ST. BERNARD PARISH, LOUISIANA
LARGEST SLAVEHOLDERS FROM 1860 SLAVE CENSUS SCHEDULES
SURNAME MATCHES FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS ON 1870 CENSUS
Transcribed by Tom Blake, April 2001
PURPOSE. Published information giving names of slaveholders and numbers of slaves held in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, in 1860, is either non-existent or not readily available. It is possible to locate a free person on the St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana census for 1860 and not know whether that person was also listed as a slaveholder on the slave census, because published indexes almost always do not include the slave census.
Those who have found a free ancestor on the 1860 St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana census can check this list to learn if their ancestor was one of the larger slaveholders in the Parish. If the ancestor is not on this list, the 1860 slave census microfilm can be viewed to find out whether the ancestor was a holder of a fewer number of slaves or not a slaveholder at all. Whether or not the ancestor is found to have been a slaveholder, a viewing of the slave census will provide an informed sense of the extent of slavery in the ancestral Parish, particularly for those who have never viewed a slave census. An ancestor not shown to hold slaves on the 1860 slave census could have held slaves on an earlier census, so those films can be checked also. In 1850, the slave census was also separate from the free census, but in earlier years it was a part of the free census.
African American descendants of persons who were enslaved in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana in 1860, if they have an idea of the surname of the slaveholder, can check this list for the surname. If the surname is found, they can then view the microfilm for the details listed regarding the sex, age and color of the slaves. If the surname is not on this list, the microfilm can be viewed to see if there were smaller slaveholders with that surname. To check a master surname list for other States and Counties, return to Home and Links Page.
The information on surname matches of 1870 African Americans and 1860 slaveholders is intended merely to provide data for consideration by those seeking to make connections between slaveholders and former slaves. Particularly in the case of these larger slaveholders, the data seems to show in general not many freed slaves in 1870 were using the surname of their 1860 slaveholder. However, the data should be checked for the particular surname to see the extent of the matching.
The last U.S. census slave schedules were enumerated by County in 1860 and included 393,975 named persons holding 3,950,546 unnamed slaves, or an average of about ten slaves per holder. The actual number of slaveholders may be slightly lower because some large holders held slaves in more than one County and they would have been counted as a separate slaveholder in each County. Excluding slaves, the 1860 U.S. population was 27,167,529, with about 1 in 70 being a slaveholder. It is estimated by this transcriber that in 1860, slaveholders of 200 or more slaves, while constituting less than 1 % of the total number of U.S. slaveholders, or 1 out of 7,000 free persons, held 20-30% of the total number of slaves in the U.S. The process of publication of slaveholder names beginning with larger slaveholders will enable naming of the holders of the most slaves with the least amount of transcription work.
SOURCES. The 1860 U.S. Census Slave Schedules for St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana (NARA microfilm series M653, Roll 431) reportedly includes a total of 2,240 slaves. This transcription includes 13 slaveholders who held 50 or more slaves in St. Bernard Parish, accounting for 1,188 slaves, or 53% of the Parish total. The rest of the slaves in the Parish were held by a total of 107 slaveholders, and those slaveholders have not been included here. Due to variable film quality, handwriting interpretation questions and inconsistent counting and page numbering methods used by the census enumerators, interested researchers should view the source film personally to verify or modify the information in this transcription for their own purposes. Census data for 1860 was obtained from the Historical United States Census Data Browser, which is a very detailed, searchable and highly recommended database that can found at http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/census/ . Census data on African Americans in the 1870 census was obtained using Heritage Quest's CD "African-Americans in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census", available through Heritage Quest at http://www.heritagequest.com/ . In comparing census data for different years, the transcriber was not aware of any relevant changes to Parish boundaries.
FORMAT. This transcription lists the names of those largest slaveholders in the Parish, the number of slaves they held in the Parish and the first census page on which they were listed. The page numbers used are the rubber stamped numbers in the upper right corner of every set of two pages, with the previous stamped number and a "B" being used to designate the pages without a stamped number. Following the holder list is a separate list of the surnames of the holders with information on numbers of African Americans on the 1870 census who were enumerated with the same surname. The term "Parish" is used to describe the main subdivisions of the State by which the census was enumerated.
TERMINOLOGY. Though the census schedules speak in terms of "slave owners", the transcriber has chosen to use the term "slaveholder" rather than "slave owner", so that questions of justice and legality of claims of ownership need not be addressed in this transcription. Racially related terms such as African American, black, mulatto and colored are used as in the source or at the time of the source, with African American being used otherwise.
PLANTATION NAMES. Plantation names were not shown on the census. Using plantation names to locate ancestors can be difficult because the name of a plantation may have been changed through the years and because the sizeable number of large farms must have resulted in lots of duplication of plantation names. In Louisiana in 1860 there were 371 farms of 1,000 acres or more, the largest size category enumerated in the census, and another 1,161 farms of 500-999 acres. Linking names of plantations in this Parish with the names of the large holders on this list should not be a difficult research task, but it is beyond the scope of this transcription.
FORMER SLAVES. The 1860 U.S. Census was the last U.S. census showing slaves and slaveholders. Slaves were enumerated in 1860 without giving their names, only their sex and age and indication of any handicaps, such as deaf or blind Slaves 100 years of age or older were supposed to be named on the 1860 slave schedule, but there were only 1,570 slaves of such age enumerated, out of a total of 3,950,546 slaves, and the transcriber did not find any such information on the enumeration of the transcribed slaveholders. Freed slaves, if listed in the next census, in 1870, would have been reported with their full name, including surname. Some of these former slaves may have been using the surname of their 1860 slaveholder at the time of the 1870 census and they may have still been living in the same State or Parish. Before presuming an African American was a slave on the 1860 census, the free census for 1860 should be checked, as almost 11% of African Americans were enumerated as free in 1860, with about half of those living in the southern States. Estimates of the number of former slaves who used the surname of a former owner in 1870, vary widely and from region to region. If an African American ancestor with one of these surnames is found on the 1870 census, then making the link to finding that ancestor as a slave requires advanced research techniques involving all obtainable records of the holder.
MIGRATION OF FORMER SLAVES: According to U.S. Census data, the 1860 St. Bernard Parish population included 1,771 whites, 65 "free colored" and 2,240 slaves. By the 1870 census, the white population had declined a little over 7% to 1,640, while the "colored" population had dropped 17% to 1,913. (As a side note, by 1960, 100 years later, the Parish was listed as having 29,761 whites, almost a seventeen times increase, but the 1960 total of 2,339 "Negroes" was only 34 people more than what the colored population had been 100 years before.) Where did these freed slaves go? Orleans Parish saw an increase in colored population of almost double between 1860 and 1870, growing to over 50,000, so likely that is where many went. No other Louisiana Parish showed such a significant increase. Between 1860 and 1870, the Louisiana colored population only increased by 4%, about 13,000. States that saw more significant increases in colored population during that time, and were therefore more likely possible places of relocation for colored persons from St. Bernard Parish, included the following: Georgia, up 80,000 (17%); Texas, up 70,000 (38%); Alabama, up 37,000 (8%); North Carolina, up 31,000 (8%); Florida, up 27,000 (41%); Ohio, up 26,000 (70%); Indiana, up 25,000 (127%); and Kansas up from 265 to 17,000 (6,400%).
ALEXANDER, "slaves", 94 slaves, page 6
BIENVENU, Melchior, 59 slaves, page 6B
DAVIS, C. K., 136 slaves, page 6B
DUNBAR, William, 79 slaves, page 2B
LANNON, "slaves", 93 slaves, page 4
LATIMER, Robert McKethen, 56 slaves, page 6B
MARRERO, Antoine, 73 slaves, page 5
MERRITT, A. C. B., 191 slaves, page 8
PROCTOR, L. R., 119 slaves, page 7B
PROCTOR, Mary, 103 slaves, page 7
ROY, Frederick, 51 slaves, page 1
VILLERE, Edmon, 50 slaves, page 3
WALKER, Auguste W., 84 slaves, page 3B
SURNAME MATCHES AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS ON 1870 CENSUS:
(exact surname spellings only are reported, no spelling variations or soundex)
(SURNAME, # in US, in State, in Parish, born in State, born and living in State, born in State and living in Parish)
ALEXANDER, 3460, 347, 2, 242, 211, 7
BIENVENU, 4, 2, 0, 4, 4, 0
DAVIS, 13725, 1216, 5 707, 598, 19
DUNBAR, 291, 31, 1, 20, 14, 1
LANNON, 3, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
LATIMER, 128, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
MARRERO, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0
MERRITT, 269, 18, 0, 10, 10, 0
PROCTOR, 435, 23, 1, 6, 6, 1
ROY, 332, 45, 0, 35, 34, 0
VILLERE, 8, 8, 0, 7, 7, 0
WALKER, 8492, 653, 1, 345, 291, 0
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