Where Were They in 1808?

Awhile ago, the challenge issued by Lisa was to describe where one’s ancestors were in 1908. I blogged about that here. Now the topic is where one’s ancestors were in 1808. Many bloggers have written about this already; I’m just getting caught up.

1808 was a signal year for some of my families. That was the year that Congress banned the Atlantic slave trade from the United States. The U.S. Constitution of 1789 had provided in Article I, section 9:

The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.

This somewhat obtuse sentence was one of the several compromises in the Constitution on the issue of slavery. The importation of slaves could not be banned by Congress for two decades after the Constitutional Convention. Note that states were free to ban slavery at any time; and several had done so prior to 1808.

Manson: Charlotte Manson, the likely first ancestor born in America, was probably still with her Scots-Irish parents in South Carolina or northern Georgia. We have not yet discovered her parents’ names.

Gines: I have no information about the Gines family that goes back to 1808. I do know that they likely came from the Carolinas.

Bowie: James Bowie, free man of color, is believed to have been born in the 1790’s in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, and probably was living there in 1808.

Brayboy: William Brayboy was born into slavery in South Carolina in the 1790’s. I do not know where in South Carolina.

Johnson/Carpenter: Benjamin Carpenter had been born in 1745 in Gloucester, New Jersey. In 1808, he and his wife, Elizabeth McFarland Hughes, lived in Harrison County, Virginia (now in West Virginia). Their son William, grandfather of Ezekiel Johnson, was born in Harrison County in 1790.

LeJay: I am reasonably certain that my LeJay ancestors were held in bondage in South Carolina in 1808. They were most likely in the eastern part of South Carolina.

Birdsong: John Birdsong III and his wife, Elizabeth Latimer, had moved to Oglethorpe County, Georgia, by 1808.

Sanford: The earliest known ancestor in this family, William Sanford, was born into slavery in Virginia in 1809.

Bryant, Long, Gilbert, Martin: I have no information on these families in 1808.

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Craig

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