I have copied below an article written by Peggy Hake for a Miller County, MO web site. Permission to post here was given by DeVere. Because this article mentions the names and ages of a slave family probated in a 1837 Will, I thought it might be of great value to someone researching their family lines in this area.
Hope someone can use this info,
WINDOW TO THE PAST
by Peggy Smith Hake
Miller County was formed and became a Missouri county on 6 February 1837. The first estate probated in the new county was for William Stephens, who died in May 1837. He had settled in Saline township (near the Jim Henry boundary line) in the mid 1830s when it was still part of Cole County.
Evidently William was a prosperous landowner in early Miller County whose estate was quite large when it was filed to probate. The bond was set at $5,000, a large amount for that era of time. The Principals named for the huge bond was his widow, Jane C. Stephens and Thomas O. Witten. It was secured by William Miller and Samuel C. Witten, pioneer homesteaders of the
On May 20, 1837, an appraisement was made of his personal property, which included five Negro slaves. They were listed as Jule/Julie age 25 to 30; Carline age 11; Nance age 9; Mariah age 6; and George age 2. The combined value of the 5 slaves was $1400.
Almost ten years later, on December 31, 1846, the slaves of Jane C. Stephens were sold at public auction. By that time, four more children had been born and they were all sold to different owners. The four children born in the ten-year period were named Arthur, Daniel, Anderson, and America. The
purchasers of these nine Negroes were Jane C. Stephens who bought Carline and her son Daniel; Isaac Bond bought Nance; Pierce Connell bought Mariah; John Henley bought George; John Berry bought Arthur; and William Miller bought Julie and her 2 young children, Anderson and America.
Our American history isn't always pleasant as you research the past. Slavery was a horrendous, offensive, and repugnant part of our heritage and I have a difficult time as I read and record some of the things that were allow to happen for many generations that eventually turned into centuries.
William Stephens Sr. and his wife, Jane C. Stephens, were parents of ten children. According to Miller County cemetery records, some of the older children were born in Winchester (Franklin County), Tennessee. Franklin County was located in south central Tennessee, bordering the Alabama state line.
The children were:
1. Druzilla D. (Stephens) Taylor who lived in Tennessee when her father
died in 1837
2. James W. Stephens 1818-1897 m. Martha A. Franklin 1848
3. Isaac M. Stephens 1820-1881 m. Mary M. Miller 1840
4. Paralee M. Stephens b. c/1822 m. James Z.W. Witten 1838
5. Charles G. Stephens 1824-1885 m. Ella C. Gartin 1849
6. Frances Ann Stephens b. c/1828 m. James M. Richardson 1843
7. William F. Stephens 1830-1866 m. 1-Mary/Polly Ann Hinds 1848
8. Martha Jane Stephens 1830-1909 m. James M. Gartin 1849
9. Cordelia A. Stephens b. c/1834 m. Isaac Hinds 12852
10. Mary Rebecca Stephens 1836-1896 m. William Selby Bond 1854
By 1840, Jane C. Stephens, widow of William, was living in Jim Henry township with 8 children still in her home. Her daughter and son-in-law, Paralee and James Witten, were living near her. The oldest daughter, Druzilla, must have still been living in Tennessee in 1840. Jane's neighbors during Miller County's first census were the families of Witten, Newton, Miller, Henderson, Loveall, Bond, and Freeman......
NOTE: James & Deborah (Jenkins) Freeman, who lived near Jane Stephens, were my great, great, great grandparents who had moved to Miller County from Claiborne County, Tennessee....
The last record found of Jane Stephens was the 1850 Miller County census where she was enumerated in Saline township. She was 55 years old (born c/1795 in Virginia). All her children were married by then with the exception of Cordelia and Mary, who were living with their mother.
There is no record of the death of Jane, nor where she was buried. There is no record of the burial place for Williams Stephens either. Some of their children and families were buried in Mt. Pleasant AF & AM Cemetery and the Spring Garden Cemetery.
To get Peggy's website click on:http://stormloader.com/kvernon/fam/famind.htm
Then click on the RED LINE saying "Out of the Past" when you get to website.