Me, Quaker manumissions – and an 1828 voyage to Liberia

This post is a companion piece to my previous post, Quakers & Slavery: 50 shades of gray and then some.  It’s more or less the other side of American Quaker’s history with slavery. The theme of this post is the practice among a growing number of slave owning Quakers who freed their slaves.

What I uncovered had me doing a dad dance…not too unlike Matt Bomer’s smooth moves in the TV series American Horror Story. Yeah, I had a revelation so unexpected, so cool, that, well, I just ‘went there’.

I’ve spent the past month tracking down and reading the Wills of my slave owning Quaker cousins; those who not only sired many of my mother’s Carolinian ancestors, but also owned them. I’ve begun tracing ownership of her more distant African descended ancestors from the Colonial Pennsylvania of the 1600’s to Maryland, Delaware and 18th Century Virginia…down to the Carolinas . And yes, that’s a whole lot of probate to read. I’m still working my way through quite a batch of them.

I won’t re-hash what I wrote in the last post. Suffice to say that there was a growing movement within the Quaker faith to end slavery within its ranks. Quakerism and slavery were no longer compatible. I’ve read around 50 Last Wills and Testaments written by Quaker ancestors who owned slaves and died between 1690 to 1790. 90% of these cousins freed their slaves when they died. No caveats, no indentures. They freed their slaves.

The remaining 10% were split 50/50 along two lines.  Those who moved into Virginia and the Carolinas became ever larger slave owners. Not surprisingly, all either left the Quaker faith or were removed by the Quakers for various reasons.

The other camp were Quaker cousins who had an unusual paragraph that kept appearing in their Wills. This paragraph, phrased in slightly different ways in the Wills it appears in, transferred ownership of their slaves to their local Quaker Meeting House until such a time that it was safe for said slaves to be officially freed. This paragraph is telling. It speaks about the concerns for the safety and security of freed slaves in the American south throughout the 18th and early 19th Centuries. Another variation of this paragraph typically requested that slaves were deeded to a family member who was instructed to keep the slaves together until such a time that it was safe for them to be freed, with further instructions that the slave owner’s heirs should assist these slaves in relocating to other states, notably Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.

Slaves held by either the local Quaker Meeting House or by designated family members were to be paid, with their wages being held for safekeeping to support them once they were freed. Slaves in this scenario were either hired out or had enough say of their own to hire themselves out.

What the Wills don’t clarify, however, is defining what constituted a ‘safe environment’ in which the slaves could be freed. I’m still researching what those qualifiers would have been. The more of these Wills I read the more I get the impression that some Quakers who had slaves were actually shielding their slaves from the criminal acts that could take place in the hands of other less thoughtful owners or the agents of less thoughtful owners.

I’ve found a cousin, Robert Peelle (1709), who was a very politically astute person. He seems to have possessed good knowledge of the then current laws because he could see the ultimate impact that changes like The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Ordinance) would have upon the South. I won’t get into what this Ordinance was. Suffice to say it set forth how new states would be admitted in to the new Republic. The formal slave state vs free state argument was still a ways off, however, the roots of this future argument can be seen in the Ordinance.

In his will dated 21 January 1782, Robert Peele included the following:

Item: It is my will and desire that all my Negroes to wit, James, Pen and Kader, Dinah and her four Children, Viz., Heather, Molly, Ginny and Teressa and all the increase of said Dinah and four children if any, shall have their freedom if ever the Laws of the Land should admit of their having that privilege freely, clearly and absolutely….

Robert wanted all slaves to be free. He wrote his will five years before Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance. I believe that he knew that, once there was a slave-free area established, it would eventually expand into the entire South and that it would not be a quick process.

Now, what got me doing a dad dance? It all has to do with four ancestral cousins – three of them are a father and his two sons – John Jellory Peele and his sons, Edmund and Thomas. The fourth is another cousin, Thomas Outland.  All of these men were resident in Rich Square, Northampton County, North Carolina…a town founded by some very old Quaker families.

John Peele (1729-1804), originally from Nansemond, Virginia, was a Quaker Minister at Rich Square who also owned slaves but felt very strongly about their freedom. John came to own slaves via his wife, a Nansemond, Virginia plantation heiress. By all accounts, slave ownership did not sit easily with her. I don’t have contemporary correspondence or written thoughts from John. His Will, however, speaks, volumes.

He stated the following in his will written 29 January 1799:

Item. I leave all the Negroes that have been or now are under my care (living) in trust altogether of my two sons Edmund and Thomas Peelle, for them to take care of and place as they may think most proper, as also to direct as they may from time to time find necessary, until the Laws of the Land will admit of their freedom and that they may then enjoy it fully, and all necessary expenses accruing there from to be paid out of my Estate.

It’s what came next that made me giddy.

So what happened to the many slaves that John Peele owned and passed to his sons Edmund and Thomas?

The Quaker Monthly Meeting House in Rich Square, Northampton County, North Carolina

The Quaker Monthly Meeting House in Rich Square, Northampton County, North Carolina

The Peeles, along with cousin Thomas Outland, being legally authorized and empowered by trustees of the yearly meeting of the Society of Friends of North Carolina, conveyed 58 freed slaves to the states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, to areas deemed safe for them as they were to be settled in areas of these states largely peopled by Quakers. The Quakers, would keep these freed slaves safe.

Edmund Peele, a prominent Friend of Rich Square, liberated a further 125 slaves in 1827. However, he didn’t just free them. He arranged for their safe passage to Liberia, Africa. At his own expense. He also gave each $25 with which to start their new lives. That’s approximately $650 per freed slave in today’s money (https://books.google.com/books?id=MWFHAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA64&dq=edmund+peele+slaves&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0s72yzITLAhVCWT4KHaklBMsQ6AEIOzAE#v=onepage&q=edmund%20peele%20slaves&f=false). I’ve read hundreds of Wills from ancestors who owned slaves. This is a first. I have never come across anything remotely like this.

Illustrative image of African Americans arriving in Liberia. This is not a picture of the Nautilus.

Illustrative image of African Americans arriving in Liberia. This is not a picture of the Nautilus.

Liberia. Now that’s a thing I’ve never considered in my many genealogy adventures. My curiosity piqued, I had to know the names of the freed men, women, and children who made that journey. It took plenty of perseverance…but I finally found their names.

I needed to find the name of the ship these souls sailed aboard. I Googled all manner of search strings based on North Carolina slaves, 1827 & 1828 and Liberia. Nothing much turned up. And then I struck gold: the US Brig Nautilus, which set sail from Hamtpon Roads, Virginia and arrived in Liberia on 19 February 1828. The voyage had lasted 54 days:

Now that I had a date, and the name of the ship, I could start searching for passenger manifests. Two family groups immediately leapt out at me: the Outlands and the Peeles. These freed slaves who had journeyed to Monrovia Liberia were my cousins on my mother’s side of the family tree.

All of the individuals below, highlighted in red, are my ancestral cousins (apologies for any formatting glitches. WordPress doesn’t make it easy to create tables):

Names
Age
State or place from which they emigrated
Free born or otherwise
Emancipated in view of emigrating to Liberia and by whom
Where located on their arrial in the colony
Extent of education
Profession
Date of death
Cause of death
Removed to what place
Removal date
Lucretia Outland
70
North Carolina
Unknown
Millsburg
1830
Old age
 
 
Bryan Outland
20
do
do
do
1837
Pleurisy
 
 
Joseph Outland
40
do
do
do
1838
Consumption
 
 
Jane Outland
30
do
do
do
1838
Consumption
 
 
Annet Outland
15
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
Kader Outland
13
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Allen Outland
12
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Byas Outland
9
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gatsy Outland
7
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owen Outland
5
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Zachariah Outland
3
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Dorothy Outland
42
do
do
do
1843
Decline
 
 
Isabella Outland
12
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Penina Outland
10
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Rufus Outland
8
do
do
do
1829
Pleurisy
Olin Outland
6
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Harry Davis
45
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Darcus Davis
45
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Tabitha Davis
14
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Cherry Davis
12
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Joseph Davis
10
do
do
do
Stephen Davis
9
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Mary Davis
7
do
do
do
Marinda Davis
5
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Council Davis
3
do
do
do
Penina Davis
2
do
do
do
Rhody Outland
18
do
do
do
1829
Unknown
 
 
Jane Outland, infant
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Rosetta Outland
22
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reddick Outland
8
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Tobias Outland
6
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
Maria Outland
4
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Garcy Outland
1
do
do
do
1837
Pleurisy
 
 
Phoebe Outland
16
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Erone Outland, infant
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
Luke Kennedy
32
do
do
do
Jesse Kennedy
38
do
do
do
C. Kennedy, twin
12
do
do
do
B. Kennedy, twin
12
do
do
do
Asbury Kennedy
10
do
do
do
1836
Anasarca
William Kennedy
8
do
do
do
Shedrick Kennedy
6
do
do
do
Wiley Kennedy
1
do
do
do
1840
Unknown
Christian Outland
17
do
do
do
Farmer
 
 
 
 
Hilliard Outland
1
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Delila Outland
20
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
Zaney Overman
1
do
do
do
Joseph Peele
37
do
Mr. Peele
do
1840
Consumption
 
 
Chany Peele
23
do
do
do
1840
Consumption
 
 
Mary Peele
5
do
do
do
S. Leone
1837
Parthena Peele
4
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
William Peele
1
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Catharine Peele
56
do
do
do
1839
Consumption
 
 
Isaac Peele
15
do
do
do
1839
Anasarca
 
 
Wiley Peele
12
do
do
do
1840
Anasarca
 
 
William Peele
19
North Carolina
Mr. Peele
Millsburg
U. S.
1828
Venus Peele
30
do
do
do
1833
Anasarca
 
 
Abraham Peele
7
do
do
do
1840
Pleurisy
 
 
Peter Peele
5
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lydia Peele
3
do
do
do
1836
Pleurisy
 
 
Catharine Peele
1
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Bridget Peele
30
do
do
do
1837
Diseased lungs
 
 
Winney Peele
14
do
do
do
1838
Diseased lungs
 
 
Charles Peele
10
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Judith Peele
7
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rachel Peele
38
do
do
do
1843
Consumption
 
 
Penina Peele
5
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
Harriet Peele
3
do
do
do
1828
Fever
 
 
Edmund Peele
1
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ceily Peele
57
do
do
do
1829
Decline
 
 
Loretta Peele
14
do
do
Monrovia do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chaney Peele
63
do
do
do
1829
Decline
 
Edith Peele
35
do
do
do
1836
Decline
 
 
Peggy Peele
41
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Edney Peele
14
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anaka Peele
12
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Edward Peele
10
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sylvia Peele
1
do
do
do
 
1828
Fever
 
Ceily Peele
61
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nancy Peele
14
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Olive Peele
11
do
do
do
 
1837
Pleurisy
 
 
Rachel Peele
9
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Willis Peele
17
do
do
Millsburg
 
Farmer
1839
Casualty
 
 
Sarah Peele
21
do
do
do
 
1836
Pleurisy
 
Elizabeth Peele
5
do
do
do
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Allen Peele
18
do
do
do
 
Farmer
1828
Fever
 
 
Mary Peele
16
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reuben Peele
29
do
do
do
 
Farmer
 
 
 
 
Abraham Peele
20
do
do
do
 
Farmer
 
 
Patience Peele
25
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Richard Peele
8
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Charity Peele
16
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
Benjamin Lawrence
26
do
Unknown
Caldwell
Farmer
1838
Diseased lungs
Adeline Lawrence
1
do
do
do
Judith Lawrence
46
do
do
do
1839
Diseased lungs
Isaac Outland
16
do
do
do
 
Farmer
 
 
 
 
Edward Outland
48
do
do
do
 
Farmer
1839
Diseased lungs
 
 
Hester Outland
30
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jeremiah Outland
15
do
do
do
 
S. Leone
1837
Elizabeth Outland
13
do
do
do
 
1836
Unknown
 
 
Penina Outland
12
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Henry Outland
5
do
do
do
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Dempy Outland
27
do
do
do
 
Farmer
 
 
 
 
Winney Outland
23
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Samuel White
48
do
do
do
 
Farmer
 
 
 
 
Axem White
22
do
do
do
 
do
1829
Diseased brain
 
 
Hester White
15
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Penina White
13
do
do
do
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Lucinda White
11
do
do
do
 
1828
Fever
 
 
John White
1
do
do
do
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Margaret White
17
do
do
do
 
 
 
Morning Toms
27
do
do
Monrovia
1843
Decline
Jacob Toms
1
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Cambridge Toms
77
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Francis Toms
56
do
do
do
Farmer
1828
Fever
Charlotte Toms
15
do
do
do
1830
Decline
Marinda Toms
12
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Dempsy Toms
9
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Mary A. Toms
5
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Emily White
15
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
Chancy Fletcher
30
do
Mr. Fletcher
do
1833
Anasarca
Lydia Fletcher
12
do
do
do
C. Palmas
Matthew Fletcher
5
do
do
do
Mary Fletcher
3
North Carolina
Mr. Fletcher
Monrovia
Ann Fletcher, infant
do
Unknown
Caldwell
1828
Fever
Rhody Jordan
27
do
do
do
 
 
1832
Consumption
 
 
Chancy Jordan
8
do
do
do
 
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Nixon Jordan
6
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lusanna Jordan
4
do
do
do
 
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Miley Jordan
2
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Solomon Jordan, inf.
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
Ruth Trublood
12
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Hannah Trublood
10
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Diver Fletcher
22
do
Mr. Fletcher
do
Thomas Fletcher
20
do
do
do
1840
Drowning
Jesse White
21
do
do
do
Gilley Toms
18
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Ceiley Fletcher
30
do
do
do
1840
Consumption
Annis Fletcher
25
do
do
do
1840
Consumption
Calvin Fletcher
7
do
do
do
Clarissa Fletcher
3
do
do
do
Dempsy Fletcher
51
do
do
do
1832
Decline
Cave Jones
55
Virginia
Unknown
do
 
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Winney Jones
65
do
do
do
 
 
1834
Decline
 
John Brisbane
29
do
do
do
1830
Consumption
Jane Brisbane
27
do
do
do
1833
Consumption
John Brisbane, jr.
5
do
do
do
Catharine Brisbane
3
do
do
do
1838
Consumption
Francis Brisbane
1
do
do
do
1828
Fever
Wiley Reynolds
24
do
do
do
U. S.
1828
Remus Harvey
30
Maryland
Free born
do
 
 
1836
Diseased lungs
 
 
Malvina Harvey*
25
do
do
 
 
1838
Decline
 
 
Rebecca Harvey
6
do
Free born
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
Susan Harvey
3
do
do
do
 
 
1828
Fever
 
 
Elizabeth Harvey
1
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Stansbury
19
do
do
do
Maria Stansbury
22
do
do
do
1833
Consumption
Jane Bryant
4
do
do
do
 
 
 
 
 
Jane Bladen
30
do
do
do
1828
Unknown
Richard Prout*
45
do
do
1828
Fever
Susan Prout
12
do
do
do
William Prout*
8
do
do
do
C. Palmas
1834
John Brown
37
do
do
do
do
1836

Source: Christine’s Genealogy Website – Emigrants to Liberia – Ship Lists
http://www.ccharity.com/contents/roll-emigrants-have-been-sent-colony-liberia-western-africa/emigrants-to-liberia-ship-lists

This document is illuminating for a few reasons. There seems to be a high mortality rate amongst those who arrived in Liberia via the 1828 trip. The illnesses which they died from pretty much speak for themselves.

The other reason this discovery is so profound for me, yet equally simple: There were enormous holes, dead ends and brick walls in my genealogy research for many of my Rich Square black ancestral lines. Hundreds of people simply vanished from all of the usual American records just before 1830. Now I know why. These people were no longer living in America. They were living in Liberia. Now I can update the information I have for them in my family tree. And, hopefully, connect with some of their descendants in Liberia.

Next will be researching the freed families who quit Rich Square for Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. And, of course, reading up on what it was like in Liberia when these Americans arrived.

For now? It’s dad dance time. And I’m fine with that.

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My first African ancestor discovered

When it comes to African American genealogy, finding an African ancestor seems like a pipe-dream. It’s like winning the lottery jackpot. It’s the holy grail. The idea of it seems so impossible, it brings to mind an image of Don Quixote fighting windmills – well, it does to my literary mind at any rate.

Thanks to three Rich Square, Northampton County, North Carolina Josey family cousins…I have my ancestral lottery mega millions win. I have my first direct ancestor who was born in Africa.

I have found African progenitors for other ancestral lines like Goins/Gowen, Christian, Cumbo, Barbour and Munzingo. I was pretty excited to find them too. However, these were families that my various ancestral lines married into. Finding my own African ancestor…well, I’m still somewhere circling Cloud 9.

So who is this ancestor? One of my maternal 4x great grandmothers, Venus. Venus “The Elder” would go on to take the last name Josey, the name of family who owned her. It’s also the surname of James Henry Josey, the man who fathered the four children of her daughter, Venus Josey “The Younger”. To distinguish between the two Venuses, I’ll refer to the elder Venus as “Venus” and the younger Venus as Venus Josey.

I’ve spent a few hours chatting with 3 newly discovered cousins from the wider Josey family. While they didn’t have many stories about Venus, what they did tell me shed some interesting light on her life.

Born around 1806, Venus arrived in South Carolina around the age of 13. That is a very useful, seemingly insignificant factoid. It will (hopefully!) help me identify the slave ship she arrived on. I can start researching slave ships that left the west coast of Africa for the southern states between 1817 and 1822. This 5 year spread takes into account her age – she might not have been 13 when she made that Trans-Atlantic slave ship voyage. And 1806 is only an estimated year of birth, given in 1870. Her first child was born in Rich Square, Northampton, NC in 1825. 1824, the year her daughter Venus Josey was conceived, would be the uppermost limit for the slave voyage search range.

mtDNA tests suggest Venus either came from Gabon or Cameroon.

Now that all seems rather straightforward in terms of research parameters. However, looks can be deceiving. The US Congress passed the Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves on 2 March 1807. Thomas Jefferson promptly signed it and it came into effect on 1 January 1808. This was about a decade before Venus’s transportation from Africa to South Carolina. And this is where things will get murky. This means she was illegally transported across the Atlantic and sold. Like any illegal activity, the chances of any documentation is slim. Very slim.

Trans-Atlantic slave trade map

Then there’s the question of what port this ship arrived in. Wilmington was an established slave port before the importation of slaves was outlawed. South Carolina, particularly Charleston, seems a more likely port prospect. Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana are just as likely in terms of ports of arrival. However, my instinct tells me that she arrived somewhere in South Carolina, where many of the North Carolina slave owning Joseys had purchased slaves previously.

illustration of a slave ship hold

That’s the historical aspect of this discovery. There is a human element too. I try to think of that 13 year old child crammed into the dark, dank hull of a slave ship for approximately a month with all the foul smells and filth that journey entailed. I can’t. I try to touch upon the fear she felt. I can’t do that either. It’s unimaginable. There are no family stories of any family members accompanying her on that journey. Presumably, she made that journey alone, leaving everything and everyone she knew behind. That she survived is a testament to her fortitude. There’s a glimpse into that fortitude in one last story about her.

Another family tale is that Venus was a princess or, at the very least, a younger daughter of an African chieftain.  While it would be a sensational find, I’m remaining sceptical. Like the many tales in my family of Native American ancestry – which DNA testing has over-ruled – I’m not going to get too excited by this claim 😉

There is one history sliver that my white and black Josey cousins have relayed to me. James Henry Josey freed Venus “The Younger” and her mother when Venus “The Younger” gave birth to the first of their four children. He freed their children too. James’s mother was, by all accounts, very fond of her mulatto grandchildren. She paid for their education and ensured that the money her husband had bequeathed to their grandchildren and Venus “The Younger” was safeguarded and duly handed over. In short, she ensured her grandchildren’s future prospects.

There is one story that I absolutely love. Venus came to understand English. However, she refused to speak it. Nothing could compel her to do it. That snippet of her history speaks volumes to me.

Descendants of John Stephen Josey of Rich Square, Northampton County, North Carolina

Updating the various family trees I posted a few years ago has been a long overdue task. These trees have grown so large, that a nice graphical representation is impossible. Hence using the traditional generational list format. One day Ancestry.com will have an embeddable family tree widget. ;o)

Family Tree Key:

This family tree is arranged by generations. The numbers that appear before are name refer to generations.

For instance:

  1. John Smith (The ancestor whose descendants have been documented)
  2. Adam Smith (This is the 1st generation level. He would be John Smith’s child)
  3. Carrie Smith (This is the 3rd generation level.She would be John Smith’s grand daughter)
  4. Robert Smith (This is the 4th generation level. He would be John Smith’s great grandson)
  5. Helen Smith (This is the 5th generation level. She would be John Smith’s 2x great grand daughter)
  6. Randolph Smith (This is the 6th generation level. He would be John Smith’s 3x great grand son)

Privacy Note:

I have made every effort to delete details for living people. I’ve also made every effort to delete details of people who would make it easy to find their living descendants. I may have missed a handful. If I have, please accept my apologies and let me know. I will remove them from this list of descendants.

Descendants of John Stephen Josey

with roots in Rich Square, Northampton County, North Carolina

john-stephen-josey

Oscar Josey & George Washington Josey of Rich Square, North Carolina: finding ancestors in books

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ddrLtJF9uHgC&lpg=PA25&dq=oscar%20josey%2C%20William%20Norwood%2C%20rich%20square%2C%20north%20carolina&pg=PA25&output=embed
Finding the name of an ancestor or distant relation in a publication never ceases to give me a little thrill. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Seeing their name in print somehow makes them seem a bit more real. They stop being just a name with dates on a family tree. Such things remind me that they had lives, every day lives, and seeing their names in a book or a publication with snippets of their personal history is a priceless experience.

This is the case with one of my maternal great-great-grandfathers, George Washington Josey, and his brother Oscar. They appear in the book “Divine Will, Restless Heart” by Mary E C Drew (book details are at the end of this post). Okay, there is only a few sentences which discuss the..but those few sentences are like gold dust to me.

Both boys were openly acknowledged by the white planter father in his lifetime. And the seemingly simple fact that they “lived with” a white family raises all kinds of questions. It doesn’t say they were slaves – nor does it say they were free.  So the question remains, in what manner did they live with the Norwood family? It’s the eternal see-saw of genealogy: no sooner do you answer one question (in this case, the name of the boys’ father), another one presents itself.

A screen grab except follows below (my apologies Ms Drew, WordPress doesns’t allow iframe widget embeds from Google Books and I have tried every which way to make that widget work in this post):

Excerpt detailing Oscar Josey & George Washington Josey

Excerpt detailing Oscar Josey & George Washington Josey

Unfortunately, the book isn’t available as an eBook. However, here’s the link to the book on Google Books. I believe print copies are still available to buy. A number of Rich Square, North Carolina African-American families are mentioned in the book – including the family of Oscar Josey’s wife, Emma Smallwood.

Google Book link:
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ddrLtJF9uHgC&lpg=PA25&dq=oscar%20josey%2C%20William%20Norwood%2C%20rich%20square%2C%20north%20carolina&pg=PA25&output=embed

Book details

Title: Divine Will, Restless Heart
Author:  Mary E. C. Drew
Publisher:  Xlibris Corporation, 2010
ISBN:  1453511962, 9781453511961
Length 292 pages