#IAmHofwyl, Stories From Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation @GlynnGen.com

#IAmHofwyl

The following are notes that I worked from to build my presentation held 9 February 2020 at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation. These notes are not complete, but I wanted to make my research available to others so that the information I had to cut out or rework will be preserved. 

Also, I did a Facebook Live Feed of our presentation, it's not very good for sound, but, at least it is something for researchers to see the whole presentation and see how I whittled down my research to 27 minutes.

I don't know if this link will work, but this is the live feed video CLICK HERE

It was fed to the GlynnGen.com Facebook page, and here is the URL
 

 

 

Persons Enslaved by the Troup Family of
Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation
 

 

Who was Hofwyl-Broadfield? The majority of us think of this place as a what, and not a who. But Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation produced more than just crops and livestock and things; it also produced human beings.

“Polite Society” doesn’t like to talk about this side of Hofwyl (I’m going to shorten this to just Hofwyl as Hofwyl-Broadfield is a mouthful). Yes, we acknowledge there were slaves on the property but we don’t qualify that with the true definition; we simply say there were slaves on the property who, alongside the Caucasian families, helped to make this land what it is today. We attribute all the successes to the Caucasian families. When really, the truth is that the Brailsford, Troup, and Dent families enslaved human beings against their will. The Brailsford, Troup, and Dent families forced humans to work and perform for them at personal cost and loss to that enslaved human.

It doesn’t matter what they felt or thought about enslavement, it doesn’t matter how many papers they wrote that suggested slavery was not economically viable and needed to end; they still didn’t free their people; they continued to hold them in bondage under the guise of “we are saving them from something worse.” States and countries the world over proved that everyone could live and become wealthy without profiting off the backs of others; the southern United States is the only place in the planet that monopolized enslaving humans for financial gain.

We like to say “slave” instead of “enslaved” because it distances us from the truth. The truth is, Cato was not a slave, he was a PERSON who was enslaved against his will. He wasn’t held in bondage either as that suggests that freedom was a possibility at some point.

The slave owner didn’t care that Fibby just gave birth to a child who lived only hours; the white family needed breakfast and the wench needed to come and perform her duties.

They didn’t care that Lancaster was feverishly ill and in pain because the dykes in the rice field needed tending. The buck needed to come and perform his duties and quit being lazy and shiftless.

They didn’t care that little Kitty was scared to death of being alone in the dark, yet they took her away from her family to another city to be a playmate to the plantation master’s children and made her sleep in a shed outside, by herself. The pickaninny needed to stop crying for her mother and perform her duties.

And it didn’t matter that maybe Mr. Rudolph Capers needed a moment of privacy; Miss Ophelia was ringing her bell; that colored man needed to get a move on and remove her breakfast plates.

Do I have proof that these individual things happened? No, I do not, but, when one enslaves another human, it’s not because they are trying to save that person from a horrible life; you are not giving them a better opportunity, you are not protecting that person from their own people who sold them in the first place. These were lies Caucasian people told themselves in order to justify their hand in slavery and they are perpetuated today by people whose job it is to talk about enslavement. A common quote: “They [meaning southerners] wouldn’t have enslaved Africans had the African government not sold their own people”.

Enslavement was a way to get free labor so that the slave owner could keep as much profit as possible from the labors of those enslaved. Our next “lie” is that, the slave owner provided the enslaved with food and clothes and homes; he/she truly cared for “their people”. Notice how descendants of slave owners like to call the enslaved “their people”?

But no, they did not truly care for the wellbeing of the enslaved, yes, they wanted to keep the enslaved in good health, but they also did the same for the cattle. These enslaved humans were not treated any better than the livestock; it was the general consensus that the African people were little better than apes; they could not reason, feel emotions like love or empathy, or be educated. By keeping them enslaved, the white plantation owner was saving the enslaved because they were little better than livestock and wouldn’t be able to fend for themselves without the benevolent white master or mistress to “protect” them by enslavement.

Nearly every plantation was self-sufficient, which means the people on the land made everything needed to live. Rarely did a plantation owner purchase clothing and shoes or food. The only times this occurred was when there wasn’t anyone on the plantation with that particular skill set or if crops failed. If you didn’t have any carpenters on your property, you would have to hire carpenters, and, who got that paycheck? The neighboring plantation owner that sent his free labor over to build your house. Yes, master gave his people shirts and pants, but, an enslaved person toiled over making hundreds of shirts and pants, not the master or mistress or some warehouse like The Gap.

You can’t for one-minute think that the slaveholder provided more for the enslaved humans than they did for their cattle. They believed an enslaved woman could give birth and be out in the field just minutes later because Bessie the Cow did this all the time. Just like horses, the enslaved humans were given “stalls” to live in, one-room shacks with four walls, a roof, a dirt floor and a door; little better than a horse’s stall. The only difference was that more than one human lived in the shack whereas only one horse inhabited a stall; several people would live in one shack, or “cabin” as we so eloquently called the hovel in which an enslaved human dwelled. Have you ever really paid attention to the cabin behind the formerly enslaved subject in such photos by Wightman and Margaret Davis Cate?

Most of the literature about this historic site just mentions the enslaved in passing, “Yes, it happened, oh, here, look, it’s Miss Ophelia’s car.” The focus is largely on the owners of this land and how hard THEY tirelessly worked to keep the property solvent and in the family; the enslaved are thought of as slaves, as objects on the plantation. And then we shine the spotlight on one or two people who descended from the enslaved, the grateful servant still here after all these years.

The Caucasian families loved “their people” and took care of them, but how can we have confidence in this statement when James McGilveray Troup sold away four men as an EXAMPLE for running away? To say that the owners of Hofwyl-Broadfield were benevolent and loved their people, yet then sold away people as a punishment, removing those men from their families and loved ones just to prove a point? That’s a warped sense of love.

We like to tell stories about how Rudolph Capers was faithful to the family and remained on this property out of love of the white family. Really? He couldn’t have possibly stayed here all that time because HIS family toiled on this property for generations? He wasn’t property manager after all, he was still stepping and fetching to Ophelia’s ringing bell. Rudolph may have felt a bond for Ophelia but she still treated him as if he were enslaved.

Hopefully, we will shine the spotlight on a few other families and personalities that were enslaved at some point by the Brailsford, Troup, and Dent families.

I wrote and rewrote my introduction several times and decided I better keep it short and simple because I don’t want to start an argument. We all have opinions and beliefs about any and everything, and these are just my beliefs on enslavement and my research in Coastal Georgia. My full article will be online at GlynnGen.com at a later date

I have noticed, compared to properties further inland, properties that were shut-off from society and remote, that yes, compared to Coastal Georgia, enslavement wasn’t quite as harsh as in other places but it was still enslavement, there was still degradations, depravities, heartache, and ruin.

I hear many stories from Hofwyl about how the Caucasian families worked so hard to keep this property running, how the white people triumphed over the years by keeping the place solvent, as if that were a give to those who were enslaved by the Brailsford, Troup, and Dent families. I hear many stories about how benevolent the Caucasian families were and how they loved “their people”. Such an ironic statement, “their people”. The African was considered less than, not human but more animal, yet now, we like to call those enslaved “the people”, as if it makes things better.

The owners of Hofwyl-Broadfield were not so benevolent and caring, they still enslaved people up to the bitter end; they never once freed any one of “their people”. They even sold people away as an example to the others if they even thought about running away. If they did this, what else did they do?

Thanks to DNA testing, many other heartaches are being revealed; things that historians swear NEVER happened at Hofwyl or was perpetrated by anyone in the triumvirate of families.

My portion of this discussion isn’t to point out the tragedies between the races, my focus is on identifying the humans that were owned by the Brailsford, Troup, and Dent families and tracing them to modern day.

At the time of his death on 25 April 1849, James McGilveray Troup had 357 people inventoried as property in his possession. Upon his death, his six remaining children were orphaned; their mother having died just two years prior. In 1850, the remaining unmarried children, Dr. D.B.H. Troup, Matilda Brailsford Troup, Clelia Troup, and Hannah Heyward Troup, were living together in what is now known as Brookman Community.

J.M. Troup’s estate took several years to settle but the initial inventory suggested his estate was worth $207,815.00, this was land, homes, livestock, and slaves. That amount today would be the equivalent of $6,335,000.00. Remember, this was just his land, livestock, and slaves, this did not count any monies in crops or stocks or any other real or personal property outside of Glynn and McIntosh Counties.

The enslaved were listed in one long list, no lines indicating possible family units, no genders, just a number, a name, and a value; which makes it nearly impossible to trace families while they were enslaved. Those people who had unique names (like Sanco or Quash) are easier to find later in life after Emancipation, but those with the more common Susan or Tom, are harder to find or identify in post-Civil War records.

You can almost see family units in this inventory by looking at the names and values; for example, the first eleven people in order, April $100, Sarah $0, Grace $300, Edward $600, Clarinder $600, Guy $250, Edmond $600, Pussy $600, Jane $50, Cyrus $450, and Cornelia $500. One could almost say that April, Sarah and Grace were a family unit, then Edward, Clarinder, and Guy; next would be Edmond, Pussy, and Jane, then Cyrus and Cornelia. But this is speculation.

The division of the estate to the heirs may provide a better picture of family units as the enslaved were listed in clear groups by name, value, and lines drawn between each group. One would think this would be easy to match the division of estate with the original inventory, but, no, the values of each person on the original inventory varies greatly with those given in the divisions.

For example, Quash $700 was given to “Dr. James Troup” (I think this was D.H.B), but, on the list for Dr.  Troup, Quash is valued at $1000. We know this is the same man only because he was the only person with this unique name, but, why did the values vary so greatly? One theory is that this was a way to “cheat” the heirs out of property. For example, if an heir was only to inherit $1000 of the estate and Quash was $500 and his wife was $500, then by inflating Quash’s value, the heir could only inherit Quash.

Unfortunately, that too, is making a presumption that I have yet to prove.

By using the 1870 census, we can assume many of those persons living near the Troups and Dents could be those formerly enslaved by the family. The only Dents in Glynn County during the 1870 census, oddly enough, was of no relation to George Columbus Dent. Of the Troup family, Dr. D.H.B. Troup (who I think was listed as Dr. James Troup in the estate) and family were still in Glynn County as was his brother, James Robert Troup’s family.

The George Columbus Dent family were in Floyd County, Georgia during the 1870 census, there was one “domestic servant” in the home, Mollie Black age 23 years who is old enough to have been on the inventory list, but we can only assume she was formerly enslaved by the Dent family at Hofwyl; she could easily have been previously owned by George’s brother, John Horry Dent, or just a random woman from the neighborhood who had no connection to the Dent family.

Another example, Dr. James Troup received Abram valued at $600, but the main inventory lists two men by this name, one valued at $350 and the other at $250, which together makes $600. Did both men go to him or only one, and if one, which one and what happened to the other man named Abram? None of the other heirs have an Abram listed in their division.

Why do the values of the enslaved “go up” once they are divided? For example, Friday was valued at $250 but once he was put into a lot to be disbursed, his value was $300. There’s no clear pattern to the upcharges either, some are $50 more, some are $100 more.

The disbursement says Clelia received Robbin valued at $350 and Dr. James Troup received Robin at $1000 but the inventory has Robbin valued at $700 and Robin valued at $200, if we followed the spelling and matched the two, the values are vastly differently, but if we match the values the names are misspelled.

Regardless, trying to match the people on the main inventory versus the disbursement has proven difficult; if it’s not a vast different in spelling, the values nowhere near match and then, those on the disbursements, aren’t listed on the inventory, or vice versa.

The grand total for the inventory of enslaved was $122,595 and the grand total for the disbursements was $127,743, which means the value of the enslaved, increased $5148 with LESS slaves in the disbursement; what happened to those that were not disbursed to the heirs?

In 2016, $122,595 would be the equivalent of $3,772,264.

Humans, valued at $3.8 million.

There were 357 people inventoried.

There were 271 people disbursed.

That leaves 86 people unaccounted for; they were either sold outside of the estate or died.

Certainly, this magnanimous family would never sell a human being away from their family and loved ones? They were never that cruel, they were saving these humans from a worse fate, right?

From J.M. Troup’s estate papers, we know for a fact that the family cruelly sold people away as a punishment.

Capers Family

Fibby, maiden name unknown

Where did the Capers surname originate? Was it from another Caucasian family living in this area? There was a Henry Capers in McIntosh County around 1819 to 1820 and a William Capers appears in 1821 according to the “List of Letters” column in early Darien newspapers. There was also a “Mr. Rev. Capers” who was superintendent of the Mission School in the Creek Nation.

According to Early Days of Coastal Georgia (by Wightman & Cate), Fibby was an enslaved woman who worked as a cook at Hofwyl while the Dents were owners of the plantation. According to a family tree found in the archives at Hofwyl, Fibby was the “mother” of the Capers family; meaning she is the earliest known Capers ancestor found with that surname. Unfortunately, nothing in the 1870 census matches what this tree shows.

The tree states that Fibby’s first husband was a Mr. Capers (his name is unknown) and together they had five children: Margaret, Henry, Paul, Lizzie, and Grant Capers. Each person, excepting Grant, has a star* by their name which indicates that they all worked at Hofwyl Plantation.

Then, Rudolph Capers was entered on this tree as the son of Grant Capers and Louise Johnson, and Rudolph’s wife, Annie Rogers was listed as the daughter of Grant Rogers and Louise Johnson. None of the public records confirm any of this to be correct for Annie and I wonder if someone mistakenly wrote her parents’ names intending to write Rudolph’s parents’ names. It seems very unusual for both to have a father named Grant and a mother named Louise Johnson.

This tree was presumably compiled by William Polite (the son of Morris and grandson of Margaret Capers) his wife Elouise Keith, and Annie (Rogers) Capers. Which begs the question, did someone write everything down incorrectly? I don’t see how Annie’s parents can be nearly the same as Rudolph’s parents.

During the 1870 Glynn County census, Fibby was living at Altama Plantation; her home consisted of her as head of household, listed as Phebie Capers age 42 years, along with Richard Capers age 14 years, Henry Capers age 12 years, George Caper age 5 years, Julian Capers age one year, London Armstrong age 18 years, and Josephine McArthur age 13 years.

Where is Grant Capers? Where is Paul Capers? Who was Richard Capers; he isn’t on the tree?

Paul Capers was living in the home of Philip & Daffony Habersham, with their 2-year-old daughter Charlotte, and a boy named Cuffy Small who was 14; Paul was 8 years of age.

This handwritten tree says that Fibby was next married to Silas Floyd, however, in 1880, Fibby was the wife of Charles Floyd and her sons George and Julian were still in the home; and her son Julian was now Julia and a daughter. In 1870, Silas Floyd is a 15-year-old boy.

During the 1870 census there was one more Capers family in Glynn County, that of Thomas Capers, born about 1846, living with Henrietta age 19 and Elias age one year; the men were born in Georgia and Henrietta was born in South Carolina. It appears that Elias at least made it up to the 1900 census in Glynn County, which states he was single and born in May 1873; his father was born in Georgia and mother in South Carolina. Also, there is a marriage record for an Eli to Mary Thomas on 4 November 1893 in Glynn County. In 1900 he’s living a few doors downs from Hannah (Blue) Wilson, the mother of Richard Capers, son of Paul Capers.

Then in 1880 there was a Thomas Capers age 22 years living in the home of a Martha Coband; was this the same man from 1870, and if so, where was Henrietta and Elias?

Also, in 1880 Glynn County were two other Capers families who could be related. One was Josh Capers who was living a little southwest of the Hofwyl-Broadfield area, sort of between what is now FLETC and Pennick. His household consisted of him, age 30 years, wife Georgia age 22 years, and children Thomas, 6, Rebecca 3, and Grace born in July 1879, all born in Georgia. Oddly enough, whoever indexed the census listed him as George Capers but the record clearly states Josh.

The other household of unidentified Capers was headed by 21-year-old Jane Capers and her mother, Peggy McCalpin, 39, and children that were either hers or her mother’s: J.H., a son aged 6 years, Loritta, a daughter aged 2 years, and Sylvester, a son born about August 1879.

Personally, the name Peggy is much closer to the daughter’s name, Margaret, who was presumably married to London Polite; but that is only an assumption. This Peggy was obviously married to someone named McCalpin or McKelpin or McAlpin and possibly married to a Capers prior to the McCalpin marriage.

In 1880 McIntosh County there are two women who I have yet to identify, Margaret Capers age 50 years, a widow, living alone, and Fannie Capers, age 15 years, a servant, no marital status, also living alone.

Nothing on this tree matches the records found. Many of us know who our grandparents were and their siblings, but, when you are illiterate and rely upon oral histories, being able to put that genealogy down on paper can be quite daunting. The fact that even the census doesn’t line up between each census year tells us that these issues may be the cause for the variances. That, and the fact that in 1870, thousands of people were displaced due to the Civil War and many families took in children whose parents had either disappeared, died, or were traveling to find other family members.

Then, when we add that there was a Capers family in McIntosh County too, also using the same first names, one can’t really determine which person belongs to what family or if they are the same people and they are just listed twice. In 1870, there are only two men named Richard Capers born in Georgia in the whole United States and they are of the same age, one in McIntosh County and one in Glynn County with Fibby.

These may both be the same man because by 1880, there is only one man in the whole United States named Richard Capers who was born in Georgia and he’s living in McIntosh County. It is not unusual for people to be listed twice in the census, once living at home and maybe living with another family member or with an employer. Apparently, this was something common with the name Richard Capers because in 1900, another man of the same name is living in two different places in Glynn County. This Richard appears to be the son of Paul, and probably the nephew of the 1870/1880 Richard.

On 12 January 1895, in McIntosh County, Richard Capers and Eliza Couper were married. Eliza’s origins are unknown at this time, but, with the surname of Couper, it’s possible her people were enslaved at neighboring Altama Planation owned by James Hamilton Couper. The use of this surname does not suggest that she was a child or a grandchild to Couper, but merely, her family may have been enslaved by him and just never chose their own surname.

During the 1870 census, there is one girl who is of age to be Eliza, one is 6 years of age and living with Ann Cooper in Glynn County. Ann was 75-years-old and most likely a grandparent or even a great-grandparent to this Lizzie and the other children, David, age 5, and Sarah, age 25 years.

The 1900 McIntosh County census says that she was the mother of six children with five living and by 1910 she’s the mother of 3 children none living and is remarried. Marriage records show an Eliza Capers marrying Benjamin Campbell on 11 February 1908 in McIntosh and in 1910 this was her spouse and the head of their household which also included a 2-year-old grandson named Richard Capers.

Through census, I am assuming these were the children born to Richard and Eliza: Susie born about December 1884, Luesa/Louisa born about May 1888, Viola born about May 1890, Ben Capers born about June 1891, and John Capers born about February 1894.

Susie Capers was married on 17 October 1900 to Simon Ladson in McIntosh County and during the 1910 census, she may be living next door to her mother and she too may have remarried as she is listed as the wife of Sandy Campbell whom she married just two years prior. Did mother and daughter marry brothers? These men were both of the same generation, only a few years apart in age, Sandy was 50 years old and Ben was 48 years of age and both couples were listed as each being married twice.

These men are part of the same family in 1870, the head of household was Pompey Campbell who was 70-years-old. The age gap would suggest that Pompey and his wife Selina were actually grandparents to Benjamin and Sandy but other records state that they were the parents. It’s possible that this is another instance where the family was illiterate and didn’t know their true age. Also, of note, this Campbell family is living in the vicinity of Hofwyl during the 1870 census but it doesn’t appear as if they were enslaved by the Brailsfords, Troups, or Dents.

If I were to hazard a guess, I would assume that they were enslaved by the Grant family on neighboring Evelyn Plantation. Why? One, Sandy’s middle name was Grant, and two, some of the Campbells were employed at Evelyn Plantation after the Civil War. Again, this is only an assumption.

I can only assume that Richard died sometime after the 1900 census and prior to 1908 when Eliza remarried. Census records are not consistent regarding how many children Eliza had; in 1900 she was the mother of six children with five living and in 1910 she was the mother of three children all deceased. If the latter is true, then Susie Campbell is not her daughter, but, until otherwise proven wrong, I’m going to assume that she is their daughter.

Susie was the firstborn child as far as public records reveal and it is unknown by me what happened to her first husband, Simon. Her second husband, Sandy Grant Campbell, was married to Emma Green sometime around 1888 according to the 1900 census which says that she was the mother of six children with four living; however, only two were in the home: Hagar and Kit Campbell.

Here again, I’m guessing that Emma Green was the daughter of Kit Green and Jenny because this couple was living just a few doors away from the Campbells in 1880 Glynn County. Kit and Jenny were the parents of five children, one of which was Emma, who was aged 11 years. Again, we must assume that Emma died sometime prior to the 1910 census and it is unknown by me what happened to her children with Sandy. I know Hagar presumably married Garfield Davis on 13 February 1912 in Glynn County and Kit Campbell married twice, first to Laura Brown on 26 April 1909 in Glynn County and then to Mammie Watts on 18 August 1917 in McIntosh County. Kitt died on 9 February 1920, a veteran of World War I, and was presumably buried at Broadfield.

Susie Capers and Sandy Grant Campbell were presumably the parents of one son, Hugh Edward Campbell, who was born 6 June 1906 in Glynn County and died 27 December 1977 in McIntosh County, where he was buried in Upper Mill Cemetery. Just like the rest of the family, Hugh cannot be found in any but the 1920 census. The next available record is his WWII draft card in 1940, then his record of death. His draft card states that he was living in Darien, however, he can’t be found in the census.

Viola Capers married Alex Brown on 18 January 1907 in McIntosh County; it is unknown what happened to her after this marriage. Her brother John may have been living in Chatham County and was possibly in the 1910 census there, then later found in convict registers, still in Savannah, this time in 1962. There was also a marriage record on 20 March 1912 in McIntosh between John Capers and Lou Ida Lee. I have yet to determine if these records are for the son of Richard Capers and Eliza Couper.

The next child of Fibby was Henry Capers who was born between 1852 and 1858 according to public records. Census records state that he and his first wife, Minnie Harris, were married in 1885 or 1889, but marriage records for McIntosh County state they were married 18 June 1896. I believe this latter date to be correct because in 1877, Henry Capers was arrested and convicted of “burglary in the night time” and sentenced to ten years. He was arrested with Charles Gary, Charles Thorpe, and Richard Drayton, for breaking into a store owned by Joe Mansfield in July 1877. Henry took the blame and said the other men were innocent; they were let go and Henry went to prison and apparently stayed for the ten years because he is not in the 1880 census.

The 1900 McIntosh County census says that Minnie was the mother of six children with four living yet only two were listed in the home: Gussie and Benjamin Capers. Minnie presumably died before the 1920 census and Henry remarried on 23 March 1920 to Margaret Hamilton; he then died on 3 October 1927 in Darien.

The 1910 census says that Minnie was married for the second time, which suggests that all these children born to her could’ve been born to her first husband. There was a son named Renty Hume in the home in 1900.

Here again, what happened to this Capers family? The children only appear in the 1900 census; did they die prior to the 1910 census or did they assume a different name? Gussie married George Edmonds on 18 August 1916 in McIntosh County. A grandson was living with Margaret (Hamilton) Capers named Henry Capers, who was born about 1910, and here again, no further record other than this 1930 census.

The next son of Fibby’s was Grant Capers, who was born between April 1860 and 1865 and on 23 March 1898 he married Louisa Johnson who apparently only ever had one son, Rudolph Grant Capers, the man who worked for many years at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation as Ophelia Dent’s butler.

Nothing much is known about Grant Capers, it’s possible he died prior to the 1910 census or he removed from the area. During the 1870 census he could not be found but it’s possible he was listed as George Capers in Fibby’s home during that census. In 1880 he is living in McIntosh County in the home of Tandy Denegal and his wife. Louisa went on to remarry on 29 April 1923 in McIntosh County to a man named James Stewart; he died on 10 June 1935 and was buried at Carnegan and she died on 14 November 1940 and was buried at Butler Cemetery.

As we know, Rudolph married Annie Rogers, however, the information on this hand drawn tree is incorrect in naming her parents as Grant Rogers and Louisa Johnson. Her parents were William H. Rogers and Idella Monroe and she was one of at least seven children.

Rudolph and Annie were the parents of seven children who were all listed on this hand drawn family tree: Rudolph Grant Jr., Dorothy “Dottie”, Louise, Inez, Helen, and Adel Capers.

Another son of Fibby’s, according to this hand drawn tree, was Paul Capers who was 8-years-old during the 1870 census and 1880 he is possibly living with a group of people in Glynn County who were all laborers, the head of household, Henry Ashley, was a white man and a grocer merchant. Everyone in his home was African-American: Henry Walthour, a laborer, Paul Capers, a laborer, Hannah Gary, a housekeeper, and Sarah Haywood, also a laborer.

No marriage records have been found for Paul but a death record for a Richard Capers who was born in January 1874 and died 7 March 1922, says that his father was Paul Capers and his mother was Hannah Blue. Then the 1900 census shows Paul Capers living with a woman named Louvenia and a child named Mallory Capers.

I have been unable to find Paul during the 1910 census, sadly, on Sunday 16 November 1913, while playing cards at New Hope Plantation, Paul Capers was murdered. Newspaper articles do not tell us what happened, only that several men were at the game, all were arrested, some charged with gambling and others charged with murder. Those involved were Jim Rutledge, Dave Rhodes, Johnny Gibson (all charged with murder), Jim Drayton, London Floyd, Caesar Quarterman, Walter Mungin, and Richard Capers. It is not known if this Richard was a brother or Paul’s own son.

It appears that Hannah Blue married a man named John Wilson sometime around 1878 according to the 1900 census which also states that she was the mother of 13 children with only six living. The Blue surname is also attached to Hofwyl and, oddly enough, the census says that Hannah was from South Carolina and her parents were from Maryland. Was she and/or her parents enslaved by George Columbus Dent’s family who remained in South Carolina and previously lived in Maryland?

Unfortunately, due to the commonality of the surname Wilson, and the state of economic affairs, finding this Wilson family after the 1900 census as proven futile. Did they all die? Did they all move away? The children all have very common first names too: James, Annie, Mary, and Ellen Wilson.

The focus, however, is on the Capers family and Richard Capers, son of Paul Capers and Hannah Blue, can be traced. I do not believe his parents were ever married, I think they merely had an affair, and the one child. On 26 July 1902 in Glynn County, Richard married Virginia “Jennie” Wilson; it is unknown whether or not she was a relative of his stepfather’s or not at this time and one record states that her surname was Bennett.

Census records reveal only three children that survived until adulthood: Mariah, Lillian Hannah, and Richard Capers, Jr., their father died on 7 March 1922, before his namesake was born on 21 June 1922. Mariah died young too, she was born in 1907 and died on 13 Augusts 1939 in Glynn County, where she was buried at Freedman’s Rest Cemetery. It is unknown whether or not she had any children. Richard Capers, Jr. died on 11 May 1975 and was survived by his wife, Lula, and a daughter, Debra Capers.

Richard was buried in Liberty County at Palmyra Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery and the only person named Lula buried at this cemetery was of the right age to be his wife, however, an obituary in The Brunswick News suggests that Lula Elizabeth Monroe, who was born around 1923 in Liberty County, died 19 September 2005 and buried in Greenwood Cemetery, was most likely his wife and the mother of Debra who was mentioned as his daughter in his obituary. Oddly enough, Lula’s obituary mentions two more children with the Capers surname, sons Keno and Elijah Capers, who were not mentioned in Richard’s obituary. These three children live in or near Brunswick today and may even be here today. Lula had several more children, a few of whom still survive today, but who are not of the Capers line.

Lillian “Hannah” Capers has numerous descendants still living in Brunswick today. She was first married to Earl Carmenar and later to someone with the surname of Hall with home she had at least one child. Lillian went by the name Hannah and was born 4 February 1919 and died 17 December 1994 at Needwood; her place of burial was “Broadfield Cemetery”, I’m assuming this is Petersville Cemetery.

She had a blended family and it is hard for me to determine which children were born to which father using public records but ultimately, she was the mother of Charles Earl Carmenar, Arthur Ezekial Carmener, Minnie Pearl Green, Larry Capers, Andrew Leroy Carmenar, and Theotis Hall. I do not know whether or not Minnie was a Carmenar child or not, and Larry’s surname was Capers, suggesting he was born outside of her marriages. The last three children mentioned may still be living and possibly here today and there are also children born to each of these children of Hannah’s that may be here today too.

Louvenia was possibly Louvenia Williams, she was listed in the 1910 census as the head of household with two uncles living in the home, William and Isaac Williams, who are, obviously, either paternal or maternal uncles. Her son, Malory Capers, is not in the home and can’t be found in 1910, however, there is a marriage record in Glynn County for M.C. Capers to Elizabeth Jackson on 22 December 1918; is this Malory? Louvenia doesn’t seem to have ever married, and she retained the use of the Capers surname, and during the 1910 and 1920 census she is living next door to Morris Polite.

George Capers was not mentioned on this family tree; however, he was listed as a child in Fibby’s home during the 1870 and 1880 census. The census states that George was born around 1865 in Georgia and this is the only record of his name in this area; either he changed his name and/or moved away, or died young.

During the 1900 census, there is a man named George Capers living in Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, working as a bartender and living with numerous other people who are also employed in the hospitality industry. This George was born in May 1864 and there was also a man named Jerry Capers, born October 1872, living in this boarding house or hotel. He worked as a porter in a hotel and was born in Missouri, his parents were born in Kentucky.

The only other person named George Capers was a man born about December 1860 living in Jackson County, Florida during the 1900 census, married to Mattie McNeill, and with a few children. Unfortunately, we cannot determine whether either of these men is the George Capers from the 1870 Glynn County, Georgia census.

The next son, Julian Capers, same as with George, he only appeared in the 1870 census with Fibby and we do not know that he was her son or even a Capers for that matter.

Now we come to the only two daughters listed, Lizzie and Margaret Capers. I have not found any records for Lizzie Capers and according to this handwritten tree, Margaret Capers was married to London Polite (see Polite section for more on this family).

 

MARRIAGES I HAVEN’T ATTACHED TO THE CAPERS FAMILY

10 July 1884 Jane Capers to James Small in Glynn County

25 December 1886 John Capers to Flora Houston in McIntosh County.

14 December 1892 Thomas Capers to Eliza Heidt in Glynn County

4 August 1897 Gracey Capers to Henry Robinson in Glynn County

22 September 1906 Susie Capers to Joe Tukes in Glynn County

Dent Family

John Herbert Dent (1782-1823)

John Herbert Dent was born 15 February 182 in Durham Parish, Charles County, Maryland and died 10 September 1823 at his plantation in St. Bartholomew’s Parish, South Carolina. He married Elizabeth Anne Horry on 7 February 1809 in Columbia County, Georgia. She was born about 1789 in Charleston County, South Carolina and died 18 February 1856 in St. Bartholomew’s Parish.

John spent the majority of his life at sea serving the United States Navy; starting out as a midshipman on 16 March 1798 under Capt. Thomas Truxton on the frigate USS Constellation; he accepted the appointment nine days later and was given his Midshipman’s warrant on 11 December 1798. He was aboard this ship when she was captured in the West Indies by the French frigate Insurgente on 1 February 1899. The good conduct and gallantry of the Captain, his officers, and his crew, was acknowledged by the Navy Department; the following is an extract from al etter dated 13 March 1799 to Truxton:

“The President desired me to communicate to you, his high approbation of the whole of your able and judicious conduct in the West Indies; and to present to you, and through you to the officers and crew of the Constellation, his thanks for the good conduct, exact discipline, and bravery, displayed in the action with, and capture of, the French frigate Insurgente, on the 9th of February…”

He was appointed lieutenant of the Constellation on 11 July 1799 and was part of the initiative that. took the French frigate La Vengenace (a ship of 54 guns) on the 1st and 2nd of February 1800. On the list of officers, John was listed as 4th Lieutenant.

Lieutenant Dent was retained under the Peace Establishment and ordered to New York on 11 May 1801 to New York aboard the USS Essex under which he served until 13 August 1802. Ten days later he was ordered to the Mediterranean where he joined the USS John Adams on 4 April 1803. He was transferred on 25 September 1803 to the USS Constitution under Commodore Preble while in the Mediterranean and later became her acting captain as Lieutenant Commandant on 8 February 1804. Two months later Com. Preble gave Dent the command of the brig Scourge, a captured vessel. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 29 May 1804; his commission having started ten days prior; and he was attached to the USS Constitution on 3 July to 18 August 1804.

During the Tripolitan War had was in commander of attached schooners Nautilus and Scourge (a bomb vessel) in Preble’s squadron and he took part in the attacks on the city of Tripoli in 1804. On 5 September 1804 he was commissioned master commander after being highly commended for skill and gallantry and his success in managing the bomb vessel and throwing shells into the town. On 4 September 1804, upon the death of Lieutenant Richard Somers, Com. Preble placed Lieutenant Dent in command of the schooner Nautilus. While in command of this vessel he participated in the capture of the town of Derne on 27 April 1805. In August of that year, he was detached from the Nautilus and granted permission to return to the United States.

Dent was then ordered to command the sloop of war Hornet between on 18 February 1806 when he sailed from New York on the 29th of March carrying Mr. Skipwith to France, who was the American Minister to France and afterwards he was to join the squadron already in the Mediterranean. He started his journey back to the US in November 1807 because he was ordered to take the Hornet to Charleston where he remained as senior naval officer until 29 May 1809 when he was granted 3 months furlough and detached from the Hornet. At the end of his command he carried General Wilkinson and suite to New Orleans upon the Hornet. During his time at Charleston in 1809, he married Elizabeth Anne Horry, and it’s possible his furlough was granted as a honeymoon.

He was then ordered to Norfolk, Virginia on 6 February 1810 in command of the John Adams under orders to protect the American vessels on the southern coast from foreign aggression while keeping watch for any vessels suspected of piracy or filibustering. At the beginning of the next year he was sent to Newport, Rhode Island where he was ordered to receive the American Minister to Denmark. He left there aboard the John Adams with the P.M. and Mr. Archibald Hamilton who was carrying dispatches to London and Paris.

Later that year, in October 1811, he was back in Charleston, South Carolina to scout a possible naval yard being established there and on 28 March 1812 he was ordered to take charge of the Naval Stations there and in Wilmington, North Carolina. He remained in command there until the close of the War of 1812 when he requested to be relieved of duty on account of his health which he believed needed a change of climate; requesting active service or a northern post. Permission was granted him on 29 March 1813 to leave Charleston and report to any northern port to await further orders. His last duty was in October 1815, he was ordered to make a survey of the USS Java at Baltimore, Maryland for the Board of Navy Commissioners.

In October of 1815, Dent returned to Charleston where he made his home.

The USS Dent (Destroyer #116, later DD-116 and APD-9), was named in honor of John Herbert Dent.

On 19 March 1784, James Truman, maternal grandfather of John Herbert Dent, deeded some of his enslaved people to his grandson and granddaughter, Elizabeth Truman Dent. Later that year, on 22 December 1789, James and Elizbeth both died and were buried together in one grave on the property known as “Clarke’s Inheritance” in Maryland. I have yet to locate this deed.

So, why am I writing about John Herbert Dent? It’s possible that John fathered at least one child with an enslaved woman. Genetic matches between the descendants of Rev. Samuel George Dent (African-American) and descendants of the Dent family, suggest that their common ancestor was John Herbert Dent; it’s possible one of Samuel’s parents was a child of John, and, since Samuel ended up in Georgia, it’s possible George Columbus Dent inherited his own brother from his father’s estate and brought this child to Hofwyl-Broadfield upon his marriage to Ophelia Troup.

Source: Extracted from the biographical sketch for John Herbert Dent, ZB Files, Navy Department Library, Naval History & Heritage Command:

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/library/research-guides/z-files/zb-files/zb-files-d/dent-john-herbert.html

 

Rev. Samuel George Dent (African-American)

Rev. Samuel George Dent, Sr. was possibly the first person in his family to have been born into freedom. His actual date of birth has not been documented but many records consistently put the year at either 1862 or 1863. Also, his place of birth varies depending upon which document you view. Some documents say he was born in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, some say he was born at Evelyn Plantation in northern Glynn County, others say he was born at neighboring Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation.

One of his parents may have been the child of John Herbert Dent; meaning George Columbus Dent may have been Sam’s uncle. A theory of mine is that, finding an illegitimate, mixed race child abhorrent, Elizabeth (Horry) Dent, the wife of John Herbert Dent, made life unbearable for John over this child and thus John either sold or gave this child to one of his other sons, George Columbus Dent, who brought the child to Hofwyl-Broadfield. At this time, we don’t know if this child was male or female.

There are quite a few different places of birth for Sam. He could’ve been born right here on Hofwyl. He could’ve been born on neighboring Evelyn. Or, he could’ve been born in Atlanta.

Having Evelyn as a place of birth doesn’t necessarily mean his family were enslaved there; it’s possible that he was born at Hofwyl and since Evelyn was the post office for this area, his place of birth becomes Evelyn, Glynn, Georgia. Or, his mother just happened to go into labor at Evelyn; there are many reasons for the Evelyn place of birth, including his family being enslaved there, but, under whose ownership?

For the Atlanta place of birth, also very obvious, everyone was evacuated from this area due to the Civil War, his mother could’ve been in Atlanta when she gave birth.

No matter where he was born, Samuel George Dent has genetic ties to the Caucasian Dent family; DNA tests from his descendants connect them to Caucasian Dent descendants, the common ancestor between the two families is John Herbert Dent; however, according to information sent to the living descendants, Samuel could NOT be a genetic relative to the Caucasian Dent family. This was sent to the family, verbatim from the staff of Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Park:

                “We cannot conclude anything regarding his parentage from the fact that Samuel was given the name “Samuel George Dent”. According to historical usage amongst Rice Coast slaves, the use of the Dent surname does not suggest any familial relationship. According to “Roll Jordon Roll: The World the Slaves Made” by Eugene Genovese and “Seed from Madagascar” by Duncan Clinch Heyward, Rice Coast slaves all used surnames among themselves. Heyward wrote, “It is well known, however, that among themselves the slaves all had surnames, and immediately after they were freed these names came to light. The surnames were selected by the Negroes themselves. Scarcely ever did a Negro choose the name of his or her owner, but often took that of some other slaveholding family, of which he knew.” In all likelihood Samuel’s mother or some other family member had already chosen the Dent surname.
                According to Genovese, Rice Coast slaves often thought that neighboring plantation owners were more humane than their own owners and took their names. According to Genovese, “by reaching for the name of a big and respected planter they hoped to enlist his sympathy should trouble come, or to fool the rougher element among the whites into thinking that they had a protector.”
                If one of the Dent’s were the father of Samuel George it seems unlikely that he would have openly taken the Dent name. Were that the case he would likely have faced the wrath of a white father who would not have wanted it to be publicly known.

Historians like to state how magnanimous George and his son James (as well as the other family members) were to those they enslaved, and how they were actually against slavery, and so kind to the people afterwards, but, this statement suggests that if either one of these men were the father of Sam, they would’ve committed some sort of violent act against Sam for using the Dent surname and, therefore, this is obvious proof that Sam was born at Evelyn and his family was enslaved there also because slaves only took the names of the next door neighbor.

This is the most shocking thing I have ever read, first, we are quoting the writings of two Caucasian men about slavery in the south, one who was an southerner born prior to the Civil war, each of his names is an aristocratic, slave-owning family surname, Duncan Clinch Hewyard, and another is a man born in 1903 New York who attributed his political Marxist beliefs in the modern day to the era of slavery, Eugene Genovese; he faced many criticisms of his work, which was not really focused on inter-personal relationship between master and slave, but more about how the enslaved would “force their owners to acknowledge their humanity”. What did he really know about Coastal Georgia and the familial connections and relationships between the owner and the owned?

Neither men studied families from Coastal Georgia, nor specifically from Glynn and surrounding counties Georgia. In this area, if a formerly enslaved person took the surname of a plantation owner, it was done for one of two reasons. One, they were enslaved by that family or their ancestors were enslaved by that family. For example, Sam could’ve easily used the name Brailsford because maybe his great grandfather was originally enslaved by this family. Most of the newly freed people had the same surname as the plantation owner because when emancipation came, they had to have a legal surname and many did not have this name, thus, Dent’s man Sam became Sam Dent. You will find many such families ended up changing their surnames by the 1880 and 1900 census.

The second reason a newly freed person would take the name of a Caucasian man was because someone in that Caucasian man’s family was either their biological parent or was a biological parent to one of their ancestors. Samuel George Dent falls into this latter category, his parent was the biological child of either John Herbert Dent or his wife Anne Elizabeth Horry.

We could debate the theories for the usage of the surname, but, DNA doesn’t lie, the obvious reason for Samuel’s name is because he was a biological Dent.

After the American Civil War ended, Samuel settled in Glynn County, and in 1880 was living with a woman on St. Simons Island who was presumed to be his aunt, Kitty Taylor. He later bought a portion of the land next to Kitty, and soon thereafter purchased more properties in Brunswick.

He started off his professional career as a tender at the Hilton Dodge Lumber Company located on the island, then, after marrying and having several children, he enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, returning to Brunswick as a minister, preaching at the First African Baptist Church on St. Simons. He was also a Grand Chancellor Commander of the Knights of Pythias. In the early 1900’s he was also a general merchant, selling fresh meats, vegetables, and general merchandise at 1601 Cochran Avenue, on the corner of G Street.

While attending Morehouse College in Atlanta he started formulating and cultivating a dream to provide religion and education to the African-American community where he was born and raised. In 1892, he and fellow classmate Rev. H.A. Bleach and local Atlanta educator Carrie E. Bemus, formed an educational plan that became Selden Normal and Industrial Institute in Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia. This was a school that furthered the education of African-Americans who, up until that time in Brunswick, could only receive 8 years of education in the public schools. By 1903, Miss Bemus raised enough money to back the formation of the school which would offer courses in cooking, sewing, millinery, carpentry, music, and agricultural studies. Much later courses would be added for other industries like shoemaking, nursing, teaching, and business management.

For Samuel to have been such a leading person in the community, little to nothing is known about his origins. Many men of this era (white and black alike) were the subjects of biographical publications extoling their virtues and ventures; to date, nothing has been found for Samuel George Dent. We do not know who his mother nor father was and we have few clues to possible aunts through family researchers, a Kitty Steele or Victoria Taylor. I’m not sure of the usage of “or” when researchers list these women; where they one and the same or two different women? Kitty was presumably given land by the man who enslaved her and which land she later gave to Samuel. It is also stated that Kitty’s husband was sold during the Civil War but there is no record of him. Since there is no record, it is not known how this fact was discovered either.

Property records tell us that Samuel actually bought his land from Annie Williams in 1892, it wasn’t Kitty’s property, it only neighbored her property. Nothing was found for Kitty Taylor in the property records; for any number of reasons, the record was lost, or her surname wasn’t Taylor at the time.

Samuel’s descendants produced many educators, some doctors, and other professional men and women who continued to instill the pride Samuel took in seeking an education and sharing what he learned to better his community.

Polite Family

A few members of the Polite family led very active, and sometimes notorious lives; one James Polite, also known as Jim Vango, was quite the handful from boyhood until adulthood when he committed suicide to escape the electric chair.

Some were “trailblazers” in their own way, and stood up to oppression and racism when the black community became divided because those who were termed “Mulatto” during this time period, decided they were better than their darker skinned townspeople. Murray Polite, a man of “the darker persuasion” took it upon himself to throw bricks at Grant Allen’s home in protest; ending in Murray being charged with “assault with the intent to murder”.

Sadly, it seems that the Polite family made the newspapers for more crimes than they did for outstanding works. Even though Murray was standing up against oppression, he did go about it the wrong way by throwing bricks and rocks at a man’s home while the man was standing in the doorway, getting hit by the bricks and shattering glass. And Ruthie Mae Polite made the papers almost on a monthly basis for running moonshine and 19 August 1963, marked the seventh time she had been arrested on a moonshine charge.

But we can’t confuse the families, there seem to be several different branches that I can’t connect, like the Polite family from Hofwyl that continued living in what became known as Freedman’s Rest, and there was a Polite family on St. Simons Island and one living within the city limits of Brunswick; not to mention the South Carolina branch that might be connected via the George Columbus Dent family who owned plantations and slaves in that state.

During the 1870 Glynn Census, there wasn’t a single Polite family living in Glynn County. Then by 1880 we have a few different families. Look Polite, aged 30 years, his wife Nancy, aged 27 years, and their two sons, Robert, aged 1 year, and James aged 4 years; all born in Georgia and in 1880 it looks as if they were living on Amherst Street. It’s possible that Look was really saying Luke but the enumerator was hearing Look

There were two men named Luke on the 1850 inventory, unfortunately, “Look” was born about 1850 according to this census, which means he may not have been in this inventory. Both men named Luke were still living by the time the estate was divided and in 1900, Luke Polite, as he was now listed, was born in 1858, which means, if he was from Hofwyl people, he was an infant or not yet born when James McGilveray Troup died.

Just like the other Polite families, Luke was living in McIntosh County prior to 1880; he also took the oath on 29 July 1867 from McIntosh County. This oath was to swear allegiance to the United States after the recent Civil War divided the nation.

Hofwyl even had a query come on from someone who was the great granddaughter of Luke Polite, her name is Caryn Bush, and she contacted Hofwyl on 19 July 2011. She did not state that she had proof that her family was from Hofwyl, but, is it possible that Luke was a son of this “infamous” London Polite who was presumably married to Margaret Capers? Ms. Byrd either did not reveal who her parents and grandparents were, or no one bothered to record this information.

Next, in 1880 Glynn, we have Limus Polite age 60 years and from South Carolina, and his wife Jane who was 80 years old and from Georgia. I’m not quite sure where they were living but it looks like they were in G.M. District 26 (the page title says as much) which is the district Hofwyl was located. It looks like this enumeration started out at the Wayne County line and came “up and around” to Pennick then Altama/Hopeton, Elizafield et. al., and then Hofwyl and went over to St. Simons. Therefore, this man may have been living out near Hofwyl, but it looks more like he was living closer to Pennick, west of Altama.

There was a man named Limus in the 1850 inventory, but, in 1870, the only man living near Hofwyl at this time was much younger and named Lymus White, who was also old enough to be on the inventory; in 1870 this man was 24 years old which means he  was born about 1846 and his value in the inventory was $200, suggesting he was either very young or very old. I have no proof what surname Limus from the inventory took after Emancipation.

Limus Polite was a Civil War Veteran, [I ordered this pension file on 01/05/2020] having served in the 33rd U.S.C.T. Company A; his military record said that he was born in McIntosh County and enlisted from St. Simons Island in Glynn County on 19 December 1862. He was later discharged for a physical disability on 25 April 1865; said disability was listed as consumption on his discharge paper. At many points during his service he was absent, serving as a nurse on various detachments in and around Beaufort, South Carolina. Then later, around 20 September 1863, he was employed as a cook and all during this time as a nurse and cook he was in the 1st S.C.V. Company A. He seems to have lived a very active life during his service, from working as a nurse, as a cook, and then serving on board a boat in October of 1865.

Next, we have Hannah Polite, a widow, aged 70 years, from Georgia, and currently suffering from consumption. She’s in the 26th G.M. District but the names surrounding her look like northern St. Simons Island families with names like Wylly and Valliant and Clubb, which were synonymous with the Alexander C. Wylly (Caucasian) family, James Clubb (Caucasian, whose son of the same name piloted in the Wanderer, the last documented slave ship to come from Africa to the Georgia coast), and Vallion or Valliant, was a name associated with Major Butler’s people. Just two pages away we find Hofwyl people, so this Hannah could be on the mainland. These were all St. Simons Island families.

Lastly, in 1880 Glynn, we have London Polite, age 27 years and his wife Cornelia age 24 and daughter Eller age 4 years, all born in Georgia and living in the city of Brunswick. This man, too, may have been a son of London Polite who was presumably married to Margaret Capers and the parents of Morris Polite.

In 1870, there were some Polite families living in McIntosh County and the one family we CAN document as being from Hofwyl was the Morris Polite family. In an interview with Margaret Davis Cate for her book Early Days of Coastal Georgia, someone from his family tells us that Morris had worked on Hofwyl from the time he was born until his death at 80 years of age and that there were three generations who also worked at Hofwyl. It was stated that “Since ‘the War’ Morris’ grandfather, his father, Morris, his sons, and his grandsons—five generations—have worked on this same plantation where their slave ancestors toiled.”

The interview says that Morris and his wife Joan lived at Petersville where he owned a small plot of ground with a modest cottage that Morris built. Public records and census tell us that his wife was really Josephine Union, not Joan. It’s possible he referred to her as Jo and Ms. Cate was hearing Joan due to the dialect among the formerly enslaved of this area. Regardless, on this plot of land, they raised thirteen children; I have found twelve children so far.

Also revealed in this interview is the origins of the surname Polite, it was adopted by Morris’ grandfather who was noted for his politeness. This interview suggest that this grandfather was still living by the end of the Civil War. However, one wonders if that is the true origin of the name seeing as how there were numerous Polite families throughout Georgia and into South Carolina; including the name Morris Polite in both states, and, this is the crux of the problem, there were numerous men named Morris and London Polite.

A Freedman’s Bank record dated 19 November 1868 for one of these men named Morris Polite tells us he was born in Beaufort, South Carolina to Toby and Nancy and that he had a brother named James; could this be the James Polite that was the father of Morris Polite who came to Glynn County? This man also had sisters Eve and Jennette and presumably deposited his bounty money from serving with the 33rd U.S.C.T. Company B.

As we know, George Columbus Dent had land in South Carolina and that he enslaved people on these properties as well; could this Morris Polite of South Carolina be related to the family that was enslaved at Hofwyl? He definitely is NOT the Morris who settled at Hofwyl.

London Polite was the firstborn son of Morris and Ms. Cate had firsthand knowledge of this family because London was the manager of her husband’s farm located at Touchstone Ridge (today this area is alone Cate Road and the neighborhood still known as Touchstone).

Even with all of this documentation, one wonders why Morris and his parents were enumerated in McIntosh County during the 1870 and the 1880 census; and not southern McIntosh County, but in the northern portion bordering Liberty County. If they were enslaved at Hofwyl, why were they living so far away from the property?

Not only were they not living at Hofwyl for over 20 years, in 1870, their surname was James and Leah was the head of household. Is it possible they asked her husband’s name and instead of telling them Polite, she gave them his first name, which resulted in the family being listed as James? And, where was James Polite in 1870? Although it’s not been confirmed yet, I think he was in the military and fought during the Civil War and it’s possible that he hadn’t made it home by 1870 because he was still serving his country.

Looking at military records and pension files, then taking into consideration the 1870 and 1880 census, it looks like many of the Polite families came out of Liberty County, Georgia and from Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Author Benjamin Allen has a connection to the Polite family; his paternal aunt Elouise Allen married John Wesley Polite, son of London, grandson of Morris. Unfortunately, I tried to reach to Mr. Allen last year, but, sadly, he had passed away and I don’t believe anyone is monitoring his accounts.

Caucasian persons with the Polite surname lived largely in Tennessee, Delaware, and Ohio during the 1850 and by the 1860 census the majority were in Missouri. There weren’t any persons named Polite who owned slaves in 1850 and only one woman in 1860, Sarah Polite, who owned a 10-year-old black male in Henderson County, North Carolina.

However, if we stray from the normal spelling, there were thousands of people with the Politt or Polete. Therefore, the origins of the surname can not be determined, the story of using the name because one was “polite” doesn’t seem to hold water to me because there were so many newly freed people using this surname who were associated with James McGilveray Troup’s properties and possibly George Columbus Dent’s properties in South Carolina.

One thing that is certain, there isn’t a single person on the inventory of estate named London. There is one man on the 1836 listing named Morris, and three on the list of 357 people. But census records say that Morris Polite, the presumed son of London Polite and Margaret Capers, was born about 1865 or later, which means he was not enslaved, and therefore not on these lists.

Then, where did London Polite come from, he wasn’t on the estate inventories, but then appears on a division of estate for J.M. Troup, the name London appears. Was this a newborn child or was he brought from another property not in Georgia?

The firstborn son of Morris Polite and Josephine Union was London born 4 March 1893 and died 9 January 1954 in Glynn County. There are various birth years for him, 1875, 1891, and 1895.

London was a very common name with the Polite family and there were two men living at the same time who were the same age and many researchers have confused the two men. The other man was born about 1893 and he was the son of another man named London who was born about 1853 or 1858 and died 9 May 1924 in Glynn County. This man was also the son of London who may very well have been the presumed father of Morris Polite.

He was married for the first time on 24 August 1911 in Glynn County to Virginia Harris (who may be a cousin) and to this union was born two children: Edna Mae (Polite) Davis and John Wesley Polite.

When London enlisted in the military, the government asked him if he was married and if so, was he currently living with that spouse. Apparently, he told them that he was no longer living with Virginia and that he didn’t want her to get his military benefits.

Proudfoot Family

Fanny Proudfoot

According to Early Days of Coastal Georgia (by Wightman & Cate), Fanny Proudfoot was an enslaved woman who worked as a cook and lived at The Parsonage, the summer home of the Dents which was located in the pine barrens four miles from Hofwyl. No indication of which direction this home was located; the only other descriptor was that it was on salt water.

The Proudfoot name was also found at neighboring Elizafield Plantation with Frederick Proudfoot, who was a coachman, and his wife Ann, a nurse to the Grant family children. Since this surname was found at Elizafield, one wonders if The Parsonage was a community for the area planters to retreat during the summer months and Fanny was the cook for everyone.

[DEATH CERTIFICATE SAYS SARAH’S MAIDEN NAME WAS LADSON]

Regardless, by the 1870 census, Frederick Proudfoot was 38 years old and living with the following persons: Sarah age 39, Lilly age 13, John age 11, Cornelia age 5, Fannie age 2, and Prince born that April. The next home to be enumerated was James R. Troup’s home. In 1880, Frederick is 45 and his wife is now Malinda age 35, with children Fannie, 12, Prince 10, Susan 8, and Kate 5 years old, and granddaughters Louisa 6, and Pinna 4 years of age. Next door is Matilda Troup, sister of Frederick’s 1870 neighbor, James R. Troup, both children of James McGilveray Troup.

As a side note, living with Matilda in 1880 is a woman named Kate Thorpe, age 16 years, who may have been the first wife of Rev.  Samuel George Dent.

The 1850 inventory of estate for J.M. Troup does not enumerate anyone named Frederick as being enslaved at Broadfield. However, in January of 1839, Hugh Fraser Grant purchased a child named Frederick along with five other people: Rina, Margaret Eve (born 1 July 1839 died that October), Sissy or Cate (I’m assuming this meant this woman had two names), Phoebe, and Prince. This list did not provide ages, but it did tell us how each person ranked, either as a full hand, suggesting a young adult, a half hand, suggesting an older or elderly person, and then no entry, suggesting a child. Sissy or Cate was listed as a ½ hand and also marked as “old”.

I believe this may have been Rina, her children, and her mother Sissy; meaning, this may be Frederick Proudfoot’s family. Further proof that the Proudfoot family were owned by the Grant family of Evelyn Plantation.

But who was Fanny? As common as her name is, there isn’t a Fanny listed in the known plantation records for Evelyn Plantation. There were four women named Fanny in the 1850 inventory for Troup.

What was the connection to the Proudfoot surname though? Rendering a guess, there was a Caucasian Proudfoot family living in McIntosh County, the Hugh Winwood Proudfoot family; he was an auctioneer in McIntosh County who later removed to Cobb County by 1850. This Proudfoot family also intermarried the McIntosh family, and, as we know, McIntosh is another surname used by some of those formerly enslaved on Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation.

This surname alone joins together many families with connections to those enslaved at Hofwyl-Broadfield. H.W. Proudfoot and a man named Alexander Mitchell were witnesses to John Hamilton Couper, Jr.’s last will and testament and Couper owned neighboring Altama and Hopeton Plantations. The surnames of these Caucasian men can be found in the 1870 Glynn County census attached to many newly freed persons.

It’s amazing the connections one finds when focusing on one particular family. Pulmore Proudfoot married Frances Beatrice McIntosh; so here we have two surnames used by Hofwyl enslaved, and Frances, was Fanny Proudfoot named for her mistress?

Not only this, but, Pulmore and Frances married in Floyd County in 1871, George C. Dent and his brother John Horry Dent, lived in Floyd County during and shortly after the Civil War too.

We could assume that Frederick and Fanny were possibly owned at one time by the Proudfoot family and thus why they had surnames during enslavement.

No matter what, I’m not sure whether Fanny survived to 1870; was Margaret Davis Cate writing about Fanny after the fact or was Fanny still alive to give this information to her interviewer?

Walburg Family

Branch Walburg (African-American)

 

 No information just yet.

#113 Sancho Walburg (African-American)

Sancho Walburg was listed as Sanco on the final inventory of estate for John McGilveray Troup dated 25 January 1850. Upon the division of estate, he was inherited by Clelia (Troup) Key.

In 1915, Walberg was a town listed on the Glynn County map.

I have more information on  this family but was not able to build my notnes.

#68 Stephen Walburg & #69 Sue Hamlett

 I have studied this family but was not able to build any notes.

Wilson Family

Tyrah Wilson was the “mantuamaker” for Hofwyl, and was originally been enslaved by James McGilveray Troup, she was given as an inheritance to Ophelia (Troup) Dent and remained on Hofwyl, making dresses for Ophelia and others.

There were three women named Tyra (as spelled) on the 1850 inventory, one valued at $450, another valued at $250, and a third valued at $400. On the disbursement lists, “Dr. James Troup” who I think was D.H.B. Troup, received Tyra valued at $300 and Ophelia inherited two women named Tyra valued at $700 and $3 (I need to verify this latter amount). As mentioned, we can’t determine the people by using the values because they do not match the disbursement values but one can assume Tyrah Wilson was one of these three women.

During the 1870 Glynn Census, Tirah Wilson was 38 years of age living in the home of James Wilson, age 38 years, and three children: John age 7 years, Norman age 4 years, and Lorena age 1 year. Living “next door” is George and Tamer Wilson, one or both of whom were old enough to be the parents of James.

I couldn’t find Tyrah in 1880, but jumping to the 1900 census we find Tyra, born December 1851, aged 48 years, widowed, with children James born January 1887, Marylee born March 1882, and son Willie born May 1890. Living next door is Norman Wilson, who was married and born January 1867 with a stepson, James Natlaw, born March 1888. Tyra didn’t have an occupation and Norman was working in the rice fields at Hofwyl; all of the children were “at school”.

If this is the same woman, it is clear she was illiterate, either that or very vain, as she got younger each census year, so much so that now she was a contemporary of her son Norman’s generatio

 

 

 

 

 

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