The Slave Name Roll Project, started by Schalene Jennings Dagutis, strives to create a searchable resource for genealogical research of ancestors who were slaves in the United States. By asking descendants of slaves and slave-owners, to collect and submit names of slaves of their ancestors to this project, the hope is to collect as many names as possible, making them all more searchable and accessible to descendants. There are only a few main resources to find the names of slaves. The slave schedules only had numbers of slaves. But some courts required the listing of slaves by name for property tax purposes. The other main place to find the names of slaves, is in wills. People actually willed their slaves to their children! Everytime I realize this, it makes me sick at heart. I will never understand how one of my relatives truly thought it was not only all right, but a good thing, to own slaves –to enslave another human being and rationalize it in your mind! But it happened on a large-scale in the United States, until we fought a war over it and the slaves were freed. It took at least another one hundred years for African-Americans to begin to gain their civil rights.
My eighth great- grandfather, John Langhorne arrived in the Virginia Colony sometime after the mid 1600’s. He and his wife Rebecca Carter married in England in 1665. John established a family home in Warwick County, Virginia, which served five generations. In his book, The Virginia Langhornes, Appendix V, page 309, James C. Langhorne gives a list of 36 slaves, first names only, who belonged to the Langhorne family, and were enumerated on the Warwick County tax lists between 1783-1785. By 1783, three generations of Langhornes who had lived in the home at Warwick County were gone. John’s great-grandson,William Langhorne 1721-1797, my 5th great-grandfather, would have been the head of the household at that time. That means we’ve not yet found a lot of names. I will continue my research and see what I can find. I wanted to go ahead and get these names submitted so that they would be available for family to find.
In this same appendix, James C. Langhorne lists 80 more slaves who belonged to the Langhorne family who lived on a plantation in Cumberland County, Virginia. These names were collected from Cumberland County tax records and estate records between 1784-1797. James C. Langhorne makes a note of telling us that names appearing more than once are not duplicated. We know that Maurice Langhorne, 1721-1791 was the first of the family to relocate to Cumberland County in the piedmont of Virginia, away from the coast. He was my fifth great-grandfather, and according to tax records he bought thousands of acres of land in Cumberland, establishing himself as a successful plantation owner. The only way he believed he could be a successful planter in the late 1700’s, was to use slave labor to work the agricultural endeavors. Among those slaves, are these now identified by James C. Langhorne if only by first names. I take my hat off to James, not many authors of genealogy books include the family slaves! It is a commendable thing that he does.
I found the illustration of Isaiah 49:15 very fitting for this situation. Men in 17th and 18th century America might have neglected the names of their slaves, but it seems God did not. As we find more and more names to place in the Slave Name Project, it seems God is giving the names to us, as He was holding them in the palm of His hand all the time, as promised.
From The Virginia Langhornes by James C. Langhorne we find this list of names of slaves owned by the Langhorne family, from Warwick County, Virginia, 1783-1785:
Adam, Ann, Bedford, Ben, Bob, Cloe, Cuddy, Cupid,
Dinah, Eliza, Fanny, Flora, Frank, Freeborn, Grace, Jack
James, James Read, Jerry, Judith, Lawrence, Lucinda, Lucy,
Nanny, Paul, Peter, Phillis, Rachel, Roger, Sary, Sylvia, Sue
Tom, Venus , Will
Also from The Virginia Langhornes comes this list of 80 more slaves belonging to the Langhorne family in Cumberland County, Virginia between 1784-1797, gathered from estate records and County records:
“Abba, Abraham, Absolam, Agga, Alice, Amy, Ann, Anthony, Archer, Belley, Betty, Bob, Caroline, Cate, Charles B. Smith, Cland, Damond, Daniel, Daphne, Davy, Dick, Edmond, Emy, Fanny, Flora, Frank, George, Hannah, Hannibal, Harry, Isaac, Jack, Jackson, Jacob, James, Jane, Jenny, Jesse, Jim, Jimmy, Jocie, Joe, John, Johny, Joicey, Jubar, Judy, Juliana, Julius, Let, Lewis, Lucy, Margery, Misse, Molly, Moses, Nancy, Natt, Ned, Patty, Peter, Phillis, Polly, Rachel, Reid, Rhoda, Robin Byrd, Roger, Rose, Sally, Sam, Sarah, Shepherd, Sue, Sukey, Tom, Violet, Will, Wiltshire, Yorick “
What a blessing to be free, I wish you and your loved ones that blessing always!