DECATUR COUNTY, GEORGIA
LARGEST SLAVEHOLDERS FROM 1860 SLAVE CENSUS SCHEDULES
SURNAME MATCHES FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS ON 1870 CENSUS
Transcribed by Tom Blake, February, 2002
PURPOSE. Published information giving names of slaveholders and numbers of slaves held in Decatur County, Georgia, in 1860, is either non-existent or not readily available. It is possible to locate a free person on the Decatur County, Georgia 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 Decatur County, Georgia 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 Decatur County, Georgia 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 Decatur County, Georgia (NARA microfilm series M653, Roll 144) reportedly includes a total of 5,924 slaves. This transcription includes 34 slaveholders who held 36 or more slaves in Decatur County, accounting for 2,304 slaves, or 39% of the County total. The rest of the slaves in the County were held by a total of 431 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, the local district where they were counted 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. Many of the pages in this County were filmed out of sequence. 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.
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 Georgia in 1860 there were 482 farms of 1,000 acres or more, the largest size category enumerated in the census, and another 1,359 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, and, though not specifically searching for such slaves, the transcriber noticed none in this County for the holders transcribed. 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 Decatur County population included 5,985 whites, 13 "free colored" and 5,924 slaves. By the 1870 census, the white population had increased about 25% to 7,465, while the "colored" population increased about 30% to 7,718. (As a side note, by 1960, 100 years later, the County was listed as having 14,710 whites, about two and a half times more than in 1860, while the 1960 total of 10,475 "Negroes"was a little under twice 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 freed slaves go if they did not stay in Decatur County? Chatham County saw an increase in colored population of almost two thirds between 1860 and 1870, so obviously that is where many freed slaves went. Other Georgia Counties showing significant increases include Fulton, Houston and Richmond. Between 1860 and 1870, the Georgia colored population increased by 80,000, to 545,000, a 17% increase. Where did freed Georgia slaves go if they did not stay in Georgia? States that saw significant increases in colored population during that time, and were therefore more likely possible places of relocation for colored persons from Decatur County, included the following: 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%).
ARNETT, F. G., 73 slaves, Dist Bainbridge, page 267B
ARNETT, L.? C., 96 slaves, Dist 21, page263B ends 243 and 243B
BALLOW, Mrs. M., 46 slaves, Dist 15, page 239
BARROW, David, 94 slaves, Dist 16, page 247B
BELCHER, Stephen, 74 slaves, Dist 14, page 235 ends on 241B
BRADWELL, D., 86 slaves, Dist 20, page259B
CAUGEN?, S. E., 54 slaves, Dist 20, page256
CLOUD, Reuben, 56 slaves, Dist 14, page 236B
COACHMAN, J. J., 89 slaves, Dist 27, page 235B ends on 266
CRAWFORD, J. L., 40 slaves, Dist Bainbridge, page272B
CUNNINGHAM, C. J., 82 slaves, Dist 21, page 246B
DICKINSON, John, 54 slaves, Dist 14, page 236
DONALSON, J., 38 slaves, Dist 15, page 241
DONALSON, John, 49 slaves, Dist 20, page259
DONALSON, William, 95 slaves, Dist 15, page 265B ends on 238
GIBSON, J. H., 55 slaves, Dist 20, page256B
GIBSON, Martha, 71 slaves, Dist 15, page 241
GOULDEN?, John P., 62 slaves, Dist Bainbridge, page268B
HARRELL, Jno., 51 slaves, Dist 15, page 242
HILL, R. G., 40 slaves, Dist 15, page 240
HOWELL?, John, slaves, Dist 15, page 252B
KING, C. C., 55 slaves, Dist 20, page 254
LYNN?, C. J. Munner?, 215 slaves, Dist 16, page 246 ends 263 and 263B
MEINS?, Olivia, 41 slaves, Dist 20, page257
PARHAM, L. J., 84 slaves, Dist 21, page261
PUGH, Thos. J., 39 slaves, Dist 14, page 235
RACKLEY, W. S., 51 slaves, Dist 16, page 247
RAMBO, Daniel, 156 slaves, Dist 27, page266, 266B ends 236
ROTTER, John M., 57 slaves, Dist Bainbridge, page269B
SMITH, Thomas, 90 slaves, Dist 20, page257B
SMITH, Wm., 38 slaves, Dist 20, page254B
THOMAS, A., 39 slaves, Dist Bainbridge, page272
THOMAS, James, 36 slaves, Dist 16 and 19, page 245B ends 251
WALLER, R. A., 47 slaves, Dist Bainbridge, page269
SURNAME MATCHES AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS ON 1870 CENSUS:
(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)
ARNETT, 99, 30, 7, 30, 27, 6
BARROW, 216, 74, 2, 78, 61, 2
BELCHER, 147, 36, 2, 32, 27, 1
BRADWELL, 44, 23, 5, 19, 15, 0
CAUGEN?, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
CLOUD, 211, 42, 6, 41, 32, 1
COACHMAN, 42, 11, 3, 8, 7, 1
CRAWFORD, 1876, 312, 9, 388, 267, 8
CUNNINGHAM, 1016, 88, 4, 156, 78, 4
DICKINSON, 425, 37, 2, 41, 31, 2
DONALSON, 71, 28, 26, 22, 22, 21
GIBSON, 2529, 236, 5, 289, 191, 4
GOULDEN?, 17, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0
HARRELL, 350, 61, 5, 53, 46, 3
HILL, 6675, 825, 8, 951, 671, 3
HOWELL?, 883, 122, 1, 132, 103, 0
KING, 4979, 623, 10, 662, 509, 8
LYNN?, 112, 12, 0, 21, 10, 0
MEINS?, 7, 1, 0, 2, 1, 0
PARHAM, 424, 54, 5, 56, 50, 5
PUGH, 343, 11, 0, 19, 11, 0
RACKLEY, 17, 8, 5, 7, 7, 5
RAMBO, 52, 22, 13, 1, 1, 0
ROTTER, 3, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
SMITH, 29087, 2625, 43, 2979, 2200, 29
THOMAS, 11418, 1285, 21, 1493, 1064, 15
WALLER, 537, 49, 0, 44, 37, 0
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