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.
Mandee Jones was born about 1835 (according to earlier sources) in South Carolina. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Mrs. Jones was recorded as a widow living with her son Kelly, her grand daughter Mary B Belk (age 20) and her great grand daughter Mary E Belk (age 1) in Gills Creek, Lancaster, South Carolina. She was the mother of 12 children, of whom 8 were still alive in 1900. There is no entry for her marriage date. Mrs. Jones was recorded as a home-owner, a remarkable achievement for a woman born in slavery who could not read or write.
I first discovered Mandee Jones, known as Grushey prior to Emancipation, in the property records of Irish slaveholder William McKenna. She and her children William aged 7, Harriet aged 6, James Wash aged 3 and Eliza Jane aged 1, were listed for sale at public auction in January 1861 in Lancaster, South Carolina.
In the 1870 U. S. Federal Census, Mandee Jones was recorded as Gushen McKenna, the mother of 6 children, Harriet, Dick, Eliza, Mary, Emma and Kelly ranging in age from 14-1. She and her family were given the racial designation Mulatto. This is significant because it suggests that she and/or her children may have had a European parent. Living next door to Gushen is Charles L Jones, Trial Justice, who is identified as her husband in the 1880 Census.
Gushia was recorded as the wife of Charles L Jones in 1880. She was still living in Gills Creek, Lancaster County. Her children were named as Toney aged 21, Rufus aged 18, Mary aged 16, Daniel aged 14, Emma aged 12, Kelly aged 10 and Louiza aged 6. Gushia and Charles’ sons Toney, Rufus and Kelly were recorded as house servants as was their daughter Mary. Charles was recorded as a farmer and Gushia and her son Daniel as field labourers. Their daughter Eliza had married and had a son John Price aged 5 and daughter Louiza Price aged 3 and a two-month old baby girl.
Charles Jones was one of the elected delegates of Lancaster County to the South Carolina Reconstruction Convention. The Convention took place at the Club House, Meeting Street, Charleston on 14 January 1868. More research needs to be undertaken to identify what happened to Charles L. Jones between 1880-1900.
Jones family members
All birth dates are approximate. Whilst every attempt has been made to achieve accuracy further research may call into question information contained here. Should this happen the blog will be updated promptly. An abbreviated version of this information is available www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1UWvU9xIybDTb73hveTaQORzs_bYkQig0&hl=en&usp=sharing
Mandee Jones born 1835
her husband Charles L Jones born 1824
William/Dick born 1853
Harriet born 1854
James Wash 1857
Toney Jones born 1859
Eliza Jane Jones born 1859, husband surname Price, children John and Louiza
Rufus Jones born 1862, wife Georgina Clinton or Crockett, children Mary Boyken (husband Albert), Charley, Hallie, Lollie, Henry (died 1918, burial Witherspoon), grandchildren Maud & Albert Boyken.
Mary Jones born 1864
Daniel Jones born 1866
Emma Jones born 1866
Kelly Jones born 1869
Louiza Jones born 1874
By 1900, 4 of Mrs. Jones 12 children had died.
Grandchildren of Mandee & Charles Jones
Mary B Belk born 1880
Curtis Belk born 1875
Great grand daughter
Mary E Belk born 1899 (probably daughter of Mary B Belk)
Mandee Jones name is transcribed as 'Mandee', however a close reading of the original document with Stacy Ashmore Cole suggests that her name is written as Mander. A descendant has contacted me also to say that many names she has found in documents have an 'r' added when a name ends in a vowel, for example Cula transcribed as Cular.
In 1900, Mandee Jones is recorded as the mother of 12 children. It is on this basis and the fact that Mandee Jones is recorded as living with the above named children (at different times) that the children are recorded here as Mandee's children. Death certificates or other documents may prove otherwise.
"List of Negroes, 14 November I860," along with a list of families and prices, CDA, Lynch Unclassified Papers, box 3, folder 2; Catalogue of Negro Slaves of the Estate of the Hon. William McKenna, Deceased...
With thanks to Brian P Fahey, Archivist, Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.
1870 U.S. Federal Census
1880 U.S. Federal Census
1900 U. S Federal Census
South Carolina Deaths 1915-1965
(familysearch.org) (accessed 1 Jan. 2021).
Edgefield Advertiser, 18 Dec. 1867
William McKenna, part 1
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.