This is not the first time I have written about the Singleton-Gilliam Ancestry. I strongly feel that this is the beginning of my story of Slave & Master on my Maternal family line. It is also very possible that the Nelson Surname is important to this research.
Sure I have ancestors that were free people of color but I had many others that were brought across the seas to this land we call America. My Great Great Grandmother Hannah D. Nelson-Singleton Gilliam born sometime in 1839, lived the life of a slave and also had the opportunity to play a significant role within her family and community during the Reconstruction years migrating from Craven County, North Carolina to Worcester, MA. Hannah was described as a very fair complected woman. She had many household skills that she took with her into the Reconstruction years...so reflecting on Hannah and not fully knowing her, I believe that she was a House Slave. Of course I can't assume, but I really don't think she worked a day in the field. From what I have heard, the family was very sophisticated and skilled in the homes of the Well-to-do in Worcester, MA.
In my mother's journal she spoke of Hannah being impregnated by the Slave Master. In my research, I discovered that Singleton was the Slave Masters surname. During slavery, my 2x Great Grandmother was married to a Daniel Gilliam. I only see him mentioned through documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, city directories as Hannah being the widow of Daniel. I finally found him in a probate record dated in 1867 in Craven County, NC. It is clear that he never migrated to Worcester, so that made it easy for me to end his story where he might have been born. [I am unsure where he was born.] I am unsure if he was colored or white; slave or free. I have made many assumptions, but with my assumptions, it has put false walls up, so I am opening up on my conclusions and re-opening the box and stepping outside of it, allowing my ancestors to guide me to the truth.
Hannah had at least five children [I think she had more, and some may not have been her biological children.] One of her sons was Leander Singleton Gilliam. He was so fair, that he passed as a white man. He didn't start "passing" until he migrated to Worcester with his mother Hannah and his Auntie Jane B. Collins. The fact that he "passed" somewhat surprised me as these two ladies were also very fair, however were advocates and leaders in the Black Community of Worcester and probably in North Carolina once the Slaves were free.
|Lawrence Sr., Lawrence Jr., and sister Lynn|
So, Leander's grandson Lawrence Singleton Gilliam Jr. who is in his 80's communicates with me on a regular basis. I truly adore this man, my cousin. When I shared with him his ancestry, he mentioned that he always was told of their Native American Ancestry. He knew nothing of his African Ancestry. So the two of us decided that it was time for Lawrence to take a DNA test. This is what he did, because one thing he wants to know at his age is where he came from and what his ancestry is. I was thrilled! We just got the results back, and I am telling you, I was all over the place as they were slowly coming in. I went from elated to uncertainty as to the results. These will be revealed soon.
So, my main questions are?: Is Leander's descendants of African Ancestry? Can we link Lawrence Singleton Gilliam to the Singleton Ancestry through DNA? Was the Singleton surname just the Slave Owners ancestry and just a name alone linking the Gilliams to the Singleton plantation? Is it possible that Leander had a different father, and that possibly Daniel Gilliam is his father? I hope some of these questions can be ruled out and answered correctly.