The Carpenter’s Wife

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?

2 thoughts on “The Carpenter’s Wife

  1. What an interesting post. I’ve always wanted to delve into my past and trace my roots back to my ancestors, but never really had the time. Now that I work from home, maybe it’s time to get my Nancy Drew on…

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