Caddo Parish Genealogy, Emancipated Slave, Virginia Genealogy

The Emancipation of Lou Patsy

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Lou Patsy was born about 1817 in Virginia

This picture tells a story, her eyes show it all. She had been through a lot, you can see it. I have her picture framed in my home and people always comment on her eyes and they are amazed that I have a photo of a slave ancestor. Lou Patsy and all of her children were among the few free persons of color in Caddo Parish. In 1840 there were 27 free persons of color in Caddo, in 1850 there were 39, and by 1860 Caddo had 69 free persons of color of which 14 lived on John Frederick Herndon’s plantation. We know nothing on Lou Patsy’s family at all. Our family lore says she was part Blackfoot but I’ve yet to confirm any Native American ancestry for her. My only family clue for Lou Patsy is the death certificate of her son Joseph that listed her maiden name as Charles. Lou Patsy was a slave owned by John Frederick Herndon, a large land and slave owner from Fredericksburg, Virginia. JF Herndon brought Lou Patsy to Caddo Parish in the late 1830’s and was one of the early settlers of Caddo Parish. It’s still unknown how JF Herndon came to own Lou Patsy. In 1840 JF Herndon emancipated Lou Patsy in the Caddo Parish court along with 2 of her children that she had by him. At 23 years old Lou Patsy and her children were now free. JF Herndon never married and lived with Lou Patsy and his children by her. They had 10 known children; Mary Ann, Sarah Jane, Joseph Henry, John Jr., Jacob, James B, Edward, Martha, Katie, and my great grandmother Fannie born in 1857.  Lou Patsy also had another daughter Isabella with an unknown father. Here are transcriptions of the two known court appearances on the Emancipation of Lou Patsy, one from 1840 the other from 1845. 1840 (on file at the Caddo Clerk and Shreveport Broadmoor Library) Caddo Parish Police Jury Minutes – 10/12/1840  A petition was laid before the Board of Police by Washington Jenkins Parish Judge of the Parish of Caddo at the request of John F. Herndon for the Emancipation of his Slave Patsy. The petition passed its first reading but was laid over until the next meeting for the purpose of obtaining more information. Caddo Parish Police Jury Minutes – 12/8/1840  The Court of Police after receiving the foregoing reports took into consideration and discussed the petition of John F. Herndon for the Emancipation of his colored woman, Patsy, which passed its first reading at the preceding Term of the Court and after due examination passed its second reading and is as follows: To his Honour the Parish Judge of the Parish of Caddo, Your petitioner a citizen of Caddo Parish respectfully represents to your Honour that he is the owner of a Colored woman named Patsy who from long and faithfull Services rendered your Petitioner both when he labored under Sickness and been in health, he is anxious and conscientiously believes it to be his duty to set at liberty together with her offspring your Honour will do me the favour to lay this petition before the Police Jury at its next meeting and a subsequent [illegible] and do and perform such other acts and things as may be necessary for the ultimate relief of your and he will ever pray be, Signed, John F. Herndon On motion it was resolved that the aforegoing petition be received and adopted and that the Slave Patsy and her offspring be emancipated for life. 1845 (Cad C 377 1806) – 29 Apr 1845 Herndon, John F to EMANCIPATION. Patsy Herndon, f, 28 and her 5 children, Mary Ann Herndon, Sarah Jane Herndon, Joseph Herndon, Jacob Herndon and John Herndon. *binds himself to take care of women and her 5 children. Wit. J B and Parsons, James W. Judge: Jenkins, Washington   –   pg69 No Land Only Slaves – Vol 3/Caddo Parish, on file at Caddo Clerk The first court appearance doesn’t name her two children but it is known that they were Mary Ann and Sarah Jane. The 1845 court appearance does name the five children she had. I have plans to get copies of all the original documents to see any additional information that may be there. Lou Patsy is listed in the 1850, 1860, 1870, & 1880 Caddo census with the same consistent information provided, born in Virginia around 1817. She is named in the Will of JF Herndon from 1880 so we know she was alive then. By 1900 she had died, it’s too bad the 1890 census was destroyed as it may have showed her listed again. She had a granddaughter named Lou Patsy Herndon that was born in 1894 so it’s possible that she died around that time and the granddaughter was named after her. Some of this family did very well with farming and timber on their land in Pine Island. In 1904 when oil was discovered in Pine Island it turned the whole scene around. Fortunes were made for some overnight. Many were also swindled by lease hounds and lost their land. Many were also ripped off via “slant drilling”. Someone could setup a well across your border and slant drill into your land and steal your oil. This happened to many in the area, and it happened to my grandfather. All and all Lou Patsy’s children did very well, namely her sons Joe and James and a few grandsons. Story of Joseph Herndon and Herndon Magnet School in Belcher – Story of Lou Patsy’s grandson David Herndon Raines here – Lou Patsy is said to be buried next to JF Herndon at the Herndon/Raines Family cemetery known as Rang Cemetery in Pine Island. I’ve heard that her original headstone had a dove on it. Something must have happened to it because I’ve looked around there a few times and can’t find her grave. That’s the story of The Emancipation of Lou Patsy and her children Thanks for reading Blessings

Black Confederates, Caddo Parish Genealogy

Uncle Joe and the Battle of Mansfield

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Did he or didn’t he?

This is still the question I ask myself on a story passed down in our family lore. To this day our lore has been very accurate. Doing this research I expected to find a few tall tales as you would assume are in the family lore somewhere.

There is one story that still has me shaking my head, the story of my great grand uncle Joseph “Joe” Henry Herndon and the Battle of Mansfield. This story was told by Joe directly to my grandfather Dave Tyson and in turn has been passed down in the family. Joe Herndon was born free in 1840, the son of a white man John Frederick Herndon and a freed slave Lou Patsy. He was the older brother of my great grandmother Fannie Herndon.

Joesph Henry Herndon 1840-1924

Joesph Henry Herndon 1840-1924

The story is that Joe and his father John Frederick Herndon both participated at the Battle of Mansfield which took place on April 8, 1864 in De Soto Parish, Louisiana. They both fought for the south the story says. There was no information passed down in the story on what they actually did, just that they participated. When the battle was over it is said they rode mules back to Caddo Parish. This is the story.

When I first heard the story I thought, OK here’s one of those tall tales. I did not believe it at all. I’m thinking…. why in the world would a free black man fight for the confederates? It made no sense to me at all. Then I found out that a cousin Stan Armstrong had produced a documentary on this subject “Black Confederates: The Forgotten Men in Gray”. Stan’s great grandmother was Katie Herndon, another sister of Joe Herndon. See Stan’s films here:

Stan had heard the story from his family and he also had met a few of my aunts and uncles who knew the story. My uncles David and Tyrone have told me the story a few times and I just never believed it. I have found no military records for Joe or John Frederick Herndon. A possibility is that they volunteered and are not on record. I looked and looked for records to confirm this story and came up cold.

One day while going through a family law suit I stumbled on a clue. Joe Herndon was called as a witness in a case concerning inherited family land. The case had nothing at all to do with the Civil War but the attorney asked Joe Herndon these questions:

Question – “Joe, did you go to war?” –/ Answer – “Yes, sir”

Q. “Did your brothers go?” / A. “One of them did, yes, sir”

Q. “Which side did you go on — the South or the North?” / A. “South”

Q. “You fought on the side of the Confederacy” / A. “Yes, sir”

OK so now I’m thinking this story may be true after all. This statement by Joe says that his brother went, but no name is given. The brothers that would be of age were; John Jr. born in 1842, Jacob born in 1843, and maybe James born in 1848. Joe’s father John Frederick Herndon was born in 1796 and would have been 68 years old at the time of the Battle of Mansfield in 1864.

Could a white man volunteer with a Negro? How would this work? It seems to me that Joe, even though he was a free man, would still have been with the colored troops and John Frederick with the whites. I’m still shaking my head on this one but that statement by Joe in this case does confirm the lore to a degree.  Joe does say that he fought for the Confederacy, just doesn’t say which battle.

My question has always been WHY? I had to do some reading up on the Civil War and the Battle of Mansfield and get an understanding of what role Shreveport played at that time. At this time Shreveport was a main center for the Confederacy and was a prime target to be taken. Shreveport to this point had been spared from any battles and I can understand why a free man would fight to protect his family and property. John Frederick Herndon was a large land owner and Joe Herndon was named in his father’s Will and received a good inheritance of land and money.

I wonder…..did John Frederick persuade Joe and another son to participate in the battle with an assurance that they would be named in his Will? OR, is this just a tall tale….

Thanks for reading

Happy New Years!