My second cousin four times removed, Abner Clopton, farmed in Heath’s Creek Township, Pettis County, Missouri, not far from Kansas City. He bought out his father Abner’s extensive property sometime around 1860. There were and may still be a lot of Abner Cloptons and at the risk of disrespect I call my little group of them the Abners.
One of the people enslaved by the Abners was named Archie Fox. Archie continued to work for them as a hired hand after emancipation and eventually owned a portion of the Abners’ land. Another formerly enslaved person, David Rice, purchased a piece of property from the farm where he was enslaved, right next door. David Rice married Archie Fox’s daughter Lucy. (disclaimer: I don’t have documentation of all this. I’m in touch with a descendant of Archie’s and include things he has told me.)
As I was filling in information for another rivulet of the Clopton family, the Grinsteads of Kentucky, I noticed the name Will Fox. A little side trip was warranted. On the 1860 federal census I noticed that single, middle-aged white Will Fox lived next door to young America Fox and her children, all of whom were identified as mullatto. In 1870 America had several more children and a husband named Green Fox. Then I found a document called a Slave Certificate, from 1858 when America and Green were taken from Mississippi to Kentucky. It was signed by agents of the seller attesting to the good character of the siblings, basically a warranty that an investment in this human capital is solid. Wait a minute, siblings!
Either somebody made a clerical error or Green and America had successfully passed themselves off as siblings in an attempt to stay together. Were siblings more likely to be purchased together than a married couple? I don’t know. Why was America living as a free citizen just a few years after being bought? Where was Green in 1860? (I think I have found him on the 1860 Slave Schedule of the buyer.) On documents later in life America reports Day as her maiden name and she and Green raise upwards of twenty children together. I don’t know yet if there is a connection here to Archie Fox and the Cloptons but I hope so. There are obviously a lot of threads to research! Maybe I’ll hear from a Fox descendant who can fill in more blanks.