Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Did Willis Roberts Jr. have slaves?

Statistics of slaves in Willis Roberts Jr.’s household
Joel’s son Willis did not own slaves due to the changes taking place following the Civil War. At that time, the city of Mobile had many free persons of color working as domestic servants and listed in the 1880 census. [i] Residing in the home of Willis and Moffitt was a black domestic servant, Nettie Strander, age eleven. Without question Willis and Moffitt were not as affluent as their parents and grandparents had been, but typical of thousands in this new era of southerners learning to live without slaves. (Figures 19-20) [ii]

[i] Mary (Pillans) Van Antwerp, one of the interviewees, provided a photo taken circa 1940 of herself, family and 9 black servants in their beach house in Point Clear, Alabama. Mary VanAntwerp was married to a senator from Alabama. Isbell records, 910 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama.[ii] Joel Roberts Ninde’s in-laws were involved in the underground railroad in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Judge Lindley Ninde, represented black citizens of Fort Wayne on several occasions when they were being treated unfairly under harsh laws of the period. It is an established fact that the Aboite Devil’s Hollows (Fort Wayne) was a major URR station. Beulah Ninde, aggressive, talented wife of Judge Ninde could be considered one of Fort Wayne’s leading suffragettes. The Nindes served as “conductors” along with Dr. Mary Frame Meyers-Thomas and Rhonda Ninde Swayne, who lived near present-day Saturn, Whitley County. Researched by Angie Quinn, Executive Director ARCH, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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