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African American Genealogy: Finding Out a Little More About the Enslaver, Part 3

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster

We have been studying the whereabouts of the enslaver, James Kincaid Vance (1818-1897) in Abbeville County, South Carolina. We have followed him and his family from the 1850 and 1860. We found his son, James Wistar Vance (1845-1887), living next to Beverly Vance (1832-1899) in 1870 in Abbeville County, SC.

James Wistar Vance, Physician

In 1880, James Wistar Vance had moved to Greenville, Greenville County, SC:

"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBC-XHR?cc=1417683&wc=QZ27-TN7%3A1589414013%2C1589414139%2C1589396079%2C1589396321 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Greenville > Greenville > ED 80 > image 23 of 53; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBC-XHR?cc=1417683&wc=QZ27-TN7%3A1589414013%2C1589414139%2C1589396079%2C1589396321 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Greenville > Greenville > ED 80 > image 23 of 53; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)

James Wistar Vance had married before 1880, and he had taken on two servants, Margaret Glover and Georgiana Butler. It is not known whether he had hired former enslaved people from either side of the family or not. Two things are true. The white Vance’s did not remain in Abbeville County, SC where they had enslaved people. They hired servants after enslavement.

James Kinkaid Vance, Enumerator

First of all, did you notice who the enumerator was for this area? Correct. J. K. Vance. The first person enumerated on this page, James Kincaid Vance:

"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBC-832?cc=1417683&wc=QZ27-TN7%3A1589414013%2C1589414139%2C1589396079%2C1589396321 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Greenville > Greenville > ED 80 > image 1 of 53; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBC-832?cc=1417683&wc=QZ27-TN7%3A1589414013%2C1589414139%2C1589396079%2C1589396321 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Greenville > Greenville > ED 80 > image 1 of 53; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)

His wife, Laurens Lousia Watson Vance (1827-1880), is not present. She died on 2 May 1880. He has four children home. An extra family lives with the Vance’s. He has hired Solomon, a laborer, and Peggy, a domestic servant. They live in the house because Mary, eight year old, it says is at school. Once again, we do not know if this family was hired from Greenville or part of the formerly enslaved people from Abbeville County.

Beverly Vance, at Home in Abbeville County, SC

"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBK-S3L?cc=1417683&wc=QZ24-W5N%3A1589414013%2C1589414117%2C1589414580%2C1589395184 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Abbeville > Cokesbury > ED 12 > image 18 of 55; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBK-S3L?cc=1417683&wc=QZ24-W5N%3A1589414013%2C1589414117%2C1589414580%2C1589395184 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Abbeville > Cokesbury > ED 12 > image 18 of 55; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)

By 1880 in Abbeville County, SC, the Vance family, the former enslavers, have moved to Greenville, SC. The formerly enslaved Vance’s are living in Cokesbury. There’s Beverly and Matilda Dunlap Vance and family. I found them because I was able to identify Lafayette. I also identified three generations because Elizabeth Vance was living at her grand’s on this day.

Elizabeth Vance was home with Marcus Conant and Maria Conant who was 80. Maria was the mother of Beverly. I would not have recognized them had Elizabeth not been there. She was the child of Beverly and Matilda.

It is not know how long Maria had been living with Beverly in Abbeville County. Whether she came from the plantation in Laurens County, SC during enslavement or whether she found her way afterwards is to be determined.

Sharpen the Saw

Here’s all three Vance families. Beverly was the former enslaved of James Kincaid Vance. James Wistar Vance was the son of James Kincaid Vance. Beverly was the son of Samuel Vance of Laurens County, SC. He was given to James Kincaid Vance, stepbrother, during enslavement. He became a constable and worked to see his children lead productive lives. I have yet to find his burial.  The search continues. Are you in search of an ancestor’s burial? Let us know in our Facebook Group.

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