Last post, I made the decision to move on to Medgar Evers’ ancestry and close the chapter on his wife’s. Well, I decided to dig a bit more before I completely close that chapter and it was worth it.
Whereas there has been deposited in the General Land Office of the United States a certificate of the Register of the Land Office at Jackson, Mississippi, whereby it appears that pursuant to the Act of Congress approved 20th May 1862, “To secure Homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain,” and the acts supplemental thereto, the claim of Martha Latham, widow of George Latham deceased, has been established and duly (or duty) consummated in conformity to law for the North East quarter of the North West quarter of Section two in Township twenty North of Range three East of Choctaw Meridian in Mississippi, containing thirty-nine acres and thirty-four hundredths of an acre…”
I got too excited when I found the document, but had to make sure that this was the Martha Latham I am researching. I decided to run through census documents both by the federal government and Mississippi (the state conducted their own census). There are other Martha Lathams, however, they are either born after 1900 or married to someone other than John. The land was issued to Martha on September 1897 from a land office in Jackson, MS. The land is in Carroll County, MS which is where she resided with her family in both the 1870s and 1880s. I am assuming this is a transfer of land into her name after her husband passed away. It shows that they were not sharecroppers after the war, but landowners with a farm that was almost 40 acres.
Last night, I decided to join this African American genealogy web-seminar hosted by Ancestry.com and the genealogy talk about tracing slave owners who moved from one state to another coinciding with the surname, birthplace, and current resident of the person you are researching. Martha’s husband, George, was born in Mississippi, yet his father and mother were born in Tennessee. I decided to first take a look at slave owners in Mississippi who attempted to reclaim land taken during the Civil War. In the U.S. Southern Claims Commission Master Index (1871-1880) there were three individuals with the last name Latham residing in Mississippi, Annie L. Latham from Madison County, Harvey Latham from Madison County, and John W. Latham from Scott County. John’s father might have been Emmanuel Latham born in North Carolina, but his family lived in Tennessee for a bit with his children sharing a birthplace there. The family lived in Mississippi owning quite a number of slaves, yet none of the slave schedules show him owning a male slave between the age of 16-21. Harvey Latham owned over 50 slaves in MS, but on slave schedules no names are given so there is not really anything to go by. Not sure how to trace a person back to a slaveowner, but hopefully I figure it out one day. Who knows?
Until the next post,