Friday, April 6, 2012

"Idiots" and Slaves

This will be a long-ish post as I want to copy and paste the post from Cousin Rich of the "Descendants of George Adam Eckhart, of Eckhart MD" group on facebook. He's done a marvelous job of keeping the information flowing!! Thanks, a thousand thanks, to Cousin Rich!!!

Here's what he posted about our shared ancestor, George Adam Eckhart's son, John Sr. and what happened to the slaves as can be seen from documents. Note that Mary Ann's son David had been listed as an "Idiot" on the 1850 census. Who knows what that really meant and how it would be described in today's terms. But she "sufficiently provided for him", the will states. I wonder in what way.

The 1830 Md. census showed that John Sr. owned 8 slaves, 4 males under 10 years old, 3 males 10 to 24 years & 1 female 10 to 24 years. He also employed 1 free colored female age 24 to 36 years old.
John Eckhart was an early slaveholder as evidenced by a transaction recorded in Allegany Co., MD on 23 Oct 1805 in which John J. Buch & Christian Deetz of Alahany Co., MD bound themselves for "the full sum of $240" for the negro girl Jill.
Slaves appraised in the 1835 estate inventory included:
Black man (Harry) $600.00 - sold to John Eckhart.
Black boy (Bile/Rile) $600.00 - sold to Hannah Eckhart.
Black boy (Levi) $400.00 - sold to Adam Echart.
Black boy (Mandy) $350.00 sold to John McGittigan.
Black boy (Tom) $400.00 - sold to David Eckhart.
Black boy (Dennis) $250.00 - sold to Mary Eckhart.
Black boy (William) $100.00 - sold to Mary Eckhart.
Black girl (Lyndy) - sold to Mary Eckhart.
Black girl (Milly) $450.00 - sold to John Hansel.
In August 1850, Mary Ann's slaves were appraised thus: Dennis (23 yrs), William (17 yrs) & Fielding (10 yrs) at $220 each. Lucinda was appraised at $200. All were handed over to son, Adam. Approximatley $350 was owed the estate by Evan Ellicott & Richard Grays for purchase of unnamed negroe children (Lavinia, Martha, & Matilda ?). The notes were judged worthless because Ellicott was insolvent and Grays was a blackman without property.
The notes were marked 'B' and returned to the court.

Mary Eckhart left bequest to them in her will dated July 3, 1843, which was probated July 1850 and read:

In the name of God amen, I Mary Ann Eckhart now of Monongalia County, Virginia being weak in body but sound of mind and memory, am calling to mind the uncertainty of life and the necessity of arranging my worldly affairs do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other or former wills and Testaments.

First I hereby direct that my just debts shall first be paid, and after payment of the same and my funeral expenses I hereby devise and bequeath as follows vis:

Secondly - That after my decease I direct that my black woman Malinda shall be free and that all necessary papers showing her freedom be furnished to her.

Thirdly - That the children of said Malinda shall be free in manner following to Vz the boys at the age of thirty five and the girls at the age of twenty five Vs. Dennis of the age of 16 on the 5 of August 1843 - William 11 year old 4 February 1844 - Matilda 8 year old 16 of June, 1843 - Lininia 6 year old the 16 May 1843 - Fielding three years old the 22nd February 1843 and Martha one year old the 22 August in the year 1843.

The above named being the children of said Malinda and any further increase that said Malinda may have previous to my decease shall be freed in like manner at the ages of 25 and 35 years.

Fourthly - to my Sons Adam Eckert and John Eckert I hereby give and bequeath the before mentioned negroes and increase until they shall by this will become free, and all the rest of my Estate of all kinds whatsoever, believing that the said Adam & John Eckart have greater claims upon me than any of the rest of my children except my afflicted son David (1850 census listed David as an Idiot) who is sufficiently provided for - But I hereby direct that of my Estate, my son John shall have my household & kitchen furniture to himself.

Fifthly I hereby appoint Edgar C. Wilson Executor to this my last will and testament. In Testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 3rd day of July in the year 1843.

Mary Ann Eckhart

See why I'm stumbling all over the place thanking Cousin Rich? Mom has this information in her file with a copy of Mary Ann's will. But Rich put it together in a time flow and that makes it easier to understand. I think it's easier to comprehend a lot of information this way.

And, it makes the information dynamic in a contemporary way. Cousins can comment and add to it on the group facebook page. It gets us thinking here and now about what happened long ago.

I'm wondering how my cousins feel about our ancestors owning slaves and if they ever had a troubled heart over it as I did when I found out.

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