Isaiah Goolsby added a codicil to his will on June 12, 1821 stipulating
that he did "give grant, confirm and deliver unto said Althey Goolsbe and
the heirs of her body, and have her parents or guardian until she comes
of lawful age, be in charge of one negro girl, Louisa and her future increase
with which I do warrant and defend...". Judging from the date of this codicil,
Goolsby may have amended his will after he learned of Aletha's birth in
Amite County. Three years later he would add another graddaughter, Aletha's
cousin, to his testament. Isaiah Goolsby's Louisa would live to be transferred
to her new, young mistress. Goolsby must have died died in early 1828 for
his will was probated in June and an inventory taken of his belongings
in July of that year. The Wilks county appraisal team valued the slave
Louisa at $225; she may have been a young teenager for two other slave
women were valued at $350 and the highest price for an adult male slave
in this inventory was $450. (Margarette G. Gaissert, Genealogy and History
of Golsby, Goldsby, Gouldsby, Goolsby, and Related Families, [Washington,
GA: Wilkes Publishing, 1990]. The April 1832 chattel transaction recorded
in the Amite County conveyance book listing Isaiah Goolsby as the grantor
and Aletha Gooslby as the grantee may have been the final transfer of this
slave to Aletha in Mississippi. (Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi,
Vol I, p. 259.)
A history of the Goolsby family indicates that Randall V Goolsby had not
died, but rather divorced his wife Elizabeth and returned to the town of
Washington in Wilkes County, Georgia where he remarried a Sabry Patton
and raised another family. However, there is no record of any divorce in
Amite County and the Wills and Administrations book clearly contains the
inventory of the estate of "Randall V Goolsby, decd.," dated April 28,
1823. (Wills and Administrations, Vol II, p. 171-73) Had there been a divorce,
furthermore, it is unlikely that Randall would have left his daughter behind
in Mississippi with no other relatives except his former wife. Whether
by death or divorce, this marriage was dissolved for in July 1823 Elizabeth
Hudson Goolsby married John Gunby of Amite County. (Amite County Marriage
Orphans Court Record, in Casey and Otken, Amite County , Mississippi, Vol.
I, p. 375. While this researcher had originally assumed that this transfer
of guardianship indicated that Elizabeth Hudson Goolsby had died, further
study indicated that Elizabeth had remarried to a John Gunby within a few
months of her husband's 1823 death.
Several other estate files for children in Aletha's station and situation
indicate the hiring of tutors, the purchase of school books, or school
tuition. It could be that Aletha's guardians had decided that at age fourteen
her education was complete. Many of the other items could also have been
purchased to outfit her hope chest for she would be married within the
year. (Amite County Archive File 50.)
Elizabeth and Gunby would have three sons and must have continued to live
in the same part of the county as her daughter Aletha. After Gunby's 1864
death, Elizabeth married as her third husband Georgia native William Jenkins
in 1870. Jenkins was seventy-two years old and had survived the war with
$2000 worth of land. (1870 U.S. Census.) He lived only until 1875 leaving
Elizabeth Hudson Goolsby Gunby Jenkins a fairly wealthy widow. She survived
until 1896 when, at the age of 96, she left an Amite County will detailing
an estate that was worth nearly $3200 including land and stock in the St.
Charles Rail Road. (Will of Elizabeth Jenkins, 1896, Amite County Will
Book, Vol II, p 300; Inventory in Amite County Archive File 96.)
Not only were Aletha and Elizabeth Goolsby Gunby members, but some of their
slaves were baptized there. "On Lords Day, 2 November , received
by experience Rose, a servant belonging to Aletha Goolsbe [sic], and baptized."
(Causey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi, Vol II, p. 267.).
The only surviving document in the file of Eldridge D. Atkinson is the
final settlement of his estate dated October 16, 1849. It records tax receipts
from 1843 and 1844 and that three parcels of land were sold in 1845, 1846,
and 1847 for a total of $870.74. (Amite County Archive File 2)
Andrew Jackson's aunt Temperance Jackson Wilkinson and stepmother Amelia
McElwee Jackson also are members of the will survey.
Casey and Otken, Amite County , Mississippi Vol. I, p. 78.
In the 1850 census of East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, B.F. Dixon was
enumerated with his first wife Jane Norwood Dixon and their three children
Sarah, Lucius, and Elizabeth. The census indicates that he had $5000 in
personal property, not including land or slaves he might have owned. Dixon
and his first wife may have had more children before her death in March
1854, but only Sarah and Lucius were listed in the 1860 census. Elizabeth
Dixon, however, is included in B.F. Dixon's 1869 will. If he attended church
with Aletha during his marriage, Ebeneezer Baptist Church makes no mention
of Benjamin F. Dixon. He did become a member of Galilee Baptist Church
in the early 1860s after her death and his remarriage. He is purported
to be buried in that church's cemetery. (Will of B.F. Dixon, 1869, Amite
County Wills, Vol. II, p. 214; Causey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi,
Vol II, pp. 246-250.)
The Norwoods of East Feliciana figure prominently in three of the families
discussed in this study. Robert Germany, brother of Elizabeth Germany Land
Craft, married Caroline Norwood in June 1847. Caroline's older sister Jane
E. S. Norwood married Benjamin F. Dixon as his first wife in September
1841. She died in 1854 at the age of twenty-nine. Caroline and Jane's brother
Abel John Norwood would marry Amanda Buckholtz, daughter of Victoria Batchelor
Buckholtz Street in March 1850. Their niece Caroline Norwood married Victoria
Street's son and Amanda's half brother Thomas P. Street in September 1860.
(Amite County Marriages, East Feliciana, Louisiana Marriages)
Amite County Probate Record, Vol. 22, pp. 248-50.
Will of B.F. Dixon, 1869, Amite County Will Book, Vol. II, p. 214.
While census records indiate that
they lived in the same household, B.F. Dixon did not choose to mention
any of his step children from either his marriage to Aletha or his third
marriage to Julia A. Rogers. This was not uncommon in the survey for while
step families may have had great affection for each other, the children
would have already inherited from their own fathers.
The Abstract of Godspeed's Mississippi records that Nathan Land was born
1830 U.S. Census in, Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi, Vol II,
p. 212. This census indicates that only two men, one aged between thirty
and forty, the other between seventy and eighty lived in that household.
Although Nathan Land could be the elder man, because he lived for another
eighteen years it is more likely that he was the younger and in his late
Will of Nathan Land, 1845, Amite County Will Book, Vol II, p. 2.
1850 U.S. Census.
Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi, Vol. I, p. 127.
Land Conveyance Records in Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi,
Vol I, p. 245.
Among these holdings were a "Ladies Workstand" (a frame for sewing or a
dressmaker's dummy), eighty pounds of white sugar in the larder, and agricultural
resources such as seventeen ploughs, twelve cotton sweeps, and eight mules;
the seventy-two slaves and the farm equipment listed in the inventory indicate
that the Land / Craft homestead was a full-scale plantation. (Amite County
Probate Records, Vol. 18, pp. 198-199.)
Amite County Probate Record, Vol. 18, pp. 198-199.
Will of Elizabeth R. Craft, 1853, Amite County Will Book, Vol. II, p. 44.
Salmon, Inheritance in America, p. 95.
The administration records of the estate of Francis Wren, husband of Rebecca
Gayden Wren Batchelor, are preserved in the Amite County Archives. The
will was written in what was then Wilkinson County, dated March 21, 1804,
and probated October 1805. Wrens lists as his heirs his wife Rebecca, sons
John, Francis, and George Gayden, daughter Elizabeth Wren, and stepdaughter
Theny Lee. The mention of this stepdaughter may indicate that Rebecca may
have been married even before Wren. (Wills and Administrations, Vol. 1,
pp. 139-141.) Rebecca's son John Wren may be the same John V. Wren who
was married to testatrix Elizabeth Wren.
After this marriage, Thomas Batchelor was appointed guardian to George
Gayden Wren, one of Rebecca's two son's by her dead husband Francis Wren.
The guardianship of her older son Francis V. Wren was granted to Robert
J. Lowery. (Abstract of Orphans Court Record, Vol. I, listed in Casey and
Otken, Amite County, Mississippi, Vol. I, p. 388.)
Entry Book I, Land Claims, Amite County Mississippi.
The 1810 Mississippi Census indicates
that George Gayden, George L.Gayden, and Thomas Batchelor lived on adjoining
properties. Within a few years of migration, this family was already well
established. The census records that the elder George Gayden owned seventeen
slaves, his son George L. one, and his son in law Batchelor owned twenty.
(Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi, Vol. I, p. 342.)
Estate of George Gayden, 1819, Amite County Archive File 70.
Will of George Gayden, Amite County Will Book, Vol I, pp. 1-2.
James Madison Batchelor, Thomas Agrippa Gayden Batchelor, and Napoleon
Mary Anne Harriet Batchelor had married J.G. Lea when she was fourteen
years old, but was a widow when she married Rev James Smylie in April 1829.
She died the following year when she was twenty. (J. Paul Mogan, Amite
County Cemeteries, p. 394.)
1830 Census, in Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi, Vol. I, p.
Daughters of the American Revolution Family Records: Mississippi Revolutionary
Soldiers, p. 33-34.
Amite County Land Grants, Book I, listed in Casey and Otken, Amite County,
Mississippi, Vol. I.
Orphans Court Record Book 4, Volume 5, p. 111.
The 1810 census indicates that Jacob
Buckholtz was the owner of twelve slaves. (Casey and Otken, Amite County,
Mississippi, Vol. I, p. 343)
Land Conveyance Record, in Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi,Vol.
I, p. 314.
Elizabeth Morgan had inherited a portion of her father George Gayden's
estate. Elizabeth Harrell was Victoria's mother's daughter from her first
marriage. All three of Victoria's daughters from her marriage to Abel Buckholtz
were married by 1850. Eldest daughter Harriet lived with her husband, farmer
and native New Yorker Franklin Hitchcock in the northern part of the county
near Zion Hill. Harriet would die within the next eight years. Middle daughter
Rebecca married planter-lawyer James R. Galtney and lived on his family
property near Liberty. Amanda was newly married into the Norwood family
of East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana and had moved to be with her husband
across the state line.
Victoria had at least two more children by Henry Street: sons Thomas Parke
Street and Charles Napoleon Street. Both would survive their mother, but
Charles would die soon after the end of the Civil War. Victoria's daughter
Harriet Buckholtz Franklin had died sometime after 1850.
Will of Victoria C. Street, 1858, Amite County Will Book, Vol. II, p. 89.
Will of Victoria Street, 1858, Amite County Will Book, Vol. II, p. 90.
Son Thomas Parke Street carried out his mothers wishes for in the 1870
census the then retired lawyer Henry G. Street continued to live with this
only surviving son. Henry died in August 1879 and was buried in the family
cemetery next to his wife Victoria. The house and lands remain in the possession
of Thomas Parke Street's daughter Katie Street Lewis' descendants. In 1860
Thomas Parke Street had married Emily Kate Norwood, his half sister Amanda
Buckholtz Norwood's sister in law. (Feliciana Marriage Records; Amite County
Susan Webb did not include her husband William Y. Webb in her 1910 will.
1850 Census, in Casey and Otken, Amite County, Mississippi, Vol. I, p.
Inventory of Slaves belonging to Nancy M. Daniels, May 19, 1851, Amite
County File 54.
Out of the seventy-nine women's testaments, only one other will, written
by widow Jane Blanchard Moore Caston in 1841, was a nun cupative will.
Hence, it is possible that most of the women were able to write their wills
at the courthouse or with the assistance of some form of legal counsel.
Five Amite County men, most of whom died in the 1840s, wrote nun-cupative
Will of Nancy M. Sleeper, 1860, Amite County Will Book, Vol. II, p. 128.
Amite County Archive File 178.
The inclusion of this sewing machine
in her inventory sheds a little light into one aspect of Nancy Sleeper's
life. Not only does it indicate that most of her clothing was sewn at home--most
women at this time had their clothes made within the household--but that
she probably operated the machine herself. Sewing machines were still relatively
expensive for the home sewer before the Civil War and most housewives would
not have entrusted a slave with this piece of equipment. The machine would
have allowed her to keep up with the increasingly voluminous and complicated
styles of the decade and also to provide well made clothes for her children.
Gideon Sleeper may well have worn tailor made clothes himself. The sewing
and mending of clothes would have been a time consuming task for any nineteenth
century woman with a young family, even one with the assistance of at least
eight slaves. Nancy Sleeper's contemporary, Zion Hill resident and diarist
Frances Cain, included some aspect of clothes manufacture in almost every
diary entry written between 1853 and 1857. (Diary of Frances Ann Cain of
Zion Hill, Amite County, Mississippi. [Privately Published by J. Paul Mogan)
The Sleepers honored Nancy by naming their first daughter, born in 1861,
Nancy Caroline Sleeper. They had at least four more children before 1870,
despite Sleeper's service in the 4th Mississippi Cavalry during the war.
Three of the six wills probated between 1864 and 1870 include slaves because
they were actually written before the Confederate defeat. The wishes of
Temperance Jackson Wilkinson could not be carried out after her death because
her will, written in 1855 but probated in 1869 consisted entirely of the
distribution of thirty slaves she no longer owned. She must have been able
to hire some labor force or else recruit her sizable family in the fields
for she possessed over 700 pounds of cotton and a farm full of foodstuffs
at the time of her death. (Will of Temperance Wilkinson, 1869, Amite County
Will Book, Vol. II, 199; Inventory of Temperance Wilkinson, 1869, Amite
County Archive File 200.)
Richard Bates, Jr., the father-in-law of future testatrix Louisa P. McKenney
Bates, had been the third wealthiest man in the county in 1850 according
to that year's census. When he died in 1867, after losing all of his slaves,
his personal posessions, not including his extensive lands, were still
worth nearly $6000. (Inventory of estate of Richard Bates, Jr., Amite County
Archive File 11.)
In their 1874 and 1884 wills, widows Elceba Lea Wall Bates and Eliza Wilson
Cox left $500 cash to each of their many heirs. The childless Elceba Bates
bequeathed at least $4500 in cash and distributed her possessions among
nine nieces and nephews but did not include any of her stepchildren from
her two marriages. Elceba Bates later added a codicil to her will stipulating
that $1000 from her estate was to be used to establish a The Lea Female
Institute in neighboring Pike County, "as a donation to female education."
(Will of Elceba Bates, 1874, Amite County Will Book, Vol. II, p. 272-277;
Will of Eliza Cox, 1884, Amite County Will Book, Vol II, p. 284.) Elceba
Lea Wall Bates had migrated to Amite County along with her parents Zachariah
Lea and Sabrina Clay Lea when she was a little girl. Elceba had married
twice, was the second wife of Richard Bates, Jr., and the step mother of
Henry M. Bates, Sr., the husband of future testatrix Louisa P. McKenney
Bates. Elizabeth Hudson Goolsby Gunby Jenkins, the mother of married testatrix
Aletha Dixon, died a widow at the age of ninety in 1890 leaving extensive
real estate, money, and railroad stock. (Inventory of Elizabeth Jenkins,
1896, Amite County File 96.) The only non-American testatrix, Albertine
Astron, divided all the property she owned in Amite County and her native
Sweden between her three children. (Will of Albertina Astron, 1898, Amite
County Will Book, Vol. II, p. 310.)
Chapter 42, The Rights of Married Women: Capacity of Married Women. ¤
1167. "The common law, as to the disabilities of married women, and its
effect on the rights of property of the wife, is totally abrogated, and
marriage shall not be held to impose any disability or incapacity on a
woman, as to the ownership, capacity to make contracts, and do all acts
in reference to property which she could lawfully do, if she was not married;
but every woman now married, or hereafter to be married, shall have the
same capacity to acquire, hold, managae, control, use, enjoy and dispose
of all property, real and personal, in possession or expectancy, and to
make any contract in reference to it, and to bind herself personally, and
to sue and be sued, with all the rights and liabilities incident thereto,
as if she was not married. ¤ 1168. Husband and wife may sue each
other. ¤ 1169. A Married woman may dispose of her estate, real and
personal, by last will and testament, in the same manner as if she were
not married. (J.A. P. Cambell, preparer, The Revised Code of the Statute
Laws of the State of Mississippi [Jackson, Mississippi, J.L. Power, State
Printer, 1880], p. 339.)
Inventory of estate of Nancy Sites, 1871, Amite County File 175.=
Leonard Sites lived for at least another ten years. His will, written before
Nancy's death, was not probated in Amite County until October 1881.
Her other sister, Harriet Buckholtz Hitchcock, predeceased their mother.
Nancy Buckles' plantation, slaves, and farming implements were sold at
her request by public auction after her death. A December 1858 bill of
sale records that her movable property brought $6431.08 to her estate.
(Inventory of estate of Nancy Buckles, 1858, Amite County Archive File
Casey and Otken, Amite County Mississippi, Vol. III., pp. 251-2.
Thomas may have initially stayed
out of the war because according to the 1860 census, he managed his deceased
mother's estates. His work may have been considered vital to the war effort.
Thomas Street and Charles Street served in the "Amite County Defenders"
Company K of the 33rd Mississippi Regiment. The company fought in Franklin,
TN, New Hope Church, and Atlanta.
None of the records available on Amite or any of the surrounding counties
give any indication as to whose children these nieces of Rebecca Galtney
were. They may have been the daughters of her deceased sister Harriet Buckholtz
This may be part of her father Abel Buckholtz's estate; she would have
been the sole owner because both of her sisters and co-heirs were dead.
Rebecca Galtney, unfortunately, did not mention where this property was