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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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STORYTELLER LOCATION YEAR TOOK PLACE TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN HOW YOU HEARD
mother, cousins and at family reunion Rockfarm Estate, Dinwiddie County, Virginia 1840s Family's origin is Dinwiddie County, Virginia documented story passed down over generations with gaps

Clarification of when did the events occur - 1840s through 1878(?). My maternal great-great-great grandfather, Edward Yates "Ned" Hamlin, was an 1833 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College (Farmville, VA), an attorney, a gentleman farmer, a descendant of a Revolutionary War Patriot, and the great grandson of the fifth president of the College of William and Mary. He never married but fathered 10 children with his slave, my great-great-great grandmother, Dolly Scott (acquired by Ned in 1840s). Upon his death, in 1878(?), he bequeathed his land and personal property to Dolly and children. While alive, he provided land to black parishioners for the construction of Springfield Baptist Church which still stands today. After the Civil War, family oral history states Dolly pleaded for Ned's life and begged Union soldiers not to take Ned away; they left him with "his family." Unfortunately, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, was a "burn" county so many records, slave and otherwise, were destroyed. The family has had difficulty in determining the origin of Dolly ... was she purchased, if so, from whom? was she a gift, if so, from whom? who were Dolly's parents? where was she born? did she have siblings? etc.

My mother remembers from her youth white Hamlin descendants coming to Richmond (VA) and approaching black Hamlin descendants to sign papers for the sale of land in Dinwiddie County. She states at the time everybody was cousin-this and cousin-that. After the papers were signed, the white Hamlins were gone and not heard from again.

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