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A Friend of Friends Friday: Slaves of Nicholas Wilson, Iberville Parish, La.

Many researchers are aware of the need to search for estate inventories and bills of sale when looking for their enslaved ancestors. Another record group that many researchers often neglect are mortgages. Often recorded in deed books, slave owners would often mortgage their slaves as security for large debts or loans, including loans to purchase land. Later mortgages may be recorded in separate registers covering only mortgages.

On 24 January 1824 Nicholas Wilson of Iberville Parish, Louisiana, mortgaged property to secure a debt of over twenty-four thousand dollars to The Life and Fire Insurance Company of New York City. The property that he mortgaged was described as:

All that plantation or tract of Land designated and known by the Name of the Evergreen situate laying, and being in the Parish of Iberville in this State on the right bank of the River Mississippi about one league below the Bayou Plaquemine measuring twelve arpents in front on the river by eighty arpens in depth be the Same more or less, bounded on one side by the land belonging unto Joseph Erwin and on the other side by land belonging unto Mistress Pauline Patile wife of Antoine Leonard, together with all the buildings and improvements on said Land and appurtenances thereunto belonging, being the same plantation or tract of land and tenements which he the said Nicholas Wilson acquired in the manner following viz:

The undivided half by purchase from Joseph Erwin by act passed before the Judge of the Parish of Iberville on the 17th of April 1816, and the undivided half by Purchase from Christopher Adams by act passed before the Same Judge on the 29 January 1817.

Also thirty five Slaves now on and belonging to the said Plantation viz:

Ben 30 years, Rixon, 30 years, Big Charles 28 years, little Charles 28 years, John Grigg 30 years, Dick 30 years, Isaac 40 years, Nathan 30 years, Bill 25 years, Yellow Joe 30 years, Black Joe 45 years, Jenny 30 years, fanny 25 years, Hannah 30 years, Sally 27 years, Sal 27 years, Rachel 22 years, felicite 22 years, with her child Nancy 4 years, Yellow Isaac 18 years, Kezzy 25 years, Harriet 20 years, Hester 22 years, Washington 7 years, John Carrol 7 years, Mary 7 years, Yellow Harriet 6 years, Dave 3 years, Peter 7 years, and Hester 2 years, warranted free from the vices and maladies prescribed by the law (all which land and Slaves being free from incumbrance as appears by the certificate of the Conservator of mortgages in this City dated this day) are so to remain mortgaged until the full and entire payment of all and singular the said aforedescribed promissory notes and all and every part thereof according to their tenor.[1]

Nicholas Wilson died in 1825, and his wife controlled Evergreen plantation until her own death. Though her succession [estate] file has been lost, the division of slaves owned by her succession was also copied into the deed books. Many of the same slaves identified in 1824 also appear, years older, in the division:

A list of Slaves on the Evergreen Plantation

Lot No. 1

Mr. Chesnut

Old Manuel age & apprd.

60

$250

Ben

45

500

Rachel & child 9

35

700

John Mitchell

45

700

Harriet Mitchell & her 4 children

35

1100

John Joyce

16

600

Hester

40

350

Molly

50

300

$4500

No. 2

Caroline Wilson

Rixam

59

$300

Big Anthony

30

1000

Minty & four children

28

1700

Peter

18

800

Margaret

16

600

Little Joe

14

200

Sally

45

100

$4700

No. 3

Mr. Chesnut

Joe Coon

70

100

Dick

50

750

John Terrell

28

900

Nicholas

18

600

Albert

15

600

Jenny

70

200

Felicity & her 2 children

40

1100

Biddy Ann

11

100

$4350

No. 4

A. Wilson

Big Isaac

55

$400

Charles Guinn[?]

40

650

Joe Bullinger

50

50

George

19

800

John Hunter

14

600

Maria & her 2 children

35

600

Prisey & her child

23

900

Kize[?]

40

400

$4400

No. 5

A. Wilson

Levi

30

1000

Charells Carroll

50

500

Martin

19

800

John Beaver

28

750

Charls Beaver

8

250

Fanny

35

300

Charity

40

300

Mary & her children

22

900

$4800

No. 6

Jno N. Wilson

Blind Isaac

35

100

Nathan

40

550

Ralph

30

650

Little Anthony

23

1000

Alex Mitchell

12

450

Susan

45

300

Little Harriet

25

700

Marcelline

19

800

$4550

The six lots fell to four of Nicholas and Eliza's surviving children: Catherine Wilson ("Ms. Chesnut"), widow of Rev. David D. Chesnut; Caroline Eliza Wilson, their youngest daughter who was born mere months prior to Nicholas's death; Alexander Wilson; and John Nicholas Wilson. Another son, Joseph Erwin Wilson, had died before Eliza.

SOURCES:

[1] Iberville Parish, Louisiana, Conveyance Records, Volume K, pages 65–69, entry no. 84, Wilson to Eckford (1824); Family History Library microfilm no. 336,717.

[2] Ibervill Parish Conveyance Records, Volume V, pages 199–202, entry no. 134, Wilson division (1843); FHL microfilm no. 336,727.

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