African American Lives
Analyzing the Evidence
The Science and the Investigators
Who am I? A Genealogy Guide
Sharing Stories
For Educators
About the Series

Sharing Stories
One Families Story: Read a story matching the term you chose:
STORYTELLER: grandfather LOCATION: Franklin county, Mississippi YEAR TOOK PLACE:
TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN: Amite county, Franklin county, Adams county, Mississippi HOW HEARD: Oral family history

I was told that a mixed breed (native American & Black) kid showed up one day on the plantation and was raised by the slave owner. The kid knew that his surname was Smart, and he was called Deck by the slave owner. His father, whom I later discovered through church records, was also named Smart, and was called "a servant" of Capt. Hunt. Several of Hunt's other slaves were referred to as either "slaves of," or "the African of" Capt. Hunt. Smart's father, the church records reflect died apprx 1851, but not before another incident was recorded in the church records (Ebenezer Baptist Church-Amite county, MS). Smart had requested permission to go and preach to his people. It didn't say which people, but the family story has been that Smart was Native American.

When Deck grew up, oral family history has it, that in order for him to marry one of Capt. Hunt's slaves, he had to change his name to Hunt, being that she was Hunt's daughter by one of his slaves, to which he agreed. After Emancipation, Deck remained on Hunt's property, purchased 196 acres of his own, raised cattle, built a church (still in use), a store, and he and his wife (A)manda raised over a dozen children. They are my gr-gr-grandparents.

Once I began to decipher the family history, I discovered that Manda came from KY with her mother, America, by way of LA (found an 1825 conveyance record of our slave ancestors mortgaged for several thousand dollars). It also verified that Deck's father, Smart, was left to Capt. Hunt in a will. I have a copy of an 1822 will from his father Fitzmaurice Hunt who died in September 1822 and was originally from Tipperary County, Ireland. Fitz and 2 of his brothers fought in the American Revolution, receiving land grants in GA before migrating to MS, where his son Henry Hunt received a Capt.'s stripe for being in the war of 1812. Capt. Hunt, after moving to MS from GA, became the Sheriff of Amite county, which is still standing and in use in Liberty, MS. They have all records of every transaction recorded in the county since its inception!

Capt. Hunt then fathered children by Manda's mother, America, one of whom was my gr-gr-grandmother Margaret, and her brother Peter Hunt who was in the US Colored Troops, 6th Heavy Artillery, Union Army, Natchez, MS. I have his picture which I inherited when my gr-aunt died, and his plaque is in D.C. on the memorial with several other Hunt relatives.

We now believe that Manda was the half sister to Capt. Hunt's children by her mother, America. We know that his children by her, Margaret was a weaver and her brother Peter was a tanner during slavery. I have an 1865 document of them, except Peter who was in Natchez in the army, as freedman living on the property of Henry Hunt's plantation in Franklin county.

Deck never changed his name back to Smart, but the name has been passed down to each generation. As it turns out, it was Deck's son, Charley (my gr-grandfather) who married the daughter of a white man who by Margaret, the daughter and ex-slave of Capt. Hunt. It was him whom Deck purchased the 196 acres, still in our family. All sides were bounded by this man's relatives, and she (Eular Hunt) couldn't leave MS. Eular's father, this white man, is buried not more than 100 yards from the colored Hunt cemetary.

After Emancipation, I know that my gr-gr-gr-grandmother, America, married Josh, the African of Capt. Hunt, who changed his name back to Harrell, who originally owned him in LA. Josh is also listed on the 1825 conveyance record. He was kicked out of the church and then fellowshipped back in. These records reflect that the slaves were joined to and baptized but couldn't in the church services.

That's just my mother's side of the family!

back to story list back to sharing intro