Adeline Cabean, born about 1844 in Fairfield County, South Carolina was the daughter of Charity, an enslaved woman and Richard Cabean (b. 1813), an Irish overseer. Adeline married John Clowney Brown, born 1855, in the 1870s, and in 1880 was recorded in the U.S. Federal Census as the mother of four children: Jane L Brown born 1872, Willie born 1876, Robert born 1877 and John born 1879.
In 1900, Adeline & John Brown were still living in Blackstock Town which straddles Fairfield County and Chester County. Their children were recorded as Louisa C born 1873, Lee born 1880, a son Merriam born 1881, George born 1885, Annie born 1888, Sallie B born 1893, Wylie born 1895 and a daughter Willie F born 1896. Adeline is recorded as the mother of 14 children of whom only eight are living.
Next door to them in 1900, William Brown (1867), his wife Manda, daughters Hattie & Fannie M and sons Anner, Johnnie & Lawrence were living. Other near neighbours included the Young, Lewis, Strong, Reed, Mobley and Dunbar (who were Irish-born) families.
By 1910, John and Adeline had only one child living at home, their son Wylie and a woman named Louisa Coleman identified as John's stepdaughter. Louisa Coleman appears to be the same woman as Louisa C born 1873 recorded as their daughter in 1900. The families of Henry L Brown and Eyerabim Brown, living nearby would need to be researched to see if they are the children of John and Adeline.
In 1920, John and Adeline's daughter Willie had returned to live at home with their son?? Hayman recorded as born in 1907. In this Census, Adeline's father's place of birth is finally recorded as Ireland. Adeline ia also recorded as eleven years older than her husband which ties in with his statement to Dixon of the Federal Writers Project.
In 1930, John and Adeline were living together in the same place but Adeline's name is recorded as Emmaline.
The Census of 1940 recorded John C Brown as a widower living with his daughter Annie and his son-in-law Charley Coleman (b. 1885) who was also the informant at John's death in 1946. The families of Charlie, Jim and Blake Curbeam are their nearest neighbours. This is another research avenue as when Wylie Brown died in 1938, his mother Adeline was recorded not as Adeline Cabean but Adline Curbeans.
Adeline Cabean and her mother Charity were formerly enslaved by the family of Robert Cheyne Clowney (1838-1885) who was born in Co. Down, Ireland and died in Fairfield County. Robert was the son of John Clowney (1791-1848).
Federal Writers Project John C Brown www.loc.gov/resource/mesn.141/?sp=130
1850 U.S. Federal Census Richard Cabean www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M8QN-CBV
1870 U.S. Federal Census Robert Clowney www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M8RJ-DHG
1880 U.S. Federal Census www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6S8-6RQ
1900 U.S. Federal Census www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3RR-XMP
1910 U.S. Federal Census www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XMB9-NT8
1920 U.S. Federal Census www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6Z6-6DR
1930 U.S. Federal Census www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SPC4-N7T
1940 U.S. Federal Census www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K4DS-TVN
Death Certificate 1946 John Clowney Brown www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FPMX-3JP
Death Certificate 1938 Wylie Brown www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N9JH-2G8
A warm welcome today to Stacy Ashmore Cole. Stacy is the curator of the Liberty County, Georgia digital public history project, They had names and is a descendant of slaveholders. The project has identified and recorded over 30,000 names of African-Americans in Liberty County, Georgia.
According to the memoirs of his wife’s family, William McWhir was born in the parish of Moneyrea, County Down, Ireland, on September 9, 1759, to James and Jean (Gibson) McWhir. He was a homely child, and a bout with smallpox that cost him an eye and his complexion did nothing to improve his looks. His father and grandfather had both been elders in the Presbyterian church and so, despite the lack of any calling, he was pushed into the study of religion in Belfast and at the University of Glasgow. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Killiheagh in 1783.
McWhir had long been interested in America, and decided immediately after his ordination, right at the end of the American Revolution, to move there in hopes of bettering his situation. He quickly obtained a teaching position in Alexandria, Virginia, at an academy attended by George Washington’s nephews, where he saw and corresponded with Washington frequently.
Finding Alexandria expensive, in 1791 he accepted a call from the people of Sunbury, on the Georgia coast south of Savannah, to head the Sunbury Academy and their Presbyterian Church. There he married Mary Jones LaPina Baker, the recent widow of Colonel John Baker, a Revolutionary War hero who had been a member of the Council of Safety of 1776 and commanded a regiment of militia in what became Liberty County after the Revolution succeeded. Mary Jones LaPina Baker purchased Flora, Hannah, Nanny, Quash, Prince, Cumba, Boson, and Amaritta from her step-son John Baker in 1793.
Harden, William, William McWhir, An Irish Friend of Washington, Georgia Historical Quarterly (volume 1, 1917), p. 197.
1793 sale of land and enslaved people by John Baker (Jr) to Mary Baker (Colonel John Baker’s widow): Liberty County Superior Court, “Deeds & Mortgages v. DD 1795-1798,” p. 100-2, John Baker to Mary Baker; digital image, FamilySearch.org, “Deeds & Mortgages, v. C-D 1793-1801” within “Deeds and mortgages, 1777-1920; general index to deeds and mortgages, 1777-1958,” image #68-9, (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C3QP-5PDG?cat=292358) (accessed 30 Mar. 2021).
McWhir and his wife Mary lived on Springfield Plantation, near Sunbury, Liberty County, Georgia. Although there are conflicting accounts of how McWhir came to acquire Springfield Plantation, it is clear from land records that he did own it.
In 1803, McWhir sold “one negro man named Jack” to merchants in Savannah for $350.
1803 sale of Jack by McWhir to Williamson and Morell, merchants in Savannah: Chatham County Superior Court, “Deeds & Mortgages v. 1X 1838-1839,” p. 232, William McWhir to Williams and Morell; digital image, FamilySearch.org, “Deeds & Mortgages, v. 1X-1Y 1802-1805” within “Deeds and mortgages, 1777-1920; general index to deeds and mortgages, 1777-1958,” image #128
(www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C3QP-Y99C-G?cat=140778) (accessed 30 Mar. 2021)
In 1846, McWhir “traded” a young enslaved man named Bounty, 17 or 18 years old, to Charlton Hines, a planter of Liberty County, in return for
“a certain negro slave named Daniel about twenty two years old, the property of the said estate of Lewis Hines (Charlton’s brother) as servant and waiting man to him the said William McWhir during his natural life and that after the death of the said William McWhir, the said Daniel shall be returned to the said Charlton Hines executor as aforesaid or his successor or legal representative of said estate.”
Daniel evidently returned to the ownership of Charlton Hines, as a man called Daniel, valued at $2000, was listed in Charlton Hines’ 1864 estate inventory.
Trade of Bounty for Daniel 1846.
Liberty County Superior Court “Deeds and mortgages, 1777-1920; general index to deeds and mortgages, 1777-1958,” Film: Deeds & Mortgages, v. M-N 1842-1854,”
Record Book M, pp. 438-9. Image #277 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C3QP-5H22?cat=292358).
1864 Charlton Hines estate inventory naming Daniel: “Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990,” Liberty > Wills 1863-1942 vol C-D > image 43 of 430 database with images, (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L93L-RJ96?i=42&wc=9SYY-ZNP%3A267679901%2C268025701&cc=1999178) (accessed 30 mar. 2021)
In 1819, Mary died and McWhir returned to Ireland to visit his only brother. After his return to Georgia, he traveled from church to church acting as a “supply” preacher in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh counties. In 1839, there was a financial panic in the United States in which the price of cotton dropped dramatically and many coastal Georgia planters experienced financial distress and even ruin. McWhir sold twenty enslaved people -- Joe, Susannah, Joannah, Monday, Betsey, Phoebe, Isabel, Young Joe, Hetty, Biner [Binah], Jim, Nanny, Bounty, Simon, Beck, Sam, Peter, Zauger, Cato, and Alsendore – to Francis M. Stone, a prominent alderman and tax collector of Savannah in 1839. The enslaved people netted $8000 for McWhir, which he used to support himself for the rest of his life.
He loaned the money back to Stone in 1844. Stone used the same enslaved people he had purchased from McWhir as collateral for the loan:
"the following named and described Negro slaves being twenty one in number to wit Joe aged about fifty five years Susannah aged about fifty five years Monday aged about thirty years Joe aged about twenty one years Joanna aged about thirty five years Betsey aged about twenty five years Phoebe aged about twenty two years Isabel aged about nineteen years Hetty child of Joanna aged about thirteen years Mary child of Betsey aged about three years Dennis also child of Betsey aged about one year Binah aged about forty three years Cato aged about fifty five years Jim aged about thirty years Nanny aged about eighteen years Bounty aged about sixteen years Beck aged about twelve years, Simon aged about eight years, Cato [or Kato] aged about four years and an infant child of Binah aged about eight months and Sam aged about fifty five years together with the future issue and increase of the female slaves...."
Stone paid off the note by 1849, as attested by McWhir’s step-grandson, Edward J. Harden, with whom he lived in Savannah, Georgia for some time.
Chatham County Superior Court, “Deeds & Mortgages v. 2W 1838-1839,” p. 482, William McWhir to F.M. Stone; digital image, “Deeds & Mortgages, v. 2V-2W 1837-1839” within “Deeds and mortgages, 1777-1920; general index to deeds and mortgages, 1777-1958,” image #551 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C3Q5-W4BD?cat=140778) (accessed 30 Mar. 2021).
McWhir spent the rest of his life on visits to family and former pupils. He died in 1851 at the South Hampton plantation home of Roswell King, Jr., overseer for Pierce Mease Butler at his Butler Island plantation near Darien in McIntosh County, Georgia. King Jr., was notorious, even in his own lifetime, for his violence against and rape of enslaved people. McWhir's funeral service was conducted by another slaveholder, Rev. I.S.K. Axson, at the Midway Church, Liberty County, Georgia on February 2, 1851. He was buried in the Sunbury Cemetery next to his wife.
Stacy has undertaken extensive research on McWhir, his wife and her family which is available here theyhadnames.net/2021/03/29/slaveholder-series-william-mcwhir/
To learn more about They had names you can listen to an interview Stacy gave to Bernice Bennet on Research at the National Archives and beyond, Blogtalk radio, 2020.
Martine Brennan (Curator)
Enslavement to citizenship: African Americans in Irish Slaveholder records by Martine Brennan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.