When I began my genealogy quest, I had no idea Jamieson was in the family tree. I interviewed the eldest family member who either couldn’t remember or refused to recall painful events from the past. For example, I have a distant cousin who informed me it makes him physically sick to think or talk about what happened, either eye-witness accounts or hearsay. Okay...so I went solo researcher for a while. I staged sit-ins at the county library in the genealogy department when minutes before closing I was one click or microfilm away from finding that one elusive relative.
Besides the lengthy research, there is the money factor for the must-have birth and death certificates that turn out to be someone else’s relatives. Many certificates list deaths as “about 60 yrs”—what does that mean? Or birth mother’s name—unknown. Unfortunately, most enslaved Blacks were lumped together, not by age, sex, or families. It wasn’t uncommon for babies to be separated from their mothers as they were sold into slavery. That’s it! It’s sad, but in some cases true. It’s like digging for treasures locked away in the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh. The excitement, the awe, and the blurry vision that consumed me happened when I discovered my great-grandfather’s 1912 draft card only to get a headache from the recorder’s scribble. Even a magnifying glass has its limitations. For African-Americans, the must-see document is “the” slave schedule.
In Guilty of Love, my great-great-grandmother, Charlotte Jamison who was born about 1842, has a small part, but enough character for some readers to connect the dots. A footnote: I wrote her into the story before I was aware there were any Jamisons in my lineage, hmmm.
Here’s what I’ve found out about Charlott Jamison (Jamieson) Wilkerson (Wilkinson). The names in the parenthesis indicate the variations of how her name might be listed. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of her. See her son, William, b. 1866, below.
According to the 1850 Slave Schedule:
On November 10th, in ?, MS… **Robert Jamison had 26 slaves, 22 males, ranging in ages 2-45; 4 females, ages 2, 3, 25, 40. It’s unknown if Charlott (w/o the “e”) is one of the toddlers since the ages could be off 3-6 years.
According to the 1860 Slave Schedule:
On September 1st, Robert Jamison was a slave owner in Chickasaw County, MS, Division 1 Township. **In his home resided a John Wilkinson, 23. His occupation was “Teacher in Academy.” Wilkinson was born in AL. One month earlier, on the August 4th, 1860 census, Jamison had 23 slaves living in 6 slave houses. 10 were females. Only one of these women was listed as a mulatto (a mixture of a white slave master or overseer and black slave). She was 35 years-old. I believe an 18-year-old girl might have been her daughter. If that is the case, which I haven’t verified, this mulatto is my great-great-great grandmother.
According to the 1870 census (the first one where Blacks were actually counted):
On the July 28, Charlott(e) Jamison, 28, was listed as the head of the household and a housekeeper in Township 16 in Chickasaw County, Palo Alto, MS. The census lists her birthplace as South Carolina. Charlott is listed as a mulatto with 2 sons, William, 5, and Samuel, 3.
In 1870, Charlotte was physically FREE.
Notice that she uses the slaveholder's name Jamison and her race is "white".
In 1880, Charlott(e) now carried the last name of the man who fathered her two sons, John Wilkinson. The "n" is missing in the name. You will also see tat her race is listed as "mulatto"
In 1900, Charlotte's name was transcribed as Jimerson, although on the original document, it's written Jamison. This is the first time it shows her father's birthplace was in South Carolina, but her birthplace is wrong as MS. It also shows one of her son's is dead, which could possible be Sam. However, oral family history says Sam had to leave by night to keep from getting lynched.
In 1920, Charlotte's name appears correctly on the census, but the transcription was terrible, which delayed me finding her as Charlott Jamerson --good grief! Notice her race is "black" and the enumerator lists her birthplace, her mother's and father's as Mississippi. No regard for accuracy.
In 1920, Charlotte had taken back the name Jamison. Why? Also, note her race is "black" and her birth state is Alabama instead of South Carolina. I have to wonder if this was the doing of Bird Caradine, since he originated from Alabama. Just a thought.
(1930) According to the Carradine Family history, she is buried in their cemetery with a death year of 1930. Here is a photo of Bird Caradine, one of the former largest slaverholders in the area. According to the family's history, she lived in their "backyard". Sigh