Monday, March 8, 2010

Madness Monday - Determining the Last Slave Owner of Grandpa Jasper and Grandma Jane Pierce (Part II)

In my previous post in this series, I laid the groundwork as to why I will be doing further research on Jessie Pierce as the possible last slave owner of my 2nd great grand parents Jasper and Jane Pierce.


Was Jessie Pierce a slave owner?

The answer is yes. A review of the Green County Georgia 1830 and 1840 Federal Censuses plus the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules shows a Jessie Pierce owing slaves.

1880 Federal Census for Greene County, GA

The enumeration for Grandpa Jasper and Grandma Jane is as follows:

Pierce, Jasper; Mulatto, Male, 30, married, Farmer, cannot read, cannot write, born in Georgia, father born in Georgia, mother born in Georgia

Jane; Black, Female, 36, married, Keeping House, cannot read, cannot write, born in Georgia, father born in Georgia, mother born in Georgia

They live in Enumeration District 35 and reside in District 144 of Greene, County.

I did not list any information for their children as none of them would have appeared on the 1860 slave schedule.

1860 Slave Schedule

Based on the 1880 census, in 1860, Grandpa Jasper would have been about 10 and Grandma Jane would have been about 16. I’ve often wondered if the age given for Grandpa Jasper on the 1880 census is correct. But, if my theory of Jessie being their slave owner is correct, I believe the age given on the 1880 census is fairly accurate. You will see why I believe so in a minute.

The 1860 Slave Schedules indicates that Jessie Pierce owned the following 16 slaves


Amongst the slave listing is a 12 year old mulatto boy and a 17 year old black female. The dates aren’t exact, but unless you can find an old bible or other documentation which records the year of birth, the year of birth, prior to the keeping of vital records (birth certificates), is a guesstimate at best. Throughout the research years, I’ve learned to consider anything within ± 10 years somewhat accurate.

1850 Slave Schedule

In 1850, Grandpa Jasper may not have been born, yet, but then again, he may have already been born. Basically, based on the census and 1860 slave schedule, he could be any where from 0 to at least 2 years (maybe more) of age.

Grandma Jane should be around 6 or 7.

The 1850 slave schedule shows Jesse F. Pearce* with 15 slaves. Although the slaves are grouped differently on the 1850 schedule compared to the 1860 schedule, a comparison of the two schedules indicates that these are no doubt the same set of slaves 10 years earlier.


The 1850 Slave Schedule shows a 3 year old mulatto male and a 7 year old black female. These look to be the same two children identified on the 1860 Slave Schedule and hopefully are Grandpa Jasper and Grandma Jane.

*Please note that at this point in history, much of the country was illiterate, both black and white. Also, there are various spellings and misspellings of various surnames. Therefore, the totality of the evidence on census records must be examined to ensure that the same persons or person are being followed from census to census. In this case, there are various spellings of the surname Pierce. In 1850, the enumerator spelled it Pearce and in 1860, Pierce. But an examination of the slave schedules themselves points toward Jessie Pierce / Pearce being one in the same person.

To Be Continued


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