John Hines , 17711853 (aged 81 years)

Hand-written note - John Hines
John /Hines/
Given names

Slave Genealogy information related to slaves of the Burnam, Hines, Hampton, Taylor, Davenport, and Cherry families in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky (and some in Madison, Kentucky)

My great-uncle, Burnham Putnam Beckwith, wrote of his great-great-grandfather, John Burnam, that he had a farm or plantation worked by black slaves near Bowling Green, Kentucky, and a home in Bowling Green which later housed the Bowling Green High School. Here I attempt to reconstruct what I can of the history of the slaves of the Burnam family, and several other slave owning families that are allied to it by marriage.

The Burnam family was a slave owning family that was divided both over slavery and over the Civil War. My great-great-great-grandfather, John Burnam, was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1840 and supported secession in 1861. He served as treasurer of the provisional Confederate state administration in Kentucky. Two of his sons, John Quincy and Bennett, died during the Civil War, probably as Confederate soldiers. I have a fiercely pro-Confederate account of his daughter of the arrival of Union soldiers in Bowling Green. A more union friendly account of that same arrival of Union troops, published in the New York Times as part of a series on the history of the Civil War, describes John Burnam as “one of the luminaries and officials of the bogus Provisional Government of Kentucky. This BURNAM was Treasurer of the concern, and, like the chief of traitors, Judas, carried the bag, and, like his illustrious prototype, has, I presume, gone to his own place. He is not here.”

John Burnam’s first cousin, Curtis Field Burnam, also a slave owner, took a different course. He is said to have opposed slavery, despite owning slaves, and during the Civil War he was loyal to the Union.

The Burnam and Hines families were richer than the Taylor and Davenport families, and owned more slaves. I have attached slave census records for 1850 and 1860 to the following people in my family tree (who are either my ancestors or siblings or cousins of my ancestors):
John Burnam, born 1804 lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky and owned 14 slaves in 1850, and 21 in 1860.

Bennett Burnam (presumably the brother of John Burnam 1804, since his son Bennett would have been too young) lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky and owned 10 slaves in 1850.

Thompson Burnam (brother to John Burnam 1804, since John Burnam’s son Thompson would be only 20 in 1850) owned 17 slaves in 1850, all in Madison, Kentucky. In 1860, the Thompson Burnam who lived in Madison County, Kentucky owned 20 slaves.

Thompson Burnam, born 1830 (son of John Burnam born 1804) owned 13 slaves in 1860 and lived in Bowling Green.

Fortunatus P Davenport (born 1785, probably the father of Martha Davenport, who married Alfred Taylor) owned 7 slaves in 1850. He may have died by 1860, since at this point he owned no slaves, but Martha Davenport (Fortunatus’ wife was Martha) owned 3, and Joseph Davenport, Fortunatus’ son, owned 2.

Phineas D Hampton (born 1806) owned 12 slaves in 1850. By 1860, he seems to have gained enough wealth to own 38 slaves, although that’s not certain, since the 1850 slaves belonged to P D Hampton, while the 1860 slaves belonged to Finis Hampton. I’m pretty sure P D Hampton is Phineas D Hampton, but am less sure Finis Hampton is the same person. Benjamin S Hampton, Phineas’ brother, owned 9 slaves in 1850.
John Hines, born in 1772, owned 34 slaves in 1850. By 1860, this John Hines was dead. John Burnam, his son-in-law, may have inherited some of his slaves.

Pleasant Hines, born in 1798, was a son of John Hines. He owned 14 slaves in 1850 and 33 in 1860.

Alfred Taylor, the father of my great-great-grandfather Aaron H Taylor, born in 1818, owned one 10-year-old girl in 1850 and four slaves in 1860.

Alfred Taylor’s father, Allen Taylor, owned four slaves in 1860.

There are other Hines, Hampton, Burnam, Davenport, and Taylor slaves, but I haven’t attached their records to the men who owned them, and may not have all of those slave owners in my tree. For instance, there’s a Zachariah Taylor who shows up in the Bowling Green slave census as a slave owner; probably he’s a relative of mine, but I’m not sure how. I also suspect that Alfred Cherry, who appears as a slave owner, may be a relative, since Fortunatus Davenport appears on an Internet genealogy as married to Lavina Cherry, with both of them the parents of my Martha Davenport Taylor, but I don’t know how Alfred Cherry may be related to Lavina Cherry. I also haven’t found documentation for Fortunatus Davenport and Lavina Cherry actually being Martha Davenport’s parents (the others in my direct line seem to be supported by census records, gravestones, or genealogies that the DAR has accepted as adequately documented).

The slave owners listed above varied widely in the proportion of their slaves who were listed as black, versus mulatto. Mulatto was a rarer designation among slaves in general, but Pleasant Hines had slaves half of whom were mulatto. John Hines, John Burnam, and Phineas Hampton had a few mulatto slaves (several mulattos appear to stay with John Burnam through both censuses), while the Taylor and Davenport slaves were all listed in the census as black. The proportions among Pleasant Hines’ slaves who were mulatto make me wonder whether someone in the Hines family was particularly active about sleeping with the family slaves.

I tried to find possible Burnam, Davenport, Hampton, Hines, and Taylor slaves by comparing the slave schedules with the 1870 census. I tried several methods of finding possible former slaves of the family, with varied success.

1) Looking for former slaves by name: I only know the first name of one slave, “Aunt Lukey,” John Burnam’s cook. I was unable to find her in the 1870 census. If she was still alive and still in Bowling Green, she may have gone by a different first name in the census.

2) Looking for people living with or near former slave owners: In 1880, Thompson, aka Tom L, Burnam is listed as Thomas Burnam, and lives with his wife Sarah D, his 14-year-old daughter Mattie, his daughter Carrie, his son-in-law Aaron H Taylor, a 28-year-old divorced black woman named Martha Covington, and an 18-year-old single black man named Dan Potter. But 10 years earlier, Martha Covington is living with her family; maybe she had recently moved into the household as a servant. She turns out to be born in Tennessee. Likewise, Dan Potter lived with his family 10 years before. So I think that these two got hired as servants after the war, rather than being slaves who continued to work for the family for pay. Curtis Field Burnam, on the other hand, had three black people living in his household in 1880: Lewis Burnam, 53, Susan Burnam, 35, and Squire Jones, 19. There are slaves at around the right age, in his household in 1860, to be those three people in 1880. Pleasant Hines’ household, in 1870, consisted of himself, his wife Talitha A, his son William H, and Jordon Donaldson, 50, black, male, Dicy Cheek, 38, black, female, Bell Hines, 10, black, female, John Cheek, 6, black, male, and Lucy Cheek, 4, black, female. A black Lucy Hines, 36, lives in the neighborhood, working as a servant for the McNeal family. Benjamin S Hampton, in 1870, has an 11-year-old black girl in his household named B Hampton. And Alfred Taylor, in 1870, shows up with the following household: Alfred Taylor, 57, Caroline M Taylor, 45, Allen Taylor, 23, John Taylor, 18, A H Taylor, 15 (these all white, sharing a surname, clearly the Taylor family we already know). And, in addition: Mary C Houchins, 31, white, Samuel Martin, 15, black, Clay Martin, 12, black, and Benjamin Taylor, 13, black. I’m not sure how he comes to have so many black children living with him without their parents. They may be former Taylor slaves.

3) Matching slave age and gender with characteristics of free black families in 1870: I was unable to find the twin girls who were 1 year old in 1850, since by 1870 they were 21 and apparently living in different households, probably with different surnames. Most other attempts to search for slaves by age and gender likewise failed. There are lots and lots of Hines, Burnam, Taylor etc. black families, at least some of whom may be former slaves of my ancestors, but no way to tie particular people to particular families. But a possible match for Allen Taylor's former slaves (if they took his surname, and assuming some fuzziness from one census to the next in the ages of the parents) is the family of John Taylor, 38, black, which includes his wife, Faby Taylor, 38, his daughter Martha A Taylor, 13, his son Henery E Taylor, 11, his sons Samuel T Taylor, 9, William O Taylor, 7, and Siller G Taylor, 5, and his daughters Eliza Taylor, 4, and Amelia B Taylor, 1. What catches my eye here is the presence of a 13-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, which matches the ages of the 3-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy who were slaves of Allen Taylor in 1860.

4) Looking for mulattos: Looking at the mulatto Burnam slaves who seem to have stayed with the family through both 1850 and 1860 censuses, we have a man born in around 1818, a woman born in around 1834, and a man born in around 1844. Men listed in the 1870 census in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, who are listed as mulatto and the right age to be the man born in around 1818, are G P Williams (who shares his household with some Smiths), Fountain Cook, and Thomas Keel (only one of these three can match that particular slave). Thomas Keel shares a household with some Covingtons. Mulatto women born somewhere around 1834 turn out not to be all that rare in the 1870 census of Bowling Green, Kentucky: there are at least a dozen just in Bowling Green, without getting to neighboring towns. One is Martha Buman, a name that looks interestingly similar to Burman, but any of the others might be just about as likely to be this former slave. Mulatto men born around 1844 are likewise common in Bowling Green, but James M Hines looks particularly interesting, given that John Burnam may have gotten some of his slaves from his father-in-law John Hines. Alternatively, James M Hines' entire family (most of whom seem to be mulatto) might come from Pleasant Hines slave household, since Pleasant Hines was particularly well supplied with mulatto slaves.

When I follow up on the mulatto families who are possible former Burnam and Hines slaves in the 1880 census, I find that their paths have diverged. In 1880, R B Hines, Ada E Hines, and Henry Hines are still together, and Minnie Ransom is still with them, as are miscellaneous other people (the Ransoms prove to be in-laws, Minnie being a sister-in-law and Fannie P, now living with them, a mother-in-law). But now they are white. Thomas Keel, on the other hand, turns black in the 1880 census. So does Fountain Cook (now a farmer). G P Williams and his family turn white. Some, though, stay mulatto. By 1880, Belle Hines is working as a servant for a Bush family. Jordon Donaldson turns up in the household of Esther Hines, mulatto, 29, whose stepfather he is. There live also her two sisters-in-law, Kate Donaldson, 23, and Mary Donaldson, 19, both mulatto. (The fact that the Hines and Donaldson families turn up in the same household confirms my suspicion that these are both families of former Hines slaves. I couldn’t find Dicy and John Cheek in the 1880 census.)

That concludes my list of possible former slaves of the Burnam, Hines, Hampton, Taylor, Davenport, and Cherry families. It’s possible that I could do better with a look at the family wills, but I checked my files, and could only find photocopies of an index to Warren County, Kentucky wills, not the wills themselves. The actual wills are preserved somewhere in Kentucky, but I’m not sure whether any of them have been microfilmed.

Media object
Hand-written note - John Hines
Hand-written note - John Hines