Thursday, September 11, 2014

Follow-Up on 1866 Livingston County Apprenticeships

The following response to the recent post on Indentures of Apprenticeship - Livingston County, Kentucky 1866 has been provided by Janet Hawkins ( Information about the Coker family appears in her master's thesis, Slavery, Emancipation, and Afterward.  A Chronicle of the African Americans of Crittenden and Livingston Counties, Kentucky, to 1939, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 2004.

Ties between white slave-owners and former slaves often endured generations after Emancipation, especially in cases involving mixed-race children.   A Livingston County, Kentucky Court Order Book M  (see 28 August 2014 post) entry illustrates the complexity of race relations in post-Civil War Kentucky: 

Adeline, a free Mulatto, bound as an apprentice to Ann E. Coker until 6 March 1874, when Adeline will be 18 years old, to learn the art & mystery of a spinster. [Bk M:132, 4 June 1866]

Adeline Coker (7 March 1854 - 2 October 1944) was the daughter of Daniel Coker, a Caucasian slave-owner and the husband of the Ann E. Coker mentioned above, and Manda Coker, an enslaved black woman.  The 1860 U.S. Population Census, Slave Schedule, for Livingston County lists Daniel Coker as the owner of a 22-year-old black female, a 6-year-old mulatto female, and a 2-year-old black  male.

Adeline Coker married Edward Crawford at Mrs. Coker's house on 26 December 1879, five years after her apprenticeship had ended.(2) 

According to Addie Bell Crawford(3), Adeline Coker’s granddaughter, Daniel Coker made provisions for Adeline to receive a portion of his Salem property after he died.  Addie Bell inherited this land from her father, James Crawford, in 1961(4), and lived on this land her entire life.

Addie Bell also stated that Adeline’s white half-brother, Charlie Coker, occasionally paid social visits to his half-sister and her family.

Whether Manda Coker remained in contact with Daniel or Ann Coker after Emancipation is currently unknown.  Prior to 1870, she married a black Civil War veteran named Jordan Caldwell and resided in Smithland, Livingston County, in 1880.(5)

(1) Death Certificate, Adeline Crawford, Livingston Co., KY. 
(2) Livingston County, KY Marriage Bonds:  Negroes and Mulattoes, Microfilm #997708.
(3) Personal Interview with Addie Bell Crawford, 2002.
(4) Livingston County, KY Will Book D, Microfilm #997691, 581.
(5) U.S. Population Census, 1870 and 1880.

Published 11 September 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Unknown said...

Among my Tucker ancestors in Union County (Caleb>Nelson>Martin) there was ongoing contact with former slaves until well up into the 20th century. I always thought this was interesting, and viewed it as evidence that the Tuckers must have been benevolent to the enslaved farm hands.

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

That's interesting. The black-white relationships can vary and are often complex.