Sunday, June 29, 2014

Celebrating Juneteenth - Discovering Miles and Polly Hill


Juneteenth

150th anniversary commemorating the end of slavery in the United States

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. (1)
As the wars were raging between the states, it was also occurring in Chickasaw County, MS where my family resided as slaves.


According to the history of the county, the war years were particularly bitter for the people there.  Although spared the constant presence of hostilities due to the war, I’m sure my family was anxious for victory to be won.

Although I do not have family stories on what life was like during the Civil War I can only imagine the fear and anxiety of the slaves as they try to continue on with their lives. 

After the war, the county suffered greatly.  History of Chickasaw states, the plight of the newly freed blacks was more serious than that of the county’s white residents.  No longer slaves, they had to assume responsibility for their own needs and well being.  They were handicapped by their inability to read, write and get on their feet. (2)

Many of the former slaves entered into contracts with their former slave owners.  I was able to find some of my ancestors listed on Labor Contracts with their former owners.

Littleton Hill was the slave owner to one of my paternal 2nd great grandmothers – Josephine Hill as well as her parents (3rd great grandparents).

Listed on the Freedman Labor Contract in 1865 for one year are my 3rd great grandparents, Miles & Polly Hill and my 2nd great grandmother, Josephine Hill and her brother Berry Hill.  Miles and Polly had five children – Josephine, Berry, Alex, Frank, and Cinderella.  Only the older two children were listed on the Freedman Labor Contract.









Name
Age
County
Planter
Plantation
Date
Contract No.
Roll No.
Berry  
12 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Josephine  
12 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Caroline  
14 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Emily  
16 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Cicely  
30 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Bittie  
65 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Winnie  
30 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Harritt  
22 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Cely  
35 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Polly  
40 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Aggy  
50 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Laura  
25 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Milly  
28 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Hannah  
60 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Dave  
20 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Reuben  
19 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Burrell  
22 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Haywood  
27 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Booker  
33 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Monroe  
33 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
John  
40 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Miles  
45 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
Joe  
52 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
George  
50 
Chickasaw  
Hill, Littleton

09/04/1865 
484
2574
                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Through this branch, my great grandmother America Doss derived.  Through oral history and research along with DNA confirmation, I have connected with descendants from two of her siblings (Frank Doss, Sr and Emily Doss).  Through their struggles and endurance I am here today.



(1)        History of Juneteenth -- http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm
(2)        History of Chickasaw County, MS – Volume 1
(3)        Freedman Bureau Labor Contract – Chickasaw County, MS




3 comments:

  1. Awesome information, cousin. Keep up the great work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So very interesting, Linda. I am sure this a labor of love and very rewarding for you. Well done, Sis. Barb

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is great info, I appreciate your work. I can only imagine how much time and effort you're putting into this. It's beautiful and thank you Family! Peace. - DaunTrell

    ReplyDelete