Winter Tea Party winners: Angela's book,THE SCARLET COAT, will go to: Print copy- Andrea Stephens; e-book copy - Catherine Wight!

LUCY REYNOLDS has a table topper quilt on the way, and winners of the Valentine Ebook Collection are: Deanna Stevens, Caryl Kane, Anne Payne and Winnie Thomas. With thanks to all who joined in!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sins of the Fathers -- Slavery's Roots in Virginia by Carrie Fancett Pagels


I began the following post several years ago, but didn't post it. I recently completed a novella, "Love's Escape" which will be published in November, 2017, by Barbour in The Captive Brides collection. This novella includes two escaped slaves who are one-eighth African descent, being brought out of bondage via my hero, the son of a funeral home owner and his friend.

Recently, Pegg Thomas post about Abolitionism in colonial times. I pulled the following post out of draft mode to share! And I've modified it and added to my original post.

As I've mentioned in a previous post several year ago, with Julian Charity, Historian at Shirley Plantation, the indentured servants were the first main workforce in Virginia and it was only later that slavery began its pernicious roots. I live right here in the heart of of where the enslavement of Africans began. Lest you think only the British were transporting slaves, one of the first cargoes to Virginia was from a captured Spanish shipload and diverted to Virginia.

Also, as documented at Colonial Michilimackinac in the St. Anne parish, the French enslaved both Indians and Africans, and many of these children were baptized, leaving a record of such barbarisms as recordings that child of slave girl and her owner was baptized on such and such a date. I'll admit I'm ignorant of what the French did with offspring of such unions, but I'm assuming they continued to be enslaved in the far north. However, I do know what happened in Virginia after 1662. The white landowners enacted laws that stated that the children born to those enslaved remained enslaved and the property of the owner.

Therein, during colonial times, began the not only the horrible practice of enslaving future generations but from then forward any children born between master and slave were continued to be enslaved (unless freed, of course--but there were various restrictions there, too.) So that by the time of the 1860s, abolitionists utilized the modern-day technology of photographs to share picture of enslaved white children, in the south, offspring of multi-generational owner-slave "unions" -- and while it shouldn't have taken that to have awakened consciousness of the evil of slavery, at least sympathies were finally stirred to the point of taking action.

But I digress. Early on, in the mid 1600s, records indicate there were only several hundred blacks present among over ten thousand colonials. Just a fraction. Can you imagine, if you were, say, one of these very small minority blacks, a freeman, and now you see shiploads of slaves being brought into Jamestown and Yorktown? I know what I'd be thinking--how long till they try to enslave me?

Near where I live, across the York River, is an area referred to as Guinea. Locally, they've said this was because the watermen who settled there were often paid in Guineas. But the reason for the name of the British guinea coin is from Africa, specifically Guinea. The first guinea coins weren't minted until 1663.

In the 1660's, the Royal Africa company began business and soon thereafter brought thousands of slaves to Virginia.

Rosewell and a dependency

The owners of the once-magnificent Rosewell Plantation (see above), in Gloucester, were some of the main importers of human lives. The ruins of a majestic brick three-story home (with twenty-one fireplaces!) still stand in Gloucester. It is an interesting place to visit.

In my July 2016 release, Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican), my characters go into indentured servitude. But it is a much kinder and gentler situation than most folks endured. Simply perusing the newspapers from that time frame (mid-1700s) reveals all kinds of misuse of indentured servants.

And lest you think I am pointing the finger, I have deep Virginia roots myself, back to the 1600s in the very area where I live, but wasn't raised.

In the November release, we have brides from all kinds of backgrounds but who are "captive" by something.

Question: Do you have an ancestor who was enslaved or indentured? Do you possibly not know but suspect it?


3 comments:

  1. This is very interesting CARRIE.
    I have done a bit of our family genealogy on both sides of the family but have not uncovered anything that would indicate an ancestor having been indentured or enslaved. Of course, there is always that possibility if I were to go back far enough.
    Blessings, Tina

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    1. I have been surprised about the people whose family members were indentured servants. And I've also been surprised at the number of people who have come to me privately, after reading Return to Shirley Plantation, which features a 1/8 African free woman as heroine, and have said they knew they had a similar background but are unable to find out more about their ancestors.

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  2. I know very little of my family history. I remember my dad talking about his dad, my grandpa, who worked for a wealthy landowner in Russia. I don't know if he was a paid employee and he passed away when my dad was in his teens. My mom's family were business owners in Russia and again in Canada, but I think they only had paid employees. It is an interesting thought, to think that someone in my ancestry could have been indentured.

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