Rev. Reed Cox of Va., born 01 June 1852, enslaved by Isom Cox and later given to Mr. Cox's daughter Mrs. William Bryant. Rev. Cox, a Baptist minister, hosted an annual meeting of ex-slaves in Grayson County, Va. Column also mentions former slave Mariah Watkins (see separate listing on this page) and the hanging of slaves in Grayson County. The Southwest Corner By Goodridge Wilson, The Southwest Times, Pulaski, Va., 29 Sept 1935, Page 4.

CRAWFORD – Charles Lewis Crawford and Martha Ellen Johnson Crawford of Virginia and West Virginia. Newsclips, death certificates and some official records.

CRAWFORD – George Crawford, Richmond and Harrisonburg, Va., Hearne, Texas. Formerly enslaved by the Woodson family of Virginia. He wrote to Mrs. Herbert Coffman seeking information on family and friends including Melenda, Margaret, Mahala, Marshall, T______ and Preston Beard, children of Sallie Beard. Former Slave Wants Names -- Wants to Know Whereabouts of Relatives and Former Rockingham FriendsHarrisonburg Daily News Record, Va., 26 May 1915, Page 6.

DAVIS – MEFFORD – William Davis of N.C. and Charleston, W.Va., aka William MeffordLongevity Formula at 109, Do Good, Charleston Daily Mail, 02 Mar 1947, Page 5; Ex-Slave, 119, Hit By Car, Charleston Gazette, 12 Jun 1959, Page 16; Ex-Slave Meets With Kanawha Welfare Group, Raleigh Register, Beckley, W.Va., 15 Nov 1956, Page 24; and City Man, 120, Needs Steady Job, Charleston Gazette, 12 Jun 1959, Page 16.

DINGESS-SMITH-MCCOMAS – Virginia. Will of Charles Anderson Dingess of Giles County, Va., dated 26 July 1835, proven in October Court 1835, which made provision for Jane and Rhoda. “…7th: I give and bequeath unto my sister, ELIZABETH SMITH, one negro girl named Jane during the natural life of the said ELIZABETH and at the death of said ELIZABETH the said negro girl with her increase, if any, to be sold by my Executors and the proceeds devised as hereinafter named. 8th: I give and bequeath unto CYNTHIA MCCOMAS, one small yellow girl named Rhoda until 17th day of July 1851, at which time she is to be free requesting my Executors to furnish any sum necessary, not exceeding one hundred dollars to pay her transportation to some place where her and her increase can enjoy the privilege of freedom.” A New River Heritage, Volume V, Bluestone-New River Indian Frontier, by William Sanders, 2004. Page 83. 

DUNLAP  Savannah Dunlap of Ga. and Chicago. She was born in 1840 on a Georgia plantation. Former Slave 113, Delphos Courant, Ohio, 14 Feb 1953, Page 1.

ELIZA – Eliza, Va., Mo., Kansas. Devotion of a Slave -- Story of the Negro who was at the Deathbed of Professor Neely of St. Joseph, The Boston Globe, 23 Aug 1904, Page 7. 

EVANS – Conn. Jane Evans of Connecticut, formerly enslaved in the South, learns to read. It made national news. At 73 She Goes To School, The Fairmont West Virginian, 10 Feb 1905, Page 8; Graduates with Honor, The New Haven Morning Journal and Courier, 09 Feb 1905, Page 8.

FITCH – Collis Fitch, Conn. Earned While a Slave: Poor Collis Fitch of Waterbury Surprised by Unknown Visitor, Who Leaves $1000 Behind, The Boston Globe, 07 Dec 1886, Page 8. 

FRENCH - WILLIAMS – Va. and W.Va. Charles W. “Charley” French (1848-50/1929) was enslaved by the French family of Giles County, Va. His wife was Sarah “Sallie” Williams (1854-1931). Mr. French: obituarydeath certificate. Mrs. French: obituarydeath certificate. Two memorial pages: Saint Luke’s Cemetery, Tazewell County, Va., Find a Grave Memorial 203084104 and 203084105, or (same tombstone) in Maple Hill Cemetery, Bluefield, Tazewell County, Find a Grave Memorial 181903760 and 181903805.

FUDGE – MITCHELL – PEERYJane Fudge, 102, Shake-Rag, Tazewell, Va., dies at the home of son Robert MitchellEx-Slave Dies, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va., Sunday, 02 Aug 1931, Page 5. Note: link to 1944 death record of Lee Peery, wife of Ballard Peery, daughter of Jane Fudge and Robert Mitchell.  

GARNER – Robert and Margaret Garner, Kentucky. Arrest of Fugitive Slaves, The Clinton Republican, Wilmington, Ohio, Feb. 1, 1856, Page 2. The family had fled to Cincinnati where they were captured. "...Margaret not wanting to return to slavery, slit the throat of her two-year old daughter, Mary, then stabbed her other children and herself. While her daughter died immediately, Margaret and her other children were only wounded. The entire family were taken into custody and imprisoned... Her story is the basis for the 1987 novel, Beloved, by Toni Morrison..." Margaret Garner (1834-1858)) - Cincinnati History Library and Archives.

GARRETT - LEWISMargaret Garrett of Franklin County, Ky., and Audrain County, Missouri. As a child she "cried so loudly and created so much disturbance that the auctioneers decided to sell her with her mother." She married George Lewis. Ex-Slave Nears Mark of Century: Missourian Doesn't Know Age, But Remembers History, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., June 9, 1932, Page 6.

GARLICK -  BOGGUESS. "Charles A. Garlick (whose birth name was Abel Bogguess) was born in February 1827 near Shinnston, [Harrison County] West Virginia, on the plantation of Richard Bogguess." Link to a summary of Mr. Garlick's autobiography, published in 1902. Life, Including His Escape and Struggle for Liberty of Charles A. Garlick, Born a Slave in Old Virginia, Who Secured His Freedom by Running Away from His Master's Farm in 1843: Electronic Edition.

GEORGE, JACKSON. William Orville George of Richmond, Va., had three children with Caroline Ellen Jackson. She was enslaved and he was her enslaver. William moved the family to Philadelphia in about 1854 and provided for them. William died in 1869 and a claim was made by his son Lee George on the estate. The Caroline Jackson George Family of Virginia and Pennsylvania

GOREJohn C. and Minerva Gore of W.Va. Obituaries. Mr. Gore was born into slavery. More information:  Find A Grave 176155516

GORE – MORRIS – CRAWLEY.  Lora Viola Gore Morris, Boone County, W.Va., daughter of Julia Crawley Gore and George W. Gore and granddaughter of Nancy Crawley, a slave. Married David A. Morris (death certificate), son of Samuel Morris and wife Jane Flanking. Rev. Morris: Find A Grave 70981595 Her maternal grandmother Nancy Crawley was “a slave of the Hopkins family at Madison, Boone County. Mrs. Morris: Find A Grave 70981595 Her mother's obituary  [Julia Crawley Gore married Henry Reddix): Reddix Funeral, The Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 1934, Page 8; and her husband's obituary: Former Pastor Dies at Age 73: Rev. David Morris to be Buried, The Sunday Register, Beckley, W.Va., March 7, 1937, Page 1. Article about Mrs. Morris: The Presence of God Her Answer for 100 Years, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., Feb. 23, 1973, Page 2B. Obituary: City Resident Dies at 104, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., Oct. 20, 1977, 6B. 

GREEN – Rev. Albert Green, Ohio – Deacon Green – born abt. 1841 on Culpeper Co., Va., plantation.  Former Slave Honors Ohioans Who Aided Flight To Freedom, Piqua Daily Call, Ohio, 02 June 1938, P3. 

GREEN – James Green.  “…James, or Cpl. Green, was a native of Maryland born in 1845. The Buffalo soldier was assigned to Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass, and he died in November, 1917, of nephritis.” Backyard gravemarker connects family, San Antonio veteran to Civil War-era soldier / Tommie Hinton Jr. had no idea a piece of rock in his backyard was the headstone for a Buffalo soldier who served during the Civil War. KENS 5, Feb. 26, 2021. Find a Grave 3061356

GREEN –  Margaret “Mag” Green, Elkins, W.Va. Widow of Richard Green and daughter of Prudence Hall. Her mother brought her from Missouri to Randolph Co., W.Va. Mrs. Green had been enslaved by the Long family. Former Slave Dead, Cumberland Evening Times, Md., 11 Jan 1926, Page 12.

HANBACK -- Ann Hanback, Va. and W.Va., dies in 1903 at the home of her granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Lee and Bell Jackson of Hinton, Summers County, W.Va. Centenarian Passes Away, The Hinton Daily News, Hinton, W.Va., 14 Jan 1903. In 1870, Mrs. Hanback was living with Milda S. White in Virginia: Research notes.   

HAYDEN – Harriet Bell Hayden, Mass. Former slave wills $5000 to Harvard. Scholarship Established: Harriet Hayden's $5000 Will Benefit Youths of Her Race, Boston Daily Globe, 23 May 1894, Page 6. Second wife of Lewis Hayden, who was born in Kentucky. Son, Joseph. Mr. Hayden's first wife, Esther Harvey, and a son "were sold to U.S. Sen. Henry Clay, who in turn sold them into the deep south. Hayden was never able to discover their ultimate whereabouts." SourceLewis & Harriet Hayden House.  

HAYTER – Adeline Hayter of Kansas, formerly enslaved by Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Luper of West Fork, Tenn. Mr. Luper left Mrs. Hayter money and property and asked that she care for Mrs. Luper. “R.L. Hayter, bootblack at the Lagonda house, Springfield,” had an attorney check out the will. A Former Slave Made Happy: Hon. Thomas Millikin Examines the Will and Pronounces It SoundThe Republican, Hamilton, Ohio, 03 June 1893, Page 3.

HILL – Ben B. Hill, Ga., Iowa. Former Slave Is Dead At Andersonville, Moville Mail, 08 Sept 1921, Page 6. 

HILLMAN HUBERT – Camilla Hillman Hubert, Ga. Mrs. Hubert and husband Zack raised 12 children in Hancock Co., Ga. Sons' names listed. Former Slave Survived by Remarkable Family, Charleston Daily Mail (W.Va.), 11 Dec 1925, Page 3. 

HOBBS KECKLEY –  Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley and George Kirkland. See Lizzie, Va. and Washington DC. 

HOLMES, RIDDLE, NORTH -- Laura Holmes, Va., W.Va. Former Slave Is Taken At 100, Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, Sunday, July 25, 1937, Page 4. Find A Grave. She died at the home of her daughter Mary Jane RiddleLaura Skyles (spelling of name varies) married Anthony Holmes in 1866 in Greenbrier County. (West Virginia, U.S., Marriages Index, 1785-1971, Ancestry) Mrs. Holmes had been enslaved by Charlotte North.

HUDDLESTON  Old Jack, W.Va. Bought by Huddleston family from Stonewall Jackson's mother at Ansted, Fayette County, W.Va. He is mentioned in an article about a family history written by Lawrence M. HuddlestonBook On Huddlestons Stirs StoriesPost-Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 25 July 1974, Page 6.

JENKINS  Haaman Jenkins, Fairmont, W.Va. Mr. Jenkins and his mother were enslaved by the Watson family. Former Slave Dies, The Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va., 21 Oct 1927, Page 5. 

JOHNSON, HINES – Washington Johnson, born on 24 Dec 1836 in Kenton County, Ky., escaped slavery and eventually  moved to Colorado. I believe his parents were Diana DeGodis Washington Hines and her first husband E. Johnson. His half brother was John Hines of Shelbyville, Ind. A biography and obituaries have been posted on Find a Grave Memorial 233717834.

JONES  John Jones, escaped from slavery in Virginia. Yesterday and TodayEx-Slave Kept Records At Prison Camp by Shirley Donnelly, Post-Herald/Raleigh Register, Beckley, W.Va., 07 June 1975, Page 4. Mr. Jones kept records for a prison camp for Confederate soldiers at Elmira, N.Y.  He kept such meticulous records of each Confederate burial that in 1907 the government was able to place a marker at each grave. From Woodlawn National Cemetery site: He  "had charge of the burial of every Confederate soldier. He transcribed every record which appeared on the coffin lids into a book he kept for that purpose. The largest number of burials in a day was 48. Mr. Jones saw that the burials were properly and reverently conducted. He received from the government a fee of $2.50 for each body buried."  Link to Woodlawn at Find a Grave.

JONES – John & Will Jones, Shelby Co. Tenn. Family dispute results in challenge to Tenn. law banning former slaves from inheriting from brother John Jones, who died in 1889. Asks Right To Inherit: U.S. Supreme Court Gets Pleas of a Former Slave, Washington Post, 21 Mar 1914, Page 10. More at FindLaw.  

JORDAN  Matt Jordan of Fayette Co. W.Va. Mr. Jordan said he was "sold out of my mother's arms." Yesterday and TodayLaurel Creek Spurs Early Growth III by Shirley Donnelly, Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va. 06 Dec 1963, Page 4. Aubrey J. Bishop takes Rev. Donnelly on a tour that includes old "Negro grave yard." Surnames mentioned include Jordan, Burger, Wilson, Martin, Johnson and Brown

LEACH  Transcription of an undated will regarding the estate of  William Leach of Monroe County, Va. (W.Va.) and disposition of his worldly goods to wife Susan and his children. It mentions an enslaved woman called Seal and directs that she is bequeathed to Susan. Later in the transcription there is language about a slave being freed. I haven’t been able to find the original document to sort that out. The document is from the Smith-Riffe Collection.

LEE – Joe Lee, 83, of Texas & his former "master," Henry Austin Perry, 80. Only Living Master and Slave in Texas, The Galveston Daily News, 10 May 1936, Page 13. Photos. This story is rich in genealogical detail. Mr. Lee describes himself as a “real African” and says he was a son of Rolla, who was “caught wild in Africa and brought to Galveston and to Quintana and sold to Massa Charles Sayers.” Rolla and wife Cora Lee had Kate (Scott Williams), Albert, Sam, Deal, and twins Joe and Willie. Joe and his first wife, who was not named, had one son, Joe Lee. His second wife was Lizzie. Among other names mentioned were Rachel Thomas, 89, and her son Henry Thomas, 65, who were the Lees’ neighbors. Side note: In one of life’s little coincidences, after working on this article I started reading the new biography about President Obama’s mother (A Singular Woman by Janny Scott) and spotted the name “Rolla.” Rolla Charles Payne was the father of Obama’s maternal grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham. On Page 29 the author explains, “The name Rolla, which rhymes with ‘wallah,’ is said to have ranked among the top five hundred most popular boys’ names for a time near the end of the nineteenth century…”

LEE  Mary Lee, 84, of Wheeling, W.Va., died in 1908. Survived by son William LeeFormer Slave Dead, Raleigh Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 24 Dec 1908, Page 4.

LEWIS – Dicy Lewis, Graham, Va. Aunt Dicy Lewis Is Hundred And Six Years Old, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, 16 Dec 1914, Page 5.

LICORISH – British West Indies. Lionel Licorish: Hero of the 1928 SS Vestria Disaster

LIZZIE  Lizzie, Va. and Washington, D.C. Former Slave Life in Washington, Weekly Gazette and Free Press, Janesville, Wisconsin, 09 May 1862, Page 1, reprint from the New York Evening News. The article about Lizzie matches biographical details for Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley. See Wikipedia. Mrs. Keckley and her mother Agnes were enslaved by Armistead Burwell. Mrs. Keckley had one son, George Kirkland.

LOMAX – Charles Lomax, Md. and N.Y. Former Slave Appears To Challenge Last Man Of Famous 'Last Man's Club,' The Bismarch Tribune, 10 July 1932, Page 1. The Last Man's Club "was a group formed by the surviving members of Company B." Charles M. Lockwood, who thought he was the "Last Man," was to open a special bottle of wine they kept they brought out every year and drink a toast to his departed comrades. Source: 1st Minnesota Volunteer Regiment Infantry page. Mr. Lomax of Harlem claimed membership.

MARTINDALE – Milly Martindale of Kokomo, Ind. Former Slave Dies at 110, Muldrow Press, Okla., 30 July 1909, Page 2. She "was a famous cook and was twice sold on the block."

MCDONALD – Frances McDonald, Mo. and Ill. Born 1808 on tobacco plantation of Captain Robert Berry, Calloway Co., Mo. Married three times: Mr. Yokem, Jesse Porter and Shepard McDonald. Mrs. McDonald was the mother of 16 including Mrs. Henry Fant. The 1920 census for Mt. Pulaski, Logan Co., Ill., lists Henry C. Fant, born abt. 1858, Mo., wife Kate, born abt. 1862, Mo., sons Charles H. and Carl Fant and daughter-in-law Velma Fant.  Mt. Pulaski Woman Has Life Of 112 YearsThe Decatur Review, Illinois, 26 March 1915, Page 7.

MCWORTER  – Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier by Juliet E.K. Walker. The story of Free Frank (1777-1854), wife Lucy McWorter (1771-1870) and their children. Frank was born in South Carolina and was brought to Kentucky by his enslaver. Frank worked and bought his freedom and his wife's. In 1830 the family moved to Illinois.

MERRITT – Truelove Merritt of Virginia and West Virginia.

MILLER -- Rosella, enslaved by Sarah Miller, died in July 1853 of consumption in Kanawha River, Mason County, W.Va. Rosella was 21. Her death record is online at West Virginia Vital Research Records, Line 22. On the same page – Lines 23 and 24 – are two other people enslaved by Sarah Miller: Clay, 18 months old, who died in July 1853, and Mariah, eight months old, who died in October 1853, both from unknown causes. There are other people on the register with the notation for "slave owner" filled in.

MORRIS, RICE – John Morris, also known as John Rice, of Va. and N.Y. Obituary. Born Before The Revolution, The Boston Daily Globe, Mass., 26 Dec 1893, Page 1.

MORRIS  Napoleon Morris of Fayette County, W.Va., father of 42. Excerpts from Yesterday and Today, a column by Shirley Donnelly, Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va. A researcher who responded on a discussion board said, "Census data indicates some of those were possibly stepchildren."  Full article: Slave Graveyard Visited, Post-Herald, 22 July 1977, Page 4, Shirley Donnelly. 

MYERS - CRAFT  –  The Claude and Cora Myers Family of Eckman, McDowell County, W.Va. 

Go to Page 2 (N-Z)