Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

George,

Thanks for the "green light", also to Sandra and Anita for getting us started.

My maternal Adams lines, FPOC in Ohio prior to Statehood in 1803, have left a wonderful paper trail. My first offering into their lifestyle concerns activity with the Underground Railroad. Here is a transcribed interview of David Adams, taken in 1894 by Wilbur H. Siebert of the Siebert Underground Railroad Collection housed at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, Ohio. David is the son of Lewis and Susan Adams, my maternal 3rd great-grandparents .

THE PAPER TRAIL .......... UGRR INVOLVEMENT

2 INTERVIEW OF DAVID ADAMS-UNDERGROUND RAILROAD OPERATOR

This interview of David Adams (1826-1913), taken in August of 1894 by an UGRR researcher with the Wilbur H. Siebert UGRR Project (ca 1891-1941) of The Ohio State University.

The interview is on file with the Ohio State Historical Society and is found in The Siebert Collection. (Ohio-Hancock County) It is typed "as written" by the interviewer.
**********************************************************************

David Adams said: I was borne in Urbana, Champaign Co., in 1827. I lived in that vicinity until 21 years of age, and went from there to Springfield, Clark Co., served in my trade there between 2 and 3 years. In 1848 I moved to Findlay and have been here ever since.

I was only 14 or 15 when I commenced U.G.R.R. work. I then lived in Concord Twp., Champaign Co., O., 9 miles northwest of Urbana. My father, Lewis Adams, was the head leader and had been for years. My grandfather in Urbana, Frank Reno and his eldest sons, Joseph and Lewis Reno, were station-keepers. They were notified from Xenia, and the parties brought in generally there and then sent out to my father in the country. Father used to take them to some point up in Logan Co. I don't know just where. My father lived there till he died from about 1830 till '65.

I came to Findlay in Oct. 1848. I would get a note to be sent south of Chamber Hill, 2 miles south of Findlay, to meet passengers. I never knew the parties or conductors-sometimes one, sometimes another, would bring the fugitives to the place agree upon. At the edge of the woods I'd find the passengers and would run them out to old man King's (Wm., I think) 9 miles north and leave them there till the next night, and then go and get them and take them on to Perrysburg, 36 miles. I used to deliver them to a barber in town, who turned them over to Wm. Merriton, the other side of the Maumee River. Generally from there they were forwarded across the Michigan line. We used to take them different ways. I would sometimes, when the way was clear, disguise them and take them to Sandusky City- aboard the Mad River R.R. I remember I took one fellow-kind of feminine looking fellow, made him dress an took him through as my lady.

While my father lived in Urbana, about 1829 or '30, we had 7 at our house at one time-when I was a small kid. The fugitives were just eating breakfast when their owners were spied a hundred yards away. The folks had just time to hide the fugitives in the hole under the punchon floor made for potatoes. The table was pulled back over the boards just in time. The slave catchers hunted the house over two or three times. My grandfather was a shrewd kind of fellow, and pretended to help hunt. Finally they hired him a $2. a day to go to Sandusky with'em. He did so and kept us posted. We kept the fugitives until he got back and sent the hunters off in the direction of Xenia, Then with the money thus obtained from the fugitives were sent to Sandusky and their way to Canada was paid with their master's own money.

In '55 or '6 I had 16 here in one body. They came from Va. They were shipped in while I was away and were taken to old Robert Strothers, about 1/2 mile off the road down the River Blanchard on the north side; they were kept in his big barn for three days. Some of our good friends-white ladies worked near all night getting' ready clothes for them. Then I got a couple of two-horse wagons and drove them Perrysburg, where they were taken off our hands. I had a letter afterwards which said they had got through safe.

Mrs. R.B. Hurd-when she would find there were passengers to go and how many-would fix up a basket of fine lunch for them.

I (David Adams) used to keep the fugitives in my garret. And when I made a trip Dr. Beach, Hugh Newell, Henry Porch and David J. Cory acted specially to gallant me out of town and see me safely through the bridge. I never carried less than 2. North of Bowling
Green there was station in Maumee City, I think. I used to bring them here into Findlay in a wagon. I would throw in a few bags of oats, or a little hay. Absolem P. Byal was a U.S. Deputy Marshal here-about '54 or '5-under Pierce. He was a good one, and when the hunters came here they'd get him, and they were sure to find them then-ha ha . He was an old settler here and knew us all, and he'd take them where the fugitives wasn't.

One day I was coming in with 4 in broad daylight, and had told the boys to sit up and get some air when Byal came along. I knew him well, but didn't look at him, and he never saw us--he looked way off.

I think Hurd, Adams and myself are the only three left that were in the business.
**********************************************************************
This interview really helped in the verification process for the Reno connection, when the family moved to Concord Twp., in Champaign county, the time spent in Springfield (David was married in Springfield, 1848) and the family involvement in the UGRR from the very early days, the 1820's. Proving if we search hard enough and long enough many of oral traditions CAN be verified.

Views: 485

Attachments:

Replies to This Discussion

Art,
This is excellent research. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Anita
Anita,

Thank you.... You also have done some excellent research on your FPOC ancestors as seen through your two (2) books. I've been following your work and it inspires me to keep on trying to uncover more of my early ancestors "paper trail".

Art
Hello Art,

This is wonderul information and am so glad that you shared it. These are among the incredible stories of survival that need to be told more frequently. So man times the stories are reduced to one or two lone souls----Harriet Tubman or others and without essential details that provide the images of the journey that was made by so many---and these are the stories that we need to read about----

These are the kinds of stories that put imagery into our heads---these make the stories!! Great information!
-Angela-
Angela,

Thanks and I agree that there are wonderful stories of family involvement beyond the "giants" of AA History. I would encourage everyone with knowledge of such family history to share and to help make the greater community aware of those invovlements.

Art Thomas
THE PAPER TRAIL...... MY ANCESTORS, SLAVES OF THE LaFORCE FAMILY

This article, written by Lois Sutherland Wark, a member of the Ruddle's Fort and Martin's Station Historical Association (RAMSHA). Martin's Station is our focal point.
==================================================
Art's Notes: Betty/Bess is my maternal 7th great grandmother, Hannah her daughter my 6th and Betty/Bess' granddauughter Kandis, is my 5th maternal great grandmother.

The 1st attempt to recover the La Force slaves was in a 1784 appeal by Mrs. Agnes Moseby La Force to the British Government in Canada following the Revolutionary War. Most of the "white" captives were returned, but the plea for return of the slaves was virtually ignored.
==================================================
Thirty-three years ago after Agnes Moseby La Force and her children were captured at Martin's
Station, her family was still trying to recover the 13 slaves who were seized with them by British and Indian forces that fateful day in June on the Kentucky frontier.

In 1813, and again in 1814, William B. La Force of Woodford, Ky., appointed individuals to act on his behalf, having his power of attorney "to demand and take into possession (if practicable) or make arrangements for the recovery of all or any part" of the Negroes who had belonged to the family".

It was an opportune time to resume the search: the War of 1812 was raging, and Britian once again was the enemy. William hoped that his agents would be able to recover "the Negroes that myself and the legal representitives of Randolph La Force senr., deceased, are entitled to in Upper Cannada or elswhere in the British Cannadian country".

The powers of attorney, recorded in Woodford County Court (Book F, pp 187-188 and 311), list the names of the La Force slaves: "those negroes being the same (with their increase) taken by Capt. Bird from Martin's Station in Kentucky in 1780. Their names are as follows: an old woman named BETTY & seven children, to wit, Scippio, HANNAH, James, Ishmael, Stephen, Joe & Kijah, also the above named HANNAH had five yellow children, to wit, KANDIS, Job, Grace, Rachel & Patrick.

These are essentially the same names cited by Milo Quaife in his article, "When Detroit Invaded Kentucky", in the Filson Club History Quarterly (January, 1927), p. 66. Quaife, drawing for his details on Judge William Renwick Riddell's Life of William Dummer Powell, First Judge at Detroit and Fifth chief Justice of Upper Canada (Lansing, Mich., 1924), describes how William Dummer Powell, as a young lawyer in Montreal, attempted to help Agnes La Force recover her slaves by petitioning Frederick Haldimand, govenor-general of Canada and pleading for mercy. Haldimand agreed that the slaves should be returned to the elderly widow, and ordered his officers at Detroit to see it. But by the time his orders arrived, the fates of the Negroes had been sealed.

Why couldn't they be recovered? In Riddell's convoluted account (pp.26-30), Haldiman "sent the most preemptory orders to the Commandant at Detroit to find out the slaves of Mrs. La Force in whose ever possession they might be and transmit them to the Mistress at Montreal: but Detroit was too far distant from headquarters and Interests prompting to disobedience of such an order too prevalent for it to produce any effect; and the Commandant acknowledged in answer to a reiterated order that the slaves could not be produced; although their names and those of their new masters were correctly ascertained and a list transmitted with the order, and is as follows:

"List of Slaves formerly the property of Mrs. Agnes La Force now in possession of:"

Negro Scipio --in possession of Simon Girty( a renegade white Pennsylvanian who sided with the British and led many Indian raids against the Americans).
ditto Tim--Mr. Le Duc (Phillip Le Duc, a French Canadian, member of the Bird expedition).
ditto Ishener--ditto
ditto Stephen-- Captn, Graham (Duncan Graham), an officer in the Indian Department).
ditto Joseph--Capt. Elliot (Matthew Elliot, a captain in the Indian Service).
ditto Keggy--Ditto
ditto Job-- Mr. Baby ( Duperon Baby, a promient French trader in Detroit).
ditto HANNAH--Mr. Fisher (Frederic Fisher, an Indian interpeter).
ditto CANDIS--Capt. McKee (Alexander McKee, a Loyalist who headed the Department of Indian Affairs for the British).
ditto BESS, Grace, Rachel, and Patrick-Indians.
13 (total)"

note: BESS is BETTY

Milo Quaife, writing in a less flowery era (1927) put it more to the point: " In consequence of Powell's able championing of her cause, Mrs. La Force gained the ear of Govenor Haldimand, who, on learning the she had been despoiled of her slaves, her only remaining source of support, directed that the Commandant at Detroit find the slaves, " in whose ever possession they might be", and forward them to Montreal for restoration to their rightful owner. but this intervention availed Mrs. La Force nothing, for, although De Peyster (Arent De Peyster, commander at Detroit) transmitted a list of thirteen of the slaves, several of whom were in the possession of officials of the government of Detroit, he professed his inability to recover them. Thus was the might of the British government defied by a group of its own officials and certain influential citizens of Detroit."

The slaves had become part of the spoils of war.

Who was the William B. La Force who sought to recover them more than 30 years later? I believe he is one and the same as the 16 year-old-boy who was captured with his mother and three sisters at Martin's Station, That William, born about 1764, would be 49 years old in 1813. Woodford County records make clear that his full name was William Bailey La Force. He is listed as a Revolutionary War veteran in a history of Woodford County, and I have found in the National Archiives a Revoluntionary War military record: "Wm. La Force appears with the rank of Pvt. on a Return of Prisoners sent from the Province of Quebec for Exchange...Return dated Quebec Nov. 8, 1782. Province he belongs to: Virginia. When sent & which Way: Oct 1782 by Lake Champlain."

William La Force was married in Botetourt County, VA., in 1791 to Sarah Goodwin ("consent of Mary Goodwin"), who bore him four sons. On September 17, 1805, in Woodford County, KY., he married Nancy Holeman, daughter of Edward and Mary Holeman. Four children of this marriage are named in the will of Edward Holeman (6 Feb. 1911 Woodford), including a daughter born about 1807, Agness LaForce.

The Randolph mentioned in the powers of attorney is believed to be William's brother, who is listed in the Kentucky Census as a resident of Scott County. Randolph Leforce (as it is spelled in the Census), whose age is listed as "over 45", was the head of a family of seven- a wife also over 45, three sons and two daughters. Also in the household: 3 slaves.


In 1780, the year of the taking of Martin's Station, Randolph La Force had claimed 200 acres of land in what was then Fayette County, Virginia- later Scott County, Ky. This son of Rene and Agnes Moseby La Force presumbly was named for the well-known Randolph family of Virginia, who were neighbors of Rene La Force on the Tuckahoe Creek in Goochland County, Va., long before the migration to Kentucky in the early years of the Revoluntionary War.

The William B. La Force powers of attorney are reproduced below.

Woodford County, Ky.
25 August 1813
Power of Attorney
William B. La Force to Merit Young

Source: Woodford County Court
Book F, pp 187-188, La Force to Young

Know all men by these presents that I, William B. La Force of the county of Woodford and the state of Kentucky, have nominated, constituted and appointed and by these presents do nominate, constitute and appoint Merit Young of the county and state aforesaid my true and lawful attorney fro me and in my name to demand and take into possession ( if practicable) or make arrangements for the recovery of all or any part of the negroes that myself and the legal representives of Randolph La Force senr., decd, are entitiled to in Upper Cannada or elswhere in the British Cannadian country. those negroes being the same (with their increase) taken by Capt. Bird from Martin's Station in Kentucky in the 1780 (sic). Their names are as follows: and old woman named
BETTY & seven children, to wit, Scippio, HANNAH, James,Ishmael, Stephen, Joe & Kijah, also the above named HANNAH had five yellow children, to wit, KANDIS, Job, Grace, Rachel, & Patrick. Now be it known therefore that by these presents I do hereby ratify & confirm all such lawful acts & things which he, my said attorney, may lawfully do for the benefit of the above representives of Randolph La Force, senr., decd, in as full & ample manner as if myself was personally present. In Testimony wherof I hereunto set my hand & seal this 25th day of August 1813.

/s/ W.B. La Force /seal/

State of Kentucky, Woodford County: I, John McKinney jun., clerk of the county court for the county aforesaid, being duly authorized by law to recieve the acknowledgment of writings & admit them to record in my office do hereby certify that this power of attorney from Wm. B. La Force to Merit Young was produced before me in my office & acknowledged by said La Force to be his act & deed the same is duly recorded.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of my said office this 28th day of August 1813 & in in the 22nd year of the Commonwealth.

John McKinney jun., clerk
--------------------------------------------------

Woodford County, Ky.
22 June 1814
Power of Attorney
William B. La Force to William Stevenson,
John Stevenson & Alexander Loughery

Source: Woodford County Court
Book F. p. 311
La Force to Stevenson et al

Know all men by these presents that I, William B. La Force of the county of Woodford and the state of Kentucky, have this day nominated, constituted and appointed William Stevenson, John Stevenson & Alexander Loughery of the county and state aforesaid my true and lawful attornies for me and on my name to demand and take into possession ( if applicable) or make arrangements for the recovery of all or part of the negroes that myself & heirs & representatives of Randolph La Force senr., decd., are entitled to in Upper Canada or elsewhere in the British territory, those negroes being the same (with their increase) taken by Capt. Bird from Martin's Station in Kentucky in the year 1780. Their names are as follows; an old woman named BETTY and her seven children, to wit, Scippio, HANNAH, Jane, Ishmael, Stephen, Joe and Kijah, also the above named HANNAH has five yellow children, to wit, KANDIS, Job, Grace, Rachel & Patrick. Now be it known therefore that by these presents I do hereby ratify and confirm all such lawful acts and things they, my said attornies, may do for the benefit of the aforsaid heirs in as full a manner as if I were personally present. In testimony whereof I have unto set my hand and seal this 22nd June 1814.

/s/W.B. La Force /seal/

State of Kentucky, Woodford County:
I, John McKinney Jr., clerk of the county court for the countyaforesaid, do hereby certify this this power of attorney from William B. La Force to william Stevenson, Jon Stevenson & alexander Loughery was produced before and acknowledged by said William B. La Force to be his act and deed and the sames is duly entered of record in my said office. In testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand and caused the seal of my said office to be affixed hereto this 22nd day of June 1814 and in the 23rd year of the Commonwealth.
Jon McKinney Jr., clerk

RSS

Members

© 2024   Created by IIGSExecDirector.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service