Posted By:Bob Lamb
Subject:Nat Turner slave rebellion affected many families
Post Date:July 11, 2005 at 22:01:00
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Forum:Southampton County, VA Genealogy Forum
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I had always wondered if Nat Turner's slave rebellion in 1831 affected any of the family connections.

Here are some websites that identify those who died. You can also read a narrative of the events given by Nat Turner to a member of the Gray family. The Grays were ancestors of the Webbs, Barkers, Lands, Judkins, Barhams.....and so, so many more.

It looks like one of the Blunt families was next on the list, but escaped harm. It appears that the group of murderers crossed the river and were probably heading for Sussex.

It's a sad story. Turner was not ignorant, but very bright. He was also very religious. That was his problem -- seeing visions that led him to do what he did. He doesn't say that he was mistreated or poorly treated by his master. On the contrary, the master thought much of him.

The killing was so cold. It is a marvel that Turner was given a trial. Gray's narrative was the primary evidence against him.

The number of dead would have been greater had it not been for some slaves who saved their master's families.

The Governor's Proclamation of a Reward for the Capture of Nat Turner

Whereas the slave Nat, otherwise called Nat Turner, the contriver and leader of the late insurrection in Southampton, is still going at large: Therefore I, John Floyd, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, have thought proper, and hereby offer a reward of five hundred dollars to any person of persons who will apprehend and convey to the Jail at Southampton County, the said slave Nat: and I do moreover require all officers civil and military, and exhort the good people of the Commonwealth to use their best endeavors to cause the said fugitive to be apprehended, that he may be dealt with as the law directs.

Given under my hand as Governor, and under the lesser seal of the Commonwealth at Richmond, this 17th day of September 1821. (should be 31?)

[On reverse side of Proclamation draft] Nat is between 30 & 35 years old, 5 feet 6 or 8 inches high, weighs between 150 and 160 lbs. rather bright complexion, but not a mullato-broad shouldered-large flat nose-large eyes-broad flat feet-rather knock-kneed-walks brisk and active-hair on the top of the head very thin-no beard except on the upper lip, and the tip of the chin-a scar on one of his temples-also one on the back of his neck-a large knob on one of the bones of his right arm near the wrist produced by a blow.

A list of persons murdered in the Insurrection, on the 21st and 22d of August, 1831.

Joseph Travers and wife and three children,

Mrs. Elizabeth Turner,

Hartwell Prebles,

Sarah Newsome,

Mrs. P. Reese and son William,

Trajan Doyle,

Henry Bryant and wife and child, and wife's mother,

Mrs. Catherine Whitehead, son Richard and four daughters and grandchild,

Salathiel Francis,

Nathaniel Francis' overseer and two children,

John T. Barrow,

George Vaughan,

Mrs. Levi Waller and ten children,

William Williams, wife and two boys,

Mrs. Caswell Worrell and child,

Mrs. Rebecca Vaughan,

Ann Eliza Vaughan, and son Arthur,

Mrs. John K. Williams and child,

Mrs. Jacob Williams and three children,

and Edwin Drury

-amounting to fifty-five.

Thomas R. Gray visited Nat Turner in Jail and wrote a narrative of what he said.

“Since the commencement of 1830, I had been living with Mr. Joseph Travis, who was to me a kind master, and placed the greatest confidence in me; in fact, I had no cause to complain of his treatment to me.”