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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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As a child my mother and grandparents would tell us stories about slavery . Anson, Cumberland, Montogomery, Moore , and Davidaon Counties in NC 1780s Anson County NC, Polkton and Wadesboro, NC Oral history that was pass down for one generation to the next.

The Story of Rachel

During my genealogy search I found a descendant my ggg-grand-mother who was bought at the age of 8 or 9, sold for 90 pounds in silver ($720.00), 300 acres of land a mare & a colt because the family that owned her was deep in debt.

During the late 1700's James Muse owned several slaves. He made his will in the year of 1780 & willed his daughter Charity a slave named Rachel. The bill of sale for Rachel dated December 6, 1787 & confirmed in October Court 1790, March 9,1827. The bill of sale was registered at the register’s office of Anson County, NC Book V Page 395 by Wm Marshall. From 1784 to 1826 a more than 40 years had passed since the sale of Rachel.

The heir, Charity now married, filed suit to get her back along with her 18 children. The case lasted from 1826-1838 and went all the way to the NC Supreme-Court. The family had to put up as much as $20,000 dollars in the 1800”s for these slaves! The case is documented and recorded at the NC State Archives title NC Supreme-Court Case #2580 Burkehead vs. Watkins/ recorded June Term 1838 with over 234 pages of testimony. This story is awesome! She was owned and placed in 2 different wills as property. Rachel is the mother of Spicey, Spicey is the mother of Fannie Colson Howell, Fannie is the mother of Lula H. Sturdivant, Lula is the mother of Bessie Mae S. Conrad, and Bessie is my mother, Helen Conrad Rorie. I call it "The Story of Rachel"! I want to do more research to find out where Rachel came from.

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