Thursday, June 22, 2006

Anne Sidney Jackson Matthews Wade

Anne Sidney Jackson Matthews Wade:
Another way to find Black residents of WV is to review all of the reported WV court cases.
An example of one such court case is THOMAS MATTHEWS v. JOSHUA WADE ET UX, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, January Term, 1868.
This court case involved a child named Anne Sidney (b. 9/10/1861). After emancipation, and following the death of Anne's mother, Anne's maternal grandmother petitioned the court for custody of Anne. Anne, her mother Sidney, and the grandmother had all been enslaved by Thomas Matthews of Greenbrier County. Thomas Matthews and his wife had kept Anne following emancipation and wanted to continue to keep her. Anne was age 6 at the time of the filing of the petition. The Matthews claimed that Anne's mother, Sidney, had, on her death bed, asked them to raise the child. The grandmother maintained that under the laws of the State (& following emancipation) the disposition of the child was with the mother & after the death of the mother it passed to the grandmother. The lower court agreed with the grandmother and granted her custody of the child. The former slave owner, Thomas Matthews, brought the case to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court found that Anne's mother died when Anne was two months old and at a time when the mother, the child, & the grandmother were enslaved by the Matthews. The court found that the mother, on her deathbed had asked the Matthews to take care of her child. They found that the grandmother left the area & did not return until 1866 (when the child was five years old). They opined that the Matthews had raised Anne as if she were their own. The child, the court said, was "highly intelligent and good looking". They felt that although the grandmother was an industrious and hard working woman who was a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church (and married to a man of good moral character who owned a wagon and two horses and some other property) she was not able to raise the child in the manner in which the Matthews would raise her. The grandmother and her new husband, the court said, were "not as capable of providing for her physical wants or moral or intellectual education as (the former enslaver, Matthews and his wife)". The Supreme Court awarded the custody of the child to the Matthews.
Note that Thomas Matthews was a banker and the brother of Mason Matthews (who I believe was the Governor of WV at one time - I'll check and report further in a future "housekeeping" note).
In the 1860 census Thomas Matthews is reported as enslaving five individuals (2 males and 3 females).
I tried to find out what happened to Anne following this court case and discovered that she was not listed with the Matthews family on the 1870 census for Greenbrier County (GC). I haven't found her yet in the 1870 census. However, I did find her in the 1880 WV census.
By1880 Anne had rejoined her grandmother Mary "Polly" Jackson Wade. She is listed in the household of Joshua Wade (Polly's husband) who resided in Kanawha County in the city of Charleston. Anne is listed as a mulatto female, age 19, born in WV. At this time Anne was working as a teacher. She is designated as the granddaughter of Joshua and Mary (Polly) Wade. I intend to do further research to find out if Anne ever married and when & where she died. I could not find her in the WV Death records which are available on the internet via the WV Division of Culture and History site.
Note that there is no Caucasian Thomas Matthews in the 1880 census. He would have been 74 years old and he may have died by the time of this census.
In the PERKINS FAMILY HISTORY (see below), Anne is referred to as Annie Matthews, daughter of Sidney. The Perkins/Matthews connection and their presence in WV is the subject of a number of documents/articles etc. held by the WV Division of Culture and History. A couple of the descendants of that family are/were very active researchers/historians and the WV Division of Culture and History can direct interested persons to these descendants. A member of my family married into that family. More information on the family can also be found in BLACK RESIDENTS OF GREENBRIER ... (see below). Also see & click onto the tab for the court case.
Reading court decisions is helpful not only for finding names of WV citizens but also to discover a little bit about what life may have been like for residents of the area.

In line with this there are two books about early Greenbrier County court records. One is written by Helen Stinson & the other is by Larry Shuck. Both are available at the GHS (see below).

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