Category Archives: African-American Research

Estate Inventory of Hannah Grimes, Widow of Philip Grimes, Bourbon County, KY 2 Jan 1865

If you suspect that your enslaved family members might have lived in Bourbon county, Kentucky, I strongly suggest that you begin digging through the county records, which are rich with documents.

Hannah Grimes, born c1798 in Kentucky, was the long time widow of Philip grimes, as she appears as head of household as early as 1840 in Bourbon County. It appears that she was born Hannah Scobee and married Philip Grimes on 20 June 1815 in Clark County, Kentucky, which borders Bourbon on its south side.

The 1840 census shows Hannah as head of household and four children, one boy and three girls, at home. Rebecca, who is enumerated at home in 1850, was born c1839, so Philip likely died in 1838 or 1839.


Hannah Grimes, 1850 Census
Source: FamilySearch

Also at home in 1850 with Hannah was Robert Grimes, aged 26 years. The 1850 census for this family is interesting – I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a minor – in this case Rebecca – who is enumerated with real estate holdings ($1150.00).

By 1860, Rebecca was probably married and Hannah lived with R.P. Grimes, aged 30, and the local school teacher and his probable wife, W.J. and Catherine White.


Hannah Grimes, 1860 Census
Source: FamilySearch

The 1860 census slave schedule shows Hannah Grimes with seven enslaved people, with one manumitted, a baby girl aged 6 months old in June 1860, so born about December 1859.

Hannah Grimes’ estate sale inventory recorded on 2 January 1865 was several pages long. Only one small portion mentioned human beings.


Hannah Grimes’ Multi-Page Inventory, Page 24
Bourbon County, KY Will Records R: 22-25

What boggles my mind is that 14 weeks from the close of the Civil War, life in Bourbon County was going on as if nothing was going to change.

Mrs. Taft one woman Matilda 50.
J.H. McCoy do. Liz and 2 children 300
W.J. White one boy Lewis 205
C.A. White one girl Belle 226
W.J. White gets for keeping Milly $325

The school teacher and possibly wife Catherine (C.A.?) paid quite a bit of (Confederate?) money in this transaction. I guess they still thought the South was going to win even in the war’s last days.

Only six people are included in this sale list, but there were seven slaves enumerated in 1860. If the infant was truly manumitted, then the numbers match. However, The boy Lewis in 1864 doesn’t appear in 1860.

My educated guess would be that the 60 year old woman is Matilda and the 38 year old is probably Liz. What became of the 59 year old male is undetermined. Milly might be the 32 year old woman and Belle the 8 year old girl, but this is all speculation – perhaps a starting point for further research.


1860 Census Slave Schedules
Source: Ancestry

As with the other estate records, further investigation needs to be done to possibly determine the ages of these soon-to-be free people and if they are among those found in 1860.

As African-American History Month 2020 comes to a close, I want to remind researchers that estate inventories and, at times, tax lists (I’ve actually seen names & ages of enslaved people written into tax lists) are excellent resources to use if you have an idea of the county where your ancestors were living.

Black History Month: More DAR Library Online Resources

One of the reasons I think the DAR Library and blog gets overlooked by many researchers is because they believe there’s nothing much available for non-DAR members.

If you are one of the people who believes that, you are missing out on a world class collection of genealogical resources.

I’ve blogged about the DAR Library in the past – DAR Library Resources  and the DAR Magazine Digital Archive.

However, the library collection has amazing depth and more of its collection is being digitized all the time.

One of the best ways to learn about these resources is through news published on the DAR Blog. Yes, often the news is of more interest to DAR members, but much is also of interest to researchers.

A recent post was all about the resources available to pursue African-American heritage during Black History Month: DAR Celebrates Black History Month – Research and Resources.

There is a lengthy list of links all related to Patriots of Color. You may not yet know if your ancestor helped the cause for American independence, but the range of resources will help determine if someone in your family was a Patriot.

If you’d like to follow the DAR Blog, just add it to your feedly list.

Black History Month GeneaGem: DAR Patriots of Color Database

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has a world class library housed in its buildings in Washington, DC.

However, DAR is keeping up with the times and is adding more and more digital content to its online databases.

In April 2008, Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War was published by the Society and was completely sold out by 2010.

A PDF version of the book (a massive 874 pages) was created and a supplement added in 2012.

In spite of those publications, this treasure chest of names is still an under-used genealogical resource.

The decision was made to transition to a searchable online database and that project has come to fruition.

Notice the fourth entry – Forgotten Patriots Research Guide. Click and you will have access to both the PDF version of the original book plus the supplement, covering 2008-2011.

Next, click on the Patriots of Color link (third entry in the list above). Two search choices are provided. Surnames will open a page with A-Z links to view further search choices.

Searching by State/Source also opens further search options.

I recommend spending some time browsing through this database. While you may or may not have an idea about an ancestor’s Revolutionary War service, placing a focus on surnames, for example, might lead you to other research clues.

This is a real GeneaGem for those searching Patriots of Color.