According to the 1850 federal census William H. Clopton was a farmer in Charles City County, Virginia. He is also believed to be yrmama’s first cousin, eight times removed up. The original Clopton property there along Black Creek was called Roslyn, and just down the road were the Tyler place, called Sherwood Forest, and my cousin William Clopton’s plantation, Selwood. And by “Tyler” I mean former President John Tyler, and his second wife, Julia. John Tyler’s occupation is listed on the census form as “farmer,” just like William; aw shucks.
Highlights from yrmama’s William H. Clopton Research
- On June 29, 1849, William (edit: please don’t take my word for this. I now think this could be one of the other William Cloptons in the Richmond area at that time.) was in court for the trial of one of his slaves, 20 year old Nancy Willis, who was accused and convicted of the felony of setting fire to William Gibson’s house in Richmond. She was transported to the penitentiary and eventually executed by hanging (from the neck until dead, they always specify that) on Friday, the 24th of August 1849. Part of the court proceeding in June was a determination of her monetary value, so that William could be fairly reimbursed. The six justices present each said how much they thought she would bring if sold with public knowledge of her guilt. Then they added up their numbers and divided by six…William was paid $491.66 for Nancy.
You might ask, “yrmama, how does this make you feel?” How do I feel about this? How do you THINK I feel about this? Geez o Pete.
- yrmama also found another legal document concerning William H. from about fifteen years later. It is “Record of Slaves Who Have Escaped to the Enemy During the War” from the Commissioner of Revenue for Charles City County. As in, you shouldn’t be liable for paying personal property tax on people who have run away from you to join the Union Army. On 4 April, 1862 these individuals escaped from Selwood: Willis (60), Marston (43), George (37), Jessy (28), Lewis (28), Peter (48) and John (40). I bet old William was pissed. I also wonder if sixty year old Willis might be related to Nancy Willis from the first case.
Phew. Second installment on the way. Gotta let this settle. God bless all their souls.