This is the final post in my series of three on the connection of my father’s family to slavery —a 110-year legacy— and my search for African American descendants whose ancestors toiled on my family’s plantations in South Carolina. This post takes us to the Civil War and my 5th great grandfather, James C. Furman. Like his father before him, he was a slave owner, Baptist minister and educator. Along the way, I have had the help of genealogist Sharon Morgan and Trina Roach, a recently revealed linked descendant. Sharon helped guide me through the murky records of the censuses and other on-line research. Trina provided me with irrefutable evidence —by way of a 1916 article in a local Sumter County, South Carolina, newspaper—that some of her ancestors were owned by mine. Trina found me online through Sharon’s website, Our Black Ancestry, which links to the BitterSweet: Linked Through Slavery blog. She also provided me with information about her family from the 1870s, as well as other materials, which she has graciously allowed me to use in this post. I thank both Sharon and my linked descendant, Trina, for their help with this journey.
My internet connection had been down all day. I was beginning to get very perturbed—for a lot of reasons. One was that author and genealogist Sharon Morgan was going to help me scour the internet to look for possible linked ancestors on my father’s side of the family, a task I thought might be impossible. (I’ll describe our work toward this effort in another post.) I had “won” Sharon’s services at the Coming to the Table silent action in May of this year, and I was anxious to get started.
In my previous post about the Furman family’s slave legacy, I wrote about my first ancestor in South Carolina, Wood Furman, and his connection to slavery. In this post, I write about Wood Furman’s son, Richard Furman (my sixth great grandfather), and his life as a Baptist minister and a slave owner. I’m also pleased to introduce Trina Roach, my first linked cousin on my father’s side of the family, who found me through Sharon Morgan’s Our Black Ancestry site and the BitterSweet: Linked Through Slavery blog. (See story in previous post.) For this post, Trina has shared some of her research about her ancestors who were owned by mine.