Tuesday, February 4, 2014

52 Weeks 52 Ancestors - Silas Sherrod #5

In this fifth week of the 52 Challenge, I choose Silas Sherrod, my third great grandfather.  Silas was not an ancestor that I had heard about until three years ago. The verbal history shared by a cousin three years ago was that he is the father of Celia Sherrod who married Henry Carroll/Cal in 1882 Lawrence County, Alabama.

After hearing the verbal history of Silas Sherrod being Celia's father, the search was on to find what I could about this third great grandfather.  The spelling of his first name in the records varied greatly, Cyrus, Silas, Siras and Sirrus.  He was born in 1827 in Alabama.  I found the first listing of him in the 1866 Alabama State Census living in Lawrence County, Alabama with two males, one between 30-40 and the other 80-90, along with two females, one under ten and one twenty to thirty.  The line under Silas' listing is Selina Sherrod.  She will be covered in my next posting.

The most exciting find about Silas Sherrod was a US Commission Claim.  In 1871, Silas/Cyrus Sherrod files claim to US Claims Commission Deposition stating he was own by Benjamin Sherrod then Walter S. Sherrod before freedom.  He owned a cow and calf that he received from his granddaddy who was allowed to keep them by his master, Col Benjamin Sherrod.   Walter Sherrod was Silas' last owner and stated Cyrus was a good servant, owns the cow and calf and did blacksmithing for the Union soldiers.  Silas describes hiding his family from the soldiers who entered his home during the war.  T

In the 1870 US Census for Township 4, Range 8, Lawrence County, Silas is living with Patsey Sherrod age 100 that was born in North Carolina along with Louisa Sherrod.  Now Louisa later turned out to be Silas wife, Louis Shackleford.  Silas was forty-two so it is highly possible that Patsey, listed as head of household could have been his grandmother.  He had mentioned in his US Commission claim that his grandfather left him the cow and calf.  During my twenty some years research journey, I've not found anything so detailed for my African American family during slavery.  I was dancing and searching all over the place for every detail of Silas' statements in this document.  The search revealed how history truly was made up of our family members and much more than dates, names, events and places that we've read.  You may know that but when you can place your family in the middle of notable history in the making, it means a great deal more.  I search officers mentioned, slave masters and their relocation to the NW area of Alabama.

Now Patsey was born in NC where Benjamin Sherrod's roots are, then he moved to GA, where he married Elizabeth Ricks Watkins.  After her death in 1818, he moved to Northwest Alabama from Wilkes Co. GA, bringing  his wealth including slaves.  He own slaves and some estimates are 700 that worked on several plantations in the area. The colonel made quite an impact in the area and died about 1845 passing his wealth on to his son.

Silas was born on one of these plantations in 1827.  Have yet to find what happened to his parents.  Unfortunately, he didn't name his grandfather in the claim but we did find his grandfather was own by Col. Benjamin, own property as a slave and passed those items on to his grandson and perhaps even the trade of blacksmithing.  The claim filed by Silas to the US Commission seems to be a bold move, supported by his former owner, Walter Sherrod (learned he was not a supporter of either side).   The claim was turned down for Silas Sherrod could not afford to send witnesses to Washington, DC to testify on the claim.  Oh well, Silas went on working as a blacksmith and farmer as a newly freed person in Alabama.

Another trail on my Journey as a Family Historian!