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(LST-1089: dp. 1,625,1. 328', b. 50', dr. 13', s.11 k., cpl. 119
t. 121; a. 8 40mm.; cl. LST-511)
LST-1089 was laid down by the American Bridge Co., Ambridge, Pa., 20 December 1944; launched 17 February 1945; and commissioned 28 March 1945, Lt. Marvin A. Cohen in command.
Commissioned as Operation "Iceberg," the last full-scale invasion in the path toward victory in the Pacific, was getting underway, LST-1089 completed shakedown in the Gulf of Mexico and in early May departed Mobile, Ala., for the Panama Canal and duty with the Pacific Fleet. On 5 June she arrived at Pearl Harbor, whence, 2 days later she steamed west for 7 months of duty as a general troop and cargo transport in the central and western Pacific. Completing her last run, Saipan to Pearl Harbor, at the end of the year, she continued on to San Francisco in mid-January 1946. There until May she underwent preliminary inactivation procedures, then shifted to Oregon, where she decommissioned 16 August and was berthed with the Columbia River Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Activated with the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, LST1089 recommissioned 6 September 1950 and during two tours, 23 January to 6 June 1951 and 6 April to 22 October 1952 provided transportation for men and equipment over the last stretches, from Japan and Okinawa to Korea and along the Korean coast, of the transpacific supply line supporting the U N. forces. In addition, soon after her arrival in 1952, she participated in the troop lift to and the relocation of prisoners of war from Koje Do.
After Korea and through 1958, the LST, renamed Rice County 1 July 1955 continued to deploy annually to the western Pacific. Whiie with the 1st Fleet she engaged in training exercises and provided transport services in Hawaiian waters and along the west coast from California to Alaska On rotation to the 7th Fleet, she conducted similar operations; ranging from Japan to the Philippines. During 1959, she remained in the eastern Pacific, primarily off thc coast of southern and lower California. Sailing north in November, she completed her last Alaskan run at San Diego in early December and again prepared for inactivation. In February 1960, she returned to the Columbia River where she decommissioned 9 March. She was sold to the Government of West Germany in October and although her name was struck from the U.S. Navy list 1 November 1960, she continues her naval career into 1970 as the West German minelayer Bochum (N-120).
LST-1089 earned four battle stars during the Korean Conflict.
Rice County LST-1089 - History
Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT kicked off in late 1968. My first boat, Alpha 111-3, was detached to operate in Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT along with PBR RivDiv 591 out of Ben Luc off the USS Harnett County (LST 821). (See the book Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT: A History for a detailed description of this most important operation).
(Photo of USS Harnett County courtesy of Red Cross Donut Dolly extraordinaire Emily Strange. This was at Ben Luc in Spring, 1969)
(See this June 1970 story about the Harnett County and this copy of the ship's Presidential Unit Citation)
One of the essential operations of the Mobile Riverine Force along with other Navy boat units in Vietnam (see the PBR and Swift Boat links on the Links page) was the interdiction of the enemy's supply lines, which in many cases involved the continuous checking of Vietnamese boats (junks and sampans). These board and search operations were conducted in the daytime. At night, because of a standing curfew, the interdiction effort involved the elimination of unauthorized boat traffic on the rivers and canals. These were the Navy's Ambush operations and usually consisted of two boats stationing themselves 100 yards or so apart along each river bank after dark. The boats were sometimes difficult to hold ashore because of the changing tide levels and currents of the river. We couldn't throw out an anchor since it was necessary at times to be able to back off the beach at a moment's notice. While there may be clear stretches of rice paddies just beyond the river bank, the banks themselves were typically covered with dense plant life, mostly Nipa Palm. Once the boat was secured around some of the palms, the crew would set about cutting palm to camouflage the boat. Then it was time to settle in and wait.
Night ambush was always pretty eerie. Because of the noise made by our engines, there was always a time when we were vulnerable to attack after first taking the boat into shore. Once we were there for an hour or so, we felt we had the upper hand and the element of surprise was ours. During that early time however, every sound was frightening and at times we were forced to get underway quickly with guns blasting, probably in some cases due to the imaginary enemy (those eyes can play tricks in the dark).
We had the advantage of a starlight scope to illuminate the night sky and could spot the enemy sampan or two coming down one river bank or the other close to shore, and covered at times with Nipa palm. The procedure when sighting the enemy was to wait until they were very close to our boat, pop an illumination flare (pop flare, star shell) to light up the area, and yell "Lai Dai" which meant "come here" in Vietnamese. If the enemy did not come, then we would open fire. At night if you are on the river you are guilty, case closed. The VC almost always jumped into the water upon detection and so the procedure from start to finish for us became almost instantaneous.
Occasionally, we were fortunate enough to capture a sampan or two. On one such occasion we got a Russian flag, several bags of rice, medical supplies, an AK 47 rifle, a few pairs of VC sandals (rubber tire soles and inner tube straps), cases of B40 rockets and other ammunition, and I think that was a little kitten our Radioman is holding in the picture below. This is the boat crew of Assault Support Patrol Boat 111-3. From left to right (sitting): Dennis Bacon (forward gunner), John King (radioman). Standing: Walt Anderson (20mm gunner), Jerry "Mac" McIntosh (engineman), me (coxswain), George Sanchez (boat captain), and the tall guy on the right was a RivDiv 591 PBR officer named James Oke Shannon. The Russian flag was kept by our forward gunner, Dennis, the AK47 went to the PBR officer, and I ended up with one of the pairs of VC sandals like those Dennis is wearing in the photo.
Below Dennis shows off a B40 round and mortar round while John (always the clown) shows off a can of juice I think.
Vietnamese marines set plastic explosives to the enemy ammo cache
That's me in John Wayne's flak jacket. Nice sized hole. Looks like everything blew up.
The USS Harnett County (LST-821) was affectionately known as the HA-HA County. Perhaps it received its nickname earlier than the following incident, but if it didn't it may have really earned it by this incident shared with us by Dan Jacobsen. Here is his account:
LST 821 is on the beach. this happened in Dec-Jan of 1967-8 on one of the rivers south of Dong Tam. Can't remember which one, but we were close to Ben Tre (which we pretty much destroyed on TET 68). As you probably remember, the tide went out fast in these rivers. We hit a sand bar while positioning for wind so gun ships could take off. within minutes, the LST was stuck and not moving (all Charlie needed to do was set up a mortar). But, we were lucky and all the sailors had a football game on the island. Below are four pics taken of this funny but not so funny event. Dan Jacobsen AMS3 door gunner DET. 5 HAL-3 Seawolves
The chairman and president of Strake Energy, Inc., Strake enrolled in 1949 at St. Thomas High School in his native Houston, where as an honor student he participated in sports and class government. He graduated in 1953 as a member of the St. Thomas Student Council and the Letterman's Club. Ώ] He then attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in economics and was Senior Class president. He was commissioned in the United States Navy and served two years in the Pacific on USS Rice County (LST-1089). From 1959-1961, Strake attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Business in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from which he received a Master of Business Administration. Ώ]
Strake’s father, George Strake, Sr., was born in St. Louis, graduated from St. Louis University, served in the Army Air Corp in World War I, went to Tampico, Mexico and later Havana, Cuba, to work in the oil business. He was orphaned at the age of seven. In 1929, he came virtually penniless to Houston, the home of his wife, Susan Kehoe Strake. He toured the back roads of East Texas in search of an oil-bearing formation. In 1930, he followed a creek bed outside Conroe, Texas, where he found the particular formation he was seeking. Soon two oil wells came to fruition, and Strake, a devout Roman Catholic, became the third wealthiest oilman in Houston. ΐ] Strake, Jr., joined his father in the management of the G.W. Strake Company petroleum holdings. After his father’s death in 1969, he became an independent oil and gas operator. He later formed related businesses: Strake Trading Group, Strake Consortium (Yemen) Limited Ώ] and Strake Management Company.
RCHS Spring Flea Market Is Back!
Saturday, May 15, 2021, 8:00 am-2:00 pm Rain or Shine!
The Rice County Historical Society will be hosting its Spring Flea Market on Saturday, May 15. Market vendors will bring a great variety of items to shop for including antiques, collectibles, crafts, glassware, kitchen appliances, wood benches, and more.
Additionally, the Rice County Fairgrounds will be hosting the Cannon Valley Farmers Market simultaneously. Food trucks will be onsite during this event too. So it should be a great day!
It is exciting to offer this event once again at the Rice County Historical Society grounds, as we prepare it to be a Covid Aware event with everyone doing their part to ensure it to be a safe and positive experience to make this Flea Market as safe as possible for both the vendors and the shoppers. Vendors for the Flea Market will be spaced out on the grounds of this event in awareness of Social Distancing (6’+). Face coverings will be required for both the vendors and shoppers during this six-hour event. Hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the grounds. Social distancing signs will be posted for kindly reminders to stay 6’ apart. The RCHS will monitor the Governor’s mandates and will follow them if there is any changes for outside events. With the help of all, this can be a successful and safe event.
If you know of anyone wanting to sell their items at this Flea Market, please share this information with them. There will be a lot of foot traffic during the day.
All who are interesting in being a vendor (of any experience level) are encouraged to give us a call. Vendor spots available are 10’x20’ stalls and can be reserved for $20 prior to the day of the event. If there are any spaces remaining, they will be available for $25 on the day of the event. You are encouraged to bring a tarp or table, canopy, or whatever necessary to display your items. First time sellers are welcome! Vendors will be able to set up starting at 5:30 am.
The Flea Market will be in the Museum’s front parking lot as well as behind the RCHS Museum of History, at 1814 NW 2 nd Avenue, Faribault, MN 55021. Vendors are invited to reserve a spot for the Flea Market by making a fee payment and completing a Vendor Agreement Form.
Welcome to the Northfield–Rice County Digital History Collection
The Northfield–Rice County Digital History Collection (DHC) preserves and makes accessible digital versions of records of the history of Northfield and the wider Rice County, Minn., area.
The DHC was established in 2007 as a forum for local libraries, archives, museums, and others to collaborate in identifying, describing, digitizing, and making accessible materials related to the history of Northfield, and expanded to encompass all of Rice County in 2019. We share metadata standards, a technical platform, a web-based portal, and, most importantly, a commitment to work toward providing comprehensive access to the records of local history.
Our initial foci included in this portal related to two themes: Education in Northfield and the James-Younger Gang Bank Raid, but we have since broadened our collection to include general topics in regional history (see list below). We hope you find useful the manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, audio recordings, and books in this growing collection.
Collections by Topic
This website is funded in part by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund grant administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Rice County LST-1089 - History
From the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships , Vol. VII (1981), pp. 569-731.
TANK LANDING SHIPS (LST)
The British evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 demonstrated to the Admiralty that the Allies needed relatively large, ocean-going ships capable of shore -to-shore delivery of tanks and other vehicles in amphibious assaults upon the continent of Europe. As an interim measure, three medium-sized tankers, built to pass over the restrictive bars of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, were selected for conversion becau se of their shallow draft. Bow doors and ramps were added to these ships which became the first tank landing ships (LST's). They later proved their worth during the invasion of Algeria in 1942, but their bluff bows made for inadequate speed and pointed up the need for an all-new design incorporating a sleeker hull.
At their first meeting at the Argentia Conference in August 1941, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill confirmed the Admiralty's views. In November 1941, a small delega tion from the Admiralty arrived in the United States to pool ideas with the Navy's Bureau of Ships with regard to development of the required ship. During this meeting, it was decided that the Bureau of Ships would design these vessels.
Withi n a few days, John Niedermair of the Bureau of Ships sketched out an awkwardlooking ship that proved to be the basic design for the more than 1,000 LST's which would be built during World War II. To meet the conflicting requirements of deep draft for ocea n travel and shallow draft for beaching, the ship was designed with a large ballast system that could be filled for ocean passage and pumped out for beaching operations. The rough sketch was sent to Britain on 5 November 1941 and accepted immediately. The Admiralty then requested the United States to build 200 LST's for the Royal Navy under the terms of lend-lease.
The preliminary plans initially called for an LST 280 feet in length but, in January 1942, the Bureau of Ships discarded these d rawings in favor of specifications for a ship 290 feet long. Within a month, final working plans were developed which further stretched the overall length to 328 feet and called for a 50-foot beam and minimum draft of three feet 9 l/2 inches. This scheme distributed the ship's weight over a greater area enabling her to ride higher in the water when in landing trim. The LST could carry a 2,100-ton load of tanks and vehicles. The larger dimensions also permitted the designers to increase the width of the bo w door opening and ramp from 12 to 14 feet and thus accommodate most Allied vehicles. Provisions were made for the satisfactory ventilation of the tank space while the tank motors were running, and an elevator was provided to lower vehicles from the maind eck to the tank deck for disembarking. By January 1942, the first scale model of the LST had been built and was undergoing tests at the David Taylor Model Basin in Washington, D.C.
In three separate acts dated 6 February 1942, 26 May 1943, an d 17 December 1943, Congress provided the authority for the construction of LST's along with a host of other auxiliaries, destroyer escorts, and assorted landing craft. The enormous building program quickly gathered momentum. Such a high priority was assi gned to the construction of LST's that the keel of an aircraft carrier, previously laid in the dock, was hastily removed to make place for several LST's to be built in her stead. The keel of the first LST was laid down on 10 June 1942 at Newport News, Va. and the first standardized LST's were floated out of their building dock in October. Twenty-three were in commission by the end of 1942.
The LST building program was unique in several respects. As soon as the basic design had been developed , contracts were let and construction was commenced in quantity before the completion of a test vessel. Preliminary orders were rushed out verbally or by telegrams, telephone, and air mail letters. The ordering of certain materials actually preceded the c ompletion of design work. While many heavy equipment items such as main propulsion machinery were furnished directly by the Navy, the balance of the procurement was handled centrally by the Material Coordinating Agency -- an adjunct of the Bureau of Ships -- so that the numerous builders in the program would not have to bid against one another. Through vigorous follow-up action on materials ordered, the agency made possible the completion of construction schedules in record time.
The need for LST's was urgent, and the program enjoyed a high priority throughout the war. Since most shipbuilding activities were located in coastal yards and were largely used for construction of large, deep-draft ships, new construction facilities were established along inland waterways. In some instances, heavyindustry plants such as steel fabrication yards were converted for LST construction. This posed the problem of getting the completed ships from the inland building yards to deep water. The chief obstacles w ere bridges. The Navy successfully undertook the modification of bridges and, through a "Ferry Command" of Navy crews, transported the newly constructed ships to coastal ports for fitting out. The success of these "cornfield" shipyards of the Middle West was a revelation to the long-established shipbuilders on the coasts. Their contribution to the LST building program was enormous. Of the 1,051 LST's built during World War II, 670 were constructed by five major inland builders.
By 1943, the construction time for an LST had been reduced to four months and, by the end of the war, it had been cut to two months. Considerable effort was expended to hold the ship's design constant but, by mid-1943, operating experience led to the incorporation of certain changes in the new ships. These modifications included: the replacing of the elevator by a ramp from the main deck to the tank deck, an increase in armament, and the addition of a distilling plant to make potable water. The ma in deck was strengthened to accommodate a fully-equipped landing craft, tank (LCT).
From their combat debut in the Solomons in June 1943 until the end of the hostilities in August 1945, the LST's performed a vital service in World War II. The y participated in the invasions of Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and southern France in the European Theater and were an essential element in the island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific which culminated in the liberation of the Philippines and the capture of I wo Jima and Okinawa.
The LST proved to be a remarkably versatile ship. A number of them were converted to become landing craft repair ships (ARL). In this design, the bow ramp and doors were removed, and the bow was sealed. Derricks, booms, a nd winches were added to haul damaged landing craft on board for repairs, and blacksmith, machine, and electrical workshops were provided on the main deck and tank deck.
Another successful conversion was the LST "Mother Ship." Thisv ersion of the standard LST hull had two Quonset huts erected on the main deck to accommodate 40 officers. Bunks on the tank deck berthed an additional 196 men. A bake shop and 16 refrigeration boxes for fresh provisions augmented the facilities normally p rovided the crew. Four extra distilling units were added, and the ballast tanks were converted for storage of fresh water.
Thirty-eight LST's were converted to serve as small hospital ships. They supplemented the many standard LST's which rem oved casualties from the beach following the landing of their cargo of tanks and vehicles. For example, on D day, LST's brought 41,035 wounded men back across the English Channel from the Normandy beaches. Other LST's, provided with extra cranes and handl ing gear, were used exclusively for replenishing ammunition. They possessed a special advantage in this role, as their size permitted two or three LST's to go simultaneously alongside an anchored battleship or cruiser to accomplish replenishment more rapi dly than standard ammunition ships. In the latter stages of World War II, some LST's were even fitted with flight decks from which small observation planes were sent up during amphibious operations.
Throughout the war, LST's demonstrated a re markable capacity to absorb punishment and survive. Despite the sobriquet, "Large Slow Target," which was applied to them by irreverent crew members, the LST's suffered few losses in proportion to their number and the scope of their operations.T heir brilliantly conceived structural arrangement provided unusual strength and buoyancy. Although the LST was considered a valuable target by the enemy, only 26 were lost due to enemy action, and a mere 13 were the victims of weather, reef, or accident.
A total of 1,152 LST's were contracted for in the great naval building program of World War II, but 101 were cancelled in the fall of 1942 because of shifting construction priorities. 0f 1,051 actually constructed, 113 LST's were trans ferred to Great Britain under the terms of lend-lease, and four more were turned over to the Greek Navy. Conversions to other ship types with different hull designations accounted for 116.
The end of World War II left the Navy with a huge inv entory of amphibious ships. Hundreds of these were scrapped or sunk, and most of the remaining ships were put in "mothballs" to be preserved for the future. Consequently, construction of LST's in the immediate post-war years was modest. LST- 1153 and LST-115I, commissioned respectively in 1947 and 1949, were the only steam-driven LST's ever built by the Navy. They provided improved berthing arrangements and a greater cargo capacity than their predecessors.
The success of the amphibious assault at Inchon during the Korean War pointed up the utility of LST's once again. This was in contrast with the earlier opinion expressed by many military authorities that the advent of the atomic bomb had relegated amphibious landings to a thing of the past. As a consequence, 15 LST's of what were later to be known as the Terrebonne Parish-class were constructed in the early 1950's. These new LST's were 56 feet longer and were equipped with four, rather than two, diesel engines , which increased their speed to 15 knots. Three-inch 50-caliber twin mounts replaced the old twin 40-millimeter guns, and controllable pitch propellers improved the ship's backing power. On 1 July 1955, county or parish names (Louisiana counties are call ed "parishes") were assigned to LST's, which previously had borne only a letter-number hull designation.
In the late 1950's, seven additional LST's of the De Soto County-class were constructed. These were an improved version over earlier LST's, with a high degree of habitability for the crew and embarked troops. Considered the "ultimate" design attainable with the traditional LST bow door configuration, they were capable of 17.5 knots.
The commissioning of Newport (LST-1179) in 1969 marked the introduction of an entirely new concept in the design of LST's. She was the first of a new class of 20 LST's capable of steaming at a sustained speed of 20 knots. To obtain that speed, the traditional blunt bow doors of the LST were replaced by a pointed ship bow. Unloading is accomplished through the use of a 112-foot ramp operated over the bow and supported by twin derrick arms. A stern gate to the tank deck permits unloading of amphibious tractors into t he water or the unloading of other vehicles into a landing craft, utility (LCU) or onto a pier. Capable of operating with today's high speed amphibious squadrons consisting of LHA's, LPD's, and LSD's, the Newport-class LST can transport tanks, othe r heavy vehicles, and engineer equipment which cannot readily be landed by helicopters or landing craft. Thus, the utility of the LST seems to be assured far into the future.
Historic Registers, Listings
Click on the county or independent city below for a list of historic sites in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in each jurisdiction. Click on a site listed within each jurisdiction for a photograph and summary description of the site’s historical significance as well as a link to the nomination form (pdf) that earned the historic property or district a place in the registers.
Don’t know the jurisdiction where a listed site may be located? Enter the site name in the dynamic search bar below.
Nominations affiliated with archaeological sites or archaeological districts may not be posted for public access in order to protect the site or district’s location, or may have a redacted document posted.
See the Board Activities page for historic resources recently approved for listing in the VLR or awaiting consideration for listing at the next joint quarterly meeting of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources and the State Review Board.
Please note: recently approved VLR and NRHP sites are posted as quickly as staff time allows. For a comprehensive list of all registered historic resources in Virginia, please see this “List of Registered Properties and Sites in Virginia (pdf)”
Tracing Your Roots: Were Slaves’ Surnames Like Brands?
Were the surnames of enslaved people changed when they were sold, or were they allowed to keep the surnames of their former slave owners? It would seem plausible that a slave’s name was like a brand that identified the claim of ownership.
This question came up at the family reunion of a newly discovered branch of my family that traces its line back to an enslaved man, Wilson Wood, of Meigs County, Tenn. Wilson was born in 1815 and died in 1878 and was married to Sarah Taliaferro Wood. We believe his father was the slave owner William W. Wood Sr. and his mother was a slave named Mary. We have a copy of a bill of sale showing that Wilson was sold to his uncle Samuel Wood in 1862. In this case, both owners had the same surname, but if they hadn’t, would Wilson’s surname have changed?
Also, are there any additional details of Wilson’s early life that you can find? I will send you the documentation that we have for him. —the Rev. Dr. Lisa Sykes Chilton
If only it were that simple to trace the surnames of enslaved people! In truth, there were a variety of ways that former slaves adopted surnames, only one of which was adopting the surname of their slave owner. There were instances of an enslaved family passing down a surname through several generations. Sometimes people kept a surname of a previous slave owner, and sometimes they had a name chosen for other reasons, such as their occupation or a long-standing family connection to a name. A window into the complexities of slaves’ surnames can be found by reading the article “ A Perspective on Indexing Slaves’ Names ” (pdf), by David E. Patterson, in the American Archivist.
The Many Ways African Americans Came by Their Last Names
Further complicating African-American-surname research is the fact that after the Civil War, former slaves didn’t always take the name of their most recent owner (or have it assigned to them by record takers). Sometimes newly freed slaves chose new surnames for themselves to separate themselves from their former owners. For instance, some selected the surnames of people they admired or considered to be important, such as U.S. presidents. This may be why “Washington,” the surname of America’s first president, was dubbed “the blackest name” in America in an Associated Press article. Ninety percent of people recorded in the 2000 census with the surname “Washington” were black, a significantly higher percentage than for any other common name.
In a previous Tracing Your Roots column, “ Am I Related to Black Nationalist Martin R. Delany? ,” we determined that Dennis Dorrity likely changed his surname from that of his former slave owner, John Dorrity, to Delaney. This was possibly out of admiration for the black abolitionist Major Martin Robison Delany, who is frequently referred to as “ the Father of Black Nationalism .”
In other instances, individuals chose the name “Freeman” or “Freedmen” to distance themselves from any slave owner.
For these reasons, our advice to African Americans who are tracing family roots is to search for ancestors in the 1870 census without a surname. This was the technique used in another previous column, “ What’s the Story of a Portrait of My Slave Ancestor? ,” when we discovered that a family using the surname “Dickey” from 1880 forward was recorded under the surname “Johnson” in 1870.
Because surnames for former slaves were so fluid and not set on any particular laws or rules, determining a surname during and after slavery is often the most challenging aspect of African-American genealogy.
Re-Examining the Story of Wilson Wood
In your case, you have the name of your ancestor and two of his former slave owners in the bill of sale. The belief is that Wilson Wood’s father, William W. Wood Sr., sold him to his uncle Samuel Wood. After looking at the documents that you identified, we traced further and found information that might surprise you.
The bill of sale for Wilson Wood was recorded Sept. 22, 1862, but the record states that the sale actually took place earlier than that date, on Oct. 26, 1861. This means that the sale was recorded at least a year after the sale took place. Keep in mind that documents recorded after the event are not always completely accurate, since they are often based on memory.
We looked at the 1860 United States Census Slave Schedule (on Ancestry.com subscription required), and it appears that the sale of Wilson to Samuel O. Wood could have occurred even as early as 1860, since there is a 45-year-old male recorded in the household of Samuel Wood in Meigs County, Tenn., that year who would match the description of Wilson. Samuel had only two slaves: the man that could be Wilson and a 42-year-old woman.
Going back a decade to the 1850 Slave Schedule , both William Wood and Samuel O. Wood were recorded as slave owners in Meigs County, and their households were recorded on the same page of the census, meaning that they were living close to each other. Each man had only one slave in his household in 1850. Samuel had a 29-year-old male, placing his birth around 1821, and William Wood had a 26-year-old male, born about 1824, and both were described as being black. Both of these men are younger than what you know about Wilson Wood. However, it’s important to note that ages can vary, particularly in slave schedules, so perhaps one of these men is Wilson.
When we compared the 1860 Slave Schedule with the information in the federal census, however, we didn’t find a William Wood who was old enough to be the one who was on the bill of sale. A minor would have had to have a guardian conduct the sale for him, and that was not indicated in the document. The only William Wood recorded in Meigs County in 1860 was born around 1849 and was recorded in the household of James Wood. We also found 42-year-old Samuel O. Woods residing in Meigs County in 1860 with his wife, Mary, and two children: Roena, 9, and Elias, 2.
Going back 10 years to the 1850 census, we found Samuel residing there with Mary and a 1-year-old son, William Wood. This might be the same child who was recorded with James Wood (possibly a relative) 10 years later. However, in 1850 we also found a better match for the William Wood recorded in the bill of sale: a 30-year-old living alone in Meigs County.
Based on this information, it seems probable that the William and Samuel Wood in the bill of sale were brothers or close relatives, though both are far too young to be the father of Wilson, who was born in 1815. Perhaps Wilson was actually the son of William and Samuel’s father, and the story shifted in its retelling over time. You’ll want to focus on tracing this white Wood family back in time to determine if that is a possibility.
It also appears by the wording of the bill of sale for Wilson Wood that William Wood was either deceased or was no longer in the area at the time that the sale was recorded, since it states that the clerk John T. Russell “was personally acquainted with the said William Wood.” He was not available in some capacity, since he was not present for the recording of the document.
This aligns with the fact that a William Wood of the right age does not appear in Meigs County in 1860. You can search for a probate record for him in Meigs County before 1861 (the sale date) or search for a William Wood in another location that matches his description in 1860. This may help you learn more about any other slaves he may have owned or sold in Meigs County.
We went back further in time to research white Wood families in Meigs County. In 1836 there were two men with the surname “Wood” who were taxed in Meigs County: John W. Wood and Samuel W. Wood (subscription required). Neither of them was taxed for any slaves. Likewise, in 1830 a William Wood was recorded in Rhea County, Tenn. , which is adjacent to Meigs County and is also the county where the Samuel O. Wood in the bill of sale married in 1848 . The household did not include any slaves, but perhaps there is a connection to the William and Samuel Wood in the bill of sale.
These records suggest that there wasn’t a slave-owning Wood family in or around Meigs County when your Wilson Wood was born, and he could have been born elsewhere—or even been enslaved previously by another family. Extending your search geographically may help you locate an early bill of sale or probate record that mentions him and provides more information about his origins.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and founding director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is also chairman of The Root. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .
Dakota History in the Faribault Region
Chief Hushasha of the Wahpekute Dakota in front of his tipi while imprisoned at Fort Snelling, Minnesota in 1862, after the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 (Dakota War).
The Wahpekute Dakota were the original occupants of the region around Faribault, along with some of their Mdewakanton Dakota relatives. 1 Minnesota itself comes from the Dakota word for Mni Sota, the waters that reflects the sky. The main Wahpekute village was situated along the northwest shore of Medatepetonka, "Lake of the Big Village," now known as Cannon Lake.
The Wahpekute lived in a peaceable alliance with the other six peoples that make up the the Oceti Sakowin, the Lakota/Dakota Sioux, but competition for lands and resources stepped up with westward migration by Ojibwe from the shores of Lake Superior, bearing French firearms and exacerbated by the United States. With time, many of the Lakota/Dakota moved into what is now South Dakota and Nebraska, while the remaining communities settled in southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and eastern Wisconsin. After the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862, the vast majority of Dakota were forcibly exiled outside Minnesota, though always maintaining connection to their homelands. Today, the Prairie Island Indian Community near the mouth of the Cannon in Red Wing, is the nearest Dakota nation.
Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission, “Timeline,” accessed 20 April, 2013, http://www.faribault.org/history/Timeline.htm. ↩
Access Genealogy, “Wahpekute Indian Tribe History,” accessed 20 April, 2013, http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/siouan/wahpekutehist.htm. ↩
This tall, white sandstone rock formation located in what is today known as Castle Rock, was the namesake for the present day Cannon River, which the Wahpekute named Iyan Bosndata ("The Standing Rock River”) .
The Wahpekute split into two groups, with one settling in northern Iowa near Spirit Lake, and the other, along the Upper Cannon Valley. The latter were the first recorded residents of the Rice County area (then unnamed). They settled first in villages along the Cannon River, which they named Inyan Bosndata ("The Standing Rock River”) after a tall, white sandstone rock formation located in what is today known as Castle Rock, Dakota County, Minnesota. 10 Later, at Alexander Faribault’s persuasion, they moved into the existing site of Faribault. There were about 600 Wahpekute in the area by the early 1850s.
Chief Hushasha (Red Legs) of the Wahpekute Dakota was imprisoned in the Dakota internment camp at Fort Snelling, Minnesota after the U.S. Dakota War of 1862 . Hushasha converted to Christianity and is understood to have been baptized by the Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple, the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota who founded the Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior in Faribault. Many of Hushasha's descendants have identified themselves as Episcopalians. 11
Shannon Sleeth, “Wahpekute Dakota Sioux, Rice County Minnesota,” last modified October 2009, http://www.oocities.org/heartland/estates/5418/indian.html. ↩
Fox, Donald Whipple. "Chief Hushasha in Front of His Tipi While Imprisoned at Fort Snelling (Minnesota) in 1862." Beliefnet Community. February 9, 2009. http://community.beliefnet.com/hushasha40. ↩
F. W. Frink, A Short History of Faribault, (Faribault: Press of the Faribault Republican, 1902)↩
The Gullah: Rice, Slavery, and the Sierra Leone-American Connection
Mrs. Queen Ellis of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina making a Gullah basket (1976).
The Gullah are a distinctive group of Black Americans from South Carolina and Georgia in the southeastern United States. They live in small farming and fishing communities along the Atlantic coastal plain and on the chain of Sea Islands which runs parallel to the coast. Because of their geographical isolation and strong community life, the Gullah have been able to preserve more of their African cultural heritage than any other group of Black Americans. They speak a creole language similar to Sierra Leone Krio, use African names, tell African folktales, make African-style handicrafts such as baskets and carved walking sticks, and enjoy a rich cuisine based primarily on rice.
Indeed, rice is what forms the special link between the Gullah and the people of Sierra Leone. During the 1700s the American colonists in South Carolina and Georgia discovered that rice would grow well in the moist, semitropical country bordering their coastline. But the American colonists had no experience with the cultivation of rice, and they needed African slaves who knew how to plant, harvest, and process this difficult crop. The white plantation owners purchased slaves from various parts of Africa, but they greatly preferred slaves from what they called the “Rice Coast” or “Windward Coast”—the traditional rice-growing region of West Africa, stretching from Senegal down to Sierra Leone and Liberia. The plantation owners were willing to pay higher prices for slaves from this area, and Africans from the Rice Coast were almost certainly the largest group of slaves imported into South Carolina and Georgia during the 18th century.
The Gullah people are directly descended from the slaves who labored on the rice plantations, and their language reflects significant influences from Sierra Leone and the surrounding area. The Gullahs’ English-based creole language is strikingly similar to Sierra Leone Krio and contains such identical expressions as bigyai (greedy), pantap (on top of), ohltu (both), tif (steal), yeys (ear), and swit (delicious). But, in addition to words derived from English, the Gullah creole also contains several thousand words and personal names derived from African languages—and a large proportion of these (about 25%) are from languages spoken in Sierra Leone. The Gullah use such masculine names as Sorie, Tamba, Sanie, Vandi, and Ndapi, and such feminine names as Kadiatu, Fatimata, Hawa, and Isata—all common in Sierra Leone. As late as the 1940s, a Black American linguist found Gullahs in rural South Carolina and Georgia who could recite songs and fragments of stories in Mende and Vai, and who could do simple counting in the Guinea/Sierra Leone dialect of Fula. In fact, all of the African texts that Gullah people have preserved are in languages spoken within Sierra Leone and along its borders.
The connection between the Gullah and the people of Sierra Leone is a very special one. Sierra Leone has always had a small population, and Sierra Leonean slaves were always greatly outnumbered on the plantations by slaves from more populous parts of Africa—except in South Carolina and Georgia. The rice plantation zone of coastal South Carolina and Georgia was the only place in the Americas where Sierra Leonean slaves came together in large enough numbers and over a long enough period of time to leave a significant linguistic and cultural impact. While Nigerians may point to Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti as places where Nigerian culture is still evident, Sierra Leoneans can look to the Gullah of South Carolina and Georgia as a kindred people sharing many common elements of speech, custom, culture, and cuisine.