Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dividing People: The Forgey Slaves Hawkins County, TN

James Forgey will "their children may be divided"
Last Thursday I went the NGSQ study group which was in the virtual world of Second Life. We discussed an article we read about tracing the family of a former slaves. It got us talking about slavery and our families connections with it. We said we had curiosity about what happened to the slaves owned by family members after they were freed. Until the mid 1990's I had no idea any of my ancestors could have owned slaves. I had only known them to have lived in the Midwest, and didn't know they had first settled in the south. I remember picking up a book about Tennessee genealogy at our local library and seeing abstracts of family wills mentioning slaves and was blown away.
I've definitely ran across the Forgey former slaves while researching the family in Tennessee since several took the name Forgey after they were freed and did remain in the same area. I've been taking a closer look at these families this week. I had suspected that James Forgey of Hawkins County, TN might have fathered children with some of his slaves because several were described as Mulatto. I did find some evidence that this might be the case a few days ago. 
This is some of the information I've found regarding slavery in my own branch of the Forgey family (James Forgey was the brother of my ancestor. Andrew Forgey was my direct ancestor).
The only mentions of the Forgey slaves I've run across are found in the family wills, and total numbers are found in tax lists.

Above is the first reference to slaves in my branch of the Forgey family. It's the 1809 Taxlist for Hawkins County, TN. We see here rows representing acres of land owned, horses owned and slaves owned. Hugh Forgey and Andrew Forgey Jr. owned no slaves, but Andrew Forgey Sr. owned 1 slave and James Forgey owned 2. 
Later in 1809 we find the name of Andrew Forgey's slave in his will. His name was Bacchus. 


We do find that Andrew Forgey Sr.'s wishes were followed and Bacchus remained in Andrew Forgey Jr.'s family until his death in 1831. Andrew Forgey Jr. wills him to his wife.


I have not found Bacchus on the 1870 Census he may have left the area or most likely was dead by then.
James Forgey Sr. owned 2 slaves in 1809. By his death in 1831 the number had grown. Only a few were identified by name.
A 3 year old was named in James Forgey's 1831 will. Her named was Sarah. She was willed to Matilda Forgey daughter of James. James also names an Alsy and Robert describing them as young in 1831. I have not been able to locate these people after freedom.



We can follow some of the Forgey slaves from enslavement to freedom. 
We'll start with Joseph and wife Margaret (Peggy)
We first see this couple here in Andrew Forgey Sr.'s 1809 will 
The callousness of the James Forgey family can be seen when you read these snippets. They had no qualms about separating children from their parents. 


Here we have James Forgey's wife Margaret also dividing up Joseph and Margaret's family in her 1856 will Hawkins County, TN. 


It looks like Joseph Forgey didn't live to see freedom but his wife Peggy did. We find her living in Hawkins County, TN; listed on the 1870 and 1880 Census for Hawkins County, TN. 


We see that Peggy Forgey is listed as a mulatto. Her father's birthplace is given as Ireland. We know her master James Forgey was born in Ireland so it is very possible he is Peggy's father. 
Next we can follow Thomas Forgey from slavery to freedom. James Forgey Sr. names Tom in his 1831 will.


Rachel Forgey died before her mother Margaret Forgey. Rachel willed Tom to her mother Margaret. In 1856 Margaret mentions Tom in her will.


In 1870 and 1880 we find Thomas and wife Fary living in freedom with his family in Hawkins County, TN. He seems to have made a successful transition and was working as a blacksmith.  


We see more Forgey slaves not named in the family wills in the Census. In 1850 James R. Forgey Jr. owns 21 slaves most being children. We do not have most of their names. Here are a few more I found in the Hawkins County, TN Census.
 1870 Census Hawkins County, TN

Lou Forgey 1880 Census Hawkins County, TN

I believe one of these families relocated to Knox County, TN at one point and can be found there in the 1940 Census. After 1900 I no longer find Black Forgeys living in Hawkins County, TN. 

Inhumanity is not confined to a single race or group of people. I've been reading a book about the Scots-Irish. I agree with the author that hard living conditions in lowland Scotland hardened the people which would later settle the south. They did not feel the pain of others. I believe James Forgey in particular was the sort of ruthless business person that really did not feel the pain of others. The business men involved in the slave trade in England, Spain, the Netherlands didn't have a conscience, but they didn't live with the slaves. The way that some families in the south lived with other human beings and didn't have the decency to free them is hard to fathom?

Here is partial list of Forgeys born into slavery
  1. Joseph Forgey (Mulatto)
  2. Peggy Forgey (Mulatto) Born about 1815 she claims her father was born in Ireland in 1880
  3. Malvina Forgey-Harlan (Mulatto) born about 1839
  4. Mary Forgey (Mulatto) born about 1854
  5. Lou Forgey (Mulatto) born about 1845
  6. App. Forgey (Black) born about 1863
  7. Thomas Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1829-1830
  8. Fary F Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated):  1831-1832
  9. Alice Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1852-1853
  10. Martha Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1853-1854
  11. Jinetta Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1855-1856
  12. Dorcas Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1857-1858
  13. Margarett Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1857-1858
  14. Joseph Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1858-1859
  15. Alsy Forgey (Black) Before 1834
  16. Robert Forgey (Black) Before 1834
  17. Sarah 1828

4 comments:

Nan said...

Thanks for posting this, Annette. Maybe it will help descendants of the people who were held as slaves by the Forgey family find their roots. And if James Forgey was the father to some then they are our cousins. They may show up as matches on our autosomal DNA tests, or as matches to the Forgey males who have done the Y DNA testing. It's good to be aware and know that you have documented the information that exists.

Annette Kapple said...

Thanks Nan! I would be happy to hear from anyone in these lines. It is very possible that we may be cousins to some of them, and match us on the autosomal DNA.

Linda Sue said...

I descend from Archibald Forgey and Eleanor Roller. When Jacob and Hugh moved to Arkansas they apparently brought a slave with them. Some of the Forgey's settled north in Missouri and it seems it may be because of the slavery issue. By the early 1900's the two sides didn't even know each other anymore. It caused a great division in the family. I appreciate all your hard work on the Forgey genealogy.

Nan Harvey said...

Linda, that is interesting. I'm a descendant of Archibald and Eleanor as well. I had heard that there was also a rift between some of the ones that stayed in Virginia and some of those that left, caused by the Civil War. When Archibald's estate was settled the executor payed what was owed to those that had left in Confederate money, which exacerbated the problems. I hadn't heard of the division between the ones in Arkansas and Missouri. What a sad time in our country's history, for so many reasons.