Prove--What's In A Name
"This is the day that the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." Hebrew Name Version
What's in a name? As I researched my father's lineage, I came up with different surnames. I was thankful that I had a lot of HELP from some of my cousins and other researchers along the journey.
Last week I was in bed reading my Great Grandpa Isaac Blakey's pension records. He had to prove who he was because he was disable due to what happened to him during the Civil War. [I even found one spellings of Great Grandpa Isaac's name as Blakely as well]
Around 1890 Great Grandpa Isaac applied for disability. On a statement dated May 7, 1894 Isaac explained how he was wounded..." that while drilling at camp at Natchez Mississippi in the year of 1864. In the Spring- date not remembered. He was accidentally wounded in the left leg below the knee by a bayonet in the hand of a comrad, name of comrad now forgotten.
Company was at this time (? --ing) drilled by Capt Kelsa Commanding company that said wound has never healed and is now and ever since there was continued a running sore permanently disabling him..." Isaac had trouble finding witnesses to when he was in the war.
The following are three witness that testified for Great Grandpa Isaac. Witness # 1 knew Isaac all of Isaac's life. Witness # 2 knew Isaac when he was a small child. Witness # 3 knew Isaac when they served in the Civil War together. So here are the witnesses to back up Isaac's claim that he, Isaac Blakey and Alais Isaac "Blaker" were one of the same.
Witness #1 W.C. Harvey, 73 here are his very words dated on February 17, 1899. This statement was handwritten. Who was W.C. Harvey ? The man who advertised Isaac's family up for a sell in 1857 - 1861.
I have known Isaac Blakey all of his life and well just before the Civil War in 1861-1865- that he was sober and orderly and no bad habits that I knew of and so far as I know since he [is] living about 10 miles from me."
Witness # 2...Y.C.Blakey, 63 Here are his very words ....dated February 15, 1899. This statement was handwritten.
...that he was acquainted with Isaac Blakey from the time that he was a small boy, up to the time of the breaking out of the war of rebellion from 1861 -1865 and knowledge of him was on the wise said Isaac Blakey the above name applicant belonged to his father's family and lived with them up to the time above spoken of when he last saw him, he was at his (Y.C. Blakey's) mother's house in Fayette, MO about the years 1857 to 1861 at which place he was staying at that time.
Affiant further states that Isaac Blakey had previously borne a good reputation as a slave he had no bad or vicious habits that he knew of and as far as he knows he still bears a good reputation affiant states what the fore going statements are made from personal knowledge of the facts stated.
Y.C. Blakey statement on November 18, 1899 in his own handwriting
I have know Isaac Blakey the claimant since he was a child. He belonged as a slave to my mother Francis Blakey and was raised in Howard County until he left home about the breaking out of the war in 1861. She sold him and his (? spelling) mother about that time and they went south. I lost sight of him there and did not again meet him until within the last year but I am satisfied he is the some boy His name is Blakey as that was the "family" name.
Another statement that was by Y.C. Blakey that was typed...dated April 7, 1913.
In relation to the above entitled cause; personally came before me a Notary Public in and for the County of Chariton and State of Missouri; Y.C. Blakey, who's post office address is Salisbury Chariton County, Missouri, a person well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who by me being duely sworn declare in relation to the aforesaid cause as follows: what he is 78 years old having been born in the year 1835; that he is well acquainted with Isaac Blakey, that he and his mother raised him; and to the best of his knowledge and belief, the said Isaac Blakey was born in the year 1845, that no records now exist showing the state on which the said Isaac Blakey was born. Witness my hand and Seal this the 7th, day of April 1913. (I could not read the notary of public's name.)
Who was Y.C. Blakey? Y.C. Blakey was W.C. Harvey's brother in law and son of Frances White Blakey and W. C. Harvey was the Guardian of the heirs of John Blakey's estate. I just had a thought...1/8 of the slaves were to be sold in 1857 - 1861 each of the children of Frances were to received 1/8 of the sell. Y.C. never acknowledge that he owned Isaac.
Y.C. stated that he and his mother helped raised Isaac. There were only two slaves to Francis....believed to have been a 55 year old woman and a 12 year old male on the 1860 census for the Blakeys.
On one of Great Grandpa's statement he said..." on April 5, 1913 "that he is unable to furnish either public , church or family record showing the date of his birth; the he was raised by the Blakey's, who's early family record has been destroyed; that his young master( several years his senior) Y.C. Blakey, is still living and that he will furnish an affidavit from him."
Witness # 3 Thomas Napper 53. He is his very own words dated November 8, 1899. I was a member of Co "D" 6th Miss and knew claimant Isaac Blakey in the Army in 1864. We were their in Louisiana under Commander of Col Fair and Maj Reynolds The claimant was known as Isaac Blakey and I never know a man in that regiment know as Isaac Blaker. I am a minister of the gospel and have been for (? forty or four years) forty years and travel in the State of MO as an evangelist.
Deposition of Thomas Napper by Elais Shafer wrote on April 6, 1900... [ I liked what this man said... even thought it's not spoken,....I believed that Isaac knew about Jesus. If you can read between the lines of what the other witnesses...what they said and what Isaac Blakey said ...there was more to what they saying.]
I am a minister of the Gospel. I served during the Civil War in Co [Company] D 6 U.S.C.H.A. I enlisted in 1864 and served and was discharged 1865 from hospital. I first met this claimant at Natchez, Miss. after enlistment. He was in another co [company] The whole Regt was there in the Fort. I am not now certain what co [company] he was in.
I knew him will. We played marbles together and wrestled with each other. He is the only man I knew of this name or similar name in the Regt. I met him just after the war in Nov last. I was preaching at Forest Green MO. Some 6 miles from where he lived. I recognized him as quick as I saw him as the man I had know in the Regt.
He attended my meetings. He is one of the Deacons of the church. I was then doing special work. I am not quit certain as of the spelling of his name. I think he went b the name of Blakey in the army. I would not say as a fact whether he spell it as Blakey or Blaker. I know he is the same man.
We talked over our Army experiences the recalled events that occurred then so there can be no possible doubt that he is the man I knew in service. I think then is some difference in the spelling of his name. I think it was Blaker - - Blakey but just how he spells it now or how he spelled it then I would not want to say as a fact. I can be positive that he is the same man.
I made a statement for him in Nov last. That statement was correct as you have read it to me. I am not related or interested ..I have understood the question and my answers have been correctly recorded. The words "and was discharged" (? what the three were are ?) 3 were added before witness signed his statement...written by Elais Shafer, Special Examiner.
I have been thinking about why Great Grandpa Isaac kept the Blakey name. He even used it while he was serving in the Civil War. The Blakey name must have meant something to him. I could only imagine. Indeed Isaac surname was White. His family knew this. I thought how did this come about ?
Francis Blakey's father was John WHITE who was a wealthy man from VA. He left in his will provision for one of his slaves for the rest of her life. That stated something. Also John White (most likely) gave Francis and her husband JOHN BLAKEY land and slaves for a wedding gift. A researcher thought may be Isaac was owned by the Blakey's. His parents were owned by the Whites. I notice that in 1850 census, Francis had her own slaves as well as her husband John.
John Blakey died 25 August 1844. John's estate was in probate court. The slaves Andrew, Julia(n), Mary, Lydia, Linda, Isaac, Spencer, Andrew, and Ben were to be sold. In 1861 Isaac and his mother were the last to be sold. As a researcher share some information with me.... It was most likely that Isaac and his mother were sold to relatives of the Blakey's family in MS.
I believe that Isaac was too young to have ran away to join the army. He had to have had HELP. Isaac was said to have been 14 or 16 when he ran away. Isaac enlisted in Natchez MS. Union Army as occupation , a farmer at age 18... on Nov 1, 1863, He served until May 13 1866.
Isaac's name at enlisting was Private Isaac BLAKER. He had to prove that he was the same person. Some how that name reminds a mystery. Isaac declared that his name was Isaac BLAKEY.... Alais Isaac Blaker may have been his freedom name that the army gave him. He was believed to have been much younger at enlistment time... He grew 6 inches in about 3 years. His accepted birth was June 30, 1847.
Isaac's family choose the WHITE surname. I can only suppose that Isaac was raised by the BLAKEYs and he liked them so much that he kept their name. When the slave owner John Blakey died his estate was in the court probate.
Isaac knew who his parents and siblings were. I believe that Isaac knew where they were in MS. That's why he found his family so easily. He knew the area. Isaac convinced his family to move to MO. The brother John White was living.
As for the article "Slavery Descendants To Have First Reunion" in the early 1970's, some of the early history is a mystery. Isaac was born in Fayette, MO. (Roanoak, MO was listed on his death record.) not in Africa. But however on Isaac's death record...the person who gave the information about Isaac had some knowledge of him. Isaac BLAKEY was an African.
I received a revelation on that one day about a month or so before I was saved. I was listening to radio program. The topic was on Black American or African American which is the "label" for who? I thought to myself...my Great Grandpa Isaac was born in American how can he say that he was an African. You might think that this is weird but, I voice came and said that "his parents were African." I never thought about that.
Isaac's father was Andrew WHITE from VA. His mother was unknown---I believe that her name was Julia(n) born in VA. She had at least 12 children. I believe that Isaac's parents' parents were African's making them stating that they were Africans. [ Isaac had a daughter named Julia and a son named Andrew. Isaac had a total of 20 children with two marriages. There were many same name relatives.]
My cousins stated that what they had been told [by one of Isaac's children] that the family came off the coast of Nigeria. As for the mother and her three sons and daughter ...(?) they could have been another generation. Isaac's mother's or father's parents. There are a lot of same name ancestors.
As for my Grandpa John BLAKEY, Alais John BLAKLEY Sr, he changed his name at some point on the journey from MS to Buchanan County MO. He was hard to trace. All I have on what he done was found through city directories, birth and death records and the US census records.
Somehow someone keep in contact with the different name changes over the years. As my cousin Willie said when she was growing up that "Uncle" John BLAKE would come over to their house to talk with her father.
In a December 25, 1984 letter cousin Willie wrote " I stayed up until 3 o'clock Christmas Eve night. I was trying to find out just who John [Blakley's] Blakey's father and mother was. We know that he always came to our house about every week.
We knew that he was our first cousin, but just lately we have been trying to make out just where he lived, and was he ever married and or have any children. We all loved him. When he came to our house, we didn't ask him any questions. We just called him "Uncle John Blake" in those days. We kids just called everyone that was older than we kids, were. We always called them Uncle and Aunt, men or women..."
Someone must have not forgotten "Uncle" John Blake...there was still some connections. It was during the 1970's First Reunion that the Blakey's and the White's first here of us Blakleys. Someone had to had came in contact with someone. Information was told to someone. Someone knew and told someone about what they knew about the Blakleys.
In conclusion I would like to somewhat end my sharing on this journey on my father's side. At one point in my search I had a thought what if I came across one of the slave holders descendants? I thought... that would be something.
Back during the Spring and Summer of 1993, I came across two other researchers on the BLAKEY side. They were not related to us. However they had information on the slave holders that owned my ancestors. To make a long story short. I came across one of the Great Grand daughter of Y.C. Blakey. She lived in the Kansas City, MO area.
Yeah, I found out her address. I wrote her and tried to explain to her who I was. She deny that she was related to Y.C. Blakey. Something inside me did not give up to share with her about her Great Grandpa Y.C. So I copied some of my Great Grandpa Isaac's pension records of Y.C. Blakey's handwriting. I mailed that information to her long with the other researchers that I have come across over the years.
Not too long after I mailed the package, I received a phone call from this woman. Her name was Mary Ann S. She welcome me...stating yes, she is a descendant of Y.C. Blakey. I never knew whatever happened to Mary Ann. I assume that she is in heaven. She was born in the mid 1920's. We corresponded with Christmas Cards for about 5 years.
Through this journey or my quest on my family history, I came to a point about in 1993 or 1994 asking God for forgiveness and mercy for what went on during the time of slavery. I ask God for forgiveness for my ancestors as well as slaveholders forgiveness for the sake of their descendants' forgiveness. I use to pray everyday for my family bloodline a little while after I came to Jesus in 1993. Now I am back at it. "God save my family bloodline."
I know that I did not come across researching my family history and finding out what I did by accident. I believe that God was there all the way. Where were times when I was about to give up when something "new" on my family lineage would emerge. What am I thankful for ? I thank God for the covenant blessings of HELP and LIFE that he has upon my life and my family's lives. I am thankful that I have a family. I was not born by accident. I thank God that I have a life that He has ordained since the being of the foundation of the world.
I thank God that I have a purpose to live for. God is guiding my steps. I thank God for the connection that He has placed in my life. Jesus is on this journey of life with me. I thank God that I can share some of my life with others. I am still on this journey... this journey called life. I thank God that He has giving my LIFE. Life in Jesus Christ.