Sevier County
Slaves & Their Owners

If you have a member of your Sevier Co. family line that made mention of their slaves please send your email to PLEASE put Sevier County in your subject line so I do not overlook it. Send me the names of the slaves mentioned, the owner, and if the slaves mentioned were in another state being held for them. This page is an effort to help the African American research so any help is greatly appreciated.

TURRENTINE, Edward Archelaus
Submitted by: Joyce Hodges
From the memoirs of Edward Archelaus Turrentine (Smithville, Oklahoma, 8 Apr 1942... Grandfather (James Turrentine, 24 Sep 1794, Orange County, North Carolina-16 Dec 1873, Center Point, Arkansas) owned about 25 slaves... also owned a cotton gin which accidently burned when one of the negroes who was carrying fire to the cotton field stopped at the gin to get a basket. The family never told grandfather the cause because they were certain it was an accident and did not want the boy to be punished...
"My father, William L. T. Turrentine (31 Mar 1836, Bedford Co., TN-27 Nov 1913) told me this story. He and Uncle Gib, a family Negro, son of old Gib were at work in the near bottom of the farm when the hounds bayed at a large buck deer in the millpond. Uncle Gib wanted to g into the pond and drown the deer, but father refused to let him and killed the deer himself throwing a rock and striking its forehead...
Two Negroes, Old Gilbert and his son Young Gib, or Uncle Gib, played an integral part in our family's early history. I can still remember hearing an old family horn blown by Old Gib. This good Blackman was trustworthy and never required punishment. He had no education, yet he could and tell to a day when the moon would change. He was a Methodist minister to the other Negroes and could take out his Bible and quote chapter and verse. He had his own house, corncrib, and smoke house about a quarter of a mile from the main buildings.
Young Gib grew up with (my father) (William Turrentine), (who) was just enough older to take care of him. When ather married, Grandfather gave Gib to him and mother. I remember one time when father, Uncle Gib, and I went to market at Fulton, Arkansas. On the return trip it became very cold and father and Gib put their bedding together and I slept in between them. The last time I was at Uncle Gib's house I ate at the table with him. At our last meeting, I carried Uncle Gib to the hotel and fed him. When we said goodbye, he stood with his hat under his arm and tears on his face.
...some of the slaves woned by this Turrentine family refugeed during the Civil War at Daingerfield, Texas. Others stayed behind on the farm in Arkansas.
More stories not attributed. In book edited by George R. Turrentine.
Nelse was (a) huge Negro slave who belonged to George Smith, brother-in-law of Archelaus Turrentine (brother of Archelaus' wife Margaret Smith). George Smith, James Turrentine and Archelaus Turrentine sold their land in Bedford County, Tennessee and started for Texas. this was in the fall of 1837. The famlies with their possessions made quite a caravan. It required an entire day to ferry the Mississippi River at Memphis. The lowlands across the river from Memphis were almost impossible. Nelse was drive of one (of) George Smith's wagons. He never got stuck a single time; but his powerful physique was a great help to the others of the party who did become mired. It was November when the party reached Arkadelphia (Arkansas). One night they camped between Arkadelphia and Antoine. A severe storm occurred and a big tree was blown across the camp. Two boys were killed and Uncle Jim's hip was broken. They were pinned beneath the tree. In the excitement of the storm, Old Nelse ran to the tree, lifted it and held it until the dead and injured could be removed. The next morning, two men could not lift the tree...All thought of going on was abandoned. The dead were buried and the injured were nursed. George Smith and Old Nelse went in search of a vacant cabin. They found one which could be rented and there George's wife, Polly (Turrentine), gave birth to a daughter. Neighbors were kind to the distressed emigrants. Returning emigrants from Texas related the difficultuies of securing title to land in Texas. (Texas belonged to Spain and th emigrants from the United States entering without special authorization were illegal aliens.) The physical prowess of Old Nelse was soon recognized throughout the settlemet. He did his part at all log rollings and house raisings in the new land.
Old Gilbert was a Negro slave who belonged to a neighbor of the Turrentines in Tennessee. He married a slave girl who belonged to James Turrentine. When the Turrentines decided to immigrate to Arkansas, Gilbert faced a domestic tragedy. He went to James Turrentine and beged to be bought, so he would not be separated from his family. James Turrentine offered to buy Gilbert from his neighbor; but the neighbor refused to sell. James Turrentine then offered to sell the wife and children to his neighbor; but the main claimed he was not able to buy them. Uncle Jim returned and told Gilber that he had done his best and failed. Gilbert then went to his master and told him he would be worthless if he was separated from his family. The neighbor was convinced and sold him to Uncle Jim. He was brought to Arkansas with his family. He was the plantation blacksmith and was also a preacher to his fellow slaves. He was a great and good man and was called "Old Gib", to distinguish him from his son "Young Gib". One day, little Phoebe Turrentine was playing around Gib's forge with a piece of iron in her mouth. She stumbled and swallowed the bit of iron. Gib grabbed her by the ankles and turned her upside down and shook her until the piece of iron was disgorged. She seemed none the worse for the xperience- thanks to the quick reaction of the old smith. She later grew to womanhood and married Thomas George Tucker Steel and became the mother and grandmother to a great line of jurists and preachers. The Methodist ministry and the Arkansas bar owe much to this woman and to Old Gib.
These stories appear in the Turrentine Family histories which primarily tell the story of the white Turrentines who descend from Samuel an Alexander Turrentine who arrived in Philadelphia, PA from Ireland in 1745.

CLARDY, James Jr.
Submitted by:shirley whitmore
James Jr. and his brothers and mother, inherited slaves at the death of father--and it is probable that some of those people came to Arkansas with James Clardy, Jr.
Will of James Clardy
South Carolina Laurens District. Know all men by these presents that I James Clardy Laurens District, calling to mind that I am born to die, and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with. First, I desire to be buried indecent christian form at the discretion of my executors. Secondly, that my just debts and funeral expenses be paid. Thirdly, I lend to my wife Sarah Clardy all of my real estate during her natural life not otherwise disposed of. Also the negroes which I name, that is to say: Peggy, George, Isaac, and Harriet, also all my household and kitchen furniture, my road waggon, and pleasure carriage with all the aperatus belonging to them. Also two or three of my horses that she may choose, all such plantation tools, as she may wish to keep, as much provisions of all kinds found on the promises at my decease as wilal be required for her family and stock of one year. At the death of my wife, I wish all the property so lent to my wife to be equally divided between my three sons, Jesse E. Clardy, James Clardy, and Michael Clardy. I give to my three sons before mentioned the tracts of land which I settled them on. I also give them the three negroes which thay have now in their possession. And whereas I have given to the heirs of my son William Clardy dec'd. the portion of my estate which I alloted them, and whereas I have left one thousand dollars by a deed of trust to my daughter Nancy Right, and also one thousand dollars by a deed of trust to Suckey Tierce. I do hereby order the said two thousand dollars to be raised out of my estate and applied by my executors hereinafter mentioned as required and provided in said deeds of trust. All the residue of my estate I give to my three sons above named to them and their heirs forever. And lastly, I here by appoint and ordain my three sons above named the executors of this my last will and testament. And I do hereby revoke and disannul all other wills by me made, ratifying and confirming this my last will and testament. In testimony thereof I have here unto set my hand and affixed my seal on this 22nd day of September (date illegeable) seven. Signed, sealed, published, and declared as and for the last will and testament of the above named James Clardy in presence of us. John Hall
Philip Waite
Wm. Franklin

Whereas I James Clardy, Senr. of Laurens District South Carolina have made and duly executed my last will and testament in writing bearing date 22nd day of September, 1837. And thereby loaned to my beloved wife Sarah Clardy for and during her natural life four negroes which are named and whereas one of the said negroes named Isaac which have died, during her natural life. And at her death to be disposed of as directed for the other property so loaned to her. Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the said James Clardy as and for a codicil to be annexed to his last will and testament and to be taken as part thereof in presence of.
Philip Waite
Jeremiah Bailey
James Daniel
Recorded in Will Book A, Page 37, Bdl. 94, Pkg. 15. W.D. Watts O.L.D. Recorded Date not available. Proven October 14, 1846

Submitted by:Charlotte Farr

d. 9-6 10: 5 March 1864; John Jones and Mary L Jones, wife of John Jones of
Sevier County, AR about to move to the state of Texas and being desirous of
giving unto said Harris T. Jones, son of said John of the county of Sevier
as an advance in life and as his full share of his father’s estate, the
following described real and personal property:200 acres of land valued at
$2000, in Sections 18 & 19 in Twp 8S Rng 28W

Slaves: Lucy. a woman about 23 years and her child Bragg about 3 months old,
both dark complexion; estimated value $1200.
Sarah. a woman about 19 years and her child Dolly about 18 months old, both
dark complexion: estimated value $1200.

Harris T. Jones to have no further claim on said estate. Mary L. Jones
relinquishes her right of dower.

c. 9-600: 5 March 1864; John Jones and Mary L Jones, wife of John Jones of
Sevier County, AR about to move to the state of Texas and being desirous of
giving unto said Benjamin F. Jones, son of said John of the county of Sevier
as an advance in life and as his full share of his father’s estate, the
following described real and personal property:

N’/2SW¼Sec l8Twp8SRng28W SW ¼ NW ¼ Sec 18 Twp 8S Rng 28W N ¼ SE ¼ Sec 13 Twp
8S Rng 29W SE¼NE¼Sec 13 Twp 8S Rng29W

Containing 140 acres and valued at $2000 (Note: as describe the land would
amount to about 240 acres.)


Nancy. a woman about 40 and her son Andrew Jackson about 17: both mulattos
of valued at $1500. May about 15 of dark complexion valued at $900.

LOCKE, Eliza "Liza"
Submitted by:shirley whitmore
Eliza "Liza" Locke, mentioned above was the mother of several known children born in slavery. Those identified children born in slavery were: Jerry, David, Bettie and Lucy. Born after Slavery ended were: Harriet, Sallie and Joe. Older children, also born in slavery may have been Easter, and Eli. We are descendants of Eli and trying to prove his connection to Eliza. According to an article, "Locke Family History," in the Sevier history "The First One Hundred Years, 9 slaves accompanied the Locke family from Alabama to Arkansas. Those named as being slaves of the Lockes were: Miles,52; Lucy,40; Sally,19; Jim,22; Silas,11; Easter, the cook, Joe the houseboy, and housemaids Rachel and Peggy.

MILLER, Parmelia Anderson
Liza, slave of Parmelia Anderson Miller who married James Francis Locke March 21, 1847. Liza and Parmelia (Aunt Kit) moved to Lockesburg, AR from Alabama. Liza remained a faithful servant for many years and helped in the Locke Hotel. Eli Lock, slave in the home of George Todd Locke in DeQueen, Arkansas. He was a faithful and devoted servant to the family for many years. Liza is pictured on the cover of the book: Lockesburg, the First One Hundred.

SANDEFUR, Patrick Henry
Submitted by:Lyle Gibson
My name is Lyle Gibson. I am the great great grandson of Lucy
Sandefur-Watkins. Lucy was born a slave in 1835 in Limestone County,
Alabama. I don't know Lucy's parentage but she was a slave of the
Sandefur family of Limestone County, Alabama that migrated to Sevier
County, Arkansas in 1835. According to oral histories and the published
history of Little River County by Bill Beasley ( page 52), "Mr. and Mrs.
P. H. Sandefur are considered to be the first settlers of Peytonville,
coming to Peytonville with their slaves in 1835.

Mr P.H. Sandefur (Patrick Henry) died in the 1850s. I've briefly
researched a few records at the Sevier County courthouse but I did not
yield any valuable information i.e. Will, Estate appraisal records,
ect. I have viewed information from the 1840 through 1860 census-- free
and slave schedules, tax records for Sevier County that list the taxes
paid for slaves owned by the Sandefur family, documents that pertain to
the death of Patrick Henry Sandefur and finally the Freedmen Bureau
Records from Sevier County (Paraclifta office). The Freedmen Bureau
records list all of the slave owners (including Patrick J. Sandefur, son
of P.H. Sandefur) and slaves/former slaves by first name. They were to
receive rations for food, clothing, and medical attention in the year
1865. The reason I stated slave/former slave is the fact that the 13th
Amendment was passed but it hadn't been ratified.

The Freedmen Bureau record reads as follows:
July 2, 1865 Dick

(Plantation owner P.J. Sandefur)

Three of the former slaves/slaves have been identified; Lucy, my great
great grandmother, Mandy her daughter, and Betts (Betty) the youngest
daughter. Lucy's son Andrew Frank Sandefur, my great grandfather (born
in 1860) was not listed. Most children were not listed on this
particular record.

Brief Bio:
Lucy Sandefur-Watkins; born circa 1834 died after 1900. Married
Isom Watkin after 1870. Her youngest child, Andrew was born October
1860 in Sevier County Arkansas, married Betty Jackson (September
1867-June 1921). Andrew and Betty have one child that is currently
living, she will be 103 years old in February. Andrew was an educator
and carpenter. He was the first black to work with the school board.
Given his education, our family assumes that the white Sandefur family
may have given him his education and taught him the skills of
carpentry. Andrew died in May of 1914.

The land originally settled by the Sandefur family was annexed into
Little River County, Arkansas. The old Peytonville/Sandefur Cemetery is
accessible and the New Hope cemetery (about a mile from the Sandefur
cemetery) according to oral history may be the old slave cemetery. Lucy
is reported to have been buried at New Hope.

I would encourage you to contact someone at the Arkansas History
Commission because they have numerous Freedmen Bureau documents that
would be valuable to anyone white or black who wanted to research that
period in American history.

I know this information is slightly rough, but please feel free to
contact me if you have any questions.

by Frank T. Isbell
About the year 1915, the Ford auto agency in Idabel, Oklahoma, sold a car to an Indian who lived in the country out of Eagletown, Oklahoma. I was only fourteen years of age, but as I had taught several of their customers how to drive, they hired me to drive the Indian home and teach him to operate the car. In several days, he was doing very well. On Sunday morning before I was to leave Monday, I was sitting in front of the customer’s house in the car. I was very lonely, because the Indian could speak very little English and I knew only a few words of his language, Choctaw. An old Negro man with snow-white hair and a white beard that came down to his waist walked up to me and started asking questions about the car. Because I was happy to find someone to talk with, I prolonged the conversation. He said, “You are a very nice young man. What is your name?” I replied, “Frank Isbell.” He said, “Are you Cap’n Isbell’s grandson?” I answered, “Yes, I’m J.B. Isbell’s son.” He exclaimed, “Lawdy mercy, I am your folks! I done raised your grandfather and half raised your pa. I’m Toney.” He pulled me out of the car and hugged me and said, “You are going home with me to meet my wife and get a real meal!” As I was half-starved, I went home with him. His wife was very nice. She cooked one of the finest meals I have ever eaten. I think she had about every kind of vegetable that grows on the table, plus fried chicken and hickory-smoked ham. I told Toney the ham surely tasted familiar. He said, “It should. Your great-grandpa and your grandpa taught me to season it. That’s Isbell ham.” Toney’s wife said she was glad to meet an Isbell for Toney had told her so many fine things about them. Toney said the Isbells taught him to read and write and that he was now a preacher. Grandpa James B. Isbell told me that in 1863 his folks, including Toney, were on the front porch of the plantation home in Sumter County, Alabama, a few miles west of Gainesville on the Tombigbee River, watching him ride off at the age of 19 to join the cavalry corps of Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. When he got down the road apiece and turned to wave goodbye, Toney jumped up and ran to him. He put Toney up behind him and returned home to ask his father what to do. Grandpa’s father said, “If he loves you that much, take him with you.” Which he did. Forrest’s cavalry hit hard and fast, then moved on. They had no supply lines so soldiers lived off the land. Toney told me that while the captain was off fighting, he was stealing chickens, corn, beans, or anything he could find to cook a meal. He tended his horse, polished his boots and saddle, and washed the captain’s clothes for the time they were in the army until the surrender at Gainesville on May 9, 1865. He did just that, for Grandpa told me so, too. When our people left Alabama in 1881 for southwest Arkansas, near the Indian Territory line, at the Negroes’ request they brought Toney and several other former slaves with them. Some of them are buried now in the eastern part of Clear Creek Cemetery, just east of Horatio, Arkansas.
This is a story that my Dad wrote about 25 years ago concerning one of the family slaves. The story was given to him by his cousin, Frank T. Isbell, and corroborated the oral family history. It is not a legal document, but it is an interesting story, and contains some factual information at the end. Submitted by:Rosemary Isbell Holdredge

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