Archive for the Category »Miles Taliaferro «

Lizzie Taliaferro, My 2nd Great Grandmother. Have I found her?

In November 2009, I wrote about my 2nd great grandmother, Lizzie Taliaferro.  You can read that post .  As I stated there, Lizzie was the mother of my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro. I know nothing about her except that she was born in either Georgia or South Carolina, and that she was sold away or died prior to 1856.  The chances of finding any additional information on Lizzie were slim and I had pretty much given up.  I am learning more and more along this genealogy journey that you should never give up hope.


As I am writing this post, it occurred to me that I need to give a little background before I proceed. Thinking about that, I realized that I have accomplished another research goal that I had not shared or written about and this needed to be talked about in order to properly lay out my case for finding Lizzie.

My 2nd great grandfather Miles Taliaferro and his son John Wesley Taliaferro were slaves of Richard Taliaferro and his son Edward Mobley Taliaferro of Fulton County Georgia.  Richard was married to Susan Mobley and her father was Edward Mobley of Chester, South Carolina.  I won’t go into the details here, but through my research I can document that a slave named Miles was owned by Edward Mobley at the time of his death in 1839.  I can also document that a slave named Miles was owned by the Richard Taliaferro family here in Georgia in 1856, and that the family had a direct relationship to Edward Mobley – his daughter Susan.  Based on those facts, I speculated that Susan Taliaferro had received Miles in the final division of her father’s estate.  But, I did not have a paper trail to document this because there was no final division of slaves in the estate packet for Edward Mobley that I received from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (SCDAH).  I emailed the Archives requesting any other records for the estate of Edward Mobley, but was told there were none. There were some loose paper files, but I would need to come to the Archives and search them myself.  Short of taking a research trip to South Carolina to search the records for myself, I had hit a brick wall.

I knew in my heart that the “Miles” in Edward Mobley’s 1839 will and the Miles in the 1856 inventory and appraisement of the estate of Richard Taliaferro was the same person; the same Miles living near Edward Taliaferro in the 1870 and 1880 census.  I just had this feeling I was right. But, feelings are not proof and that’s what I needed – proof.

The paper trail for Miles leads to finding Lizzie.  Maybe.

Earlier this year I was elated to read that had online digital images of South Carolina estate records. This was my opportunity to search for more estate records for Edward Mobley. After searching for less than an hour, I hit the jackpot! The documents in the estate packet that I received from the SCDAH were there, but there were also other records that were not included in the estate packet, including a final division of slaves. This was just what I needed to prove and document that Miles was one of the slaves received by Susan Taliaferro.  Here is the list of “Slaves Allotted to Susan Taliaferro” (click to enlarge):

Source: South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1731-1964, Chester, Probate Court, Files 1788-1866, Apartments 049-050, Packages 776-813, Estate of Edward Mobley, Images 159-203, (digital image, Family Search,   :assessed 12 May 2011).

There he is on the next to last line “Miles 775”. I was so excited. But, wait!!  Listed right next to Miles is “little liz” and then “Elizabeth”. Could one of them be my great, great grandmother Lizzie?  I know very little about equating the appraised value of a slave with their age.  Miles was born about 1824, so at the time of the final division, 31 December 1839, he would have been about 15 years old.  He is appraised at $775.  Little Liz is appraised at $500 and Elizabeth at $300.  It saddens me to think of my ancestors in terms of a dollar amount. It brings tears to my eyes.  It is a very, very uncomfortable feeling.  Unfortunately, it is a necessary element in the analysis as I try to determine an approximate age for Little Liz and Elizabeth to further narrow down which is more likely my Lizzie.  I am thinking that Little Liz was a little younger that Miles and then Elizabeth a bit younger than Little Liz.  Some of the slaves in this group are listed in terms of their relationship to each other.  Could Little Liz and Elizabeth be related?  I ruled that as unlikely since other relationships were indicated.  Hopefully, someone with more knowledge on this subject will comment with their thoughts.   I welcome your input.

Little Liz or Elizabeth – either one of them could be my 2nd great grandmother Lizzie Taliaferro.  Of course I realize it might not be either one.  But, this is probably as close as I’m going to come to finding my great, great grandmother and it’s just too much of a coincidence to ignore.

Documenting Slave Owners Using The Confederate Citizens File At

Yesterday, Robin of posted an article on the blog titled . These records are mostly alphabetized vouchers that show goods furnished or services rendered by private citizens and businesses to the Confederate government. These records are digitized on . After reading Robin’s article, I surfed right over to Footnote to check out this collection. Robin had found info that documented the slave owner of one of her ancestors, and I hoped to do the same.

 I searched in the Confederate Citizens File using the name Taliaferro and then added Georgia to narrow the results. After clicking through a few documents I found several for an “E. M. Taliaferro”.  I recognized the name immediately. E. M. is Edward Mobley Taliaferro. The Taliferros, Edward and his father Richard lived in Georgia and were the slave holders of my paternal great, great grandfather Miles Taliaferro and his son John Wesley Taliaferro, my great grandfather.  I have an 1856 Inventory and Appraisement that documents Richard Taliaferro as the slave owner of Miles and John. You can see that inventory in this previous post .

The document I found shows that on 9 July 1864, E. M. Taliaferro was paid 280 dollars for 8,615 pounds of oats sold at 31/2 cents per pound. 1

Wait! As soon as I saw this image I realized I had actually found this document before and it was in my gallery on Footnote.  Lesson: Keep a research log and document what you find (and don’t find).

 I continued to search; I replaced Taliaferro with “Gates” but kept Georgia as a search term.  Jack Gates was my maternal great grandfather; he was my grandmother’s father. I strongly suspect his slave owner was Benjamin Gates of Meriwether County, GA.  I found records for a Benjamin Gates in Meriwether and Troup Counties.  Then I substituted “Middlebrooks” for Gates. Alexander “Alex” Middlebrooks (my great grandfather) was born in Harris County, GA.  A possible slave owner is John Middlebrooks and I found a record for a John Middlebrooks of Harris County, GA. Harris County borders Alabama. I believe my Middlebrooks ancestors have an Alabama connection.  I saw several records for Middlebrooks in areas of Alabama around and near Harris County.

 There is no shortage of records to pursue for more clues to possible slave owners.  The Confederate Citizens File is a rich genealogical resource. But, it will require patience and persistence to reap the rewards.

 Several of the records I found mentioned other individuals and referenced additional records that can be checked for further documentation.  For example, there was a document for Gates, Benj K of  Meriwether Co GA that referred you to the case of Alfred S Greer, and a record for Middlebrooks, John A that referred you to the case of Henry T Huff.  These records could hold information that can help me identify and confirm my ancestor’s slave owners.

 Of course, there is much more research to come before I can document, with any certainty, the slave owners of my Gates and Middlebrooks ancestors, and I continue to look for additional doumentation on the Taliaferro slave owners. The records I found do provide more avenues to pursue before I can add another piece to the puzzle.  My thanks go to Robin and her article for leading me to these records, and for motivating me to continue the search to document my ancestors.


  1. “Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65,”  digital images, ( : accessed 19 January 2011), record for E. M. Taliaferro, Atlanta, Georgia, page 3 of 3, a payment of 280 dollars on  9 July 1864, citing National Archives Record Group 109, (also known as the “Citizen File” NARA M346).

We’re Having An Inventory and Appraisement…I Wonder If The Ancestors Will Celebrate?

DATE:  9 February 1856

LOCATION: Fulton County, GA

PLACE: Richard Taliaferro’s Farm

Inventory and appraisement of the Estate of Richard Taliaferro (of unsound mind)

                                                                                                                                       Valued at

Willis & Wife & child (Letta)………………………………………………………..1900.00

Miles & Son John……………………………………………………………………..1700.00

Nancy & Son Albert……………………………………………………………………1250.00

Hulda & Child…………………………………………………………………………..1000.00


Kipy & Peter……………………………………………………………………………….1000.00

Mingo Wife & two children………………………………………………………………..2100.00

Green & Mahaly…………………………………………………………………………….1550.00

Clinton & Molly……………………………………………………………………………….700.00

I Wonder If The Ancestors Will Celebrate?


154 years later…..

We’re Having A Carnival…I Wonder If The Ancestors Will Celebrate?

DATE: 19 March 2010

LOCATION: The Internet

PLACE:  The GeneaCommunity

This I my first Carnival. I am so excited. But, it’s not just any Carnival, it’s the very first Carnival of African American Genealogy. The theme for the Carnival is – Restore My Name – Slave Records and Genealogy Research.

I Wonder If The Ancestors Will Celebrate?


One aspect offered for discussion – What responsibilities are involved on the part of the researcher when locating names of slaves in a record? I submit there is a huge responsibility on every researcher to share slave names found in records encountered during their research. The major aspect of that responsibility is SHARING. The responsibility to share slave data falls on every researcher- descendants of slave owners, descendants of the enslaved, and yes, even those whose ancestors were not slave owners. It is a genea-community responsibility. If we step up to the plate and share this responsibility…

I Wonder If The Ancestors Will Celebrate?

Our spirits are high, and we’re encouraged by recent developments. Descendants of slave owners are sharing slave-related documents on a regular basis, posting and tweeting about slave info, and creating new daily themes focused on sharing slave-related documents. A new movement is spreading throughout the genea-community, and it’s contagious.   is resurrecting The Underground Railroad 21stcentury style with modern day genea-conductors. We are sharing and caring; communicating and exchanging; coming together with a common purpose. We switched from defense to offense; from blame and finger-pointing to understanding and acceptance. 

I Wonder If The Ancestors Will Celebrate?


Up above my head, I hear music in the air…

I Wonder If The Ancestors Are Celebrating?



Category: , Miles Taliaferro, Richard Taliaferro,    Tags: , , , ,

Follow Friday: Four GeneaGirls and A Guy In Savannah, GA

Today, me and my brother Bernard, along with my friend and genea-pal Luckie Daniels of , are headed to Savannah, GA to meet up with genea-pals Felicia of and Mavis of and for . What started as a “we should do that” conversation one night on Twitter quickly evolved into a real trip. Luckie and I are in Atlanta; Mavis is driving down from North Carolina, and Felicia is coming from Maryland. Our common bond is our love of genealogy and our passion for uncovering and telling the stories of our ancestors. My brother Bernard doesn’t do genealogy, but is very supportive of me. He quickly hopped on board and agreed to drive Luckie and I down to Savannah. We can sit back, relax, and chat up our ancestors while he takes care of the driving.

We plan to pack a lot into this one weekend. Of course there’s the Expo. Then we plan a tour of Savannah with emphasis on its slave culture, and a trip to a former plantation. We’re also gearing up for a genea-session to tackle some of our brick walls. I can’t pass up the opportunity to pick the brains of some very seasoned African-American researchers. I’m bringing the challenge of my great, great grandfather Miles Taliaferro, a major brick wall. I’m sure Luckie, Felicia, and Mavis will come with ancestor challenges that will keep us analyzing and strategizing for hours. Oh, and don’t forget about all of that great Southern Savannah cuisine. A weekend just couldn’t get any better! Four GeneaGirls and A Guy in Savannah, GA.

Category: Daily Themes, Miles Taliaferro  7 Comments  Tags: ,

Proximity of polling place to residence plays a vital role in voter turnout. My voting precinct just happens to be right around the corner from my house in easy walking distance. But, for many of our ancestors such convenience was not the case.
In a September 11, 1881, issue of The Atlanta Constitution, a legal notice from Fulton County, GA, addressing the Commissioners of Roads and Revenues, contained a petition signed by citizens of old Blackhall district asking the Commissioners to sustain the new district laid out by the ordinary of said county. The petitioners were also seeking to have laid out another new district and requested that three commissioners be appointed to lay out the district. The first two names on the petition were S. M. Taliaferro and E.M. Taliaferro. They were Edward Mobley Taliaferro, former slaveholder of my Taliaferro ancestors, and his son Samuel Mobley Taliaferro. Also among the signers were my great, great grandfather Miles Taliaferro, and his sons John Wesley Taliaferro (my great grandfather), and Alex Taliaferro.

Edward Mobley Taliaferro was one of the three commissioners appointed to lay out the new district. Two of the commissioners, Samuel Hape and T.A. Poole, objected to the new district stating it would be “a matter of public inconvenience”; they gave their recommendation for a change in the lines between the two districts. Edward Taliaferro disagreed with his fellow commissioners stating “I beg leave to report that, in my opinion, it is the wish of a majority of the people of said part of the county, and it would certainly be to their convenience to have a district laid off,….” and he went on to give his recommendation for the lines of the district. Taliaferro further stated “[t]he reasons for wanting a [n]ew district are that a majority of the voters and the people are remote from the places of holding court and voting, to wit: East Point and West End.” The Commissioners approved the new district as recommended by Edward Taiaferro. The new district was known as South Bend district. My research shows that my ancestors and many of their relatives lived in this South Bend district.

One can only speculate as to the reasons why Commissioners Hape and Poole objected to the formation of the new district, or why Edward Taliaferro did not side with his fellow commissioners. The politics of this would surely make interesting reading. Considering the time period, a trip from South Bend to either East Point or West End was probably more than a mere “inconvenience”. Realistically, the eventual formation of this new district was probably not for the convenience of my ancestors and their African American contemporaries. Nonetheless, I cannot help but feel a certain sense of pride knowing that my people were actively participating in this process during a time when I am sure they continued to face many of the injustices of that era.

**Click on image to enlarge.

Source:The Atlanta Constitution, 11 September 1881, p.5, digital image, ( : accessed 31 October 2009).

In genealogy we research to find out the Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Those are the basics. But, if you are like me, you often wonder what everyday life was like for your ancestors. What did they do; where did they go; and who did they see. We know that they had to work and take care of their families; deal with the struggles of day-to-day living. Of course, many attended church and school, and were probably involved in community activities. I am in constant search of anything that can shed more light on the daily life of my ancestors, and their extracurricular activities. I have found that historical newspapers are an excellent source for conducting this type of research. You never know what you might find…..and, as they say, be careful what you ask for.

A few days ago while on, I came across this interesting notice in the March 24, 1902, issue of the Atlanta Constitution:

My Taliaferro ancestors have a history in East Point, GA. The WHERE of this story fit with my research facts. Alexander “Alex” Taliaferro was my great, great uncle; son of Miles Taliaferro, my great, great grandfather; brother of my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro; uncle of my grandfather John Robert Taliaferro; and great uncle to my father John Lawrence Taliaferro. Alex was born about 1858 in Fulton, GA, and died sometime after this 1902 incident, probably in or close to East Point, GA. That’s the WHO and WHEN. But, WHAT in the world was a “blind tiger” and WHY was Uncle Alex running one?
I had never heard or seen the term “running a blind tiger” before. A quick search on Google revealed the following definitions: Blind Tiger – a place where illegal intoxicants were sold; Running a blind tiger - selling liquor without a license. So, now I have the WHAT. Uncle Alex and his buddies were selling liquor, illegally!!!! As the old folks say..they were running a liquor house. That really cracks me up, especially considering his brother John Wesley and his nephew John Robert were ministers.
All that remains unanswered is the WHY. Why was Uncle Alex selling illegal liquor? Was this a way to make extra money? Probably. Was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Maybe, but maybe not. Or, were dear Uncle Alex and his cohorts just up to no good? Possibly. I wonder if I can find out the outcome of the case. Like so many other questions in genealogical research, the WHY will unfortunately probably remain unanswered. At least I know something about one day in the life of my great, great uncle..Alexander “Alex” Taliaferro. I think I’ll go and have a glass of wine (or two) in honor of Uncle Alex!!

Last week for Wordless Wednesday I posted a picture of my grandfather John Robert Taliaferro with the following source note: From: Arthur Bunyan Caldwell, ed., History Of The American Negro And His Institutions, Georgia Edition (Atlanta: A. B. Caldwell Publishing Co.,1917), 353 It did not occur to me to post the entire article from the book because it was “Wordless” Wednesday. My intention was only to give credit for the source of the photo.
Well, several people were curious and actually googled the book and read the entire feature. My friend over at Our Georgia Roots, encouraged me to step outside the box, make my own rules, and write as much as I want or need to write regardless of theme. Luckie continues to inspire me to become a better researcher, and to be more diligent in documenting my family history. So, I decided to post the entire biography of John Robert Taliaferro from the book History Of The American Negro And His Institutions, Georgia Edition. The book features African Americans who were making significant contributions to their communities, and who otherwise may not have been recognized or even known. As the title implies, there were also editions for other states, including South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., and West Virginia. There were a total of seven volumes the Georgia edition was two volumes. If you had ancestors in any of these states, I would encourage you to seek out these books. Unfortunately, the books are very rare and not readily available. The Georgia edition has been digitized and is available online.
The article on my grandfather was sent to me by my cousin back in 2005. It was her way of sharing some family history with me. Thinking back on my first reading of the article, I felt as if I was sitting at my grandfather’s feet listening to him give me an account of his life up to that point in time. I was AMAZED at the amount of history on those few pages. A researcher’s dream!! I am posting the scanned pages from the original book a copy of which is in the possession of my cousin. It is literally falling apart, but is still a treasured family heirloom.
**Note: Click on each page image to enlarge.

Miles Taliaferro (aka Miles Toliver) was my paternal great, great grandfather. Although Miles is the Taliaferro I know the least about, I feel a certain closeness to him that I cannot explain.

Miles was probably born in North Carolina circa 1824. Miles died sometime after October 1881. I have no reason to believe he died any place other than GA. However, there are other possible places of birth- Georgia and South Carolina. On the 1870 census Miles was born in GA. On the 1880 census Miles was born in NC, and so were both of his parents. The 1870 Voter Registration List for Fulton County also indicates that Miles was born in NC. The 1880 and 1900 census enumerations for Miles’ son, John Wesley Taliaferro, show his father was born in NC; in 1910 it was SC; and in 1920 it was GA. I think GA is the least likely of the three. I think NC is probably where Miles was born, but I cannot place him there. I think I can place Miles in SC with a former slave owner and relative of his last slave owners in GA, Richard Taliaferro and his son Edward Mobley Taliaferro.

Edward Mobley Taliaferro was the son of Richard Taliaferro and Susan Mobley. They were all born in SC. Susan’s father was Edward Mobley of Chester District, SC. In 1838 Edward Mobley made a will which included bequeaths for a large number of slaves, but there was no slave named Miles. Some months later in 1839, Edward Mobley made a second will. This will is almost identical to the first will with the exception that it contains some additional slaves-among them one slave named “Miles” valued at $775.00. (My Miles would have been about 15yrs old). The last section of the will states in part “And whereas the above legacies is in Lieu of all right title and interest to any part of the Estate of Ephrain M Mobley Deceased ….” Because of this statement, I believe that the additional slaves in Edward Mobley’s 1839 will probably came from the estate of this Ephrain M Mobley.

The estate packet for Edward Mobley that I ordered from the SC Archives did not contain a final distribution of slaves by name. I have not been able to locate a will for an Ephrain/Ephraim M. Mobley in either SC or GA. I don’t know who he is, or how he was related to the Mobley family. Maybe he is the NC connection. I found an Ephriam Mobley who was living in Henry County, GA in 1830, and he does not show up in the 1840 census. I found no will for an Eprhain/Ephraim Mobley there or in any of the surrounding counties. I believe he may be the key to tracking down info on the additional slaves named in Edward Mobley’s 1839 will.

A copy of Edward Mobley’s will was filed in Dekalb County, GA. Maybe a copy of the Ephrain M Mobley will was also filed there, but I may never know for sure. Dekalb is a burned county; there were courthouse fires in 1842 and 1898. If my worst fears are realized, any evidence that would assist me in proving or disproving this “Miles” as my “Miles” went up in smoke many, many years ago in that 1842 fire. For all my research thus far, I am still Miles from Miles.

My first Madness Monday post is a puzzle that has followed me for years.

My gg grandfather was Miles Taliaferro. Miles is a major brick wall and a story I’ll save for another time.

Miles had five sons: John Wesley Taliaferro (my great grandfather), Alexander “Alex” Taliaferro, Robert Taliaferro, David Taliaferro, and Thomas Taliaferro. (Miles also had daughters, but they are not the focus here). At some point, after the 1880 census, Robert and David changed their names; they became Bob Toliver and Dave Toliver. This caused a major brick wall until I got death certificates for Bob Toliver and Dave Toliver that confirmed their father was Miles. (Thomas may have done so as well, but I have no documentation for that if he did). In the 1880 census, Miles and family are right where I expected to find them – Fulton County, GA with the surname spelling I expected – T-A-L-I-A-F-E-R-R-O. The same goes for the 1870 census except there the name is spelled T-O-L-L-I-V-E-R. After 1880, I cannot find any trace of Robert Taliaferro/Bob Toliver or David Taliaferro/Dave Toliver until they show up in the 1910 census; again right where I expected to find them – Fulton County, GA- but now they are Bob TOLIVER and Dave TOLIVER. They are now married with children. A thirty year gap. Darn that 1890 census!!!! (I do have a possibility for Robert in the 1900 census, but can’t confirm it’s him. This candidate is single and living alone in 1900. In the 1910 census Robert/Bob has children in the household who were born before 1900. I am not sure if these are his children with his wife, or her children from a prior marriage, but something feels “off” about this family.)

Taliaferro is a surname for which the pronunciation and the spelling do not match. Taliaferro is often pronounced tah-li-ver. I know it was pronounced that way by my ancestors, and most likely by their slave owner as well. When Taliaferro is pronounced
tah-li-ver, the spelling can easily change to Toliver or Tolliver. This is probably what happened with Robert/Bob and David/Dave. I wonder what prompted this change to the phonetic spelling? Whether it was a matter of choice or convenience, or some other reason, I’ll probably never know. Interestingly, my great grandfather John Wesley, his son John Robert, and his son John Lawrence (my father) continued the Taliaferro spelling and tah-li-ver pronunciation. My brother and cousin disagree. They say no way can T-a-l-i-a-f-e-r-r-o be pronounced tah-li-ver. So, they both pronounce it tel-i-fer’ro. I switch back and forth depending on my mood. :)

I have searched and searched the 1900 census, page by page and line by line, but I cannot find Robert Taliaferro/Bob Toliver or David Taliaferro/Dave Toliver anywhere. (I’m not sure about Thomas; he may have been otherwise engaged- on “vacation”- I’m still working on him; I have found John Wesley Taliaferro and Alex Tolliver). Robert/Bob died 9 April 1920 and David/Dave died 3 February 1951, in Fulton County, GA. What happened between the 1880 census and the 1910 census? Did they move away; temporarily relocate? Were they missed by the census takers-both of them? I have nothing to lead me to other relatives in another county or state where they may have gone possibly in search of work, or for some other reason. Where were they in 1900?

Category: Miles Taliaferro, , Toliver,    Tags: ,