Today’s contribution to African-American History Month 2022 is the estate of Unity Talbott, apparently the widow of George Talbott. Unity Smith Talbott likely died sometime during 1864, as her inventory was submitted to court records on 4 November of that year.
Bourbon County, KY Will Records R: 1
The pertinent portion of this inventory is the information about her enslaved people:
(First two lines are about money paid to a note due. I’ve omitted totals at the end of each line.)
Rachel & her child Milton $150.00
Nancy 75.00 Margaret & her child Eliza 200.00
Sarah 125.00 Geo Hubbard 150.00 Henry 75.00
Betty 100.00 Evaline 85.00 Harvey 85.00
Jno 90.00 Mary Walker 75.00 Susan 80.00
Unity Smith was born c1785 in Delaware and married George Talbott, who predeceased her about 1852, on 17 February 1811 in Bourbon County. George was a native of Virginia. In 1850, the Talbotts have a full household:
George Talbott, 1850, Bourbon County, KY
George Talbott, 67, born VA
Genette, 64, born DE
Benj, 24, born KY
Charles, 28, born KY
Nancy Parker, 36, born KY
Sarah Parker, 13, born KY
James Parker, 5, born KY
Elizabeth Parker, 4, born KY
Emmarine? Parker, 3, born KY
John, 1, born KY
I would wonder if this was the correct family as Genette is nothing like Unity. However, this woman is the same age as Unity and born in Delaware.
When looking at the 1860 census, there are other similarities:
Unity Talbott, 1860 Census
Charles Talbott is in both households, as is James Parker. For whatever reason, Genette became Unity ten years later. Both households are well-to-do with significant personal and real estate valuations.
In 1860, Unity Talbott appears in the census slave schedules:
Unity & Charles L. Talbott, 1860 Slave Schedules
Unity’s household included sixteen enslaved people and her (apparent) son Charles L. is listed with two more. Her estate inventory lists fifteen, so one person is gone, assuming that the children were born by 1860.
What is most interesting to me is that two of the enslaved people have second names. I don’t know whether they are surnames, but they look to be. First, we have George Hubbard and then we have Mary Walker. If Hubbard and Walker are surnames and George and Mary continued to use them after emancipation, it will be much easier for descendants to find and connect them to Talbott family records.
With an estate valued as high as it was, there are likely other court records to pursue which might help African-American descendants piece together more of their family history.