1818: Feb. 10: Will of Sam Gist:
[VSL] ...late of Gower St; Psh of St. Giles in the Fields; Middlesex Co.
Province of Canterbury, England.
At London, before Worshipful Samuel Pearce Parson, Doctor of Laws and Rt. Honorable Sir John Nicholl. Will and 4 Codicils: Admr: Martin Pearkes and Francis Greggs are 2 surviving executors. Wm. Fowke: also surviving exec. when he shall apply. Pay just debts. Bury in vault I had built under church at Warmington, in County of Gloucester with name and date, age in bluestone to be placed on north wall within chancel of the Church at Warmington. Cousin James Gist who went to India ca. 40 years ago L100. *To Thos. Darracott of Va.; my gold watch chain and seals by Mudge and Dutton.
I have paid Mary Pearkes L500 yearly
in consideration and on condition that she relinquish and give up all claims
whatsoever to my
estate in Va. that has been settled upon her by the State of Va. in the manner aforesaid.
To: Trustees and Executors:
During life of mary Pearkes she is to get L500 per annum and L1500 per
annum in Great Britain's money for
her benefit as hereinafter mentioned. To be paid in 1/2 yearly payments without any deduction or abatement whatever.
payment three months after my death, providing that she relinquish [when
directed to do so by my Trustees and Executors] my
Estates in Va. and convey and assure as they instruct for the reasons that will be given.
refuses to do so on payment, then I declare yearly sums of L500 and L1500
void and in lieu thereof I give her 1 shilling and
If she is paid it will be only for her use and not her husband. She is to get L2000 extra if she complies with relinquishing Va.
estates. Residue of plate to Elizabeth Fowke; she must comply, same as mary Pearkes; noncompliance and not conveying all her claim and interest in my sd. estates in Va., Elizabeth the widow of Wm. Fowke.
My wish that Estates go for uses, trusts, intents hereinafter expressed. To each Servant who has lived with me 3 years L10.
From Trusts and interest dividends--maintain 6 poor boys, educate and cloathe and apprentice in Queen Elizabeth College or
Hospital of Bristol. Same for 6 girls. Cousin James Gist: Trust for him or sons born of a European woman.
Re Laws of Virginia: allow persons to Emancipate Slaves in their Last Will and Testament:
slaves and their issue to be freed within one year of my death. To provide
for them: I give John Wickham of Richmond and
Matthew Toler of Virginia, their heirs, executors, and administrators, all y lands, tenements and hereditaments whatsoever
situated in any part of the United States; all stocks, horses, cattle etc., and plantation tools and utensils. to pay themselves a reasonable amount of money for their trouble and management. To divide surplus rents, profits among slaves who shall reside
and continue to be resident on any of my plantations and lands in America including my proportion of the Great Dismal Swamp when the
same shall be divided and the lands bought by Mr. Toler in the name of Mrs. Pearkes but paid for by me in equal shares.
the children and widows of my slaves, the infirm and old age and incapable
of supporting themselves, my Trustees are
to do it. Sale of U.S. estates to be used for building houses for the slaves and their families. Allotment of money to instruct slaves in Christian religion, Protestant; establish schools. Matthew Toler and his issue to see to happiness and comfort of the Gist slaves.
"Documents: "Transplanting Free Negroes 1815-1858" and "Historical Collections of Ohio" by Howe.
In Brown County Ohio: Brown County was one of the first parts of Ohio to be invaded by free Negroes.
pg. 71: "In the county [Brown] there
are 2 large settlements of colored persons, numbering about 500.
Each one of these is 3 miles
north of Georgetown; the other is in the north east part of the county about 16 miles distant from Georgetown. They emigrated from
Va. in 1818 and were originally the slaves of Samuel Gist, who manumitted and settled them here, on 2 large tracts of land. Their
situation unfortunately is not prosperous." [History of Brown County, Ohio. pg. 592]
to these settlements some years later another historian said: "The
colored settlement in Eagle Township was made
in 1818 by a number of the former slaves of Samuel Gist, a wealthy banker, resident of London, England and an extensive land owner and
slaveholder in the United States"
"It is not known that Gist
ever visited his plantation here, or that he ever saw a single slave that
cultivated his lands, but all
was left to the management of resident agents appointed by him. These lands lay in the counties of Hancock [sic-Hanover], Amherst,
Goslin [sic-Goochland], and Henrico Virginia and included some of the first plantations in the Old Dominion."
In 1808, desiring to make ample
provision for the future of those who had so abundantly filled his coffers
by their servitude,
Gist made a will, the intent of whichwas certainly benevolent, but which has been most wretchedly executed. The document of 58 closely
wortten pages is a study within itself. It begins thus:"
'This is the last will and
testament of me Samuel Gist, of Gower Street in the Parish of St. Giles,
City of London o the County of
Middlesex England. After bequeathing various valuable estate and large sums of money shall fall to the numerous persons who have been in his employ and most explicityly does he provide for his slaves in Virginial who numbered nearly 1000 souls.
Relative to them the will provides
that at his death his slaves in Virginia shall be free. That his
lands be sold and comfortable
homes in a free state be purchased for them with the proceeds.
That the revenue from his plantations the last year of his life be applied in building schoolhouses and churches for their use.
coming to them in this be set aside for employment of ministers and teachers
for them. That care be taken to make them as
comfortable and happy as possible. In 1815 Samuel Gist died and Wickham of Richmond, Va. (in conjunction with his father-in-law, Page) who has been appointed Gist's agent proceeded to execute the will. Accordingly three parties in Hillsboro Ohio, 1112 acres of land near Georgtown and 1200 acres west of Fincastle, in Eagle Township were purchased for homes for the slaves.
were covered with thickets of undergrowth and sloughs of stagnant water
and were almost valueless at the time for
any purpose other than pasturage. Here in June 1818 nearly 900 persons appeared on Georgetown lands and the rest on Fincastle. Their 'comfortable homes' lay in the wild region about them. The education they received was in the stern school of adversity. As a matter of course they did not prosper."
were able returned to Va. Others built rude huts and began cleaning
away the forest. What little money they had was soon
spent. Scheming white men schemed to get their personal property.
They became involved in a number of lawsuits among themselves, and so for various courses they were reduced almost to pauperism. In later years their lands have been sold so that at present but few families remain as relics of this of once large settlement.
first families that settled in this township were the following, most of
whom had families: Jacob Cumberland, George
Cumberland, Samuel Hudson, Gabriel York, James Gist, Gabriel Johnson, Joseph Locust, James Cluff, ___Davis, Sol Garrison, ___Pearsons, ____Williams, Glascon Ellis, Tom Fox. Richmond Cumberland aka Blind Dick, Meredith Cumberland, Taylor
Davis, Moses Cumberland, Ephraim Johnson, and Winston Cumberland were also born in Virginia.
Old Sam Hudson as he was familiarly known, was an odd character, and many anecdotes are yet related to him. At one time he was sent to the State Penitentiary at Columbus for making unlawful use of another man's horse, and so it happened that a white amn named Demitt accompanied him for a like offense. Upon being interrogated as to his occupation, Sam answered, "Preacher ob de Gospel!" Turning to DeMitt, the officer asked, "What's your occupation?" "I clerk for Sam."
"By the following
letter from a Gentleman on a tour through Virginia to the editor it will
appear that we are to have a colony of
free negroes [no less than 500] planted in our adjoining county Much as we commiserate the situation of those who when emancipated
are obliged to leave their country or again be enslaved, we trust our constitution and laws are not so defective as to suffer us to be
overrun by such a wretched population." [p.309]:
Richmond, May 10, 1819
Since my arrival in this county I have understood that a large family of Negroes consisting of about 500 have lately been liberated
and are to be marched to Ohio, and there settled on land provided for them agreeable to the will of a Mr. Gess, who formerly owned them.
There are persons now engaged in collecting the poor miserable beings from different quarters and driving them like cattle to Goochland
Co., from whence they will take up their line of march to Ohio. I am told that they are perhaps as depraved and ignorant set of people as
any of their kind and that their departure is hailed with joy by all those who have lived in their neighborhood. Ohio will suffer
seriously from the iniquitous policy pursued by the States of Virginia and Kentucky in driving all their free negroes upon us. The
people of Ohio are bound in justice to themselves to adopt some counteractive measure. Many people here are of the opinion that we
may be compelled to introduce slavery in Ohio in self-defense, and they appear to be gratified that we are suffering many of the evils
attending it, without (as they call it any of the benefits.) I have been gratified to tell them what I believe to be true, that nineteen
twentieths of the people of Ohio are so opposed to slavery that they would no consent to its introduction under any circumstances; and
although they commiserate the situation of those who have been liberated and compelled to abandon their country or again be made
slaves, yet in justice to themselves and their posterity they will refuse admittance to such a population."
We understand from a respectable authority that 270 of said Negroes have
landed at Ripley and are to settle near the
center of Brown County on White Oak, the residue of 500 to follow soon after."
[see Quillin's "The Color Line in Ohio" pp. 28-29; The Supporter; Chillcothe, June 16, 1819; The African Repository, XXII, pp.
by 1818 Wm Anderson's est had transferred 90 acres to Laney Jones who also had 249 acres and 350 acres tracts next to Gists called "Glebe" (St. Pausl Psh-148). [Han.Houses 18]: