In Search of Susan Bailey Pt 3

So at this point I have some names of plantation owners possibly associated with our Susan Jackson.  We have the widowed Martha Jacquelin Rootes Cobb Jackson, her daughter Martha Jackson, and the younger Martha’s husband Hezekiah Erwin.  Henry Jackson had passed away in 1840 and we had the appraisal of his estate in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia.  Add to this the knowledge that in Athens, Clarke County Georgia he owned Halscot Plantation and in Cusseta, Chambers County, Alabama he owned Cookshay Plantation.  This is an explosion of knowledge compared to a few days earlier, but what more could we learn?  I’ll share what was in the estate folder from Athens County.

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I was a bit perplexed, that this was a full and complete inventory, yet it didn’t appear to address his holdings in Alabama.  We know the family had not disposed of the property between it’s purchase and Henry Jackson’s death in 1840.   Let me share more of what we know in regard to Cookshay Plantation.

My source here is Sold Down the River: Slavery in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley of Alabama and Georgia, Anthony Gene Carey, Historic Chattahoochee Commission, University of Alabama Press, Aug 31, 2011.  I’ll quote a brief passage on pages 172 – 173.  It discussed when Cookshay was sold and also gives details of some of the enslaved people on the plantation.

“The slaves at Cookshay numbered forty-six in 1847, of which twenty-five were working hands. They tended around four hundred acres of crops; a little over half the acres were in cotton. The community was the product of growth over generations. There were half a dozen or so family groupings, as well as a handful of single slaves.  Eight slaves had been born in the eighteenth century. Sarah and Prince, a couple, were simply listed on the plantation roster as old.

Martha Jackson, who herself was born in 1786, probably did not know their exact ages.  Frank and Juno, another couple, had been born in 1773 and 1786, respectively.  Joshua and Fanny, and Louis and Patty, two more couples, were relative youngsters; the four were born between 1788 and 1794.  Several of these slaves were the parents of slaves who were having children of their own by the mid-nineteenth century.  For example, Frank and Juno’s daughter, Hester, had two children of her own; one of Louis and Patsy’s daughters, Lucy had three.  The fecundity of some Cookshay couples was notable even by nineteenth century standards.  John was nine years older than his wife Daphne, who had their first child in 1833, when she was fifteen years old. By 1851 they had eleven children, seven of them girls.  Peggy was several years younger than her husband James, and they had ten children between 1833 and 1850, including twin boys, James and Lewis.  In sharp contrast, Billy and Matilda, born in 1803 and 1805, respectively, were still childless in the late 1840s, although they must have been a married couple for many, many, years by then.  William Hooker was Silla’s husband and they had seven children. William Hart, though, either remained unmarried into his thirties or had a wife abroad…

Martha Jackson endeavored to keep slave families together despite estate issues, absenteeism, and a couple of long distance moves, one from Athens to Cookshay, then from Cookshay to Washington County, Georgia when Martha Jackson sold Cookshay to her son-in-law Hezekiah F. Erwin in 1850.  (Erwin was by then the widower of the younger Martha Jackson, whose early death had left a child behind.)…”

The potential to make a breakthrough here is pretty amazing.  I’m corresponding with the author Kirsten who has offered to share anything in her research that might help us find Susan.  Hopefully she has the will, and inventory having to do with Henry’s passing.  I wonder what we can find on Cookshay in the years between when Hezekiah Erwin became owner and emancipation?






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