The search for Henry Logan’s family

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My paternal 2nd-great-grandfather Henry Logan (1837 – ~1920) was born into slavery in Mississippi. Two out of four of the US Census records I’ve found for him say that his parents were born in South Carolina (the 1870 Census doesn’t have columns for the birthplaces of parents unless they were born outside the US and the 1900 Census says they’re from Mississippi). The relevant records are from 1880 and 1910.

This post is based on 4th and 5th great-grandparent possibilities where I investigated a potential father for Henry that Ancestry’s ThruLines suggested to me. Though Tyler Logan is not Henry Logan’s father (Tyler was white and Henry was never recorded as mulatto in any US Census record), I was able to gather enough evidence to conclude that Tyler Logan had once enslaved Henry.

The Evidence
  1. Tyler moved from Abbeville County, South Carolina to Abbeville, Mississippi sometime between 1830 and 1840. He brought some enslaved people with him because he had seven recorded in the 1830 census (line 8, the names of the heads of household are on the previous page). Henry’s parents were likely born in South Carolina.
  2. Tyler’s 1850 Slave Census Schedule record includes a 13-year-old black boy (born in 1837, the same year as Henry Logan). In the 1840 census, Tyler is recorded having three enslaved male children under ten years old (line 18, the names of the heads of household are on the previous page).
Tyler Logan's 1850 US Slave Schedule record that includes a 13-year-old black boy
Tyler Logan 1850 US Slave Census Schedule Screenshot from FamilySearch
  1. In 1870 (post-Emancipation) Henry Logan and his family are living very near Tyler Logan: Tyler is dwelling 304 while Henry is 306 on the next page. In 1880 they are near each other as well, probably in the same locations (Tyler is dwelling 310 while Henry is 312). The ages are off for both Tyler and Henry, but that was common for census records back then.
Screenshot of part of Tyler Logan's 1870 US Census record
Tyler Logan, 1870 US Census from FamilySearch
Screenshot of part of Henry Logan's 1880 US Census record
Henry Logan, 1870 US Census from FamilySearch
Screenshot of part of Tyler Logan's 1880 US Census record
Tyler Logan, 1880 US Census from FamilySearch
Screenshot of part of Henry Logan's 1880 US Census record
Henry Logan, 1880 US Census from FamilySearch
Who is Henry’s mother?

Henry was born in 1837 according to the 1870 census. If we assume that his mother would not have given birth to him before age 14, the upper bound on her birth year is 1823. We can put a lower bound on her birth year if we assume that he would have been born before she turned 40, so 1798. The 45-year-old woman recorded in the screenshot of Tyler Logan’s 1850 slave census schedule was born in 1805. In 1840 she would have been 35 and one female slave between the age of 35 and 55 was recorded in Tyler Logan’s household.

The ages in the 1860 slave census schedule don’t exactly match for Henry or the unknown enslaved woman. The closest man in age to Henry is 20 (Henry would have been 23) and the closest woman in age to his potential mother is 59 (the 45-year-old woman from the 1850 census would have been 55). Both are within an acceptable margin of error, though.

I attempted first to find the 45-year-old woman from 1850 in the 1870 census living in the same neighborhood as Henry and also having the same surname. No luck. I then expanded the age range to 1798 to 1823 and expanded the search area to the entire township. FamilySearch returned only one black woman with the Logan surname who was born in South Carolina during the year range (R. Logan). She was living with a black man (whose first name wasn’t recorded) who was also born in South Carolina. They are living in the same township as Henry but not nearby. Are these Henry’s parents?

Exactly one result was returned for the 1880 census as well and it reveals that R’s first name was Rebecca and her husband’s first name was Burgess. They are still not living near Henry.

FamilySearch search results displaying Rebecca and Burgess Logan
FamilySearch search results for black people with the Logan surname born in South Carolina between 1798 and 1823 who were living in Lafayette County, Mississippi during US census enumeration.

Rebecca Logan was born about 1814 according to the 1870 census. In 1850 she would have been 36. In 1860, 46. There isn’t a woman who matches her age in either the 1850 slave census schedule or the 1860 one. However, early censuses often recorded people’s ages incorrectly. I have a maternal 2nd-great-grandfather whose inferred birth year was sometimes very different (5-10 years) between one census and the next.

I don’t feel confident enough to say that Rebecca and Burgess Logan are Henry Logan’s parents. If I knew where Henry was buried, I would look for their gravesites nearby. I’m not sure which church he attended (to request a record search), but many of his descendants attended Providence United Methodist in Abbeville and are buried in the associated cemetery. Providence, however, wasn’t opened until 1892. I should contact them anyway because they probably have information about the black churches that existed in the 1870s and 1880s.

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