Tunica County Mississippi 1860 slaveholders and 1870 African Americans





Transcribed by Tom Blake, February, 2002

PURPOSE. Published information giving names of slaveholders and numbers of slaves held in Tunica County, Mississippi, in 1860, is either non-existent or not readily available. It is possible to locate a free person on the Tunica County, Mississippi census for 1860 and not know whether that person was also listed as a slaveholder on the slave census, because published indexes almost always do not include the slave census.

Those who have found a free ancestor on the 1860 Tunica County, Mississippi census can check this list to learn if their ancestor was one of the larger slaveholders in the County. If the ancestor is not on this list, the 1860 slave census microfilm can be viewed to find out whether the ancestor was a holder of a fewer number of slaves or not a slaveholder at all. Whether or not the ancestor is found to have been a slaveholder, a viewing of the slave census will provide an informed sense of the extent of slavery in the ancestral County, particularly for those who have never viewed a slave census. An ancestor not shown to hold slaves on the 1860 slave census could have held slaves on an earlier census, so those films can be checked also. In 1850, the slave census was also separate from the free census, but in earlier years it was a part of the free census.

African American descendants of persons who were enslaved in Tunica County, Mississippi in 1860, if they have an idea of the surname of the slaveholder, can check this list for the surname. If the surname is found, they can then view the microfilm for the details listed regarding the sex, age and color of the slaves. If the surname is not on this list, the microfilm can be viewed to see if there were smaller slaveholders with that surname. To check a master surname list for other States and Counties, return to Home and Links Page.

The information on surname matches of 1870 African Americans and 1860 slaveholders is intended merely to provide data for consideration by those seeking to make connections between slaveholders and former slaves. Particularly in the case of these larger slaveholders, the data seems to show in general not many freed slaves in 1870 were using the surname of their 1860 slaveholder. However, the data should be checked for the particular surname to see the extent of the matching.

The last U.S. census slave schedules were enumerated by County in 1860 and included 393,975 named persons holding 3,950,546 unnamed slaves, or an average of about ten slaves per holder. The actual number of slaveholders may be slightly lower because some large holders held slaves in more than one County and they would have been counted as a separate slaveholder in each County. Excluding slaves, the 1860 U.S. population was 27,167,529, with about 1 in 70 being a slaveholder. It is estimated by this transcriber that in 1860, slaveholders of 200 or more slaves, while constituting less than 1 % of the total number of U.S. slaveholders, or 1 out of 7,000 free persons, held 20-30% of the total number of slaves in the U.S. The process of publication of slaveholder names beginning with larger slaveholders will enable naming of the holders of the most slaves with the least amount of transcription work.

SOURCES. The 1860 U.S. Census Slave Schedules for Tunica County, Mississippi (NARA microfilm series M653, Roll 603) reportedly includes a total of 3,483 slaves. This transcription includes 35 slaveholders who held 36 or more slaves in Tunica County, accounting for 2,425 slaves, or 70% of the County total. The rest of the slaves in the County were held by a total of 97 slaveholders, and those slaveholders have not been included here. Due to variable film quality, handwriting interpretation questions and inconsistent counting and page numbering methods used by the census enumerators, interested researchers should view the source film personally to verify or modify the information in this transcription for their own purposes. Census data for 1860 was obtained from the Historical United States Census Data Browser, which is a very detailed, searchable and highly recommended database that can found at http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/census/ . Census data on African Americans in the 1870 census was obtained using Heritage Quest's CD "African-Americans in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census", available through Heritage Quest at http://www.heritagequest.com/ .

FORMAT. This transcription lists the names of those largest slaveholders in the County, the number of slaves they held in the County and the first census page on which they were listed. The page numbers used are the rubber stamped numbers in the upper right corner of every set of two pages, with the previous stamped number and a "B" being used to designate the pages without a stamped number. Following the holder list is a separate list of the surnames of the holders with information on numbers of African Americans on the 1870 census who were enumerated with the same surname. The term "County" is used to describe the main subdivisions of the State by which the census was enumerated.

TERMINOLOGY. Though the census schedules speak in terms of "slave owners", the transcriber has chosen to use the term "slaveholder" rather than "slave owner", so that questions of justice and legality of claims of ownership need not be addressed in this transcription. Racially related terms such as African American, black, mulatto and colored are used as in the source or at the time of the source, with African American being used otherwise. The term "County" is used to describe the main subdivisions of the State by which the census was enumerated.

PLANTATION NAMES. Plantation names were not shown on the census. Using plantation names to locate ancestors can be difficult because the name of a plantation may have been changed through the years and because the sizeable number of large farms must have resulted in lots of duplication of plantation names. In Mississippi in 1860 there were 481 farms of 1,000 acres or more, the largest size category enumerated in the census, and another 1,868 farms of 500-999 acres. Linking names of plantations in this County with the names of the large holders on this list should not be a difficult research task, but it is beyond the scope of this transcription.

FORMER SLAVES. The 1860 U.S. Census was the last U.S. census showing slaves and slaveholders. Slaves were enumerated in 1860 without giving their names, only their sex and age and indication of any handicaps, such as deaf or blind Slaves 100 years of age or older were supposed to be named on the 1860 slave schedule, but there were only 1,570 slaves of such age enumerated, out of a total of 3,950,546 slaves, and the transcriber did not notice any such information on the enumeration of the transcribed slaveholders, except for 104 year old male George held by F. A. Owen on page 221and 120 year old male John, held by Estate of E. M. Driver on page 222. Freed slaves, if listed in the next census, in 1870, would have been reported with their full name, including surname. Some of these former slaves may have been using the surname of their 1860 slaveholder at the time of the 1870 census and they may have still been living in the same State or County. Before presuming an African American was a slave on the 1860 census, the free census for 1860 should be checked, as almost 11% of African Americans were enumerated as free in 1860, with about half of those living in the southern States. Estimates of the number of former slaves who used the surname of a former owner in 1870, vary widely and from region to region. If an African American ancestor with one of these surnames is found on the 1870 census, then making the link to finding that ancestor as a slave requires advanced research techniques involving all obtainable records of the holder.

MIGRATION OF FORMER SLAVES: According to U.S. Census data, the 1860 Tunica County population included 883 whites, 0 "free colored" and 3,483 slaves. By the 1870 census, the white population had increased about 39% to 1,231, while the "colored" population had increased about 18% to 4,127. (As a side note, by 1960, 100 years later, the County was listed as having 3,505 whites, about four times more than 100 years before, and the 1960 total of 13, 315 "Negroes"was also about four times what the colored population had been 100 years before.) It should be noted however, that in comparing census data for 1870 and 1960, the transcriber did not take into consideration any relevant changes in county boundaries.

Where did the Tunica County freed slaves go if they did not stay in the County? Orleans County in Louisiana saw an increase in colored population of almost double between 1860 and 1870, growing to over 50,000, so likely that is where some went. Lowndes and Warren Counties in Mississippi saw increases of 6,000 and 8,000, but no other Mississippi County showed such a significant increase. Between 1860 and 1870, the Mississippi colored population only increased by 1%, about 6,000. States that saw more significant increases in colored population during that time, and were therefore more likely possible places of relocation for colored persons from Tunica County, included the following: Georgia, up 80,000 (17%); Texas, up 70,000 (38%); Alabama, up 37,000 (8%); North Carolina, up 31,000 (8%); Florida, up 27,000 (41%); Ohio, up 26,000 (70%); Indiana, up 25,000 (127%); and Kansas up from 265 to 17,000 (6,400%).


ABBEY, R., 50 slaves, page 219

ALISON, T.? & P.?, 46 slaves, page 208

AVERITT, W. F., 52 slaves, page 205B

BEDFORD, B. W., 36 slaves, page 212

BOSTICK, J., 47 slaves, page 209

BRINKLEY (see Moore & Brinkley)

BROUGHER, F., 41 slaves, page 203B

BROWN , James, 79 slaves, page 206

BYRN, R. H., 175 slaves, page 215

CAMERON, P.? C., 83 slaves, page 217C

CARNES, J. A., & TERRY, , 52 slaves, page 220B

CONKEY, Z., 42 slaves, page 214B

DOWD, W. F., 38 slaves, page 205

DRIVER, Estate of E. M., 133 slaves, page 222

HARBERT, J., 91 slaves, page 211

HILL, T. B., 69 slaves, page 223B

KERR, S. S. E. & W. H. & Co., 119 slaves, page 209B

MCCALLEY, T. S., 62 slaves, page 217B

MILLER, Austin, 73 slaves, page 207

MITCHEL, H. G., 63 slaves, page 210B

MOORE, W. J., & BRINKLEY, 69 slaves, page 219B

OWEN, F. A., 44 slaves, page 221

PATTON, W. R., 37 slaves, page 214

POLK, A. J., 200 slaves, page 216

RAND, Estate of J. C., 36 slaves, page 212

RIVERS, W., 57 slaves, page 207

RODES?, R., 57 slaves, page 212B

SHOTWELL, A. T., 53 slaves, page 204

SIKES, G.? A., 47 slaves, page 207B

TERRY (see Carnes & Terry)

TROTTER, J., 77 slaves, page 208

WALLACE, Courtney, 50 slaves, page 205B

WATKINS, J. F. continued Different Plantation, 70 slaves, page 217C

WATKINS, J. F., 90 slaves, page 217B

WHITE, W. W., 66 slaves, page 221

WINSTON, E., 64 slaves, page 218

WRIGHT, A., 57 slaves, page 218B


(exact surname spellings only are reported, no spelling variations or soundex)

(SURNAME, # in US, in State, in County, born in State, born and living in State, born in State and living in County)

ABBEY, 9, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0

ALISON, 48, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0

AVERITT, 15, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0

BEDFORD, 186, 24, 1, 12, 10, 0

BOSTICK, 245, 12, 3, 6, 6, 0

BRINKLEY, 179, 5, 1, 3, 2, 0

BROUGHER, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

BROWN , 27013, 2270, 23, 1679, 1198, 11

BYRN, 12, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0

CAMERON, 345, 33, 1, 26, 22, 1

CARNES, 51, 2, 0, 2, 2, 0

CONKEY, 5, 2, 2, 0, 0, 0

DOWD, 46, 12, 0, 7, 5, 0

DRIVER, 216, 29, 2, 17, 11, 1

HARBERT, 35, 3, 0, 1, 1, 0

HILL, 6675, 484, 9, 313, 211, 6

KERR, 195, 28, 6, 15, 13, 2

MCCALLEY, 32, 1, 0, 3, 1, 0

MILLER, 6577, 689, 28, 454, 335, 6

MITCHEL, 1563, 146, 4, 95, 70, 4

MOORE, 8698, 1061, 13, 660, 483, 7

OWEN, 851, 85, 4, 72, 56, 1

PATTON, 675, 103, 4, 56, 44, 4

POLK, 654, 99,7, 73, 58, 4

RAND, 56, 4, 0, 2, 0, 0

RIVERS, 820, 30, 2, 22, 14, 0

RODES?, 126, 11, 0, 4, 3, 0

SHOTWELL, 50, 22, 7, 7, 6, 3

SIKES, 196, 17, 0, 15, 10, 0

TERRY, 855, 88, 2, 66, 47, 0

TROTTER, 200, 51, 2, 39, 35, 1

WALLACE, 2315, 244, 3, 163, 122, 1

WATKINS, 2226, 149, 6, 95, 74, 3

WHITE, 9567, 883, 20, 623, 456, 12

WINSTON, 853, 80, 2, 42, 30, 1

WRIGHT, 5428, 355, 6, 235, 158, 0

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