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Documenting Slave Owners Using The Confederate Citizens File At Footnote.com

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 Wordless Wednesday- “Miles & son John”.

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, Footnote.com ( : 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).

Wordless Wednesday- "Miles & son John"

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.