When I was travelling in Mississippi, I spent a great deal of time in the county archives offices going through copies of maps, deeds, etc. I have also purchased quite a few books over time related to Yazoo County. So the last few days I’ve been going through a couple of books that I have and comparing them to my notes I took while in MS, to various vital record copies/census records that I have found or purchased, and some things I was looking for through the Library of Congress website, specifically looking for my Brumfield and Gartley family lines.
So I worked the last few days on drawing a map in MicroSoft Paint of Yazoo County and I plotted on it some of my family surnames and where people with some of the last names in the family lived and owned land in Yazoo County and when they bought it.
It turns out that all in the relatively same area there were white landowners that have many of my black family surnames including William Berry, William Gartley, Job Taylor, Matilda Taylor, Edwin Taylor, Robert Spiars, Young Berry, Ephraim Guice, Charles Brumfield, Isaac Taylor and Lewis Gartley. And many of them bought their land ON THE SAME DAY in 1835. Some of them within a few days, and a couple within just a couple of weeks.
I had been told previously by a distant white Brumfield cousin (that I’m DNA matched to) that the Brumfield family never owned slaves. However, I found on an old land ownership map that Charles “Charlie” Brumfield (b. 1796 in South Carolina) purchased land in Yazoo County, MS on 01 Feb 1832 and again on 21 Sept 1835. So then I searched for some slave census records and found that he owned 14 slaves in 1850 and 24 slaves in 1860. I THINK that my 3rd great-grandmother Cora/Coya “Alice” Brumfield was born in 1858, and Charles owned a 2-year old female in 1860. It was suggested to me by my white Brumfield cousin that his family legends also say that Charles Brumfield was firmly against having inter-racial relationships. But that his son Oscar Hope Brumfield had quite the fondness for dark-skinned women and had many relationships (and possibly children) with them. Their line of the family believes Cora/Coya “Alice’s” (my 3rd ggm) father was probably Charles’ son Oscar.
So then I was looking through my Gartley stuff. A Col. William Gartley (b. 1801 in Louisiana) bought land in Yazoo County, MS on 15 October 1835. He later bought more land in Madison County in January 1850. In 1850, this William Gartley owned 112 slaves in Yazoo County. Out of all 112, there was only 1 called “mulatto”, a 35 year old female. This William died in 1856. His son, Capt. William F. Gartley (b. 1835 in Louisiana), owned 63 slaves in 1860 in Yazoo County.
It turns out (as I visualized on the map I drew) that the Brumfield and Gartley plantations are VERY close to each other, with William Gartley owning a smaller plantation just to the northwest and a huge plantation just to the southeast of Charles Brumfield’s plantation.
Cora/Coya “Alice” Brumfield is listed on the 1900 census as “black”, and on the 1920 census as “mulatto”, born abt 1858. I assume she was likely born in Dover, Yazoo County since this is where the William Brumfield plantation was at the time.
Wallace Walter Gartley was born abt 1865, I think it’s safe to assume on Capt. William F. Gartley’s plantation in Yazoo County, who owned 63 slaves in 1860. On the 1900 census, Wallace is listed as “black”. But on the 1920 census, he’s listed as “mulatto”. In 1930 & 1940, he’s listed as “negro”.
SO…in a nutshell…my thoughts are leaning toward Cora/Coya “Alice” Brumfield’s (b. 1858 prob. in Dover, Yazoo County) father was either Charles “Charlie” Brumfield (b. 1796) OR Charles’ son Oscar. And her mother was probably one of their slaves OR perhaps a Native American woman (Charles’s father John Brumfield had married a Catawba woman when he was in the army in Rock Hill, SC during the Revolutionary War, and Charles was actually 1/2 Catawba Native American, his son Oscar 1/4 Catawba)…And that Wallace Walter Gartley’s (b. abt 1865) father was probably the white Captain William F. Gartley (b. 1835) and his mother was probably one of his slaves. (I am VERY closely DNA matched to the white Brumfield family of Yazoo County, so I feel pretty confident about that part). My great grandmother Polly Burton’s sister Lucille “Sack” Patterson-Jackson lived and worked on the Brumfield’s farm.
Searching through old land records and using them to plot family surnames is EXTREMELY helpful in visualizing where your black ancestors may have lived, and if they were slaves, who their owners may have been. It is especially exciting if, as in my case, you find multiple landowners that are very near each other that purchased land on the same day, that all have various surnames that are in your family.
Next step is looking for wills and probate records…
And if anyone has any information about these family lines, specifically related to Cora/Coya “Alice” Brumfield (mulatto, b. abt 1858) and Wallace Walter Gartley (mulatto, b. abt 1865), I would be so, so happy to hear from you!
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