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An Invitation for Descendants of Plantation Owners and Descendants of Slaves to Collaborate to Rediscover Lowcountry African American Heritage

Genealogical Research in the Lowcountry - Descendants of Plantation Owners and Descendants of Slaves Collaborate to Rediscover Lowcountry African American Heritage

For the past two years, descendants of the slaveholding Drayton family and descendants of families formerly enslaved on Drayton family plantations have worked side-by-side to rediscover the genealogy of African American families on Drayton family plantations. The full research results will be posted on Lowcountry Africana in the near future (we are compiling now). You may follow our blog to view research updates: http://lowcountryafricana.net/blog.asp.

With this forum, we would like to broaden that scope to begin collaborative research between descendants of all Lowcountry slaveholding families and all Lowcountry African American families.

Did your family own plantations and hold slaves? Would you like to share documents which name the enslaved or free families who worked on your family's plantations? Please do join this research and share documents and information, photos...

Are you a descendant of enslaved or free African Americans in the Lowcountry? Please join the research effort and share your family history, photos, life experiences...

GenealogyWise gives us an enormous opportunity to use the reach of the Internet to begin a large-scale collaborative research project to rediscover family heritage in the Lowcountry! We hope you will join this research effort!

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Reaching Out Across the Divide of the Legacy of Slavery: Have You Had a Dialogue? Good, Bad or Ugly? What was the Outcome?

Have you had a dialogue across the painful divide that history has left us in? Are you a descendant of slaveholders who has dialogued with descendants of slaves? Are you a descendant of enslaved or free African Americans who has dialogued with descendants of slaveholders?

Was this experience good, bad or indifferent? Did your dialogue bring new information to light? Would you do this again?
I am a descendant of slaves who has had contact with descendants of the slaveholders of my 3gr-grandparents (Beverly & Mariah SMITH). I found a book in 1996 in the Linebaugh Library in Murfreesboro TN that was written by a SMITH descendant (Robert SANDERS Jr.) about his family entitled "Smith Family Photo Album". His contact information was in the book so I called. He was out of the country but I spoke to his mother who was quite surprised and excited to talk with me. She didn't have any information on any records or papers owned by her family but she did contact a local newspaper reporter who interviewed me for a human interest story that appeared in the paper on June 4, 1996. She even sent me a copy of the article. She also told me the location of the farm that my ancestors had been slaves on. It is called Springfield and I visited and took pictures of the house and some slave cabins that are still in existence.

I would definitely be open to contact and dialogue with any other descendants of any of the other slaveholding families I have found or may find. I have also emailed briefly with another descendant (of the slaveowning GLOVER family from Barbour Co. AL).

Hi Lisa,
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with contacting descendants of slaveholders. Is there any advice you would give to other researchers thinking of doing the same?

Peace and Blessings,
Toni
The best advice I can give is (like Nike says) "Just DO it!" It does feel a bit awkward at first but the folks I've contacted have been very receptive. I think they were a bit unsure and taken aback when I told them who I was, but they recovered fairly quickly and wanted to help. Unfortunately neither contact I made provided any new information but it was good to make contact all the same. I have a few other leads on descendants of other slaveowning families so I'm hoping to be able to make some other contacts soon. : )
Hi Everyone,
We are migrating this discussion from another post to this permanent home, with permission of the posters. Please note that this temporarily loses the thread trail from the original posters but as soon as Mary and Bill post here we should be back in gear just fine. Here is the first reply, from Mary Douglass:

Reply by Mary Heyward Douglass 1 day ago
I am a descendant of Nathaniel Heyward, who owned seventeen plantations in the South Carolina Lowcountry prior to the Civil War. I am interested in connecting with the descendants of people who worked on these plantations, and I would love to share information about the Heyward family. Thanks for creating this forum!
Mary Heyward Douglass, Seattle, WA
Bill Drayton's first Reply:

Reply by Bill Drayton 16 hours ago
Mary,

We're related. I expect you know the Heyward Washington House in downtown Charleston. The Heywards were connected with the Draytons and the Grimkes. I have my own website - www.grimke.co.uk - which has the title: From Slavery To Reconciliation. I've also set up on facebook a group called "The Drayton Fellowship". We are already over 170 members worldwide - most of whom are African American Draytons, most with connections with SC or Barbados or both, some members being distant cousins of ours. I shall be coming to Charleston between 4th and 13th September. I've posted a message on the DF board about the visit to Charleston over the Labor Day Weekend. Looking forward to corresponding wit you. Bill. By the way you can see my connection to both Drayton Hall and Magnolia Gardens by viewing the family trees on the website.
Bill's second reply, we're getting there! --toni

Reply by Bill Drayton 10 hours ago
A Prose Poem - Journey of Reconciliation

Our chains fall off, and we embrace - paths crossed - pain washed away with pure water - light comes through out of the dark shadows of the past - light so
More migration:

Reply by Mary Heyward Douglass 2 hours ago
Hi Bill,
Yes, indeed - I know the Heyward Washington house in Charleston. My brother Heyward and I once had our picture taken standing in front of the house, and it appeared in the paper. I could probably even find the picture!
I did not know that the Heywards were connected with the Draytons and the Grimkes - that is, until Toni found the information about Constant and Adel Heyward. She says that "Adel originally belonged to the Heyward family of Colleton County andwas included in the marriage settlement of William Drayton (1776-1846) and Maria Miles Heyward".
So - I'm sure there's more because of all the intermarriages among the planter families.

But I also know of you from Coming to the Table (CTTT) activities. I have a copy of the Extending the Table CD, and you are on it with Rebecca Campbell and Catherine Braxton. I met Rebecca and Catherine in Seattle at a CTTT workshop, and they have played a key role in helping me make contact with families who lived/worked on the Heyward plantations. In fact, I think I was actually at Catherine's house in April when you called to talk with her.

And yes - looking forward to more communication -even though I find "social networking" a bit overwhelming. I can only proceed one step at a time with this research, but moving forward is what's important.

Regards,
MHD




Bill Drayton said:
Mary,

We're related. I expect you know the Heyward Washington House in downtown Charleston. The Heywards were connected with the Draytons and the Grimkes. I have my own website - www.grimke.co.uk - which has the title: From Slavery To Reconciliation. I've also set up on facebook a group called "The Drayton Fellowship". We are already over 170 members worldwide - most of whom are African American Draytons, most with connections with SC or Barbados or both, some members being distant cousins of ours. I shall be coming to Charleston between 4th and 13th September. I've posted a message on the DF board about the visit to Charleston over the Labor Day Weekend. Looking forward to corresponding wit you. Bill. By the way you can see my connection to both Drayton Hall and Magnolia Gardens by viewing the family trees on the website.
And with this we are up-to-date! Mary and Bill, as soon as you post here your links should pop back up, many apologies for the inconvenience...

Best,
Toni
One more post to migrate:

Reply by Dale Warren 6 hours ago
I am not sure what you are referring to by "lowcountry." My LEWIS ancestors were said to be slaveholders in Coosa Co., AL; WARREN relatives from Franklin Co., AL and my HILLIS ancestors in Wilcox Co., AL also kept slaves. I don't know of any children were born of these owners and slaves but will gladly work to help any researcher establish their African-American roots.

Dale, thank you so much for writing and wil reply momentarily! ---toni
New Thread - National in Scope - Invitation to Collaborative Research Between Descendants of Slaveholders and Descendants of Slaves

Hi Everyone,
We are starting this thread, national in scope, based upon Dale's response below. Dale thank you so much for your openness, so very appreciated!
We invite others to respond and create a collaborative thread for any U.S. location!


Toni Carrier said:
One more post to migrate:

Reply by Dale Warren 6 hours ago
I am not sure what you are referring to by "lowcountry." My LEWIS ancestors were said to be slaveholders in Coosa Co., AL; WARREN relatives from Franklin Co., AL and my HILLIS ancestors in Wilcox Co., AL also kept slaves. I don't know of any children were born of these owners and slaves but will gladly work to help any researcher establish their African-American roots.

Dale, thank you so much for writing and wil reply momentarily! ---toni
I descend from Arthur Temple, slave holder from Essex County, VA. In the 1880 census, his son, John, had a family of helpers living with him (Temple & Fannie WHITE), and his neighbors were mostly African American. I'm just beginning research to see if these neighbors were once in the Arthur Temple household (circa 1840-1870), or perhaps the household of Arthur's father, John. Would welcome any contact to help piece together the puzzle!

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