Monday, November 22, 2010

James Nickens,post from facebook with permission

James Nickens
For Freeman Family Descendants - Colvin, Drew, Grigsby, Mann, Nickens,& Tapscott

1840 Affidavit by Jane Collins, 82, of New Kent County, VA
...Molly Holt, Rhody Arnold, Billy Sampson, & Squire Osborn were the heirs of Revolutionary War soldiers John Freeman & Robert Mush. Bounty Land Warrant 2393 issued 1846 to Molly Holt, Thomas Samp...son, & Delphia Sampson, all heirs of Billy Sampson and Squire Osbourn.

Attorney John G. Ashby - "John Freeman was a Soldier of Infantry in the Continental Line and was the brother of Stephen, and in the same service as will be seen by the auditors certificates annexed".
Allowed March 17, 1840 -" The above three cases are allowed as soldiers in the Continental line for a service of three years each"

Throughout these documents the writing clerks have made reference to all persons as free people of color. Attorney Ashby makes clear that the free people of color in question are Indians.
" To the honorable executive of Virginia I beg leave to present on behalf of Squire Osborne, a freeman of color, the following claims for Land Bounty. It is proper to remark, that there were many Indians and free Negroes, and descendants of Indians in the Army of the Revolution, who not only served faithfully, but who have ....... rec'd Land Bounty of the Latter description are the persons now asking relief.".

Being referred to as "descendants of Indians" rather than "Indians" indicates that Squire Osborn was not living on a reservation. He was in fact across the Pamunkey River in New Kent County. The racial convention employed by Virginia was that Indians only lived on reservations. An Indian not residing on a reservation was at best considered to be a free person of color and at worse a mulatto or free Negro. To many whites such distinctions are apparently considered to be irrelevant. In order to construct and accurately interpret Virginia Indian history and genealogy such distinctions can be crucial.

Freeman's Ford across the Rappahannock River links Fauquier and Culpeper Counties. There are many Freemans in both Culpeper and Fauquier after the war. The John Freeman in question is identified as John Hoomes Freeman on the Culpeper side. Stephen Freeman is found in Fauquier.

If you really want to link-up some genealogy delve into the descendants of Indian traders John Freeman and John Arnold who bought land from and intermarried with the Chowanokes in North Carolina. This brings us to the Robbins/Drew area of inquiry. But that's another story.

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1 comment:

True Soul said...

So... if my ancestor (surname of Nickens) was listed as a Free-Inhabitant, race mulatto) on a 1860 census in Virginia, he may have been a Native-American?