Nelly, A Woman of Property and Means

Written by Stevie Hughes, President-Greene County Genealogical Society
Researched by Don Miller, June Pinkston, and Mitzi Bible of the T. Elmer Cox Historical and Genealogical Library, 229 North Main Street, Greeneville, TN; Andree Layton Roaf and Stevie Hughes

Ellen “Nelly” Van Vactor was a truly remarkable woman.  Nelly was a “woman of color”, born a slave about 1780 in Virginia.  She had at least two children, a daughter named Erie born into slavery about 1802 and a son Alfred Van Vactor Thompson, born free in Tennessee about 1817.  By 1822, Nelly was a woman of means and a “free woman of color”.    Just how this happened was a very fortuitous turn of events for Nelly and her family. 
 
The family arrived in Greene County, Tennessee, in late 1817 or early 1818 with Benjamin Van Vactor.  Benjamin and Nelly had been together for a number of years, at least fifteen and perhaps more.  Benjamin Van Vactor was considerably older than Nelly.  By the time they arrived in Greeneville, Benjamin had three grown children. One of Benjamin’s daughters married in Berkley County, Virginia in 1785, and this is possibly where Benjamin and Nelly lived prior to their relocation to Greene County, Tennessee. It is not known where or when, but Benjamin Van Vactor manumitted Nelly prior to their arrival in Greene County.  From all available documentation, Nelly arrived in Greeneville as a free woman of color.
 
After their arrival in Greeneville, Benjamin purchased a one-half acre town lot on Richland Creek from Alexander Sevier paying $100.  The lot adjoined the property of Alexander (1790-1827) and Valentine Sevier (1780-1854, both buried at Old Harmony Cemetery).  This was one of Greeneville’s finest locations, and the Sevier family was among the most prominent citizens.  Indeed, John Sevier was the first Governor of Tennessee.
 
Knowing his death was imminent, Benjamin Van Vactor went before the Greene County Court on October 29, 1822.  Benjamin petitioned the Court to emancipate his slaves, Erie and her two young children, Jackson who was about five years old and William who was about three: 

“Benjamin Vanvector a citizen of said county respectfully represents that he is possessed of a mulatto girl named Erie, her two children who are slaves for life that said Erie was born in his house and he has raised her, that she is about twenty years of age….”

A month later, Benjamin Van Vactor signed his Will on November 25, 1822.  Benjamin disinherited his three children, leaving them only $5 apiece.  Other than a $50 bequest to Nelly’s daughter Erie, Benjamin left his entire estate to his housekeeper, Nelly, a “woman of color”.  Nelly took his name as her own.

Nelly Van Vactor was a very astute business woman.  In September of 1823, Nelly bought a three-quarter acre lot adjacent to her own property from George Gillespie paying $37.  In 1828, she purchased town lots number 15 and 16 on Irish Street from John Dickson, paying $200.  Nelly had a long term business association with John Dickson lasting well into the mid-1840s.  John Dickson (1780-1855) and his brother William Dickson (1775-1843, both buried at Old Harmony Cemetery) were at the very height of Greeneville aristocracy.  The fabulous Dickson-Williams mansion still stands today as an historic landmark in Greeneville.
 
Nelly invested in real estate, and she was possibly a financier as well, making loans to others and receiving interest income.  In 1824, William Goodman defaulted on a debt of $209 owed to Nelly.  Nelly exercised her rights as a “free woman of color”, and she petitioned the Greene County Court on December 12, 1824, to recover what was owed to her.  The Court awarded Nelly a Deed of Mortgage on a 52-acre parcel of land.  William Goodman was allowed two years to repay Nelly or the property would become hers.
 
Nelly Van Vactor is enumerated in the 1830 census of “Free People of Color”, living in the town of Greeneville.  Nelly’s next door neighbor was Sarah McCardle, the mother-in-law of President Andrew Johnson. (Sarah McCardle Whitesides, died 1854 buried at Old Harmony Cemetery, later re-interred in the Presidential Plot at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery.) Eight persons were living in Nelly’s household.  Some of these people would have been her married daughter Erie and her husband whose name is not fully known, their two or three children and Nelly’s son Alfred Van Vactor Thompson.  Only fourteen “Free People of Color” were enumerated as heads of household in this census.  How safe and secure Nelly must have felt, a “free woman of color” owning property and living in Town at one of the finest locations.  Life had turned out very satisfactorily for Nelly Van Vactor.
 
Nelly continued to “wheel and deal” with the Town’s elite.  In December 1832, Nelly sold the one-half acre lot on Richland Creek she had inherited from her benefactor, Benjamin Van Vactor, and the three-quarter acre lot she had purchased in 1824.  The lots were sold to John Dickson for $350.   Nelly signed the deed with her “mark”.
 
By the mid 1830’s Nelly had accumulated a significant amount of valuable real estate in the Town of Greeneville.  Nelly was only one of four women who owned property in Town in their name at this time.  Nelly was taxed on six town lots.  As a comparison, Andrew Johnson who would later become President owned two lots.  Everyone in Town would have known Nelly Van Vactor.
 
Nelly is not enumerated as a head of household in the 1840 census; however, she was included in the District 10 tax list of 1840 living in Town on lots 15 and 16 which she had acquired in 1828.   These lots would be sold in March 1842 to Samuel McGaughey (1816-1870, buried Old Harmony Cemetery).  This transaction would later give rise to a court suit brought by Nelly in 1844, in which once again, her old friend and business associate John Dickson would come to Nelly’s aid.
 
Although a marriage record is not found, Nelly’s daughter Erie married a man with the surname of Ripley.  Erie had a daughter Ellen Ripley born about 1839 and a son Elbert who was born about 1830.  In 1840 William Ripley, age 35-55 a “free person of color” was enumerated in this census.  His household included a wife, age 35-55, two young males age 10-24 and a young male under ten years old, and a young female under ten years old.  Also in the household was an elderly female, age 55-100.  This household “fits” perfectly with the Van Vactor family.  The wife would be Erie (Van Vactor) Ripley born about 1802, the two older boys were Erie’s sons Jackson and William, the young boy would be Erie’s son Elbert, and the young girl would be Erie’s daughter, Ellen Ripley.  The elderly woman is surely Nelly Van Vactor, who was born about 1780.
 
Nelly Van Vactor was considering leaving America and going to Liberia with her son, Alfred Van Vactor Thompson.  In preparation for the relocation, in March 1842 Nelly sold her town lots 15 and 16 on Irish Street to Samuel McGaughey.  The proceeds of the sale were deposited “in trust” with Valentine Sevier in the name of Nelly’s son Alfred “by her affection for him”.  In 1842, Alfred, his wife Susan (Susan Cannon married 12-8-1839 Alfred V. Thompson “free persons of color”), and his nephew Elbert Thompson who was twelve years of age at the time, boarded the Ship Mariposa bound for Liberia.  However, Nelly had second thoughts.  She decided it was more prudent for her son Alfred Van Vactor Thompson and his family to go first to see how they might like it there.  Nelly never went to Liberia.
 
By 1844 Nelly lived in Town near the “new” Methodist Church on the road to Knoxville.  This property was owned by John Dickson.  In October of that year, John Dickson issued a title bond to Nelly who paid $400 for this half-acre property. 
 
Nelly had not heard from her son Alfred for quite some time.  She did not know if he was living or dead, and Nelly needed the $425 proceeds from the sale in 1842 of Town lots 15 and 16 that had been deposited “in Trust” with Valentine Sevier.  In January 1845, Nelly once again took her cause to the Greene County Court where she brought suit naming all the parties to the transaction, including Samuel McGaughey, John McGaughey, Valentine Sevier, and her son Alfred V. Thompson.  What Nelly did not know, was her son Alfred stayed only a short period of time in Africa.  From there, Alfred and his family went to Kingston, Jamaica, where they lived about three years before ultimately returning to the United States.
 
On January 12, 1846, Nelly’s daughter “Airy” Ripley remarried to Elkanah Emanuel (Manuel).  Elkanah and his wife “Airy” are included in the 1850 census enumeration.  In their household were Erie’s daughter Ellen Ripley by Erie’s first husband and a son James Manuel born about 1847.   Also in the household was Nelly Van Vactor, age 70.  Living three households away was Nelly’s grandson, Jackson Van Vactor, who was a tailor by trade.  Enumerated six households from Nelly was her longtime business associate John Dickson and his next door neighbor, Blackstone McDannel (1811-1888, buried at Old Harmony Cemetery), the close confident and friend of later President Andrew Johnson.   Nelly’s daughter Erie Ripley Manuel apparently died shortly after the enumeration.  In January 1851, Elkanah Manuel remarried. 

Nelly sold the half-acre town lot on the Knoxville Road on July 27, 1855 to John Maloney, a tailor and innkeeper and a Mayor of Greeneville.   Nelly and the Maloney Family had been neighbors on Irish Street, when Nelly owned Town lots 15 and 16 and John Maloney and his father Robert Maloney, who had also been a tailor and who was the marriage bondsman for Andrew Johnson, owned Lots 17 and 18.  It was said by the eminent town historian, Mr. Richard Harrison Doughty (1923-2003) a Maloney descendant, the Maloney Tavern was located on Main Street where the present day Asbury Methodist Church now stands.  This area of Greeneville may have been near Nelly’s final home in Greeneville.
 
Nelly continued to be in the District 10 Tax List for the year 1855.  She is not found in any records in 1856 or later.  No Will or Estate Settlement has been found for her. 
 
Nelly Van Vactor’s life is one of personal triumph over overwhelming obstacles – she was female, she was of mixed racial heritage, and she had been a slave.  Nelly’s great financial success is a testament to her intelligence, to her strength of character and to her undefeatable perseverance.  She was truly among one of Greeneville’s most remarkable women.  There is little doubt Nelly was the very first African-America woman to own land in the Town of Greeneville.
 
What must also not be forgotten is the underlying tolerance and goodness of the people of Greeneville.  Without these attributes in the community, Nelly’s accomplishments would never have been allowed to flourish.  It is plausible these very attributes are what brought Benjamin Van Vactor and his “housekeeper” Nelly to Greeneville almost fifty years before emancipation was declared by President Lincoln.
 
Nelly’s son Alfred Van Vactor Thompson and his wife Susan Cannon Thompson returned from Africa in 1846.  He and Susan ultimately settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Alfred operated a tailor shop on Broadway Street.  A daughter Sarah Ellen Thompson was born in Ohio about 1849.  Alfred was extremely well educated and, he was a prosperous tailor, having been trained as a boy by Andrew Johnson.  The family migrated to Ontario, Canada, before July 1867.  Alfred Van Vactor Thompson is in the Canadian census as late as 1891.  It is presumed he died in Canada.
 
Nelly’s grandchildren William and Jackson (Van Vactor) and Ellen Ripley, by her daughter Erie simply vanish from the Greene County records after 1855.  On August 1, 1855, Jackson Van Vactor went before the Greene County Court to establish his families’ status as “free persons of color”.  At that date Jackson was married and had two young children.  (The marriage is not found in the Greene County records.)  In the same court session, Jackson Van Vactor also reported the “free” status of his half-sister, Ellen Ripley.  From all appearances, the family was preparing to leave Greene County, and indeed none are enumerated in the 1860 census.  Elbert who is also believed to be Erie’s child went to Liberia at the age of 12 with his Uncle Alfred V. Thompson.  Elbert’s fate is not known. 
 
There is uncertainty about Nelly’s grandson James Manuel, born about 1847 who was the son of Erie and her second husband Elkanah Manuel.  James is in his father’s 1870 household and on July 22, 1876, a James Manuel married Harriet Galespie; however, in the 1880 census, this James Manuel with wife Harriet was about eight years older than Elkanah and Erie Manuel’s son of the same name.  This James Manuel died between 1888 and 1892, and his widow, Harriet Galespie Manuel, remarried in May 1892 to Warren Williams.  Harriet Galespie Manuel Williams died in Greeneville in 1914 and is buried in Wesley Cemetery.  The possibility does exist that the age given in the 1880 census for James Manuel, born c. 1838, was incorrect; and he may have been the son of Erie and Elkanah Manuel.  We simply do not know.  However, if he was, then descendants of this Manuel family lived in Greene County well into the late 20th century, and some may live here still.  A separate article on the Manuel Families is included in this issue of The Greene County Pioneer.
 
When Ellen “Nelly” Van Vactor died and where she is buried has been lost to time.  If Nelly died in the small village of Greeneville, it is likely she is buried in historic Old Harmony Cemetery.  No identifiable tombstone at Old Harmony Cemetery has marked Nelly’s grave over the last seventy-five years when the first reading of the cemetery was performed by the WPA in 1937.   Personally, I like to believe Nelly’s son Alfred Van Vactor Thompson returned to Greeneville in mid-1855 and took his Mother to Ohio to live out her final days amidst her loving family. 

Rest in Peace, Nelly, a Free Woman of Color.

End Notes
 
The following documents are included on the next pages:
 
The Will of Nelly’s benefactor, Benjamin Van Vactor, and the Emancipation Petition of Nelly’s daughter Erie “a slave for life”   

 A letter written in 1858 by Nelly’s son Alfred Van Vactor Thompson describing his experience in Liberia.  This letter witnesses the exceptional level of education afforded to Alfred, when in these times, most people of any race could neither read nor write.
 
An application for a Historical Marker to commemorate Nelly’s life is being prepared.  It is hoped this Historical Marker can be placed on Main Street at the T. Elmer Cox Historical and Genealogical Library or the main Library near Nelly and Benjamin Van Vactor’s original home in 1818.  If you would like to help to permanently commemorate Nelly’s rightful place in early Greeneville history, we ask you to sign and return this petition:

PETITION FOR A HISTORICAL MARKER FOR NELLY

To Whom It May Concern,
 
 
I/We, the undersigned, support the initiative to obtain a Historical Marker for Nelly, A Free Woman of Color.  Nelly, a freed slave, was if not the first person of her race and gender to own land in the Town of Greeneville before 1825, she was among the very few to do so.
 
 
________________________________________
(Name)
 
________________________________________ 
 
________________________________________
(Address)
 
______________________
(Date)
 
My Family Surnames with heritage in Greene County, Tennessee include:  (list)
________________________________________________________________________
Please mail to:
 
Greene County Genealogical Society
T. Elmer Cox Historical and Genealogical Library
229 North Main Street
Greeneville, Tennessee  37743
 
 
References:
 
(1)        1822 Court Record of the Emancipation of Erie, Jackson and William
(2)       1822 Will of Benjamin Van Vactor
(3)        1830 Census Free People of Color, Greene County, Tennessee, published in The
Greene County Pioneer, November 2006 issue
(4)        Greene County, Tennessee Marriages, 1783-1868, by Goldene Fillers Burgner
(5)        1875 Map and early Platt Map, Greeneville, One Hundred Year Portrait 1775-
1875 by Richard Harrison Doughty
(6)        The Greene County Pioneer, November 2005 issue, “Emancipation Summary and
Affirmations of Moral Character for Free People of Color” recorded in the Greene
County Day Book, Pleas and Quarter Session, 1828-1888:
“1 August 1855.  Affirmation of Moral Character for Jackson Vanvacter: A man of color, and aged about thirty six years, and his wife Anny Vanvacter, a woman of color and aged about twenty three years, and their two children-Eliza aged about two years and an infant aged about five weeks, each of them free persons of color.  We further certify that Ellen Ripley, a girl of color, age 16 years is also free.”
(7)        Greene County 20th Century Obituaries and Death Certificates
(8)        Greene County, Tennessee Deeds
(9)        Greene County, Tennessee Court Records
(10)     Greene County, Tennessee Tax Lists, District 10 (Town of Greeneville)
(11)      Greene County, Tennessee Federal Census Records 1830 through 1930
(12)     Greene County, Tennessee 1836 Civil Districts List
(13)      Arrival Record of Ship Maripose/Mariposa 7-21-1842 in Monrovia, Liberia
(14)      Census of the Colony of Liberia, September 1843
(15)      The African Repository, and Colonial Journal
(16)      Boston, 1821-1850 Passenger and Immigrations Lists:  Alfred Thompson age 29,
occupation tailor, arrived May 14, 1846
(17)      Alfred Vanactor (Van Vactor) Thompson’s letter dated June 5, 1858, posted from
Cincinnati, Ohio, to Frank P. Blair, Junior, presented in his address, “The Destiny of the Races of this Continent” on January 26, 1859, to the Mercantile Library Association of Boston, Massachusetts.  Bancroft Library, The Library of the University of California
(18)      1850 and 1860 Federal Census Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio
(19)      Marriage of Sarah Ellen Thompson to Edward Donnelley on April 25, 1867 in
Gore of Camden, Ontario, Canada
(20)      Passenger and Immigration Lists Ontario, Canada, 1871: A. V. Thompson age
55, Ontario Genealogical Society (1989)       
(21)      The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project:  A. V. Thompson, born 1817 United
 States, Tailor, settled 1870, 150 acres Camden West Township, Kent County
(22)      1881 Dresden, Bothwell, and 1891 Chatham Town, Kent County, Ontario,
 Canada, Census
(23)      Old Harmony Cemetery, Greeneville, Tennessee, Cemetery Transcriptions
(24)      Correspondence with Ms Andree Layton Roaf, great-great-great-granddaughter
             of Alfred Van Vactor Thompson and Susan Cannon Thompson

EMANCIPATION PETITION BY BENJAMIN VAN VACTOR

October 29, 1822
 
State of Tennessee
Greene County
 
To the Court of pleas and quarter Sessions of Greene County aforesaid now acting – The petition of Benjamin Vanvector a Citizen of said County respectfully represents that he is possessed of a mulatto girl named Erie, her two children who are Slaves for life that said Erie was born in his house and he has raised her, that she is about twenty years of age that her children are boys the oldest named Jackson about five years of age that her youngest child is about three years old named William – that he is desirous of emancipating said Slaves because said Erie has been a faithful servant and has always been obedient to him industrious and honest – he further states that he is very aged and his wealth enough to support himself and is apprehensive he will not live long and does not wish said Erie and her children to be slaves to any other person –
 
The premises considered prays said Erie and her children may be emancipated according to the provisions of the act of assembly in such cases made and provided and your petitioner will pray
 
                                                                                    Benj’n Vanvector
 
 
Whereupon the Chairman of the Court reported as follows
 
State of Tennessee, Greene County.  October Session 1822 on examination of the reasons set forth in the within petition the Court are satisfied the granting the prayer thereof is consistent with the interest and Policy of the State
 
Joseph Brown Chairman pro tem.  George Brown and John Anderson entered into and acknowledged their bond in these words and figures
 
Know all men by these presents that we Benjamin Vanvector, George Brown and John Anderson all of the county of Greene and State of Tennessee are held and firmly bound unto John Mauris Chairman of the Court  of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Greene County and to his successors in the sum of five hundred dollars to which payment well and truly to be made we bind ourselves each and every of our heirs executors and administrators jointly and severally formily by these presents – Sealed with our Seals and  dated this 29th day of October 1822. The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas the said Benjamin Vanvector by his petition and application to our County Court has represented that he is desirous of emancipating his negro woman slave Airy and her two children named Jackson and William, which petition and application having been judged consistent with the interest and policy of the State and accordingly granted now the condition of the above obligation is such that of the said Benjamin Vanvector his heirs executors and administrators shall reimburse all such charges of this county (Greene) may sustain as consequence of said Slaves Airy Jackson and William or either of them becoming chargeable to this County then the above obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force and virtue
 
Signed sealed and acknowledged in open Court
 
Attest:  M. Payne C.C.                                                           Benjamin Vanvector “mark”
                                                                                                George Brown
                                                                                                John Anderson
 
 Hence the motives and reasons set forth in the aforesaid petition in emancipating the said Slaves Erie, Jackson and William having been duly examined and by the Court considered to be consistent with the interest and policy of the State and the petitioner having give Bond with approved Security as the law directs – the Court therefore by Motion of the power and Authority in it vested by law.  Do hereby emancipate and from Slavery set free the aforesaid Erie, Jackson and William hereby declaring them entitled to all the privileges and immenities that other free people of Color in this State are

WILL OF BENJAMIN VAN VACTOR

In the name of God, amean the 26th day of November one thousand eight hundred and twenty two
 
I Benjamin Vanvactor of the County of Green in the State of Tennessee being very sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given to God, therefore calling unto mind the mortallity of my Body, and knowing that it is apointed for all men to die, do make and (????) this my Last will and testament; that is to say principally, and first of all, I give and recomend my Soul into the hands of God, that gave it; and for my Body I recomend to the Earth, to be buried in a Christian like and deacent manner of the direction of my Executors; not doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God, and touching such worldly Estate  wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this Life, I give and devise, and dispose of the same in the following manner and form (to wit) I give and bequeth unto my son Joseph Vanvactor the sum of five dollars of good and lawfull money to be raised and levied out of my Estate; allso to my daughter Curtitue five dollars wife of Charles Porter, and also to my daughter Pheby wife of Joseph Melvin dec’d her heirs not to have any part of five dollars which I bequeth to her my said daughter Pheby
 
And I further give and bequeth unto Nelly my house keeper a woman of collor all that I owne and possess boath real and personall except fifty dollars which I allow and devise to her daughter Ery; and I do further allow and will that my funeral expenses be paid out of my personal Estate and the ballance to be apropreated as heretofore stated;
 
And I do hereby uterly, disallow, revoke, and dissanull all and every other former testements, wills and legacies, bequests  and Executors by me in any ways before this time made, willed and bequethed – ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and testament, in witness whereof I have hereby constuted and appointed my trusty friends, William Dodd, John Anderson and George Brown of this my Last Will and testement – hereby revoking all aforesaid all either former wills or testements by me heretofore made; in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the date above written                                                                                               Benjamin Vanvactor
                                                                                                            “x” his mark
 
Signed sealed published and decleared to be the Last Will and testement of the above named Benjamin Vanvactor in presence of us who at his request and in his presence have hereto subscribed our names as witnesses to the same.
                                                                                                William Carter
                                                                                                Joseph Brown
 
End Note:
 
A Bond in the amount of $1800 was posted on January 27, 1823, by William Dodd, John Anderson, George Brown, Josiah Clawson, William Alexander and Thomas Dodd to administer the Estate of Benjamin Van Vactor.
 

Letter from Alfred V. Thompson, (a black man.)

Cincinnati, Ohio June 5, 1858.
 
SIR : I have read your speech two or three times on the colonizing of colored people in South America, and am much interested in it, and must say I am highly pleased with the plan. I have showed it to several, and they are much pleased with the document, and have worn out the speech, and hope you will send us three copies.
 
It is just the plan for us disfranchised Americans. I am naturally of an enterprising disposition, and have never found any cause to so elate me since I espoused emigration in 1842, when we left for Liberia with the view that we as a people could not attain to any honorable position in this country, nationally speaking. I was much pleased with our condition in Africa, from the fact that I saw no superior on account of color. (The Government was a Republic something like this. I don't like the British Government, though I prefer it to our condition in this.) Our reason for leaving Liberia, after living there for eighteen months, was on account of bad health, and through the advice and persuasion of Dr. J. W. Lugenbeel, our attendant family physician, who said if we remained we should certainly die; therefore, we left for Jamaica. Out of the company of emigrants that left America for Africa, numbering two hundred and twenty-five, at the expiration of eighteen months there was not living more than eighty-five or one hundred. We lost two children in the undertaking; my wife and myself suffered immensely. After we left for Jamaica, we stopped for three months at Sierra Leone, Africa. We lived in Kingston for three years, and in other parts of the island. Lived in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, for two years, having remained out of the United States several years, and having travelled considerable at my own expense, I might say I have some experience in emigration. But, notwithstanding all this loss of time and deprivation, I have acquired a small property and a nice little business. But, with the proper assistance, I am willing to try it again, though my wife says she will never leave the land of her forefathers. There is a great demand on me from the colored population for information in regard to this project, and I hope you will send me the necessary documents to post myself. You mention in your speech several documents that would be of immense advantage in defending my position. I wish to know how and by what means the necessary aid and protection is to be given, and if in your opinion the Government will give any assistance. We have had three meetings on this subject, and thought of forming ourselves into a joint stock company, and issue $100 bonds and aid ourselves as much as possible, and to beg from individuals, State Governments, sell bonds, &c v &c. Please inform me where I can obtain a constitution and by laws of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society. I learned my trade with Mr. Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, Ex-Governor, now member of the Senate, who can give any information in regard to me. He will recollect the boy he used to call Alfred.  You will do me a great favor to answer this soon.
 
I am, with much respect, your most obedient servant,
 
ALFRED VANACTER THOMPSON.
 
ALFRED VANVACTOR THOMPSON LETTER:
 
BANCROFT LIBRARY
THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
 
“THE DESTINY OF THE RACES OF THIS CONTINENT”,
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE
MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
OF BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS ON THE 26th OF JANUARY, 1859.
 
BY FRANK P. BLAIR, JR., OF MISSOURI.
 
WASHINGTON, D. C.
BUELL & BLANCHARD, PRINTERS. 1859.
 
Some interesting historical data on the Ship Mariposa and her passengers comes from The African Repository and Colonial Journal:
 
 
“March 1843
 
…..This fine ship sailed from Norfolk, on the 7th July, with a very intelligent and select company of two hundred and thirty-four emigrants, from the States of Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and the Territory of Iowa, and after a voyage in all respects auspicious, arrived in Monrovia, on the 21st August….Eighty were from the State of Tennessee (more than twenty emancipated, and to some extent assisted by generous masters)…. Seventeen, all with one exception liberated slaves, were from the State of Virginia…. Fourteen liberated by the will of the late Thos. Blackledge, Esquire of North Carolina, were not only supplied by this will with the means of emigration, but also with eight hundred dollars to enable them to commence with comfort and cheerfulness, their new mode of life….Ten were from Murfreesboro, North Carolina, emancipated by the will of the late Mr. Brown of that place, and some small provision made for their benefit…A venerable colored minister of the Baptist Church, from Alabama, who had received his freedom as the reward of merit, embarked with his wife and three children, in the hope that his other children (for whom he has paid more than $7,000) will yet follow him….”
 
 

 

 

© 2010 Stevie Hughes,  Greene County, TNGenWeb coordinator and/or individual contributors. You are welcome to copy information found on this Greene County  for your personal use, but this information may not be sold,  used,  reposted or cached elsewhere  without expressed permission of the copyright holder(s).  Last updated 03/13/2010