Priscilla Dowell, to whom your were introduced in my Blog post on November 21st appears in the US Census in 1860. Although the census gives her birthplace as Maryland, this may not be correct. Most of her older siblings were born in Maryland; but most of her extended family was already in Rowan County, NC during the middle 1780s.
Name: Priscilla Dowell Age in 1860: 70 Birth Year: abt 1790 Birthplace: Maryland Home in 1860: Lower Division, Wilkes, North Carolina Gender: Female Post Office: Brier Creek Value of real estate: ______ Value of personal estate $5,500 Household Members:
Name Age 70
It is interesting that she is shown as owning no real estate but having personal property valued at $5,500. I am assuming that most of this $5,500 was the value of her 5 slaves.
The 1860 Slave Census was taken less than a year after Priscilla wrote her will. In that census Priscilla was listed as owning the following slaves:
Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the five slaves enumerated were the same as the five listed in her will. If that is correct we can put this information together with the names listed in Priscilla’s will:
Name Age Gender Race Jude 46 Female Black Henderson 18 Male Black Payton 16 Male Black Eloisa 12 Female Black Jo 1 Male Black
It seems ironic that the 1850 and 1860 Slave Censuses were conducted so that each slave could be counted as two-thirds of a person in the apportionment of seats allowed to each state in the US House of Representatives. Priscilla Dowell was willing for the Executor of her estate to select good homes in this neighborhood and to sell her slaves at two-thirds their book value. Was this a coincidence? Was it customary? Was it a good faith gesture on the part of Priscilla to find humane placements for her slaves?
If Priscilla had no real estate of her own, these slaves were either household slaves or were loaned out to neighbors who had land to plant.
I will report more on this story as I am able to unravel it.