Monday, May 20, 2019
Getting Back to Job
It's been a long, winding trail since returning from my research trip to Florida last February. Since that point, a key focus has been the search for information on a book about the man I eventually learned was named King Stockton. More to the point, I wanted to find out more about his mother, though all I knew about her was that her name was Hester.
Hester and her infant son had moved from Glynn County, Georgia, along with my third great-grandmother, Sidney Tison, about the point at which Sidney married George McClellan. Finding an exact timeline for Hester is challenging, because we are talking about enslaved people deprived of not only their freedom but also the dignity of a full name and the expected types of documentation in which we could trace that name. But not only is any material on Hester or her son King—only known publicly by that full name after he became a freedman at the close of the Civil War—not available, I can find no record on the marriage record of the McClellans, either. Thus, at this point, I have no way to date their arrival in Florida from Georgia.
I can only presume that Hester and King came from the Tison property in Georgia—presume, that is, until I can sift through the long and messy probate file for Sidney's father's estate. Job Tison had died several years before his daughter Sidney married George and moved to Florida. At the point of Job Tison's death, he left only one son who had just that year attained legal age; all the rest of his seven children were still minors.
After Job's death in 1824, his widow—Sidnah, for whom daughter Sidney was named—was appointed executrix, but within eighteen months, she had remarried. For whatever reason—and I can understand the difficulty of such a situation—Sidnah did not move quickly on handling the financial matters related to the Job Tison estate, so that, at her own death, apparently intestate in 1855, her responsibilities fell the lot, as administrator, of her third son, John Mason Berrien Tison, by then an attorney, himself.
In the volume of handwritten receipts, appraisals, and other legal communications spanning the years from 1824 through the late 1850s in settling Job Tison's estate, there were several mentions of enslaved persons. These records, for the most part, provided only first names, though there were a few details about relationships and stipulations. In no part of the record—so far—can I find any mention of Hester, the African woman who accompanied Sidney Tison as she left her home to become the wife of George McClellan in Florida.
Still, this calls for a closer look at the record—and while we are in the process, we owe it to the possible descendants of those many named enslaved persons to record what can be noted on the ones whose names were provided. To make the process a little less confusing, we should also look at the players involved, and a bit of background history on Job Tison, his wife Sidnah, and the unexpected discovery of an earlier mention of a tie between the Tison family and the McClellans before the latter family moved from their original home in South Carolina to their new property in the territory of Florida in the 1820s. Perhaps in this second pass through the records, some more helpful details will surface to lead us to a reasonable explanation of Hester's situation before she left Georgia.