|Visit to Mt. Sterling in 2001 with Tim Jones|
Population in 1870
According to a map of Mt. Sterling in 1879, the population of Mt. Sterling was made up of 597 white and 448 black people (57% vs. 43%). Note that this census is five years after the slaves were "freed."
Here is what I know:
Transcription: On the ? day of August, 1864, in the County and Circuit aforesaid did unlawfully sell, loan and give to Jack the slave of Samuel Edger and wife, spiritous liquors, whiskey and brandy without having the written permission so to do from the owners. masters of any one having the custody and control of him for the time being entitled to the custody or services of the said Jack by contract with the owner or anyone having the control and custody of him.It's hard for me to imagine another human being considered to be "property," but this was the reality of the times. It makes me wonder whether or not Jack knew his circumstances would change in the near future. What's interesting is that Jack was not impacted by Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation" issued on January 1, 1863. According to Wikipedia, "The Proclamation applied only to slaves in Confederate-held lands; it did not apply to those in the four slave states that were not in rebellion (Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri, which were unnamed), nor to Tennessee (unnamed but occupied by Union troops since 1862) and lower Louisiana (also under occupation), and specifically excluded those counties of Virginia soon to form the state of West Virginia."
Acknowledging the Truth
If you notice in the section labeled "price paid," that Thomas paid "nine hundred dollars, four hundred fifty dollars of which is to be paid on the 8th day of July, 1864, and the remaining four hundred and fifty dollars on the 8th day of December 1864." Part of the purchase price, however, was a negro boy named Harry. On this day, Thomas H. Probert "sold, delivered and transferred, all right, title and interest in and to a certain negro boy named Harry to the party of the first part."
At times, I wish I had never found that document, but on the other hand I believe that we, as a country, must collectively assume responsibility for what we were willing to do to human beings at this time. Sometimes, in my mind, I think of this period of time as something that like the Holocaust, we have a duty to "Never Forget." More importantly, we must acknowledge the impact that the legacy of slavery has on our society today and make every effort to ensure justice and opportunity for us all.