Wanted: Dead or Alive ~ South Carolina Slave Descendants!

It wasn’t news to Mariann Regan that she descends from southern slave owners.  In fact she even wrote a memoir about it a couple of years ago entitled “Into the Briar Patch” which recounts her complex reflections on that family legacy.

511A0DQ+8oL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_A retired professor of Literature and English, she’s also an avid family history researcher whose most recent posts on her genealogy blog “Into the Briar Patch”  (yes, same title), relate to something which WAS news to her:  the names and relationships of the slaves who were owned by her ancestors.

Mariann learned of the details behind her family’s business in 19th century South Carolina when she and a cousin came across a journal in her cousin’s attic with the following words on its cover: “Negro’s Ages 1848”.

As she explains in the first of her 6 posts on this subject:

“ A few weeks ago, my first cousin and I found an old, weathered journal in her attic…one among many, in an unexamined box of documents left to her by her mother. The cover reads, “Negro’s Age’s 1848,” [sic] and underneath, (the name) “L. L. Fraser.”  The writing is barely visible…

Negro's Ages 1848, a journal of slaves owned

Negro’s Ages 1848″, a journal of slaves owned by the ancestors of family historian and memoir writer Mariann Regan.

There are 37 handwritten pages. The title of each page is the first name of the parent—typically an enslaved African-American woman.

Underneath is a list of children, by first name and birth date. The dates range from 1804 through 1879.

Several Fraser patriarchs owned slaves in my family. Here is a father-son-grandson line:….”

Mariann then goes on to provide a color-coded transcription of the entire 37-page journal.

Here are some images of a few of those pages:

NannysChildrenPhebesChildrenCatysChildrenSuckysChildrenThere are many, many more pages of names from this journal which are fully transcribed on her blog.

At the close of her first post in this series Mariann notes:

“I’m copying each page of this…journal before I turn it over to the South Carolina Historical Society for the archive. Maybe these pages can be used to detect more family lines. I’ll put them in a later post.”

Which is exactly what she does as she goes on to publish the entire journal in five succeeding posts on her blog. But one of the most heartfelt statements Mariann makes to her readers is this one:

“I’m fervently hoping there is someone out there in genealogy land who will find this post helpful in their family research.”

And that’s why I’m writing this post.

I’m hoping that one of my readers on GeneaJourneys may know (or may know someone who knows) how to help Mariann achieve her goal of passing this 37-page handwritten list of slave names on to potential family members. I’m sure you’ll agree this is quite a discovery and it would be fabulous if living descendants of those named in the journal could be found.

Below are links to Mariann’s blog, “Into the Briar Patch” with all six posts on her ancestor’s journal, Negro’s Age’s 1848”. (Her blog, by the way, was named one of the top 40 genealogy blogs of 2013 by Family Tree magazine. Take a look at her bio on that blog as well–it’s equally  impressive.author)

Part 1: A Lucky Glimpse: Family Lines of Slaves

Part 2: Family Lines of Enslaved People

Part 3: A Third Family Line of Fraser Slaves in South Carolina

Part 4: A Fourth Family Line of Fraser Slaves in South Carolina

Part 5: More Family Lines of Fraser Slaves in South Carolina

Part 6: Family Lines of Slaves: The Missing Page

So how about it, genealogy friends?  Would you consider reposting this post that you’re reading right now or one of the links to Mariann’s posts (above) on your own blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, or other form of social media that you use to converse with other genealogists?

Perhaps together, as one massive genealogy community, we could spread the word about this marvelous genealogical treasure that its owner wants so much to share.

Let’s do it!

These slaves need to be claimed by their descendants, and their descendants need to be found.

Mariann Regan can be reached at msregan@fairfield.edu or via her blog at: mariannsregan.com.


Copyright © 2013 Patricia Desmond Biallas

Photos published with permission of  Mariann S. Regan, “Into the Briar Patch”

This entry was posted in American History, Civil War and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Wanted: Dead or Alive ~ South Carolina Slave Descendants!

  1. I have sent this out to all the SC groups that I am a member of on FB. Hopefully a connection can be made! Love Mariann’s work!

    • On behalf of both Mariann Regan and all those slave descendants: Thank you very much! Hopefully those who read it, will keep it going so some of these folks can eventually be found. Yes, Mariann produces some wonderful posts. It’s no surprise that “Into the Briar Patch” was named one of the top 40 genealogy blogs of 2013 by Family Tree Magazine this year! Thank you again for spreading the word.

    • Thank you so much, Cheri! If we can find even one connection, maybe that will produce more connections!

  2. K. Berry says:

    Would you reveal more details — what is the county, town in SC where these slaves lived? Did they take the Fraser surname after Emancipation? Some of these people died long after 1865, do you know their full names? I think this will be helpful to researchers.

    • Thank you so much for responding! Mariann would know all those details herself. I am merely the messenger. Please contact her at msregan@fairfield.edu or via her blog at: mariannsregan.com. I know she will be thrilled to hear from you. And please continue to pass this along to any state and local genealogy societies in South Carolina and surrounding states. Efforts like yours will undoubtedly be responsible for finding these missing descendants.

  3. Dear K. Berry, These slaves lived in what was called the “Sumter District” of South Carolina in the 1800s. I believe it included what we would now call both the county and the town. I would have to look up when county and town became distinct, but I’m hopeful that their descendants might be found in either place, or in the surrounding townships.

    You ask a crucial question: Did these people take the Fraser surname after emancipation? In my series of blogs, I found one person who apparently took the surname Hickman, and another person who took the surname Wilson. Both those surnames are associated with the Fraser family and may be surnames of people who lived nearby. Here are other possible surnames that may have been taken, besides Fraser, Wilson, or Hickman: Atchison, Atkinson, Baxter, Boone, Jones, Lynch, Paris, Postell, and Washington. I have heard that slaves at times took surnames of people close to the enslaving family, rather than the surname of family itself.

    I do not know their full names. I am hoping that people who have a family memory that their ancestors were enslaved by my family will read my blog series and be able to recognize their ancestral lines. Then they can tell us their surnames, if they wish.

    Thank you for reading and for your helpful comments. I am revealing all the information I have so far, and if I find more, I will reveal that as well.

  4. Valerie says:

    There is a name John Glasgow Fraser who inherited a family: “Tome, Dince and a child “Herriot”…my ggg grandmother was born in South Carolina in 1825…her name was Harriet Glasco…not sure if this is her but it definitely is a great lead…thank you so much for publishing this…

    • Valerie ~ Glad this post may prove helpful to you. (Feelin’ a bit like a matchmaker here!) What a gift it would be if you made a connection between the Fraser in her diary and your ggg grandmother Harriet Glasco born in SC in 1825! I urge you to contact Mariann Regan for further information about the diary and its contents. Mariann can be reached at msregan@fairfield.edu or via her blog at: mariannsregan.com.

  5. Hi Valerie! John Glasgow Fraser is my 2nd great grand uncle. Your ggg grandmother, Harriet Glasco, may have been part of a slave family bequeathed to John Glasgow Fraser by his father, John Baxter Fraser. You are quoting from the 1820 will of John Baxter Fraser that names “Tome, Dince, and a child ‘Herriot.'” If Harriet Glasco was perhaps born a few years earlier than 1825, she could be the one named in the 1820 will!

    I can tell you that John Glasgow Fraser died in 1860, and his slaves would have then been inherited by his brother (my 2nd great-grandfather), Ladson Lawrence Fraser, who lived until 1897. Ladson Lawrence Fraser kept a journal of the birth dates and names of his slaves. That journal is the subject of my most recent six posts on my blog, mariannsregan.com, where I reproduce every page of the journal and piece together possible family trees of these enslaved people for several generations.

    If you look at these posts and the family lines suggested there, you might find people related to Harriet Glasco and her family members. For example, looking at my posts, I see a “Hetty” born in 1804 and another “Hetty” born in 1849. Maybe “Hetty” is short for Harriet, and so maybe your Harriet was in the generation between these two and is related to these families. I also see a “Dicy” (maybe another spelling of Dince?) born in 1846. He could be the grandson of the Dince in the 1820 will.

    Do you know other first names of people related to your ggg grandmother Harriet? You might find family groupings of similar first names in my posts about LL Fraser’s journal. These families could be your Harriet’s relatives.

    I don’t know whether John Glasgow Fraser himself made a will before he died in 1860. If he did, that might name the slaves, perhaps Harriet’s descendants, who were then acquired by LL Fraser and recorded in his journal.

  6. rickgee83 says:

    This is wonderful and very interesting post. I don’t know if this coincidental or destiny but my last name is Glasco and was born in Columbus, Georgia. My child’s mother’s last name is Frazier and have family in South Carolina, currently Greenville. Our child seems like it could be the mend between the two families. I definitely want look more into this. Thank you for posting.

    • Thanks for the accolades, Rick, and thanks for following me on GeneaJourneys. Very interesting possibility that you present! I will send you Mariann Regan’s email address so you can contact her directly about this question. she may be able to help.

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