In further correspondence with Mike Merritt I've learned a bit more about the slave woman, Christian. She was originally owned by Joseph Nichols of Campbell Co VA, the father of Nancy (Nichols) Magann. He gifted her to Nancy and her husband Pleasant in a deed dated 16 October 1813 in Bedford Co., VA. I don't have the entire transcription but I do have the following:
"...a negro girl named Christian about fifteen years of age with her increase and after my said Daughter Nancy Magann's death then the said Negro girl Christian to descend with her Issue to my said Daughter Nancy Magann's six children above named and equally divided among them..."
So Christian was born c1798.
It also appears that Pleasant Magann died in early 1821. A document dated 19 Feb 1821 between Lewis Magann of the County of Bedford and a few other men whose names are difficult to read (it appears to be John Board Jr, Brooker Preston and Samuel Agnor???) mentions Christian again. The document appears to be disposing of Pleasant Magann's property and possessions. Pleasant's son Lewis Magann received the majority of it. The mention of Christian is right at the end of all that. Lewis sold everything, as well as Christian, to the new owners.
If this is correct then Joseph Nichols' wish for Christiann (then about 23 years old) and her increase to stay within the Magann family was carried out, but only barely. Joseph Nichols' will stated he wanted Christian and her children to be inherited by Nancy's six children equally. Lewis inherited Christian at least. However, Joseph's will did NOT state that Lewis had to keep them! He certainly didn't hang on to her long but disposed of her rather rapidly, adding insult to injury by splitting up the family she had (if she had any children at all by that time) as he did so.
I am wondering if the rest of Joseph's last wishes were carried out. Christian and her increase were supposed to be all kept by the Maganns. If Christian had any children did the other Magann family members keep them? I just don't know right now.
I am curious, however....Joseph was intent on having Christian stay in the family. She was 15 at the time of his death and had no children but he provided for such eventualities by giving her a special mention in his will and, it seems, special directives for her AND her children. As mentioned in WDYTYA and in many other places, does this seem to suggest that Joseph Nichols or one of his sons was Christian's father? If that's the case, then if this Joseph ends up being the grandfather of my Joseph Nichols (and therefore my 5th g-grandfather) -- then I have African American cousins. I sure would like to find out what happened to all of them!
So in the course of a week or two I've went from discovering that most likely I have ancestors that owned slaves (if this Joseph is, indeed, my John's father), to learning that these owners might very well have left African-American descendants that I have blood ties to. The discovery is both disturbing and thrilling all in one breath. I feel sad at the very human tragedies that unfolded, and indignant at them, while also resigned to the fact that human history has been and, even though we know better, will still be full of such things. The cruelties that human beings are capable of committing upon each other is simply astounding, isn't it? Yet through all those sad and mad feelings, the fact that I might have new cousins? Well, I can never be unhappy about that.
6 hours ago