Amanuensis Monday: A Letter From Benjamin Ellison

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Here's a recap on where we are with the Ellisons:

We learned from my last blog post, Benjamin and Rosetta Ellison were my 4th great grandparents. Rosetta died in 1864, according to her son Irvin's Freedman Bank record entry. From the same record entry, we learned that Benjamin was residing at Snow Hill, Greene County, NC as of 1869. 

Benjamin was still living in Greene County in 1870 as evidenced by the census of that year.

Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Olds, Greene, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1140; Page: 457A; Image: 74; Family History Library Film: 552639. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: 

Listed in the household, in addition to Benjamin were Nelly, Benjamin's 2nd wife and children Ada, Allen, Bob (Robert), and Henry (Harvey).

The 1880 census shows only one minor change. Allen's no longer residing in the household. He may have moved away or perhaps died. As of this time, I have not been able to find any additional information on Allen.

Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Olds, Greene, North Carolina; Roll: 965; Family History Film: 1254965; Page: 47A; Enumeration District: 064; Image: 0348. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA

Unfortunately, Benjamin and Nellie/Nelly's union came to an end in 1880. She died in May of that year.

Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Archive Collection: M1805; Archive Roll Number: 4; Census Year: 1880; Census Location: Olds, Greene, North Carolina; Line: 4. Source U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [database on-line]. 

Which brings us to that wonderful discovery I made the other day on I was doing a search query using Benjamin's Ellison's last name with the last name being spelled as Ellerson and I stumbled upon a collection I hadn't noticed before.   The collection is called Washington D.C. , Ex-Slave Pension Correspondence and Case Files, 1892--1922. and is located under the category group, Tax, Criminal, Land and Wills. 

Nah...It couldn't be. I clicked on Benjamin Elerson and here's what I came across:

Source Information: Washington D.C., Ex-Slave Pension Correspondence and Case Files, 1892-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

To the Secretary of the War department
                                                                                       Dear Sir,
We have heard that there has been has been made a provision to gives all of the old Slaves, Darkies a pension and wherein, I Benjamin Elerson am 72 years old and was born in 1826 and used to belonged to William Jno. Elerson, whom died in 1863, and my wife Matilda Elerson, age 60 years old and was born in 1838 and used to belonged to Jno. Harvey whom died in 1886 and Franklin Harvey, age 42 years old and was born in 1856. 
     Therefore, We has sent forward our Names to be placed on record to meet the Benefit of such provisions if such is a fact.

                                                                  Yours Respt,
P.O. Snow Hill                           }               Benjamin Elerson &
             N.C.                                               Matilda Elerson
                                                                    Franklin Harvey


  1. What a wonderful surprise!! There is so much information in this short letter. Congrats on a great find!!!

    1. Thanks Yvette! It seems like the pieces are really starting to come together.

  2. This is great, and you get first hand confirmation of the slave owner. It doesn't get any better than this. CONGRATS!!

    1. Thanks Sandra :) I think some folks on the other side have been looking out for me.

  3. WOW! I'm jealous!lol - This is a woohoo moment for sure! Congrats!!!

  4. Hey! In my effort to find these records, I found King & Queen County Records concerning 18th century persons - they have 5 collections for bank records, wills, taxes! Just discovered a some new records to look through! THANKS!

    1. Thank you Rachel! I hope you have some luck looking through those new records you found.

  5. This is an excellent find! Wow! I have so much too learn,this is afascinating journey. I will definitely be reading through those "Ex-slave pension letters". Thanks for the heads-up!

  6. Wow! I never knew those existed. I'll have to check and see if I have anybody there. You are sure on a roll here!

    1. Hi Kristin! Feel like I went to Vegas and hit the jackpot. I hope you have luck finding any of your folks listed in there. :)


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