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Confessions of a Writer, Writing

Written-Portraits about Black History on Valentine’s Day 2018

On this Valentine’s Day -aka- Black History Love Day (in my humble opinion): I want to give a special s/o to the Universe for opening up history to me through research, communication, and channeling the spirits of my ancestors. I have accepted the responsibility and duty of telling my family history. I have researched my family history since 2011, per a phone conversation that I had with my Aunt Willie Faye Keeton Hatcher. Since that time, I have done some comprehensive and exhaustive searches for both sides of my family on my father and mother’s side. It has been an amazing and challenging experience. Fast-forward I am now on my sixth generation on both sides. At the beginning of the year, I decided to write a book of non-fiction, an oral history, design a web-narrative, and index to record their history as: The Southern Migration of the Sherrell and Chafer Family.

One key thing to know about researching African American history and going back past 1870 is that in 1860 and 1840, etc., Black families were rarely listed in the United States Census due to 90% of them being enslaved. So, once you get past 1870, you now have to get ready to learn about the people who enslaved your kinfolk (and some of the slaver – owners are a part of your biological lines). There were free Black people in 1860, 1850, and 1840 and years before that but it is rare. So if you are interested in doing your family history, be ready for this process of the journey and work to find out about it.

Here is a brief narrative about what I have researched and obtained through various sources including oral histories, documents, maps, and pictures as of late:

On 2/11/18: I had the pleasure of staying up to 3 AM in the morning because I found a goldmine in my family history.

First I want to say that my 5th generation on my grandfather’s side, Moses Chafer (he is my grandfather’s – grandfather) and his wife Mattie Conner (maiden name) were married on Valentine’s day in 1895! 

My dad’s father (O. T. Chafer), his mother’s name is Ora Chambers (maiden name). Well, I found her grandfather; Colonel Chambers who is my 6th generation grandfather. Let me share with you how he received his last name of Chambers.

“Colonel” was born a slave in McNairy Co, Tennessee in 1842. His slave owner was a doctor and his name was Dr. Pleasant P. Adams. The Adams’ Family was among the early settlers of Virginia.

Dr. Pleasant P. Adams and his family are from Virginia; his great-grandfather was Ebenezer Adams.  His grandfather was Col. Richard Adams, Jr., born in 1726 who married Elizabeth Griffin, the sister of Judge Cyrus Griffin, President of the old Virginia Assembly of 1778.

Col. Richard Adams, Jr. served as a member of the House of Burgesses between 1752 and 1775 for the counties of New Kent and Henrico. In 1774 and 1775 he served on the Henrico County Commissioners Committee. He served as a member of the House of Delegates between 1776 and 1778, and as a member of the Virginia Senate between 1779 and 1782.

Col. Richard Adams, Jr. estate included the present site of St. John’s Church and Church Hill in Richmond, Virginia. His residence on Church Hill is said to have been occupied by British officers during the Revolutionary War. Prior to residing in Richmond, he lived in Petersburg in Dinwiddie County. His youngest son, Jeremiah, was born in Dinwiddie County in 1776.

Jeremiah Adams and Elizabeth Griggs married in Bedford county, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, the Adams family moved to Tennessee. They had eleven children and one of their son’s was Pleasant P. Adams.

Dr. Pleasant P. Adam’s first wife was Mary, a sister to James Chambers. At this time, they had moved from Virginia and lived in Tennessee and then later moved to Fincastle, Henderson, Texas and “Colonel” was sold to Pleasant P. Adams’ brother-n-law, James Chambers.

At that moment when he was sold to his second slave owner, he received his full name, and it never changed: Colonel Chambers.

I have found a lot of history, articles, pictures, and documents about the Adams family and Pleasant P. Adam’s 1860 slave schedules. I also found James Chambers 1860 slave schedules, his will, and probate papers!

This is amazing history. I want to give a special s/o to Denise Johnson who was married into our family to share her memories with me. She received an oral history from my 5th generation aunt (her husband’s mother) – Eliza Chambers Johnson. Colonel Chambers is Eliza’s grandfather.

The second brief narrative about this story is that I have found all the Keeton ‘s 6th generation on my mother’s side of the family – her father’s people. I just want to share the father’s names with you now:

My grandfather’s name is Willie Will Keeton and his father’s name is Albert Keeton (my great-grandfather).

Albert’s father’s name is James Keeton (my great-great grandfather) and his father’s name is Doc Keeton (my great-great-great grandfather).

How about that for Valentine’s Day!

#ubettathink2018 #allmyfriendsreadbooks #21stabolitionist

“Hold those things that tell your history and protect them. During slavery, who was able to read or write or keep anything? The ability to have somebody to tell your story to is so important. It says: ‘I was here. I may be sold tomorrow. But you know I was here.”

– Maya Angelou

Adams, T. (1924). McNAIRY COUNTY, TN – BIOGRAPHIES – The Adams Family. Mcnairy County Independent. Retrieved from http://files.usgwarchives.net/tn/mcnairy/bios/adams01.txt

About kreativeYoungmillionaire

Interdisciplinary Creative Mixologist


4 thoughts on “Written-Portraits about Black History on Valentine’s Day 2018

  1. Looking forward to more post about your ancestors.

    Posted by tlmackie | February 14, 2018, 8:45 pm
  2. Drop a pin, you are here!

    Happy Valentine’s Day.
    Eat a Peach!

    Posted by James Durham | February 14, 2018, 9:33 pm

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