From Africa to America
People of Color South
In Old

Want Ads for Lost Relatives 1865 - 1867
Abstractions from The Colored Tennessean
Davidson County, Tennessee

by Sandra G. Craighead
© 1998

Reprinted with permission

      The Colored Tennessean (later changed to The Tennessean), was published from January 1865 through early 1867 in Nashville, Tennessee. During that period, it was the only newspaper in the state of Tennessee owned and published by blacks for blacks.
     Because the newspaper employed over two dozen agents to solicit subscriptions in six neighboring states, the readership was widespread. The Colored Tennessean is a valuable resource not only for its articles regarding such topics as slavery in the state of Kentucky and the activities of black political conventioneers in Nashville, but also for the ads for information regarding displaced family members. The very nature of slavery and the ravages of the Civil War contributed to the separation of many southern African American families from the early to mid-1800s. In their searches, sometimes across state lines, for lost parents, siblings, spouses, and children, many family members used the press as a means for locating their loved ones. All four extant issues of the newspaper carried the little 2" x 2" square boxes, filled with small type, imploring readers for any information which would lead to the reunion of families. The following are abstracts of genealogical information taken from the ads in all existing issues of the newspaper.

August 12, 1865

SAMUEL DOVE of Utica, NY - Looking for ARENO, his mother, his sisters MARIA, NEZIAH and PEGGY and his brother, EDMOND DOVE. Their former owner was GEORGE DOVE of Rockingham County, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. His mother and sisters were sold in Richmond, Virginia and he and his brother were taken to Nashville.

 HENRY HILL of Nashville, TN - Looking for my wife, LUCY BLAIR, of Jonesboro (Washington County) Tennessee. Five years ago she was last living with WILLIAM BLAIR. I was raised by JOHN BLAIR.

 LEVY DONE of Nashville, TN - Looking for KISSY DONE of Corinthe, Mississippi, my mother. Last saw her in 1862. Also looking for JOSEPH DONE, my brother.

 MARTHA McDERMIT of Nashville, TN - Looking for ELIAS LOWERY McDERMrr, my brother, who used to belong to THOMAS LYON of Knoxville, Tennessee. ELIAS was sold to a MR. SHERMAN about 1855. He worked on a steamboat between Memphis and New Orleans.

 HANNAH BARNETT of Nashville, TN - Looking for MARTHA JAMES, my daughter, last heard from in Montgomery, Alabama, but supposedly gone to Mobile, Alabama. She formerly belonged to DR. BARNETT of Princeton, Kentucky and was sold to JOHN JAMES of Nashville-, Tennessee about 9 years ago.

 ROBERT WILLIAMS of Unionville, Bedford County, TN - Looking for DANIEL, my son, 15 or 16 years old, formerly belonged to CLINTON WILLIAMS of Marshall County, Tennessee and later to HARVEY McRORY. Last heard of, he was in Memphis.

 ELIZA MOORE of Augusta, GA - Looking for SARAH MOORE, my daughter, age 22. Last owned by a man named Seymour Taylor, who lived about 5 miles from Clinton, Louisiana. Also WILLIAM MOONY, who belonged to JOSEPH ROWLEY.

 JUDY MERRILL of Nashville, TN - Looking for WILSON, my son, servant to General Van Dom. When last heard from, he was living in Cincinnati, Ohio with LI[EUT. WAID LONG.

 SAMUEL WILLIAMS of Nashville, TN - Looking for SYLVIA WILLIAMS, my mother, formerly belonged to JAMES MAXWELL of Augusta, Georgia. Before him, she was owned by DR. DeGARR. I formerly belonged to JAMES MAXWELL. My father is HENRY WILLIAMS, now in Liberia.

 MATILDA CLAIBORNE of Chicago, IL - Looking for HENRY AND ELIZABETH NORM-ANT, and their children, NELSON, LEMON, GRANVILLE, VIRGINIA AND PARTHENIA, who formerly belonged to JAMES NORMANT. No relationship to Matilda was given.

 LUCINDA NORRIS of New Market, AL - Looking for MARIA RAGSDALE, my mother.

 AUGUSTUS AND LUTITIA BRYANT of Augusta, GA - Looking for our children, JOSEPHINE (20), CELIA (14), CAROLINE (13), ELLEN (10), AND AUGUSTA (8). They were in Charlotte or Rock Hill, North Carolina. We were formerly owned by JOHN L. AND VIRGINIA MOON of Augusta, Georgia.

March 24 and March 31, 1866

DAVID LOFFLIN, 5 miles from Franklin, TN - Looking for ALEX LOFFLIN, who used to belong to JOHN LOFFLIN, and was last heard of in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

 ELIZA ANN RATLIFF of Williamson County, TN - Looking for GEORGE (18), WILLIAM AND BEARTY LEWIS (13), my sons, born in Culpepper County, Virginia.

 MRS. NOTTINGHAM took them to Eastern Shore, Virginia in 1858. In 1860, they were taken to Petersburgh, Virginia. In 1855, 1 came to Tennessee with MRS. HEMPS.

 SIDNEY ELLIOTT (NO RESIDENCE GIVEN) - Looking for SIDNEY AND HARRISON CANNON, my sons, who belonged to CLEM CANNON, who formerly lived in Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee and were sold to GOODBAR, the trader. They were last seen in Montgomery, Alabama. The oldest is about 26. 1 was owned by a MR. ELLIOTT. Their mother's name is ELIZA CANNON.

 SUSAN HOWARD of Chattanooga, TN - Looking for WILLIAM HOWARD, my son, who formerly lived in Kingston, Georgia. Last heard from in Chattanooga. He is age 19 year old with a yellow complexion.

 ALVY ELLIS of Augusta, GA - Looking for JUDY, my mother, who was free and lived with MR. SPEARS on Sulphur Creek about 9 years ago. I once belonged to CHRISTOPHER ELLIS on Sulphur Creek.

 DAVID HADLEY of Gallatin, TN - Looking for MELISSA FLOWERS who left Clarksville, Tennessee in July and went to Nashville. Her uncle, SANDERS FLOWERS, in Indiana is looking for her. No relationship to Hadley is given.

 MARTHA KELLER of Nashville, TN - Looking for BYRD KELLER, my father. He was last heard from in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She wishes him to come and get her.

 RICHARD GRAY of Macon, MS - Looking for MOSES LUMLY, raised near Oxford, North Carolina by DR. JOHN HICKS and sold to WILLIAM LUMLY of Rome, Georgia where he was living when Sherman's army reached there in the spring of 1864.

 RICHARD GRAY of Macon, MS - Also looking for POLLY NOEL, who lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi up to the time the law was passed prohibiting blacks from living there. She moved to Nashville and no one has seen her since.

 SAMUEL JONES of Wartrace, TN - Looking for DOCK AND GEORGE, my 2 sons who formerly belonged to NATHANIEL POTTER, who lived in Gibson County near Trenton, Tennessee.

 REQUESTER'S NAME NOT GIVEN, ONLY A BOX NUMBER - Looking for DAVID AND LUCY MORGAN, my parents, who lived 10 miles from Memphis, Tennessee. Last heard from by me 4 years ago. Also of my sisters, HANNAH DAVIS, CATHARINE MORGAN, SAVANNAH MORGAN, and my brother, CHARLES LEVI MORGAN. All of whom were formerly owned by WILLIAM MORGAN.

July 18, 1866

JOHN MELTON of Huntsville, AL - Looking for DICK RICHARDSON, my father, who formerly belonged to MASON ANDERSON of Pontotoc County, Mississippi, my brother EDWARD and my sisters, LUCY AND POLLY, who all belonged to the same man. My uncle, JOHN ANDERSON and his wife, FANNY ANDERSON.

 REQUESTORIS NAME NOT GIVEN, ONLY A BOX NUMBER - Looking for MICHAEL KINNARD, my son, 12 years of age, who was hired to a man named GRIFFIN at a pinewood factory in Hickman County, Tennessee.

 SUSAN HUDDLESTON of Murfreesboro, TN - Looking for JETSON, my son who was sold 16 years ago by a MR. DOLHITE of Oxford, Mississippi to a MR. THOMAS FORD of the same place. I have not heard from him since.

 ARMISTEAD BOGLE of London, TN - Looking for EDMONIA BOGLE, who formerly belonged to JOHN SCRUGGS in McMinn County, Tennessee and who was taken to Texas some years ago. Her brother wishes to hear from her.


Sandra G. Craighead is the editor of the Newsletter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society-Cleveland, Ohio Chapter. She has been researching her African-American Craighead and Smithson genealogyfor the last 13 years and is currently writing a book about her discoveries. She is a Nashvillian by birth.