<Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats>
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The African American Herndons from Simpson County, KY
Start Year : 1852
The following information was submitted by Gayla Coates, Archives Librarian at the Simpson County Kentucky Archives. Melford, Solomon, Bob, and Amy were the slaves of James Herndon in Simpson County, KY. In 1852, they were all to be freed when James Herndon's will was probated. The will stipulated that the slaves were to be freed if they agreed to go live in Liberia, Africa; otherwise, they were to remain in bondage to a member of James Herndon's family. Robert Herndon (b. 1814) and Melford D. Herndon (b. 1819) sailed to Liberia in 1854 aboard the ship Sophia Walker. Solomon Herndon (b. 1811) left aboard the ship Elvira Owen in 1856. In Monrovia, Liberia, Melford Herndon attended the Day's Hope mission school where he learned to read and write. He became a missionary among the Bassa people. During the American Civil War, his salary for his missionary work was discontinued. Melford returned to the U.S. and was able to secure assistance for the mission in Liberia. He also brought two of his sons to Liberia. While in the U.S., he was ordained a minister at the First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Herndon also collected $2,000 to build a school and meeting house for the Bassa people. He returned to Liberia in 1865 and continued his work without a salary. In 1869, Melford Herndon left his brother in charge of the school in Liberia and again returned to the U.S. for additional fund-raising and to locate his other four children. In 1873, Melford Herndon was back in Herndonville, Liberia. He would again return to the U.S., bringing with him ten Africans who would become students at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. When he returned to Liberia, he brought along his sister, Mrs. Julia Lewis, from Kentucky. They sailed on the ship Liberia, which was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Colonization Society. For more see G. Coates, "Melford D. Herndon: Freed Slave and Missionary to Liberia," Jailhouse Journal, vol. 18, issue 2 (04/2009), p. 22. [The Simpson County Historical Society is housed in the old jail, thus the name of its journal.]
Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Simpson County, Kentucky / Monrovia and Herndonville, Liberia, Africa
The African Repository and Colonial Journal (periodical)
Start Year : 1825
End Year : 1892
Published by the American Colonization Society, the journal was first known as The African Repository and Colonial Journal. In 1850 the title changed to The African Repository and in 1892 to Liberia. The journals contain reports, records, and activities of the American Colonization Society. Included in the issues are the names of slave owners, estates, and the freed slaves who were to be colonized in Liberia, Africa. An example of the listing can be found under the heading "African Colonization in Kentucky at the Google Book Search site.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Inheritance, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Liberia, Africa
Arthur Barclay (1854-1938) served as Secretary of State and was the 14th President of Liberia, Africa from 1904-1912. He changed the term of office from two years to four years and was re-elected three times. His nephew, Edwin J. Barclay (1883-1955) completed the term of President C. D. B. King. Edwin was the 17th president of Liberia and had the term of office changed from four years to eight years; he was re-elected twice. Edwin and his successor were the first African heads of states to be invited to the U.S. [by President F. D. Roosevelt]. Edwin Barclay's visit to the White House marked the first time journalists from African American weekly newspapers were assigned to the White House to cover a diplomatic visit. The Barclay family had been politically active in Liberia since the end of the 1800s; Ernest J. Barclay (d. 1894), had served as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Secretary of State, both in Liberia. Ernest and Arthur were the sons and Edwin was the grandson of former Kentucky slaves who left the U.S. during the Civil War. The family stopped in Barbados where Edwin Barclay's father Ernest, and his uncle Arthur, were born. They were two of the many children of Anthony and Sarah Barclay. In 1865, the family moved to Africa. They were among the 300 West Indians migrating to Liberia, most of whom were from the British West Indies. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Dictionary of African Historical Biography, 2nd ed., by M. R. Lipschutz and R. K. Rasmussen; The Political and Legislative History of Liberia by C. H. Huberich; "2 Presidents in one family," Baltimore Afro-American, 06/05/1943, p.3; Liberia by H. H. Johnston and O. Stapf [v.2 available online at Google Book Search]; and "Negro guest in White House," The Sunday Morning Star, 04/04/1943, p.24.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Barbados, Caribbean / Liberia, Africa
Birth Year : 1821
Death Year : 1857
Stephen Bishop was 17 years old in 1838 when both he and Mammoth Cave were purchased by Franklin Gorin, a Kentucky attorney. A year later, they were both sold to Dr. John Croghan. Bishop, the first African American cave explorer, was the first guide and explorer of Mammoth Cave, the world's longest cave system. He knew the cave system better than all others, which made him a responsible tour guide. He also made a published map of the cave. After receiving his freedom, Bishop had planned to take his wife Charlotte and their son to live in Liberia, Africa, but he died before he could do so. Stephen Bishop is buried in the cemetery near the entrance to Mammoth Cave. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; In Remembrance (pdf); The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and J. C. Schmitzer, "The sable guides of Mammoth Cave," Filson Club History Quarterly, 1993, vol. 67, issue 2, pp. 240-258.
Subjects: Explorers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Parks
Geographic Region: Mammoth Cave National Park, Edmonson County, Kentucky
Buckner, George Washington
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1943
George W. Buckner was born a slave in Green County, KY; after being freed, he went on to become a physician. Buckner taught school in Kentucky and Indiana for 17 years before moving to Monrovia, Liberia, where he was the U.S. Minister to Liberia from 1913 to 1915. He was the first African American diplomat appointed to a foreign country. For more see The Political Graveyard; Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and Who Was Who in America: A component volume of Who's Who in American History, vol. 4, 1961-1968. See also The Diplomat and the Librarian in Little Known Black Librarian Facts (blog).
See photo image of G. W. Buckner at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Green County, Kentucky / Monrovia, Liberia, Africa
Coleman, William David (Liberia)
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1908
William D. Coleman was born in Fayette County, KY. He was a slave who gained his freedom then settled in Liberia, Africa. Coleman was Vice President of Liberia before becoming its 12th president (1896-1900). He first completed President J. J. Cheeseman's term and was then elected to the presidency. His dates have also been given as 1869-1900. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; The Political and Legislative History of Liberia, by C. H. Huberich; and William David Coleman, a Liberia Past and Present website.
See image of William D. Coleman at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Fayette County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa
Coles County, Illinois [Anthony and Jane Bryant]
The African American settlers of Coles County, Illinois, came from Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, all around 1840. The settlers from Kentucky included Isom and Lucy Anne Bryant (Lucy was from Kentucky); the Derixson (or Derrickson) Family, escaped slaves from Nicholas County, Kentucky; and Mr. and Mrs. George Nash (George was from Kentucky). A famous slavery case that took place in Coles County involved Anthony Bryant, a free man, and his wife Jane Bryant, a slave, and her four children [some sources say six children]. Slave owner Robert Matson, from Bourbon County, wanted to take Jane and the children from Coles County back to Kentucky, and he enlisted the help of lawyers U. F. Binder and Abraham Lincoln. Matson lost the case, and the Bryant Family moved to Liberia, Africa. For more see History of Negro Slavery in Illinois and of the Slavery Agitation in that State, by N. D. Harris (1904); and J. W. Weik, "Lincoln and the Matson Negroes," Arena, v.17, 1896-97 Dec-Jun, pp.752-758 [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Court Cases, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Nicholas County, Kentucky / Bourbon County, Kentucky / Coles County, Illinois / Liberia, Africa
Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky
A convention of Free Negroes was organized in Philadelphia by James Forten in 1813. The National Convention of Free Negroes was called in 1830 by Arthur Tappan and Simeon S. Jocelyn. The convention members were anti-colonizationist, against deporting former slaves and free persons, and stood for the abolition of slavery and for equal citizenship to all free persons. The Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky was also established with branches in various cities. The exact starting date of the organization is not known, and very little has been written about the group. According to an article in The Lima Argus newspaper, in 1847, the Kentucky Convention of Free Negroes and the Kentucky Colonization Society had agreed that a representative party of free Negroes from Kentucky would be allowed to go to Liberia for one year to inspect the colony, then return to make a full report to their constituencies. Persons were nominated from Lexington, Maysville, Danville, Richmond, and Louisville. The purpose of the proposed plan was to convince more free Negroes in Kentucky to migrate to Liberia. The chosen delegates were Stephen Fletcher, J. Merriwether, H. Underwood, and A. Hooper. They left the United States in 1847, and returned August 1848, along with S. Worrell, a North Carolina delegate. The Kentucky delegates' report on the Liberia Colony was favorable, the colony was healthy and prospering satisfactorily. However, Jesse Merriwether wrote an unfavorable report and advised against emigration to Liberia. For more see The Chronological History of the Negro in America, by P. M. Bergman and M. N. Bergman; "Convention of Free Negroes," The Lima Argus, 07/27/1847, p. 2; and "Arrival of the Liberia Packet," The Adams Sentinel, 08/14/1848, p.1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa
Birth Year : 1828
Andrew Ferguson was a slave born in Paris, KY, owned by Dr. Andrew Todd. Ferguson was given his freedom with the condition that he live in Liberia, Africa. At the age of 24, his name is listed among the freeman, all bound for Liberia, in the 1853 publication of The African Repository, v.29, p. 70 [available full-text at Google Book Search]. Ferguson remained in Liberia for two years, then returned to the U.S. as a free man and settled in Louisville, KY, where he was employed as a janitor in the Hamilton Building. He was a member of the Board of Missions for Freedom Colored Church that had been holding services in a rented hall. When it came time for the church to find a permanent home, Ferguson confidentially encouraged Pastor J. R. Riley to consider a church on Madison Street that was for sale by a German denomination. Once the pastor had made up his mind, Ferguson, with the pastor in attendance, paid $4,880 in cash for the building. The deed was made out to the trustees of the church. After the purchase, Ferguson continued as an unassuming member of the congregation, holding no positions in the church. For more see "A Noble Deed of a Colored Man," The Presbyterian Monthly Record, vol. 32 (1881), pp. 321-322 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Furbush, William H.
Birth Year : 1839
Death Year : 1902
Thought to be born in Kentucky, Furbush was the first sheriff of Lee County, Arkansas, and also a member of the Arkansas General Assembly. He was a photographer in Ohio, then fought in the Civil War, later moved to Liberia, returning to the U.S. in less than a year. In 1874 he survived an assassination attempt. He may have been the first African American Democrat in the Arkansas General Assembly. For more see B. Wintory, "William Hines Furbush: African-American Carpetbagger, Republican, Fusionist, and Democrat," The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, vol. 63 (Summer 2004), pp. 107-165.
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Photographers, Photographs, Corrections and Police, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Lee County, Arkansas / Liberia, Africa
Johnson, Emma White Ja Ja
Emma White, the daughter of former slaves, was born in Kentucky. She was educated and was one of the hundreds of African Americans who migrated to Liberia after the American Civil War. White was not successful with her venture in the West African coastal trade, she lost all of her money, and in 1875 moved to Opobo (today southern Nigeria). Opobo had been established in 1870 by Jubo Jubogha, a former Igbo slave who rose in status and became King of Opobo. He traded in oil palm with Europe. Emma White was employed by Jubogha to write his correspondence, and she was a teacher and governess for his children. Jubogha established a school in Opobo with a Mr. Gooding as the teacher. A second school was opened in Sierra Leon. When Mr. Gooding resigned his post, Emma White became the head of the Opobo school. White was taking on more responsibilities, moving into the inner circle of the King's business affairs and accompanying him on business trips; an article in the Cleveland Gazette refers to her as the "Treasury and Grand Visier" to King Ja Ja. The King had established himself as the middleman between European traders and the interior markets under his jurisdiction. Opobo had become prosperous, it was a major trade center due to King Ja Ja's business, political, and military strategies. In 1873, Jubo Jubogha was recognized by the British government as King of the independent nation of Opobo. But British traders soon tired of having to do business through Opobo with its restrictions, and taxes and tariffs. At the same time, there was threat of a German invasion of West Africa and the established trade business. King Ja Ja agreed to place Opobo under the protection of England. Unbeknown to him, in Europe the 1885 Treaty of Berlin had resulted in the dividing-up of various portions of Africa. It was a move toward colonies and gaining resources that would be governed by Europeans, and the move away from the independence and self-governance of African nations by Africans. England claimed the Oil Rivers Protectorate, which included King Ja Ja's land and the right to direct access to inland trade markets, cutting out King Ja Ja as the middleman. The scramble for Africa included an intentional trade depression of African markets. In Opobo, Emma White had gained significant wealth by 1881, and she retired from Opobo. Two years later she was broke and returned to ask King Ja Ja for assistance. Believing that she had betrayed him, the King prohibited her from entering Opobo. After several appeals, Emma White was again employed by the King. In appreciation, she changed her name to Emma Ja Ja, and kept the name after she married an Opobo man. In the British Parliamentary Papers, Emma Ja Ja Johnson is referred to as King Ja Ja's adopted daughter. In 1887, King Ja Ja signed a treaty of agreement with England to allow free trade in his territory, but the King continued to block attempts at inland trade. He was tricked into boarding the British ship Goshawk to discuss the matter, and was deported to Accra, Gold Coast [today Ghana]. He was accompanied by his wife, Patience, Emma Ja Ja Johnson, a cook, a steward, 3 servants, and a carpenter. In Accra, King Ja Ja was tried and found guilty of actions against the interests of England. As punishment, he was banished from Opobo and further deported to St. Vincent Island in the British West Indies, and provided with between 800 and 1,000 pounds sterling annually. In 1891, King Ja Ja's health was failing and the British government finally gave permission for him to return to Opobo. He died en route. Emma Ja Ja Johnson was banished from Opobo by the British government; she was accused of being the instigator to all the troubles between England and Opobo. For more see King Jaja of the Niger Delta by S. J. S. Cookey; see "Miss Emma [Jackson]..." in the Cleveland Gazette, 04/11/1885, p.2; A History of the Igbo People by E. A. Isichei; British Parliamentary Papers, Africa. No.2 (1888). Command Papers: Accounts and Papers, [c.5365], v.74.149, 19th Century House of Commons Sessional Papers; "The Cannibals of the Opobo," Courier and Middlesex Counties Courier Gazette, 05/11/1889, p.2; and British Parliamentary Papers, Africa No.7 (1888), Reports of the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa, 1887-88, Command Papers: Accounts and Papers, [c.5578], v.74.1,. 19th Century House of Commons Sessional Papers.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Liberia and Opobo, Africa
Johnson, Kissiah "Kizzy"
Birth Year : 1767
Death Year : 1880
Kissiah Johnson is regarded as the oldest person to have lived in Greene County, Ohio; she was said to be 112 years and 3 months old when she died February 28, 1880. She is mistakenly identified as a man in A. R. Kilner's book Greene County, Ohio Past and Present. The following information about Kissiah Johnson and her family comes from Robert Claxton Winston Day's self-published title Kizzy, 1767-1880 / Janie, 1902-2004: Me and Janie 1990. Kissiah "Kizzy" Johnson was a slave born in Virginia c.1767, initially owned by Anthony Thornton, Sr. Upon Thornton's death, his slaves were willed to his daughter Lucy Dixon Thornton. Author R. C. W. Day gained this information from Slave Records of Lucy Dixon Thornton, a document he obtained from the John Fox, Jr. Genealogical Library in Paris, Bourbon County, KY. [The library is within the Duncan Tavern Historic Center.] Anthony Thornton, Sr. had moved his family and his slaves to Kentucky in 1807, and he died in 1827. His daughter Lucy Dixon Thornton died in 1858. When Lucy died, the welfare of her slaves was left to her son Henry Walker Thornton who was to eventually emancipate the slaves and remove them to Liberia, Africa. Author R. C. W. Day wrote in his publication that he assumed that Kissiah Johnson had died while a slave belonging to Henry Walker Thornton; records indicated that the former slaves had been freed, but had not gone to Liberia, rather, they had moved to Jamestown, Greene County, Ohio. Among them were Kissiah's daughter Rose, and Rose's children Kizziah, Maria, Andrew, and Rosa. Rose's son Daniel (1846-1924), the great-grandfather of author R. C. W. Day, lived the rest of his life in Brentsville, Bourbon County, KY. Daniel's son, Garland (1875-1967) was a land owner in Brentsville and built the four room house where author R. C. W. Day was born in 1934. In his search for Kizzy, R. C. W. Day reread the estate records of Lucy Thornton and found that he had overlooked the name James Willis Sterling that was bracketed with Kizzy's name. Looking at the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, R. C. W. Day found that James W. Sterling also lived in Jamestown, Greene County, OH, in the home of Cyrus and Frances Eads, along with Frances' mother, 99 year old Kissiah Johnson. She had lived to see her family emancipated and she survived the move to Ohio. Kissiah Johnson died in 1880. Her gravesite is located in the Old Silver Creek Cemetery, and there is a monument listing the names of Kissiah, her son Daniel and his wife Maryann, and Fanny (Frances) Eads.
The text version of the will and inventory of Anthony Thornton, Sr. is available online at the Bourbon County, KY website. [The Thornton family lived in Harrison County, KY.]
The text version of the will and inventory of Lucy Dixon Thornton is available online at the Bourbon County, KY website. [Henry Walker Thornton was the adopted son of Lucy Dixon Thornton; he was her deceased brother's child. The slaves Henry Walker Thornton inherited from Lucy Dixon Thornton were to be liberated upon his death.]
It is not known when Henry Walker Thornton died. In the 1860 Slave Schedule for Cynthiana, Harrison County, KY, H. W. Thornton is listed with 19 slaves, the oldest an 84 year old mulatto female. [Slaves were not listed by name in the Slave Schedules.] H. W. Thornton, who was single in 1860, is listed in the census as a farmer. He had real estate valued at $17,850 [$516,000 CPI in 2013], and he had a personal estate valued at $20,000 [$578,000 CPI in 2013]. Henry Walker Thornton is not listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, by which time Kissiah Johnson and her family were free, and most were living in Jamestown, OH.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North
Geographic Region: Virginia / Harrison County, Kentucky / Brentsville, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Jamestown, Greene County, Ohio
Jones, Louis Clayton
Birth Year : 1935
Death Year : 2006
Jones, an equal rights advocate and international lawyer, was born in Lexington, KY. He was a graduate of old Dunbar High School, Howard University, and Yale Law School, and was admitted to the bar in Kentucky and New York. He founded the National Conference of Black Lawyers. He was assistant director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in 1961. In 1981, he was the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Liberia, returning to the U.S. in 1982. The following year, Jones became counsel to the family of Michael Stewart, a 25-year old New Yorker who was arrested for writing graffiti in the subway and later died from injuries he received while in police custody. In 1985, Jones became the Director of Legal and Financial Affairs in Paris, France, for the Saudi Arabian company First Investment Capital Corporation. Louis Clayton Jones was the son of the late Mary Elizabeth Jones and Rev. William A. Jones, Sr.,; one of his six siblings was Rev. William A. Jones, Jr. For more see J. Ogawa, "Lexington native worked behind scenes for equal rights," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/13/2006, City&Region section, p. D3; and "RIP: Louis Clayton Jones," Black Star News, 01/12/2006.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York / Liberia, Africa
Kentucky Colonization Society
The Kentucky Colonization Society purchased land for freed U.S. slaves settling in Liberia. In 1846 this land was called Kentucky in Liberia. Clay Ashland was the main city, so named to honor Henry Clay and his home Ashland. For more see All Things To All People: the American Colonization Society in Kentucky, 1829-1860, by C. R. Bennett (thesis); Henry Clay, Kentucky, and Liberia, by J. W. Coleman; The Kentucky Colonization Society, by J. W. Coleman; and C. Byron, "Man collects history of area called Kentucky halfway around the world," The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), 10/05/03, p.01B.
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Clay Ashland, Liberia, Africa
The Liberian Connection
(Kentucky Life Program 1106, KET) - This special edition of Kentucky Life explores the history behind the names and traces family ties that bind Liberia and Kentucky. A Kentucky state affiliation was first formed in 1828 with the transporting of Kentucky blacks to Africa. Later, the Kentucky Colonization Society raised enough money to buy a 40-square-mile site along the St. Paul's River in Africa; it was named Kentucky. The principal town, Clay Ashland, established in 1846, was named in honor of Clay and his Lexington estate, Ashland. The video The Liberian Connection is available at the University of Kentucky Media Library and may also be purchased from Kentucky Educational Television, The Kentucky Network.
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Clay Ashland, Liberia, Africa
Merriwether, Jesse [Mount Moriah Lodge No.1]
Birth Year : 1812
Death Year : 1892
Merriwether [also spelled Meriwether and Meriweather] was born a slave and freed in 1847 under the condition that he go to Liberia. Merriwether went to Liberia as a delegate of the Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky in 1847. He returned to the U.S. in August 1848 and wrote and unfavorable report for emigration to Liberia. He also secretly established the first African American Masonic Lodge in his house on Walnut Street in Louisville, KY. Mount Moriah Lodge No. 1 was initially located in New Albany, IN, for three years. There was fear that there would be prejudice against the lodge in Kentucky, and the meetings were attended in secret. After three years the lodge was moved to Louisville. A core of the lodge remained in New Albany for the members who lived in that city. Jesse Merriwether was also a carpenter, he was the husband of Phoebe Merriwether, b.1828 in KY. He is the author of A brief history of the schools, public and private, for colored youths in Louisville, Ky. for fifty years, from 1827 to 1876, inclusive. In 1889, Merriwether was selected as a possible candidate for the legislature for the 6th District of Kentucky. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and for more about the beginning of the lodge see p.42 The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr. See also the paragraph beginning Jesse Meriweather of Louisville... in the article "The Race Doings," Cleveland Gazette, 06/29/1889, p.1.
Subjects: Authors, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Carpenters
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa / New Albany, Indiana
Poston, Ulysses and Robert
Robert (1895-1924) and Ulysses S. Poston (1892-1955) were older brothers of Ted Poston, the sons of Mollie Poston and Ephraim Poston, all from Hopkinsville, KY. The brothers owned and edited The Hopkinsville Contender and later, The Detroit Contender. Both were associated with Marcus Garvey, and while with him in New York, U. S. Poston created The Negro World, a successful African American daily paper, then later created The New York Contender. U. S. Poston was a 1915 graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial School [now Kentucky State University]. Robert Poston was assistant secretary-general of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). He was head of a delegation that went to Liberia in 1924 to talk with the government; Poston died of pneumonia on the return trip to the U.S. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; "Ulysses S. Poston, real estate man. Former newsman, a crusader for Negro Rights dead - wrote for Magazines," New York Times, 05/15/1955, p. 23; and Dark Side of Hopkinsville, by T. Poston. For more on Robert Poston see "Lady Augusta Savage, a Garvyite wife, 1923-1924" in New Negro Artists in Paris: African American painters and sculptors in the City of Light, 1922-1934, by T. A. Leininger-Miller.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / New York
Priest, James M.
Death Year : 1883
James M. Priest was the slave of Jane Anderson Meaux. Jane A. Meaux was born 1780 in St. Asaph [later Fort Logan], Lincoln County, District of KY, and died in Jessamine County, KY, in 1844. Prior to her death, she educated and freed one of her slaves, James Priest. She sent Priest to Liberia, Africa, to evaluate the situation of the former slaves. When he returned, Priest was sent to school, 1840-1843; he graduated to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. He returned to Liberia and was the first foreign missionary from McCormick Theological Seminary at New Albany [Indiana]. Priest would become the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, 1864-1868. He was serving as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia when he died in July of 1883. Jane Anderson Meaux stipulated in her will that all of her slaves were to be freed under the condition that they go to live in Liberia. For more see p.205 of History of Kentucky, edited by C. Kerr et al.; p.9 of A History of the McCormick Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, by L. J. Halsey; pp.562-63 of Maxwell History and Genealogy, by F. A. W. Houston et al. [all available full-text at Google Book Search]; see Settlers to Liberia "April 1843" at The Ships List website; and "The death of James M. Priest...," Arkansaw Dispatch, 07/28/1883, p.2. A daguerreotype portrait [online] of Priest is available at the Library of Congress.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Judges, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Saint Asaph [Stanford], Lincoln County, Kentucky / Jessamine County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa
Proposed American Negro Colony in New Granada
Start Year : 1861
End Year : 1864
In 1861, President Lincoln, an admirer of the late Kentuckian Henry Clay, asked that Congress approve a plan for the colonization of all Negroes. A warm climate or tropical location was preferred: Texas, Florida, Mexico, Haiti, Liberia, or the lands [coal fields] in New Granada claimed by the Chiriqui Improvement Company [in present day countries within Central and South America]. In preparation for the emigration, slaves were to be gradually emancipated, beginning with the Border States [including Kentucky]. But that idea was dropped because it did not appeal to the members of Congress from the Border States. Still, the Chiriqui lands in New Granada were seen as the ideal locations for a loyal and U. S.-controlled colony of Negroes. In 1862, a group of freemen, the first ever to be invited to the White House, arrived to hear Lincoln’s request for their help in promoting the colony among other freemen. There was great opposition to the colony from Central American governments, especially in Costa Rica. The Bogotá [Colombia] government, led by Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, was in favor of the colony. The official Bogotá representative, Pedro A. Herrán, son-in-law of Mosquera, was in Washington. In Colombia, the U.S. Minister was Garrard County, KY, native Allan A. Burton. Several of the prior ministers had also been from Kentucky, beginning with former Congressman Richard Clough Anderson, Jr. from Louisville, who served in Colombia from 1823 until his death in 1826. Though the idea of a Negro Colony was welcomed by the Bogotá government, it was not a viable plan and was therefore suspended in 1862. The colonization fund was abolished in 1864. Haiti was no longer an option after the failure of the Ile à Vache Colony experiment in 1863. Liberia was eliminated when Lincoln issued the final Proclamation of Emancipation on January 1, 1863. For more see P. J. Scheips, “Lincoln and the Chiriqui Colonization Project,” The Journal of Negro History, vol.37, issue 4 (Oct., 1952), pp. 418-453; M. Vorenberg, “Abraham Lincoln and the Black politics of colonization,” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association [available online], vol. 14, issue 2 (Summer 1993); Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States: during its first century, by C. Lanman, p. 593 [full view at Google Book Search]; and W. D. Boyd, “James Redpath and American Negro Colonization in Haiti, 1860-1862,” The Americas, vol.12, issue 2 (Oct., 1955), pp. 169-182. See Central and South American Immigration Association and Equal Rights League of the Western Continent. For information on earlier Haitian colony see Freeman Community on Samana Bay (Dominican Republic).
*New Granada included present day Colombia, Ecaudor, Panama, and Venezuela.
See map of Viceroyalty of New Granada at Wikipedia website.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Texas / Florida / Mexico / Ile a Vache, Haiti / Liberia / Costa Rica, Central America / Bogota, Colombia, South America
Roll of Emigrants to Liberia, 1820-1843, and Liberian Census Data, 1843
Start Year : 1820
End Year : 1843
-Data and Information Services Center, Online Data Archive
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats
Geographic Region: United States / Liberia, Africa
Roye, John Edward and Nancy [Edward James Roye]
John Roye (d.1829) told others that he had been born a slave in Kentucky. He and his wife Nancy (d. 1840) moved to Newark, OH, where Roye became a prosperous land owner. He was also part owner in a river ferry, and left all that he owned to his son Edward J. Roye, b 1815 in Newark, OH. Edward Roye was a barber and he owned a bathhouse in Terre Haute, IN. He was educated and had been a student at the University of Athens (OH). He left the U.S. for Liberia in 1845 and was a merchant. Roye became one of the richest men in Liberia. He became the Chief Justice and Speaker of the House. He founded the newspaper Liberia Sentinel in 1845, a short-lived venture that lasted about a year. In January 1870 , Edward Roye became the fifth President of Liberia. During his presidency, he was accused of embezzlement and jailed in October 1871. He escaped, and it is believed he drowned sometime in 1872 while swimming to a ship in the Monrovia harbor. For more see "Edward Jenkins Roye," Newark Advocate, 04/22/1984; C. Garcia, "TH barber Edward James Roye became 5th president of Liberia," Tribune Star, 02/24/2007, pp.1&5; and Edward James Roye in The Political and Legislative History of Liberia by C. H. Huberich.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Fathers, Freedom, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Mothers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Newark, Ohio / Liberia, Africa
Russell, Alfred F.
Birth Year : 1821
Death Year : 1884
Born in Bourbon County, KY, or Lexington, KY, Alfred F. Russell was referred to as a white slave; it was believed that Alfred was the son of a fair-skinned slave named Milly and a white father, John Russell, who was the son of Mary Owen Todd Russell Wickliffe, the richest woman in Kentucky. With the help of Mary Wickliffe, Alfred and his mother left Kentucky for Liberia in 1833. Alfred later served as Vice President, then became the tenth President of Liberia (1883-1884) when he completed A. W. Gardiner's term. For more see Letters from Liberia to Kentucky; and The Political and Legislative History of Liberia, by C. H. Huberich.
See photo image of Alfred F. Russell and other Liberian presidents at the Liberia Past and Present website.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Bourbon County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa
Salsbury Free Negro Settlement (Muhlenberg County, KY)
Start Year : 1860
The community was located south of Greenville, KY. Thomas (d. 1848) and Rebecca Salsbury (d. 1860) had willed the land to their former slaves, and soon to be freed slaves, who were age 25 or older. The Salsbury's had no children. All of the former slaves who received land had the last name Salsbury. In total, there was 560 acres. Most of the land was eventually sold to whites as the African American Salsbury family members left the settlement. Thomas and Rebecca Salsbury also sent some of their freed slaves to the Republic of Liberia. Dr. Guy Otha Saulsberry was a descendant of the Salsbury slaves. For more see Around Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, A Black History, by L. S. Smith (the book covers 1795 to 1979); and Searching for the Roots, Grafting the Branches: the Saulsbury [sic] Family of Kentucky, a Black History of Roots Lost in Slavery (thesis), by C. S. Johnson.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats
Geographic Region: Salsbury Free Negro Settlement, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky (no longer exists)
Tubman, Sylvia A. E.
Sylvia Tubman was one of the 69 slaves freed by Emily Tubman and sent to live in Liberia, Africa. Sylvia was the wife of William Shadrach Tubman, the mother of Alexander Tubman, and the paternal grandmother of William V. S. Tubman, the 18th president of Liberia. Emily Tubman was a slave owner who grew up in Frankfort, KY, and after her marriage spent part of the year in Frankfort and part in Georgia. For more see A study of the life and contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Mothers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Grandparents, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgia / Liberia, Africa
Tubman, William Shadrach
One of the 69 slaves freed by Emily Tubman, William was sent to live in Liberia, Africa after he was freed. Emily Tubman grew up in Frankfort, KY, and after her marriage she spent part of the year in Frankfort and part in Georgia. William S. Tubman was the husband of Sylvia A. E. Tubman, the father of Alexander Tubman, and the grandfather of William V. S. Tubman, the 18th president of Liberia. For more see A study of the life and contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett.
Subjects: Fathers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Grandparents, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgia / Liberia, Africa
Tubman, William V. S.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1971
William V. S. Tubman's grandfather, (Brother) William Shadrach Tubman, and grandmother, Sylvia A. E. Tubman, were two of the 69 slaves freed and voluntarily transported to Liberia in 1844 by slave owner Emily Tubman (1794-1885), who grew up in Frankfort, KY. Once in Liberia, the slaves took the name Tubman and named their community Tubman Hill. William V. S. Tubman was born in Liberia, Africa, and became the country's 18th president (1944-1971), holding the office longer than any other president before or after him, winning six elections. On a visit to the U.S., he came to Frankfort, KY, in search of information about his family history. For more on Emily H. T. Tubman, see Index to Women of the World from Ancient to Modern Times. Biographies and portraits, by N. O. Ireland; and A Study of the Life and Contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett. For more on W. V. S. Tubman see Chambers Biographical Dictionary, 6th ed., edited by M. Parry; and A biography of President William V. S. Tubman, by A. D. B. Henries.
See video of William V. S. Tubman and family meeting the Pope in 1956, a British Pathè website.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Tubman Hill, Liberia, Africa
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
Young, Charles D.
Birth Year : 1864
Death Year : 1922
Charles D. Young, born in Mayslick, KY, was the third African American graduate of West Point, the first African American military attaché to a foreign state, and the highest ranking African American officer at the beginning of World War I. He was a child when his parents, Gabriel and Arminta Young, former slaves, moved the family to Huntington, Ohio [source: 1870 U.S. Federal Census]. All family members were born in Kentucky. By 1880, the family lived in Ripley, OH. Both Gabriel and Charles Young were employed as draymen [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. Charles Young graduated from a white high school and taught at a colored school in Ripley [source: Arlington National Cemetery website]. He entered the military academy in 1883, and after graduation, served in the Army for 28 years. Charles Young, a soldier, and his mother are listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, when they lived in Xenia, OH; his mother was a widow. Charles D. Young died on detail in Liberia, Africa, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was eulogized by W.E.B. DuBois. He was the husband of Ada R. M. Young, with whom he had a son and a daughter; the family lived at Fort D. A. Russell in Laramie, Wyoming in 1910 [source: U.S. Federal Census]. For more see The Early Life of Colonel Charles Young: 1864-1889, by R. E. Greene; Charles D. Young in the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000, and the Lexington Herald-Leader, November 14, 2010, pp. B1 & B3.
See photo image of Charles D. Young at the Arlington National Cemetery website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Mayslick, Mason County, Kentucky / West Point, New York / Huntington and Ripley, Ohio / Laramie, Wyoming / Liberia, Africa