In my other life, I’m a family historian. I spend a lot times with probate records and tax lists trying to find evidence of my enslaved ancestors. The work is tedious and not for the faint of heart.
While searching through a set of 1857 tax lists, I came across a curious entry – a carpenter for the local hotel paid taxes for a buggy, a horse and one female slave. Having done this work for a while, this entry made me ask why? The man was not a land owner, didn’t own a watch or his own home. Why would he own a slave?
I followed him through the tax lists and census records. By 1870, he was still a carpenter living with a female servant and two mulatto boys. I took this information to a fellow genealogist who said – “You mean Aunt Sarah and the twins?”
With the slave codes in place in many Southern states, he could not free her. After Emancipation, miscegenation was illegal. I looked for them after 1870 and couldn’t find them. Did they move North? Did they move further South into Mexico? Have I romanticized them? Or is theirs the story of a love that prevails against the laws of man?