Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Climbing The Brick Wall


In black African American genealogy,  family history prior to 1870 is hard find. Lack of family surnames and documentation has been called one of the brick walls.    

Just prior to the end of the Civil War in 1865,  the Freedmen ’s Bureau (Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands) was established to aid former slaves and whites in needed assistance for survival.  Attempts were made to provide food, clothing, educate, reunite families, legalize marriages, provide employment and aid black military.  This was an ambitious undertaking to provide all these services.  A paper trail however was established which lead the road to finding some of my ancestors.
In the search, I looked for the former slaves with the Brumfield surname in Washington Parish Louisiana and Pike County Mississippi in Freedman Bureau records. There is voluminous amount information to review.    I realize that my ancestors may have come from others areas and possibly different surnames.  The homestead records however lead me to believe that these geographic areas must have been considered home.  Home being defined as a place that a person has a knowledge, history and familiarity.  
During my investigation, I looked for names of ancestors in locations that they may have lived.   I looked at Freedman labor contracts.  Labor contracts were established in order to assist in employment of former slaves now Freemen.  Terms of employment were established.  In the contract, the name of the former slave was given sometimes with a surname along with the name of the planter.  

 In records of the Bureau of Refugees   Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, Louisiana 1865-1872 I found the following:

Charlotte 48(infirm), Harriet 28(good hand), Margaret 16(daughter), Sarah 23, Mary 8 (child of Sarah) Ophelia 4, Sam 2 Grandchildren of Charlotte; Wade 10, Charlotte 8, Keziah 4 signed September 18, 1865 with Wily G. Collins
      These are my people!  Charlotte was married to Isham Brumfield and Harriet was married to Gale Brumfield.   Sarah was married to Eli Brumfield (son of Isham).   I have been able locate their  one of their children Keziah granddaughter of Charlotte.

                                                                              -------- The Tree Gardener

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Brumfield Settlement Part 4

Gale Brumfield

Gale Brumfield was born in Mississippi on 1825 or 1820   according to the Washington Parish Federal census  in Louisiana   1870  and  1880 respectively .  He was married to Harriett born in 1843 according to the 188o census.  He homesteaded 153 acres of land in Washington Parish, Louisiana beginning in December 10, 1869.  Although his homestead was not in Pike County, Mississippi  relationships  will be identified with other Brumfield families.
At the beginning of the homestead Gale was the head of a family of wife and eight children.  In the 1870 census, the individuals listed  Thesionie 28,   George 14, Louisa 12, Martha 6, Rosilla 8, Sylvia 10,   Jeanette 4, and William 2  were probably his children based on their ages.  He improved the land by building a corn crib, smoke house and stable. M. M.  Wilson and R. S. Wilson were his witnesses to his homestead.  Gale Brumfield received final title to the land on June 13, 1876.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Brumfield Settlement Part 3

Isham Brumfield

Irvin and Robert Brumfield homesteaded 80 and 160 acres respectively in Pike County Mississippi. My mother Irvin Brumfield’s granddaughter stated that Isham or possibly Isom Brumfield was Irvin’s father.  I have yet been unable to verify this information.  Isham Brumfield (Broomfield/ Bromfield)   however homestead 160.26 acres of land in Walkers Bridge, Pike County, Mississippi beginning in December, 1870. At the time of his homestead, his family consisted of 3 children.  The 1870 Federal Pike County census lists Isham Brumfield 49 years old with 3 children Eli 14, Henrietta 18 and Hester 10.  His initial application was filed March 6, 1873. 

  He almost missed the opportunity to own the land because of a missed proof filing date. He missed the filling date after five weekly notices dated from March 12th to April 9th 1880 in the newspaper Magnolia Gazette.   He requested that his homestead application be reinstated which was cancelled January 14, 1881.   The reasons for the missed filing in the request for reinstatement was secondary to “severe disease of   both of his eyes from which he became totally blind.” and ignorance of the law.  In the testimony of claimant dated October 21, 1881, he stated he was 63 years old with three children.  He had a dwelling house, stables valued at $200.00 and cultivated 20 acres and raised 5 crops. His witnesses Solomon Singleton and Jacob Ellzey also verified his homestead from December, 1870 to October 12, 1881.    Isham Brumfield displayed fortitude of character because with sightlessness his homestead was reinstated and he received title to the land in December 13, 1884.