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<Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]>

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Board, Sally [Petersburg, Kentucky]
Birth Year : 1805
Death Year : 1892
Sally Board was born in Fort Harrod, KY; her mother was a slave who had been purchased (or loaned) in 1790 to care for widower Phillip Board's children. A few years later Sally was born; Phillip Board was her father and owner. By 1810, Sally's mother was no longer at the Board farm, but Sally remained. As an adult, she married a slave named Peter, and his name became Peter Board. Land that Sally either purchased or received from her father was developed into a small African American community called Petersburg. Sally was eventually freed, and she then purchased her husband's freedom. Their children, however, remained slaves until after the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. In 1878, when Sally was 72 years old, she and the whole community of Petersburg moved to the new territory and settled in Morton City [Jetmore today], Hodgeman County, Kansas, abandoning Petersburg. Today Petersburg is part of the Kentucky community know as Nevada. For more information about Sally, the Board family, and other Exodusters, including the family of Eliza Broadnax Bradshaw, see "Exoduster" Sally Board, an American Heritage: from Kentucky Slavery to a Kansas Homestead, 1805-1892, by R. O. Pleasant & J. P. Neill. [Ray Pleasant is an African American and John Neill is White; they are cousins, both descendants of Phillip Board.]
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Migration West, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Fort Harrod (Old Fort Harrod State Park), Mercer County, Kentucky / Petersburg, Mercer County, Kentucky (no longer exists) / Nevada, Mercer County, Kentucky / Morton City (now Jetmore), Kansas

Bradshaw, Eliza
Birth Year : 1827
Death Year : 1913
Eliza Bradshaw, born on a plantation in Mercer County, KY, was a slave who was sold when she was seven years old and again when she was 17. A few months later, she married Lewis Bradshaw, another slave, and they eventually had seven children. Eliza endured beatings and once had salt poured into wounds on her head. The beatings stopped when she scalded her master with boiling water. In 1879, Lewis and Eliza Bradshaw moved their family from Harrodsburg, KY, to Hodgeman County, Kansas. They were among the "Exodusters" who were migrating West. Lewis died about six months after their arrival. For more see E. Bradshaw, "An Exoduster Grandmother," Kansas History, 2003, vol. 26, issue 2, pp. 106-111.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Hodgeman County, Kansas

Deer Lodge and Choteau Counties, Montana
In the 1870s a small group of African Americans left Kentucky and settled in Deer Lodge and Choteau Counties, Montana. They were the forerunners; by 1880, the bulk of the African American population in Montana had come from Kentucky, including the Johnson, Broose and Dodgeston families. Montana would become a state in 1889. For more see C. McMillen, "Border state terror and the genesis of the African-American community in Deer Lodge and Choteau Counties, Montana, 1870-1890," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 79, issue 2 (1994), pp. 212-247.
Subjects: Communities, Migration West, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Deer Lodge and Choteau Counties, Montana

Hickman, Willianna Lewis and Daniel
Scott County, KY natives and former slaves, Daniel (1841-1917) and Willianna Hickman left Kentucky with their six children, part of the 140 Exodusters heading to Nicodemus, Kansas. In her narrative about the trip, Willianna Hickman tells of a measles outbreak and how the families followed the trails made by deer and buffalo because there were no roads. When they arrived at Nicodemus, she was shocked to see that families were living in dugouts. The Hickman family continued on to their homestead, 14 miles beyond Nicodemus, to Hill City. Minister Daniel Hickman organized the First Baptist Church, the Second Baptist Church, and the WaKeeney Baptist Association. He was elected the first county coroner. The Hickman family moved to Topeka in 1903. For more see the Willianna Hickman entry in We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century, ed. by D. Sterling, pp. 375-376; and the Daniel Hickman entry in vol. 4 of African American National Biography, edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Nicodemus, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Scott County, Kentucky / Hill City and Nicodemus, Kansas

Micheaux, Melvina
Birth Year : 1832
Death Year : 1916
Micheaux was born in Alabama. She and her husband, David Micheaux, were slaves in Calloway County, KY. Melvina and her three children moved to Illinois, later joining other Exodusters in the move to Nicodemus, Kansas. One of her children, Calvin Swan Micheaux, Sr. (1847-1932), was the father of Oscar D. Micheaux (1884-1951), an author who established the Micheaux Film and Book Company. He became a producer of films, the first of which was The Homesteader (a silent film). For more on Oscar D. Micheaux, see The Life and Work of Oscar Micheaux: Pioneer Black Author and Filmmaker, 1884-1951, by E. J. Young. Melvina Micheaux was the mother of Andrew Jackson Micheaux, the great, great grandfather of pro football player Austin Wheatly. See Andrew Jackson Micheaux and Melvina Micheaux photos.
Subjects: Migration West, Mothers, Nicodemus, Grandparents, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era], Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Alabama / Calloway County, Kentucky / Nicodemus, Kansas

Nicodemus Company
Start Year : 1877
The seven-member company formed to develop the town of Nicodemus in 1877. S. P. Roundtree, the company's secretary, was an African American minister from Kentucky; he was branded on one cheek when a boy because the master's son had taught him how to read. W. R. Hill, the company's treasurer, was a white man from Indiana who had experience developing towns. W. H. Smith, the company's president, was an African American born in Tennessee. Ben Carr, vice president, was an African American. The others were Jerry Allsap, Jeff Lenze and William Edmona, all from Kentucky. W. R. Hill and W. H. Smith later became business associates in the development of the Hill City Town Company. For more see The Origins and Early Promotion of Nicodemus, by K. M. Hamilton.
Subjects: Communities, Migration West, Nicodemus, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Nicodemus, Kansas / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Indiana / Tennessee / Hill City, Kansas

Nicodemus, Kansas
Start Year : 1877
The community of Nicodemus was founded in 1877 by a group of African Americans from Lexington; two years later there were over 600 people. The first families to arrive lived in dugouts, homes dug into the earth. The population continued to grow until the anticipated railroad bypassed the town, and then the population began to decrease. There are about 100 people living in the town today. Nicodemus is a National Historic Landmark, the only entirely African American community in Kansas. For more see Going Home to Nicodemus, by D. Chu and B. Shaw; and The Origins and Early Promotions of Nicodemus, by K. M. Hamilton.

See photo images of Nicodemus at the African-American Mosaic, a Library of Congress website.
Subjects: Communities, Migration West, Nicodemus, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Nicodemus, Kansas / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Petersburg (Mercer County, KY)
The community, named for Peter Board, was an African American community located near Fort Harrod in what is known today as Nevada, KY. Petersburg was established by Sally and Peter Board, former slaves who were able to purchase their freedom but not their children's freedom. The land for the community came from Sally's father and owner, Phillip Board. In 1878, all of the residents left Petersburg and moved to Kansas, participating in the Exoduster Movement. For more see "Exoduster" Sally Board, an American Heritage: from Kentucky Slavery to a Kansas Homestead, 1805-1892, by R. O. Pleasant & J. P. Neill.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Migration West, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Petersburg / Nevada, Old Fort Harrod State Park, Mercer County, Kentucky / Kansas

Seymour, William
Birth Year : 1843
Death Year : 1920
William Seymour was born a slave in Kentucky. He and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, were members of the Exodusters Movement: they settled to Ottawa, Kansas, and later moved on to Colorado Springs, Colorado in the latter part of the 1890s. When the family of eight left Kentucky, it included Sorelda Seymour, the mother of William, his wife and five children. All were born in Kentucky. While in Kansas, William and Mary Elizabeth Seymour had three more children, according to the 1885 Kansas State Census. In 1903, William Seymour would become the first African American to serve on a jury in El Paso County, Colorado. A bronze sculpture of Seymour stands on the lawn of the Pioneer Museum, which was the former location of the El Paso County Courthouse. Seymour also helped found the St. John's Baptist Church. According to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, the Seymour family lived on Moreno Street in Colorado Springs. For more about Seymour and his descendants, see E. Emery, "Bronze honors golden ideals 1st black to sit on El Paso jury," Denver Post, 03/01/2002, p. B-03.

  See William Seymour statue at the waymarking.com website.
Subjects: Migration West, Nicodemus, Religion & Church Work, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Kansas / Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado

Smith, Ella Cowan and Josephus [Joseph] William
Birth Year : 1873
Both Ella and Joseph Smith were born in 1873 in Lexington, KY, where their parents had been slaves. In 1878, when both were five years old and their families were free, the families moved to Atchison, Kansas; they were members of the Exodusters leaving Lexington for Kansas. Their families later moved on to Oklahoma during the Land Rush. For more about the Smith Family see Echoes of Yesterday, by Josephus (Joseph Smith) [available online .pdf an iwitnesstohistory.org website].
Subjects: Authors, Freedom, Migration West, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Atchison, Kansas / Oklahoma

Tandy, Charlton H.
Birth Year : 1836
Death Year : 1919
Charlton Hunt Tandy, born in a house on Main Street in Lexington, KY, was the son of John L. (b.1805) and Susan Tandy (b.1815), both Kentucky natives. The family was listed as free in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. John is listed as a whitewasher, he had purchased his freedom in 1833. His son, Charlton, born three years later, was named after Lexington's first Mayor, Charlton Hunt (the son of John W. Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains). Charlton Hunt Tandy was listed as one of the family's nine children in 1850, he was raised in Lexington, and as a young man, he and family members assisted escaped slaves across the Ohio River into Ohio. Charlton moved to Missouri in 1859, where he would become captain of the 13th Missouri Colored Volunteer Militia, Company B, known as Tandy's St. Louis Guard. After the war, he fought for equal access on public transportation in St. Louis, which allowed African Americans to ride inside the horse-drawn streetcars rather than riding on the outside by hanging onto the rails. In 1879, Tandy helped raise thousands of dollars to help former slave families who were moving to the West [Exodusters]; Tandy was president of the St. Louis Colored Relief Board. In 1880 Tandy testified before the Congressional Voorhees Committee about the exodus of African Americans from the South. He became a lawyer in 1886 by passing the Missouri Bar Exam and was permitted to practice law in both the district court and the U. S. Supreme Court. President Grant appointed Tandy to the St. Louis Custom House, making him the first African American to be employed there. Tandy was also a U.S. Marshall under President Harrison's administration, serving as special agent of the General Land Office and as a timber inspector. He served as vice president of the Missouri State Republican League and in 1894 was elected to a House seat by the Republicans of the Thirty-second Senatorial District, but he was not allowed to serve. Charlton Tandy was the husband of Anna E. Tandy, who was also born in Kentucky. A community center, a park, and a St. Louis Zoo train engine [of the Zooline Railroad] have been named in Tandy's honor. For more see The New Town Square, by R. Archibald; The St. Louis African American Community and the Exodusters, by B. M. Jack; Missouri Guardroots [.pdf]; news clippings about Tandy in the University of Missouri-St. Louis Western Historical Manuscript Collection; "A great exodus of Negroes," New York Times, 08/12/1880, p. 5; and "Lexington Negro," Lexington Leader, 08/01/1906, p. 5.

 See photo image and additional information at blackpast.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Lawyers, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era], Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

Turner, Hannah
Birth Year : 1800
Hannah Turner was the slave of Aaron and Theodosia Young, who moved from Kentucky to Missouri. Hannah, a washer woman, was the wife of John Turner (b.1796), a free man who was a horse farrier, and she was the mother of James Milton Turner (1840-1915), who was born while his mother was still a slave. John Turner purchased the freedom of Hannah and James in 1843, and the couple was officially married in St. Louis, March 4, 1857 by Rev. Emmanual Cartwright, pastor of the African Baptist Church [Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002]. Rev. Cartwright had become pastor of the church after the death of Kentucky native Rev. John Berry Meachum in 1854. John Turner was last listed in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, and Hannah Turner was last listed in the 1870 Census. Their son, James M. Turner, had been a student in Meachum's school, he would go on to attended Oberlin College. In 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him the first African American Minister Resident and Consul General for the United States in the Republic of Liberia. He returned to the U.S. in 1878 and formed the Colored Emigration Aid Association with hopes of settling Exodusters in Kansas and the Indian Territory. He succeeded in getting Congress to pass the Cherokee Freedmen's Act in 1888, which authorized $75,000 to 3,881 Cherokee freedmen (former slaves of the Cherokee Indians). For more see the James Milton Turner entry in the American National Biography Online (subscription database).
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration West, Mothers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Saint Louis, Missouri / Oberlin, Ohio / Liberia, Africa / Kansas

U. S. Congressional Hearings on Northern Emigration
Start Year : 1879
End Year : 1880
So many African Americans [Exodusters] were moving to Nicodemus, Kansas, that the U. S. Congress held hearings to find out why. A Select Committee was appointed by the Senate on December 15, 1879, charged with finding out why African Americans were emigrating north, especially those going to Nicodemus. The committee interviewed 153 African Americans (none from Kentucky) from January 19, 1880 to February 23, 1880. The investigation had ten summary points, the first being that the exodus was not the work of Republican leaders from the North. For more see "Report and Testimony of Select Committee to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes From the Southern States," U.S Senate, Executive Document no. 693, 46th Congress 2nd Session, GPO 1880. Available at the University of Kentucky Libraries, Storage.
Subjects: Migration North, Nicodemus, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Nicodemus, Kansas

 

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