Mississippi

Yvonne Bivins on the Ainsworth-Smith-Knight Connection

Yvonne Bivins has written extensively about her multiracial roots, and I am delighted to share her stories, insights, and family photos here on Renegade South. Because of the towering historical presence of Newt Knight, we’ve heard much about the children he fathered with former slaves Rachel and George Ann Knight, but very little about the multiracial families with which the descendants of these two women blended their family lines.

I’ve learned so much from reading Yvonne’s essays and notes. For example, I learned that Davis Knight, famous because of his 1948 miscegenation trial, was descended not only from Newt and Rachel Knight, but also from Martha Ann Ainsworth through his mother, Addie. Martha Ann was the slave of Sampson “Jeff” Ainsworth and also the mother of several of his children.

Martha Ann and Jeff Ainsworth’s daughter, Lucy Jane, forged the most extensive link between the Ainsworths, Smiths, and Knights.  According to Yvonne, after the war “Lucy married a nearly white man named Warren Edward Smith, who was born in Smith County to a mulatto slave named Jennie McGill.” Warren deserted Lucy around 1882, leaving her to raise their children alone.

Historically, impoverished women have been forced to look to men as protectors and providers. It was no different for Lucy, who also suffered the disability of race in segregated Mississippi (despite her white appearance). Writes Yvonne: “left with five children to support, Lucy began a relationship with Calhoun Anderson, a white man. . . . Anderson was the father of two of Lucy’s children, Quillie Calvin and Necia Abigail. “

As they reached adulthood, Lucy’s children intermarried extensively with the children of Newt and Rachel. According to Yvonne, “Lucy’s son Louis married Ollie Jane, daughter of Jeffrey Early Knight [son of Rachel] and Martha [Mollie] Knight, Newton Knight’s white daughter.” Her daughter, Mary Florence Magdaline (Maggie), married John Madison (Hinchie), Newt and Rachel’s son. Yvonne further notes that Newt and George Ann Knight also had a son together, John Howard, who married Lucy’s daughter, Candace Martha Jane. To top it all off, at the age of 38, Lucy Ainsworth Smith herself married a Knight: Floyd, another of Newt and Rachel’s sons, further entwining the Ainsworth, Smith, and Knight family networks.

Lucy's sons: standing, l to r: Wilder Knight & Warren Smith. Sitting l to r: Louis Smith & Quillie Anderson

Lucy’s sons: standing, l to r: Wilder Knight & Warren Smith. Sitting l to r: Louis Smith & Quillie Anderson

What makes Yvonne’s stories so valuable is that she LISTENED when her elders went on about the past—she particularly listened to her grandmother, Jerolee Smith. But she also asked questions of them, to the point that she was sometimes told to quit “digging.” Yvonne has also conducted her own research in federal manuscript censuses, court records, and old family manuscripts and photographs. Most important of all, she wrote down what she learned.

Present-day descendants of Lucy Jane Ainsworth: l to r, Yvonne Bivins, Flo Wyatt, Vicki Knight, Anita Williams

Present-day descendants of Lucy Jane Ainsworth: l to r, Yvonne Bivins, Flo Wyatt,  Anita Williams, Vicki Knight

There is much more to be learned about this network of families, and I’ve incorporated some of Yvonne’s research into chapter six of The Long Shadow of the Civil War. What I hope is that Yvonne will one day soon publish her own full-fledged history of the Ainsworth-Smith-Knight connections.

Vikki Bynum

119 replies »

  1. Fascinating! Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth was my ggg grandfather, and this is a part of the family history I was not aware of.

    • Hi John Hester,

      My name is Diane Shelby-Ferrell-Dotson and Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth was my g-g- grandmother’s Martha Ainsworth slave-master which was Charity’s Ainsworth’s father. Charity was my great-grandmother. Do you have any photos of Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth? I believe that Martha came over on the boat from some part of Africa and was bought by Sampson in Virginia, correct me if I’m wrong as I would like as much information that I can get. I guess you may be in the dark about this part of our history as I am, but maybe you have connections with other relatives about Sampson.

      • To date no researchers have provided photos of Sampson Jefferson “Jeff” Ainsworth and his wife, Anna Jones. Martha Ann Ainsworth was born on a plantation in Virginia to white father and mulatto mother. She was sold in Virginia when she was about fifteen years old and brought to the Mobile, AL market where Jeff Ainsworth bought her. Her physical appearance indicates that she may have had Native American blood; however, her granddaughter, Jerolee Ainsworth Smith said that she was “not an Indian”. The autosomal DNA test that I took last January proves that my grandmother was right. Jeff Ainsworth’s liaison with Martha resulted in the birth of six known children: Charity, Lewis, Pernecia Ann, Susan, Lucy Jane and Josephine. If you are interested in my research, please contact me through my personal email. If you have a Facebook account, there is one for the Ainsworth’s (ainsworth-name group). BTW. There are two descendants of Jeff Ainsworth and Anna Jones whose DNA is a 99% match to mine.

      • Hi Diane,

        There was a picture of Sampson Ainsworth in the Smith County Reformer years ago. They had an article on the founding fathers of Taylorsville. He was one of them. Unfortunately I do not have a copy but would like one as he is my ggg grandfather.

  2. Thanks for posting, John. I find the study of kinship fascinating, too, and these days, especially with so many documents and family histories accessible on the internet, and of course, DNA testing, we’re discovering that we are related to a much wider group of people than many of us ever dreamed.

    Vikki

  3. Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth was my GGGG Grandfather.I am a Black descendant.There are thousands of us in the midwest alone.
    Michael

    • Thanks for introducing yourself to Renegade South, Michael! If you have any histories of this family’s branches that you’d care to share, we’d be happy to hear from you again.

      Vikki

  4. I have just heard of the renegade south. My grandmother was necia anderson knight and my mother is rose merry knight from memphis,tn formly of hattisburg,ms. She is from a family of 9. My grandfather was leonard ezra knight. I was only 4 yrs. old when he died, i never knew him. I am reading The Free State of Jones County and The State of Jones. I did not know there are so many relatives. I have some pictures if you are interested. I am trying to locate my uncle olin, who is deceased, and cousins richard,cornelia,victoria,calvin,and tommy.

    • Hello Janet,

      My grandfather was Warren Smith and the brother of your grandmother Necia. My personal email is sybivins@gmail.com. I don’t live too far from your Uncle Olin’s daughter, Vicki. As a matter of fact, I plan to pay her a visit soon because she is ill.

  5. Hello Janet,

    Thanks for contacting Renegade South. I wish you the best in finding your kinfolk, and hope that people reading this post will offer their assistance.

    I would love to see whatever photos you might want to send, and will contact you personally about that possibility.

    Vikki

    • I can’t figure out how to start a new topic on this site. In reading elsewhere on the site about the Ainsworth and Duckworth connections, both sides my relatives, I found information about Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth and Caroline Duckworth having a black son named Andrew Buckwalter. Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth’s father was my great-great uncle and Caroline Duckworth’s father Joseph Duckworth was my great-great-great uncle. All this about the multi-racial ties in the Ainsworth family has been fascinating, but now this brought my Duckworth relatives into the mix, so naturally I was curious about how it was that Caroline Duckworth was referred to as mulatto. I can’t find any reference anywhere else other than on this site to her being bi-racial. It was stated that how else could you explain a black child (Andrew Buckwalter) in a white family. But it’s a known fact, as discussed on this site, that Sampson Ainsworth had a black mistress with whom he had several children. So my question is this – was Andrew Buckwalter black because his mother Caroline Duckworth was mulatto, or was it actually because his father Jefferson Ainsworth was? I don’t know which of Sampson Ainsworth’s children were from his white wife Anna Jones and which from his mulatto mistress Martha Ann Ainsworth. If Caroline Duckworth was mulatto, which line of her family did that come in on – Duckworth or Green? I’d like to find out more about the Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth/Caroline Duckworth/Andrew Buckwalter story if anyone has anything more to share about them. Thanks.

  6. Renegade South received the following message from Lea Worth (nee Lilias Ainsworth) of Albany, West Australia, and I have posted it here for Ainsworth researchers

    I AM INTERESTED IN THE AINSWORTH FAMILY, PRIMARILY, BECAUSE IT IS MY FATHER’S FAMILY. WE DO HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION WHICH HAS BEEN PUBLISHED, BOTH ON MY MOTHER’S AND FATHER’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY. BY THE WAY, MY MOTHER’S MAIDEN NAME WAS KNIGHT, WHICH I ALSO FIND VERY INTERESTING, IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT I HAVE JUST READ, OF YOUR WRITINGS, ON THE KNIGHT FAMILY, AND THE FACT THAT I WAS RESEARCHING THE AINSWORTHS. IT SEEMS THAT THESE TWO FAMILIES, IN THIS CASE, WERE CONNECTED BY MARRIAGE.

    MY G. GRANDFATHER LEFT ENGLAND, TO SAIL TO VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA IN 1851. HE WAS BORN IN LANCASHIRE. HIS FATHER ESTABLISHED A COTTON WEAVING SCHOOL AND FACTORY, IN THE DUTCH TOWN OF GOOR. MY G. GRANDFATHER, ALFRED BOWER AINSWORTH, WAS EDUCATED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LIEGE IN BELGIUM. HE HAD FOUR SISTERS. HE AND HIS MOTHER AND SIBLINGS APPARENTLY LIVED IN BELGIUM. HIS FATHER, THOMAS HARGREAVES AINSWORTH, DIED, AT THE AGE OF FORTY ONE YEARS.THERE IS A MEMORIAL TO HIM IN THE TOWN OF GOOR.
    IN HOLLAND, WITHIN THE TOWNS IN WHICH THE ECONOMY WAS INFLUENCED BY THE COTTON INDUSTRY, WHICH THOMAS AINSWORTH, AND HIS BROTHER EDWARD, HELPED TO ESTABLISH,THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM INCLUDES INFORMATION ON THAT SUBJECT.
    I HAVE A FAMILY TREE, WHICH GIVES SOME OF THE NECESSARY INFORMATION ON OUR HISTORY.
    OUR COAT OF ARMS CONSISTS OF THREE SILVER BATTLE-AXES ON A RED BACKGROUND.

    I HAVE BEEN READING MATERIAL FROM SEVERAL AINSWORTH FAMILY SITES ON THE INTERNET.MOST OF THEM ARE AMERICAN. I HAVE OBSERVED THAT SOME OF THESE FAMILIES ALSO HAVE THE COAT OF ARMS, WHICH WE CLAIM AS OUR OWN. I AM VERY CURIOUS TO KNOW HOW WE COULD BE RELATED AND ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HISTORY OF HOW, AND WHY, SOME MEMBERS OF THE AINSWORTH FAMILY WENT TO AMERICA. I HAVE SEVERAL THEORIES ON THIS SUBJECT, BUT SO FAR, DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING IN WRITING.

    I WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE AINSWORTH FAMILIES IN THE U.S. WHO HAVE ACCESS TO FAMILY HISTORY INFORMATION, PARTICULARLY ON KNOWLEDGE OF INTER-RELATED (BY MARRIAGE) RACES. FROM WHAT I HAVE READ THUS FAR, THERE MUST BE AFRICAN NEGRO, AND AMERICAN INDIAN CONNECTIONS.

    I BELIEVE THAT KNOWLEDGE OF FAMILY HISTORY, IN FACT, ANY HISTORY AT ALL,ASSISTS US, AS HUMAN BEINGS, TO BECOME FURTHER ENLIGHTENED, IN THE ART OF RELATIONSHIP TOLERANCE, AND THEREFORE, INCREASES OUR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW HUMAN BEINGS CAN INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER MORE EFFECTIVELY THUS ENABLING US TO FURTHER OUR GROWTH IN THE AREA OF SPIRITUALITY, AS WELL AS IN OTHER AREAS.

    LEA WORTH

    • My GGG grandfather was Sampson Ainsworth. My GG grandfather was Albert ” Coon ” Ainsworth. My G grandfather was John Ainsworth. My grandmother is May G – daughter of John Ainsworth and Ina Keyes. May married James Ainsworth her cousin – son of her Aunt Stella Ainsworth. We have cherokee Indian blood as my grandfather James’ father was a cherokee indian from Alabama. I am very much interested in the history of Ainsworths. Was the name originally Hainesworth? I was told the Ainsworths were from Ireland but apparently not. Any info would be greatly appreciated. There was also a family rumor that the Ainsworths were somehow related to Chrisopher Columbus – this may sound ridiculous – but you never know. Any info on the Blackwells would be greatly appreciated as my father side is descended from Columbus Felder Blackwell of the Marion County, Smith Count, MS region.

      • REPLY TO SUZANNE

        I am descended from Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth whose father was Thomas Hainsworth . Thomas
        Hainsworth’s name first appears on 1810 census records in Spartanburg, South Carolina on page 191.
        The “H” was dropped from the name after moving to Mississippi.

        These Ainsworth/Hainsworth’s were yeoman farmers who left the Orangeburg, South Carolina area for
        the Mississippi Territory along with many other early settlers, seeking land and wealth. Some believe
        that Thomas was a younger brother to the Hainsworth/Ainsworth’s (Levin, James, Joseph, Elias and
        Richard) who settled in Fort St. Stephen’s on the Tombigbee River around 1799. There is evidence that
        these brothers were or may have been loyalists during the Revolution and were escaping persecution
        during the turbulent years after the war.

        Records show that Thomas served in the War of 1812 for a little over 6 months. Thomas was a
        squabbler who lost both of his ears in fights. He was an Indian Trader by profession, as were his
        relatives. He and his family lived among the Choctaws until the Cession and their removal to Oklahoma.
        There is always been a rumor that this line of H/Ainsworths were descended from Native Americans
        and that Thomas was called Philamahaya. Those who are descended from his daughter Ainsley Cansada
        Ainsworth Redmond say that Philemahaya was her husband’s father not her father. This is most likely
        how the rumor got started. DNA has proven that the H/Ainsworth’s were not Native Americans but
        descended from a James Ainsworth who lived in Lancaster, England in the early 1600′s. You can reach
        my personal email through Dr. Bynum.

        Yvonne Bivins

      • Yes, the original spelling was Hainsworth. I’m not familiar with James or his mother Stella. Which line did they come from? I know you said Stella was May’s aunt, but was Stella an Ainsworth herself or married to an Ainsworth?

      • Stella was an Ainsworth. Her father was Albert ” Coon ” Ainsworth and her grandfather was Sampson. There was an interesting article in the Smith County Reformer about a feud/fight in the early 1900’s that involved Albert and several other relatives. i will try to locate it. Perhaps Yvonne is aware of it. I hope that answers your question.

  7. Lea,

    I suggest that you join the ainsworth-name group on http://www.ainsworth-name@yahoogroups.com if you are not already a member. My line can be traced back to a James Ainsworth who lived in Lancashire, England. There is an Ainsworth DNA project, too. If you have a brother or any male relative with the Ainsworth surname who would be willing to partifipate then you could possible trace you line. If you have already partifipated in a DNA project, they would love to share your information.

    • I see your reference to Ainsworths on the Tombigbee River and am almost certain that one of those men, probably James or Levin, was my ancestor. I have a third great grandmother, Eliza G. Ainsworth, born in 1809 in that area. She married James P. Collins about 1837 and they migrated from Wayne County, Mississippi, to the Republic of Texas in 1838. Arriving in Texas on the same date were Asbury Sebastian Ainsworth and Jeptha Patterson Ainsworth, both of whom were married to Collinses. Asbury married Rachael Collins and Jeptha married Louisa Collins. Rachael and Louisa were probably sisters and James P. Collins was their first cousin. Levin Ainsworth was a name that was given to sons of these men in Texas. Another Ainsworth, William, is found in southeast Texas not far from where the aformentioned Ainsworth and Collins families lived. Asbury Sebastion, Jeptha Patterson and their presumed brother in law, James P. Collins received land grants in Liberty County, Texas, in an area that became Polk County when it was carved, partly from Liberty, in 1846. They all later moved to South Texas and are found in DeWitt County and Gonzales County. In the 1860s and 1870s most of them left South Texas for various other places in Texas. Asbury Sebastian Ainsworth died in Navarro County, Texas, in 1867. Jeptha moved to Wilson County, Texas. My goal is to determine the parents of Asbury, Jeptha and Eliza. Family legend indicates the mother may have been a Choctaw Indian. Anyone interested may contact me here or at h.martin.soward@sbcglobal.net

      • Thank you for your comments and query, Mr. Soward. I recognize your name from the research files of Shirley Insall Pieratt, and know you to be one of the most respected Ainsworth researchers. I encourage those interested in the Ainsworth line to contact you.

        Vikki

      • Thank you for your kind words Vikki. I really appreciate them. In the future please call me Martin. :) Best wishes.

      • I’m descended from Levin and his son Thomas. I’m interested in more info on their wives families as I have very little info on them and what I have is controversial. Also interested in info on William Patterson’s wife’s family. Has anyone been able to trace this line back farther than William Edward AInsworth?

  8. I am the granddaughter of Cleo Knight Garraway. She told me stories about how she grew up, but I always sensed that she was leaving details out or that she was hiding something she didn’t want me to hear. And sometimes the details changed, which makes me confused about who was who, especially now after reading about all the mixed up Knights/Smiths, etc. She said her mother’s name was Sarah Anne Knight (who bled to death during a botched abortion when my grandma was 9 — I just uncovered this story recently. Grandma told me she died of fever…), and that her grandmother, Candace Knight, ended up raising her. She says her father was killed by a fallen tree. I know she was poor poor poor. Sometimes she didn’t have food to eat or the proper clothes to go to school in. Reading through your blog makes me think of all she had to live with in those times, not to mention the racial issues. She was red headed and white looking, but that “drop” rule required that she attend the black schools,in which she spoke of the students’ cruelty towards her. Now I wonder whether that was a stigma issue for being a Knight-folk..and I always sensed an underlying shame in her that I didn’t understand and she wouldn’t talk about. I’d love to know more and am so thankful for all the information here on your blog.

    • Tracie,

      Thanks for adding your family story to this site. It is another example, along with Janet Carver’s comments, of how Yvonne’s posts about the Ainsworth, Knight, and Smith families are encouraging other descendants to share their perspectives on this site. Hopefully, the end result will be greater knowledge for everyone–including historians–about the complicated workings of race, ethnicity, and self-image among multiracial people of the segregated nineteenth and early twentieth century South.

      Vikki

    • Tracie,

      Since your Grandmother Cleo passed, we have not been in touch with her children. I sometimes talk with your Uncle Clarence but he doesn’t hear from anyone. My mother, Mary Ann, passed last December 27th. My email is sybivins@gmail.com. Please stay in touch.

  9. DEAR YVONNE,

    I DO BELONG TO THE YAHOO GROUPS AINSWORTH NAME. I HAVE POSTED SEVERAL QUERIES ON THERE SINCE ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO. I HAVE HAD A COUPLE OF RESPONSES, BUT SO FAR NOTHING THAT WILL LEAD TO MY DISCOVERY OF LONG LOST ANCESTORS.

    I THINK THAT THE D.N.A PROJECT WOULD PROBABLY BE VERY USEFUL. UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVE NOT HAD MUCH TIME IN THE LAST THREE YEARS TO PURSUE THIS SUBJECT WITH MY BROTHERS, OF WHOM I HAVE THREE.

    MY LITTLE GRANDSON OF THREE YEARS WAS DIAGNOSED WITH NEUROBLASTOMA,WHICH IS A CANCER OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND I HAVE BEEN ASSISTING MY SON AND HIS WIFE WITH HIS, AND HIS LITTLE SISTER’S CARE.
    JOSHY DIED IN MAY.HE WAS FIVE YEARS OLD.

    I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR REPLY TO MY QUERY.I WILL ENDEAVOUR TO PERSUADE MY BROTHERS TO HAVE A D.N.A. TEST.TWO OF THEM , I KNOW, ARE VERY INTERESTED IN FAMILY HISTORY.
    ONE OF THEM, MY BROTHER ROB, WENT TO THE U.K. AND HOLLAND TO VIEW THE PLACES WHERE OUR ANCESTORS LIVED AND WORKED.

    I THINK THAT JAMES AINSWORTH MAY BE THE KEY I NEED TO UNLOCK THIS MYSTERY.
    I AM ALMOST POSITIVE WE WILL HAVE COMMON ANCESTORS, WAY BACK,IN THE TREE OF OUR LIVES.
    MY ANCESTORS CAME FROM LANCASHIRE TOO. THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE INFORMATION THAT I HAVE, IS ON MY G.G. GRANDFATHER, THOMAS HARGREAVES AINSWORTH, WHO WITH HIS BROTHER, EDWARD, WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ESTABLISHING A COTTON WEAVING SCHOOL AND FACTORY IN GOOR, HOLLAND IN 1832. THEY WERE BORN IN BOLTON-LE-MOORS, WHERE THEIR FATHER OWNED A COTTON MILL- IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FATHER OF ROBERT PEEL.

    APPARENTLY, IN GOOR,THERE IS A MEMORIAL, WHICH HAS BEEN ERECTED TO THE MEMORY OF THOMAS HARGREAVES.THE INSCRIPTION ON IT READS(IN THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION) “TO A USEFUL MAN”.IN DUTCH-“EEN NUTTIG MAN” THOMAS HAD ALSO BEEN INFLUENTIAL IN THE WEAVING TRADE IN OTHER TOWNS IN HOLLAND.
    HE DIED AT THE AGE OF 41 YEARS. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY.
    I DO KNOW THAT HIS WIFE CHOSE, FOR SOME REASON, TO LIVE IN BELGIUM WITH THEIR FIVE CHILDREN, THE ONLY SON OF WHOM, WAS MY G. GRANDFATHER, ALFRED BOWERS AINSWORTH, WHO CAME TO LIVE IN AUSTRALIA(VICTORIA.) WITH HIS WIFE,ELIZABETH SUGDEN, WHO HAD BEEN RAISED IN YORKSHIRE. THEY BECAME THE PARENTS OF 18 CHILDREN, SOME OF WHOM, DID NOT LIVE TO ADULTHOOD.ALFRED WAS AN ENGINEER, WHO HAD BEEN EDUCATED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LEIGE IN BRUSSELS. HE SPENT HIS WORKING LIFE AS A SURVEYOR/ENGINEER IN THE MINING INDUSTRY OF VICTORIA.
    MY GRANDFATHER, HERBERT ANNESLEY AINSWORTH,ALSO SPENT MOST OF HIS WORKING LIFE MINING FOR GOLD,BOTH IN THE KLONDYKE AND WITHIN AUSTRALIA.
    THERE ARE SEVERAL MALES BY THE NAME OF JAMES IN MY FAMILY TREE.
    IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO KNOW THE DATE THAT YOUR ANCESTOR, JAMES,ARRIVED IN AMERICA.

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED, YVONNE,FOR YOUR INTEREST AND INFORMATION. I AM VERY APPRECIATIVE OF YOUR TIME.
    TAKE CARE.LEA WORTH (LILIAS AINSWORTH)

  10. OH MY GOD, I HAVE JUST READ THE COMMENTS OF OTHER READERS, AND ONE IS FROM A MEMBER OF THE HESTER FAMILY. MY FAMILY OF KNIGHT IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA, IS LINKED , BY MARRIAGE, TO THE HESTER FAMILY, WHO LIVES HERE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
    NATHAN KNIGHT, MY G.G. GRANDFATHER, WHO WAS BORN IN MANCHESTER IN 1815, MIGRATED TO WEST AUSTRALIA IN 1841 AND MARRIED SARAH SOPHIA HESTER, WHO WAS BORN IN 1821 IN CALAIS, FRANCE AND MIGRATED TO WEST AUSTRALIA WITH HER FATHER AND BROTHERS 1N 1829.
    SO, THE KNIGHTS , AINSWORTHS AND HESTER FAMILIES LIVES ARE ENTWINED IN BOTH PARTS OF THE WORLD.

    VERY INTERESTING INDEED. LEA

  11. I am connected to the Hester Family from Western Australia & have information & descendant charts for anyone interested. Connection with the Ainsworth family is through Jean Agnes Knight who is descended from Sarah Sophia Hester who married Nathan Elias Knight in 1873 in Middle Swan Western Australia.

  12. Phillip,

    Thank you so much for posting this information–it sounds like you and Lea Ainsworth might have good information to share! I’ll send her a private email to make sure she sees your post.

    Vikki

  13. Living at ground zero (Soso, Mississippi) of this amazing story, it is certainly true, especially among the elders, that if the “true histories” of the Knight, Ainworth and Smith families were told, there would be more bad blood. This could be further from the truth. There is a yurning among the younger generation just to simply know the history.

    I am part of the generation that endured the first three years of forced intergration (1970 – 1973. It was during those years that I became extremely inquisitive about my caucasion school mates who shared my last name. After college, for nearly twenty years, my thoughts laid dormant. However, after I began to take my History Degree seriously, and became privy to vast amounts of researh materials, my inquisitions took off.

    Anyone and everyone in the African American cummunity who had knowledge, who I thought knew the history of the Knight family, became a targeted resource. I just hope and pray that “True History” is being told by all concerned.
    I invite my relatives, both black and white, who are as inquisitive as i am about these great families to research
    and share thier findings with others. Yvonne Bivins has offered us a convenient springboard with which to do so.
    Lets take advantage of this opportunity.

    If anyone out there who have information and photos of Andy knight of Soso MS and his offsprings, especially his eldest son Robert “Bob” Knight, there is a market for it.

  14. to dale knight:

    How are you related to newt knight and ezra knight. I am the granddaughter of Ezra Knight and and gggrandaughter of Newt Knight. There is a family picture of my relatives on Renegade South dated Sept. 2009 if you are interested.
    No one has sent any comments so no one must be interested in the side of the family. I find all of this very interesting and am trying to get in touch with some of my relatives. You can email me at janetkaraokegirl@yahoo.com

    • Hi janet!

      Sorry it took so long.

      Thanks so much for responding to my inquiry about my grandfather, Robert “Bob” Knight. I am related to Newton Knight through his first cousin Daniel Knight. Both were
      related to slave holder John”jackie” Knight.

      Dale Knight

      • My grandfather’s name is Daniel Knight and my grandmother’s name is Ivy Knight. My father’s name is Austin James Knight. I think they were all from Hattiesburg, MS. My father was born in 1921 . I wonder if its the same “Daniel”.

  15. I will attempt to sort this one out for you. As best I can tell, Dale is descended from Harriet Carter Ward through her son, Andy Knight. Andy was the bi-racial son of Harriet and Daniel Thomas Knight, who was a grandson of John “Jackie” Knight. This Dan Knight, b. 1840 was Newt’s first cousin.

    Sadly, the descendants of Harriet and Rachel hold separate family reunions when in fact they are descended from John Jackie Knight either through Newton or Daniel Thomas.

    Newton attempted to erase the “Negro” blood from his children by Rachel and George Ann by raising them as white.

    Newton and Rachel’s daughter, Martha Ann Knight married Samuel Knight, the son of Harriet and Daniel Thomas.

    Gosh, this can be so confusing.

    Yvonne Bivins

  16. Thanks, Janet and Yvonne, for responding so quickly and helpfully to Dale’s message.

    I hope we eventually get more responses to the information on your family line, Janet. However, please don’t conclude that there is no interest out there–a lot of people read this site, but never comment.

    Come on, folks, take Dale’s advice to “take advantage of this opportunity”!

    Vikki

  17. Thanks Janet, Yvonne and Vikki. I used to be in love with a beautiful first grade classmate named Teresa Ward. Now that I Know that my great, great Grandmother was a Ward, my goal as a sixth grader to someday marry Teresa
    was better left in the sixth grade. This is fun and interesting. I want to hear more!

    Dale

  18. Hi, I am a descendant of Humphrey (born Dec. 1844) and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown.) Their children were, John Henry’Babe’, George,Harrison,Ed,Melvin, Pinkney, Mary, Bob, Lucinda, Emma, Ceola, Ollie and Jaba. The Knight’s were originally named King, but when sold into slavery took the slave master’s name of Knight. As far back as I can trace, and understand is the Knights were raised and lived on the Haines Plantation, in Bolivar TN. My family lived in Selmer, Ramer and Humbolt, TN. In Ramer TN there is a segregated family cementery, with the black Knights on one side and the white Knights on the other. Unfortunately when I travel south, I literally by days miss a white woman who is a King, who searches the same archives and visits the same cementery I do. Any help would be good.

  19. Thanks for commenting on Renegade South, Eunice. From the history you describe, it sounds as though you are from a different Knight family than that associated with Jones County, Mississippi. However, we have had other Knight descendants check in here from time to time, and I hope that your branch might do so as well, and perhaps give you some leads or answers to your history questions.

    Vikki

  20. Hello! this is for Yvone Bivins: I am still searching for any info concerning Andy Knight. I am from the black side of the family of Harriet Ward Knight. Her husband is thought to be Issac (Ike) Ward. I don’t know if he was a Knight or not. She is supposedly the mother of Andy, John, Clerence, and others. I is there anyone who can shed some light on this. Andy is my g/grandfather. I would welcome any info on Andy and his brothers/sisters and children. There will be a Knight family reunion in Soso next July from his black decendants.

    Ronnie White

  21. Hi Ronnie,

    According to family history, Ike’s father was a white man of Irish descent. His mother was named Chanie Dean. Chanie was married to a black man named Abraham Dean and had several children: William, Captain, Rebecca and Wills who were all living in the Soso area in 1870. Andy’s father was Daniel Thomas Knight, first cousin to Captain Newton Knight. I have posted this information on Ancestry.com under Rachel Knight and Harriet Carter Ward Family Tree.

    • Hi, my name is Jessica. I was reading one of your replys on here about Ike Ward and his family. Chanie Dean is his mother. I am a decedent of her son William Dean. He is my great grandfather. I was wondering do you have any further information about Abraham Dean and Chanie Dean. I am from Jones County. I did not know my great great grandparents names until I started researching my great grandfather on Ancestry.com.

      Thank You,
      Jessica

      • I would need to check my notes. My grandfather’s younger sister was Olivia “Leavy” Ward who married Frank Ward, Ike’s and Harriet’s son.

  22. My family is from the west indies, can you tell me anything about the knights in antigua Barbados or Montserrat west indies?

  23. I am excited to stumble onto Renegade South, especially the info about Newt Knight and the Free State of Jones. I was born in Jones County and was not only a schoolmate of Latrell Knight and his siblings, but a friend who lost touch with him many years ago. I lived through the early desegregation of schools and was amazed at adults for objecting to kids attending school because there was a bit of blood in their veins that was not exactly the same as theirs. I hope Latrelle is doing well these days.

    I grew up hearing the story of Newt. Us teenage boys would visit his gravesite on some nights. It was very near a house he once lived in. I don’t know if the house is still standing. It was pretty dilapidated in 1971. My parents lived in that same house for a while in the 1930’s and one of my sisters was born in it.

    • My name is Sharon Yates. I am ( if I calculated right ) the gggg granddaughter of Albert Knight. My Mother was Savanna Rachel Knight. Her Father was James Taylor Knight. His sister was Ethel Knight (author of Echo of the black horn ). I have a signed copy of the book that was given to my mother. After reading it I am trying to find out everything I can. Most of my known relatives are passed, so I am searching for any information I can find. My email is sharonjyates@gmail.com if you have any info.

      • Sharon,

        It’s nice to hear from you, and I have consulted my files regarding your family and its family connection to Ethel Knight, author of The Echo of the Black Horn. First of all, Ethel’s maiden name was Boykin, not Knight. My genealogy files identify her parents as James Alexander Boykin and Sarah Graves. Ethel married Sidney Champenois Knight, a descendant of Jackie Knight.

        Ethel as well as her husband was descended from Jackie Knight. Her father’s mother was Sarah Josephine Knight (1854-1911), who married Robert Lemuel Boykin (1850-1935). Sarah Josephine Knight appears to be the daughter of James W. Knight (1831-1865) and Judith Welch

        Unfortunately, this does not appear to be your family line. The Knight lines are quite extensive, with much overlapping of names like “Ethel.” Is there more information you can provide? Perhaps our readers have information on your line. If so, I hope they will share.

        Vikki

  24. Albert Jr.’s daughter married James Morgan Valentine. I have seen a post, I thought, from Anna Valentine on this blog, but cannot remember where.

  25. I’m sorry I’m so late to this party. My wife is from Ellisville/Jones County and her mother was Martha Elizabeth Knight (an only child). Martha’s father was Daniel Franklin Knight (I don’t know when he was born but he died 3/27/1947 and her mother was Mittie E. Simmons. His mother (my wife’s ggm) was Martha Knight (don’t have maiden name) and she died 1/15/1933 at the age of 83.

    I know this isn’t much to go on but unfortunately it’s all we have at this time. Do you have anything on this branch of the Knight family?

  26. Bob,

    Daniel Franklin Knight’s father was Andrew Taylor Knight, son of Albert and Mason Rainey Knight. This would make him Newton’s nephew.

  27. Yvonne…Big help. My wife made a trip from Mobile over to Ellisville/Rocky Creek area (she calls it) last week to see about the family grave sites. That got us talking about all the Knights and the Simmons. I did some searching and and I found you…(through Vikki).

    Thanks so much for your help.

    • Tonight my wife found old copies of “The Echo of the Black Horn” and “The Life and Activities of Captain Newton Knight and His Company” amongst some of her mother’s belongings. The booklet by Thomas J. Knight (The Life and Activities etc.) looks ancient but is in reasonably good condition and I plan to read it.

      It is important that we found out (thanks to Yvonne Bivins) that my wife’s ggf was Taylor Knight (or Tailor as spelled by T.J. Knight) the youngest brother of Newton.

      There’s been a little confusion (for us) over Taylor’s full name. Was it Andrew or was it Zachary? Well, turns out it was all of the above…i.e., Andrew Zachary Taylor Knight. The earliest records have him listed only as Andrew, but he evidently went by the “Taylor” later in life.

      • When I first began researching the Free State of Jones, I copied an interesting story about Taylor Knight from the unpublished WPA Papers (located at the State Archives in Jackson) which I can’t put my hands on right now. The person interviewed by the WPA said that as a young man, Taylor built himself some sort of pair of wings in hopes that he would be able to fly. Well, the experiment failed, and the interviewee called Taylor a “damned fool,” or something like that, for trying such a thing.

        Actually, I think many people tried the same experiment in the early age of aviation, and Taylor Knight should at least be recognized as participating in his day’s questions about the promises of technology.

        Vikki

  28. His full name was Andrew Zachary Taylor Knight. I see that the Simmons, Ellzeys and Dan Franklin Knight’s family were neighbors of Fred Norton Knight and Rachel Dorothy Knight, children of Fan Knight.

    • Vikki and Yvonne…thanks. Any and all of these details are most appreciated.

      My wife’s gm (Mittie Simmons) remarried (twice) following Dan Knight’s death and so the details of her gf’s life are very very sketchyl. Her gm (and her mother) just didn’t talk about him to my wife and her sister. She has a picture or two of him (typical Knight coal black hair etc.) and vaguely remembers a few things. But essentially, he remains a mystery to her.

      On another note. My wife has assumed responsibility for the care of the grave-site(s) of her gm & gf (Dan F. Knight & Mittie Simmons) after the recent passing of her cousin who for many years had faithfully tended to that duty. Mittie isn’t buried with Dan but with her second Husband (S.S. King) in Ellisville. Dan is buried outside Ellisville at what my wife knows as Rocky Creek cemetery but I cannot find (online) a cemetery by that name in Jones County. Could it be known by another name?

      All of the members of my wife’s side of the Knight family are gone now from Jones County but I’m sure we will be traveling there on a regular basis. I will provide more information as I get it.

  29. Vikki…that’s funny. I tried something similar when I was a kid. I tried jumping off the hen house using an umbrella as my parachute. Needless to say it didn’t work and I ran home, crying to my mother. Unfortunately, our next door neighbor witnessed my “plunge” to earth and laughed his a_ _ off.

    In fact, for the rest of my life I had to relive that foolish moment whenever I saw Mr. Mayson. He would start laughing just thinking about it. So I know how Taylor might’ve felt.

  30. HELLO VICKI,
    I AM VICKI KNIGHTS DAUGHTER I READ THE FREE STATE OF JONES AND DECLARE IT AS MY ADDITION TO THE BIBLE.I WAS NAMED AFTER HER AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD OF ATLANTA GA. AND THIER TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM AND A SHORTER VERSION OF MARTHA NEWTONS SISTER.
    MY GRANDFATHER IS OLIN .C KNIGHT.
    MY BROTHERS & SISTERS ARE;
    Cassandra Elaine Cliatt
    Charles Preston Cliatt
    Marlorena (Anecia) Cliatt
    Marianna Angelique Cliatt
    Adam Creighton Cliatt
    We love our Mother and wish to have a relationship with her.We didn’t know until recently about our Family History. We can understand why,it was discrete and why, Mother was private about it due the controversy.Some people are particular on who they chose to share with .Now that we know the truth as to the importance of who we come from all the mess ups we had in life can be flipped because we do come from honorable people and we can assume the position as our ancestors.
    I believe in this day age and era of History what our ancestors started in honor of them can be fulfilled.My Mother thinks I’m crazy for wanting to go to Washington D.C. to petition Legislation again to receive the Congressional Medals of Honor and organize the descendants Families of the” Jones County Scouts Renegade South Knight Riders”We believe it is to much for Mother in her ill State as been told to us.
    I will inform you more as the the progress when the connections are made.
    Thank you

  31. Is your Grandfather Olin Knight that lived at Clinton, MS. His wife’s name was Lorene. I believe he was a constable and had a sign business. His children are : Richard, Calvin, Tommy, Cornelia, Edith, Victoria, and Donna Necia. He is my Uncle. I have some pictures if you are interested. You can reach me at janetkaraokegirl@yahoo.com. If you would like you can send me yours. I have been researching my ancestors and have been in contact with my cousin, Sondra Yvonne Bivins, and hope to meet her one day.

  32. Hello cousin Janet,
    Yes, Iam Victoria Knights daughter and olin Calvin knights Grand daughter. Yes, I am interested in the pictures and I have quit a collection myself. I take after my Grandfather in the police business, and Grandmother in the nursing business.How can contact you by Phone?

    P/s I will be talking to you soon
    May God bless you and yours

  33. Ok. Thank you. My family is from Soso, MS. They were members at Mt. Vernon Baptist church. My some of my family members are buried at the cemetery. My great grandparents are buried there.

  34. Readers,
    I am posting a summary of a comment and query from Sheena B., who posted her original comment under the “About Renegade South” column. Sheena is a descendant of Caroline Duckworth Buckhalter, who was her ggg grandmother. Caroline Duckworth had a son named Andrew by Jefferson “Jeff” Napoleon Ainsworth, whose father Sheena identifies as Sampson J. Ainsworth. According to Sheena, Caroline, a mulatto, married this Jeff Ainsworth, but the marriage was annulled. She then married Wade Wiley Buckhalter, an Afro American, who became Andrew’s stepfather. Andrew then went by the name Andrew Buckhalter. Sheena would like to know more about Caroline Duckworth Buckhalter–especially who her parents were, and what she looked like.

    Please answer here, or under Sheena’s original post, if you have information on this particular family line.

    Vikki

    • Thanks, Ed,
      Ainsworth descendant and genealogist Shirley Pieratt identifies a Jefferson Napoleon as one of Sampson Ainsworth’s many children by his white wife, Anne.

      Vikki

    • Sheena,

      Nice to see that you are still researching. Are you still in the New Orleans area?

      I have information on Caroline Duckworth from Antionette who has an account on Ancestry.com.

      Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth was the father of Andrew Buckhalter. Polie Ainsworth had an illicit relationship with Caroline who was married to Wiley Buckhalter while she worked as a maid in his household. Since Caroline used the surname Duckworth, I can only assume (no proof) that she was owned by one of the Duckworth’s of Smith County. She was not listed as mulatto on the 1870 census records.

      • Thanks for joining this discussion, Yvonne. I was certain you would have information on Caroline Duckworth Buckhalter.

        Vikki

      • Another important point: On Ancestry.com, “Morrison Enigma” claims that Caroline was the daughter of Joseph Duckworth, and his wife, Mary “Polly” Green. I checked their status and realized Joseph was a white slaveholder, and Mary his white wife. Given Caroline’s racial designation as “black” or “mulatto” throughout the years, it’s not credible that they would have been her parents. As Yvonne notes, Caroline was likely the daughter of one of the Duckworth’s slaves, although she may indeed have been mixed-race.

        Vikki

      • Yvonne,

        How are you? Yes I’m still in the New Orleans area. Seeing this forum and wanting to find out more about Caroline really sparked a flame.

        I’m thinking Mary p Green could have been mulatto also and passed. The pattern seems that marrying mulattos ere common less they be found out. Caroline’s father was. white and her mother was mullatto(I remember hearing that from some where believing it was from my grandfathers cousins who grew up around Andrew and Adeline . All. the census information that has been brought forth makes some sense now the pieces have to be put together. Thankyou Vikki, Ed, and Yvonne.

  35. Sheena:

    As Vikki knows, my research has wandered into mixed-race relationships in south MS–hence my interest in this post. All I can offer is what census records reveal IF I have identified the right set of people:

    1) A Sampson Ainsworth was a planter from SC who settled in Smith County, MS where he can be found on the 1840-1880 censuses. Prior to the Civil War he was a slave owner. The 1860 slave schedule listed him with 6 slaves, all described as mulatto. The group consisted of a 35 year-old female and 5 children, one of whom was a 14 year-old female.

    2) In 1870, following emancipation, 19 African-Americans in Smith County adopted the surname ‘Duckworth.’ The same surname was shared by 12 whites.

    3) The 1870 Smith County census also shows a Caroline Buckhalter, age 26, in the household of Wiley Buckhalter, age 40. There are 3 children in the household ages 12 through 3, plus an infant. The 8 month-old infant was named Andrew Buckhalter. Of the entire household–including Caroline–only the infant Andrew was enumerated as ‘mulatto’ (the others being designated as ‘black’).

    4) I have been unable to find a Jefferson Ainsworth in Smith County, but a Jeff Windham did reside in Sampson Ainsworth’s household in 1870 along with a female named Caroline, apparently his new wife. This was probably Sampson’s daughter, who can be found on the 1860 census.

    5) By 1880 the Buckhalter family had relocated to the Fannin community in Rankin Co. There Andrew Buckhalter married Adaline Lewis on 23 Aug 1890.

    6) Andrew Buckhalter continued to resided in the Fannin community on the 1910 and 1920 censuses. On both he was designated as ‘mulatto.’ By 1930 he had relocated to Jackson in Hinds County.

    Even if you already have this, it might provide a basis for someone else to fill in further details.

    Ed P.

    • Thankyou for this this gives me some insight on where she came from I did know about 1870 and thenn on. But it may have been when she married Jefferson Ainsworth and this marriage was enaualked because she was mulatto that they made sure it was brought up. By her being married to Wiley and even giving her newborn the mans name Buckhalter which was clearly evident that he was frone his grandfathers line Sampson Ainsworth. Andrew and Adeline are my ggrandparents out Pf them came my ggrandfather Joseph and then my grandpa benjimenAdeline was Choctaw Indian I have her picture. Even Andrew was intouch with his bio fathere Jefferson Ainsworth, for he was inheritance of the land and farmed like his Grandfather also to be very well off. Just wish I can get the father and mother of Caroline thatll be different if Sampson was her father I don’t think though one of the White Duckworths mustve been her father… Thankyou

      • Sheena, I will go into my Duckworth files on this and see what I can find on your Caroline.

        Vikki

      • Thankyou so Much Ms.Vikki , because I want her whole story. This is apart of me and how todays generations came to be.My mother told me she found some years back that Caroline was a Maid in the Ainsworth household.I hope you find some clues, Thankyou

        Sheena

      • Sheena,

        I don’t know whether you subscribe to Ancestry.com, but there is quite a bit of information on Caroline Duckworth Buckhalter on that site. On one of the family history sites, called “Morrison Enigma,” Caroline is described as born in 1845 to Joseph Duckworth (1800-1872) from South Carolina, and his wife, Mary “Polly” Green (1802-1887). This site also claims that Caroline died in Rankin Co., MS, in 1945 at the age of 100.

        “Morrison Enigma” cites several censuses that I assume you have already visited, and some that Ed Payne also cites. I went into the 1870, 1900, and 1910 censuses to look for clues about Caroline’s life. Your mother’s story of her having worked as a maid in the Ainsworth home makes sense, though I couldn’t prove it. However, in 1900, 48-year old Caroline Buckhalter, a widow, lived near several Ainsworths. She lived in household #148, and in household 144, for example, lived Albert Ainsworth, who the Morrison family site identifies as the son of Jefferson “Jeff” Napoleon Ainsworth, Caroline’s reputed first husband, and his wife, Sophie Saforne A. Tillson! It’s interesting that Caroline continued to live so close to the Ainsworths long after her relationship with Jeff Ainsworth had ended, and it suggests that she maintained some sort of relationship with the family, perhaps as housekeeper, over the years.

        The Morrison site agrees that Caroline first married Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth, and that he was the father of her first son, Andrew. Andrew is reported as having been born in 1869. (There is a photo of him on the site. It shows a light-skinned young man holding a young child.) If an annulment of the marriage followed, it occurred very quickly. Caroline is with Wiley Buckhalter by 1870, and Jeff Ainsworth is supposed to have married Sophie Tillman around 1870.

        In 1910, Caroline, identified as mulatto, was living with her grandson, Johnson Gibson, age 19, and his family in Rankin County, MS. This was the last record I found with her present. But if she lived to be 100, she should be in the 1920, 1930, and the soon-to-be released 1940 censuses. She’s likely tucked away in the home of a relative, where census enumerators may have miss-identified her, or even left her off the record.

        How does all this information compare to what you have previously learned about your ggg Grandmother?

        Vikki

      • I have the photo of Andrew and the pic of him holding the infant. Its kinda sad that Caroline Duckworth identity is hidden but then on other census its not .I always wanted to know about her.I remember that she was mulatto, her father was. Euro and mother mulatto this was told to us by an older generation. Some have passed now. But I will keep the faith. The census and info that you and Ed have shared with me has confirmed information that I was in knowledge of; and information that I did not know that you’ve shared is a relief. I’m relieved to know that there is record of her and without a shadow of doubt I know her bio parents were recorded.Even what she looked like. If she was given as a gift who gave her. I know there is more I feel it in my heart.Even what she loomed like. Thankyou you so much for taken your time both you and Ed. Also Yvonne for giving the information that you obtained.

        Sheena B.

    • Ed Payne,
      I read over this again..its like putting together a puzzle I’m excited .You have given vital info in 1-4 .Info that I wasn’t clear on.Thankyou again .You guys do a great work, words can express how I feel about this. I was questioning for awhile dbout who she was so you guys are helping not only me but the true vine of my ancestry.

      Sheena B.
      Sheena B.

      • Vikki,
        I believe one of their children married a gispon I have a Buckhalter lineage book that can verify this.I will look over it. It was also mentioned that they loved eachother, Jefferson and Caroline that is. So that would explain why she went back to the ainsworth household after Wiley Buckhalter deceased. He was nearly 20 years her senior.This gives me a sense of clarification. Thankyou Vikki its not over yet. I Know that I will get the true story, with your help you have given me some true facts

  36. My grandmother said that Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth was called “Jeff”.
    Caroline was never married to Polie Ainsworth. She was a black maid who worked in his household. He had an illicit relationship with her producing Andrew while she was married to Wiley Buckhalter. Andrew Buckhalter who died in the insane asylum after trying to kill his children. Ironically, Jeff Ainsworth’s son, Manuel tried to murder his twin boys, too.

    Unfortunately, the Ainsworth’s would burn down the courthouse if justice did not prevail for them.

  37. Sheena:

    Please take the information I offered with a grain of salt and that provided by Yvonne and Vikki with a healthy dose of respect. I was simply trying to relate your story with a quick check of what I found among the census records on Ancestry. Further information suggests that Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth was the son in Sampson’s 1860 household who is listed as “Jesse” age 14.

    It is interesting that both Ann Valentine and Yvonne have characterized the Smith County Ainsworth family as some very tough customers. Apparently they shared temperaments and participated in some feuds with the notorious Sullivan clan of Sullivan’s Hollow.

    On final miscellaneous fact: Andrew Buckhalter was cited in the “Negro Year Book – an annual encyclopedia of the Negro 1931-1932″ in the section on agriculture (p 120):

    “Andrew Buckhalter of Rankin County, Mississippi, raised 125 bales of cotton on 190 acres of land, and besides raised enough corn and feed stuff not only
    to supply the needs of his farm but also to sell a goodly amount.”

    • Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Ed; you provided vital information on the Buckhalters, and this excerpt from the “Negro Year Book” suggests that Andrew Buckhalter was a successful yeoman farmer, at least for a time, before his life apparently ended so tragically, as described by Yvonne.

      And thank you, Sheena, for raising questions about your family line. Once again, we are treated to a history that reveals a much more complex South in terms of interracial relationships and racial identities than most people are aware of.

      Vikki

    • Ed,

      That makes sense, I was told that he was a yeo farmer along with his father and grandfather. My ggrandfather left MS when he become of age and went to the north. He told his father he did not want nothing to do with the farm. I also was told that Andrew and his wife went to see his father jeffferson Napoleon one day . That he Lived down the Road and he turned back around for some reason . Ed thankyou for the records that you shared to help me with my search of Andrews mother Also Andrew named one of his many children after his father called him Jesse.

  38. Vikki,
    I had to go back to my notes on Caroline Duckworth. Caroline Duckworth was given to Wiley and Mary Duckworth Keys as a wedding gift in 1852. Mary was the daughter of Joseph Duckworth b. 1802 and married to Mary Polly Green. Caroline’s parents are unknown.

    Caroline Duckworth Buckhalter was a housekeeper for Jesse Napoleon Ainsworth. She was already married to a man named John Wiley Buckhalter and had three children by him going back to slavery. Caroline and Jesse had some type of relationship that resulted in the birth of Andrew who was born in October of 1869. Andrew took the surname of John Wiley Buckhalter and that is why he is listed as Andrew Buckhalter [This information was obtained from an email message to Judy Ponder from Michael Allen on Friday, January 11, 2002]

    Mike Allen’s information was obtained from an uncle named Red Buckhalter.

    I have suggested several corrections to Mr. Morrison in the past.

    • Yvonne,

      Uncle red used to be the one of the people who organized our family reunion he is my grandfathers cousin. The one who gave my mother and aunt lots of the story. But there was a record that Jefferson married Caroline and it was enulled. That’s she was young according to the census that Ed found 26 and Wiley was 40 Lea ing me to believe that it was arranged being that she was pregnant so they had to hide it by getting her to marry and and changing Andrews name to Buckhalter. I wonder why it showed her father as Joseph . Then WilAnd both men having the same
      named wife, “Mary”,

      • I was also told in Reference to the tragic story. It was Andrews son lil Andy who tried to kill his child. I have his picture also.Andrews wife and only daughter Willie Mae stopped him. He had a log and was bringing it down on the child when the mother and sister stopped him. He was put in a Psych ward. Not his father . There he died.. His father was still living. This story was told by an Uncle Red

  39. I wish I knew more about Martha A. Ainsworth. Would like to know where she’s buried? And more about some of her other children, like Louis, and where he’s buried. I have been to the cemetery where Sampson and Anne buried. They were my ggg grandparents through Asberry, which I got a double dose, since he’s both my mother’s g granddad and my dad’s g granddad. Since I found out about Martha, I can’t learn enough about her family.

  40. Also, Pernecia who called Annie, married Frank Heidelberg and living in Perry County on the Jones County line. Frank was the son of one of the Heidelbergs. And of course, Lucy and her children were in the Soso area with the Knights.

  41. After years of online research on Ainsworths(and not getting anywhere), this site appears to be my line of Ainsworths. My G grandfather was Ezra(EZ) Ainsworth b. Nov 1885. The 1900 Lawrence, MS Census shows he was 14yrs old at the time, his mother’s name was RuthAnn Ainsworth, she was head of household then(widow) so I’m unable to get the name of my gg grandfather. The census does show that Ezra’s mother and father were both born in Alabama. What little information I could find online about Ezra Ainsworth is from another person seeking information on Ezra as well. She mentions Ezra was possibly 1/4 to 1/2 indian and that Ezra’s father’s name could possibly be Harrison Ainsworth. I’ve not been able to verify any of this information in writing though. One of Ezra’s sons Louis Vernon Ainsworth (Later in life spelled Lewis, this is my grandfather) moved across the MS/LA state line into the Tangipahoa/Kentwood area where he was buried in 1993. Ezra was married to Maggie Hemphill(daughter of Fred & Alice Blackwell Hemphill). Reading these comments, I see a ‘Ezra Knight’ and Suzanne mentions Cherokee blood and the name Blackwell. If anyone can shed any light on what little information I’ve provided, I’d be greatful.

    • Ezra Ainsworth is my grandfather Valley H Ainsworth brother ,my grandfather talk a lot about his family he alway say he had 1/4 to 1/2 indian in hem.Iknow his mother was Ruth Ann Hankin and his father W. Harrison Ainsworth and his grand father was Willian P. Ainsworth and grandmother was Mary Victor and his greatgrandfather was John Ainsworth and greatgrandmother Martha ? and his greatgreatgrand was Christoper Ainsworth and his greatgreatgrandmother was Alice Hall

  42. You all have summed up everything that I have researched over the years.I was told by a descendant of Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth through his daughter Nola Ainsworth that married a Delmus Ware that it was in fact known that Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth had an outside son of color and they knew him as “Agee”.Jefferson Napoleon Ainsworth is listed in the 1870 census as Jesse N Ainsworth married to Sophia.Jesse/Sophia had not had any children at that point together.Andrew Buckhalter was the oldest son of J.N. Ainsworth.The Family of Caroline/Wiley and Jesse N Ainsworth are both found in township 1 range 7 in 1870.I’m going to release a family tree on ancestry.com very soon.I have another very good picture of Andrew Sr. and multiple pictures of his children with the exception of two (Jesse and John)….BTW…I have never been able to verify the identity of Caroline Duckworth’s parents.I know that she was enslaved by the Duckworth family of Smith County,MS at one point and that she listed her birthplace as South Carolina in some census records.She was said to be a very light skinned biracial woman.Some of her children also listed her as being born in South Carolina in some census records.I had a cousin (grandaughter of Andrew Sr. through his son John) that is now deceased that even changed her last name to Duckworth in honor of what would’ve been her G Grandmother.

  43. Hi Mike,

    I saw you comment on the information that I pasted to my ancestry site that I got from Antoinette. I must admit that I did not verify her research, but had planned to go back to it. I have since made the corrections as you suggested and posted notes in my family tree maker files.

    I know several Duckworth/Ducksworth families (one is a neighbor of my sister) who are very light-skinned or reddish skin tones. The come from the Summerland and Taylorsville area.

    Thanks.

  44. I searched the Warren Hill Methodist Church north of Hwy 18 in northeast Smith County, (not to far from Louin) for Martha, Louis(Lewis), Roxanne or any Ainsworth or shelby’s with no luck. I plan to go to Louin and down the Paulding road soon.

  45. Hello I am a descendant of Charity Shelby also, she was my great great grandmother on my grandfather side Curie Shelby, his father was John Shelby from Paulding Miss.

    • I am delighted to finally hear from someone who is a direct descendant of Charity. Please email me. Vikki can give you my personal email.

      Yvonne

  46. I believe I have found the grave site of Susan, one of Sampson and Martha’s daughters. I have photo’s of Susan’s, Charity’s and three of Charity’s childrens headstones. I also believe Martha is there somewhere, due to the fact that Charity and Susan are there. I’d be glad to share my findings. mitchblakeney@yahoo.com

  47. I would like very much for Deborah Sims to write me, concerning her Grandmother, at the above address.

  48. Hello Mitchell, My research shows that Charity and Susan lived in the High Hill District according to one of the Educable Children records. Do you think that the cemetery is named High Hill instead of Tall Hill? I find it so difficult to obtain information from any of the local residents. Names and places are misspronounced. It appears that it is located in the area where tax records show they lived.

    • Yvonne, I plan to return to that area soon and try to find older neighbors and ask around to see if someone may have records handed down through time as to who is in the cemetery. I would also like to find the exact property that Charity owned. There is one area there that many Shelby’s live, which should be the desendents of Charity and Susan.

  49. ~My brother Adrian left a comment about our dad Auston Knight and yes in this information it talks about Daniel, that is our granddad and Ivy is our grandmother. If you look further into all of this you will find we have quite a large family. It is very interesting to me, because I feel like this is a huge part of me that is missing. I am proud to say that I am a Knight~

  50. I looking information my granfather wifes his frist wife was Mary Emma Goldman to she die 1933.He remarrider1935 Atha Beard to she die in 1964 he remarrider 3 or4 times I do not have there names if anyone can help me find there namer ,It help me a lot.

  51. Please excuse the rather simple, but crucial question. I have recently discovered this site, as I am doing research on my husband’s side of the family. He descends from a Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth (Smith Co., MS) and (I thought) Anna Jones. I have a Martha JANE “Park” Ainsworth as their daughter that he descends from. When I looked at the photo of “Park”, it is clear that she is not white. How could 2 white people produce a mulatto/Native American daughter? Could Martha JANE “Park” Ainsworth be the same person as Martha Ann Ainsworth? I have heard my inlaws talk of people on this side of the family who were ashamed of being Native American and downplayed their ethniity, but this is the first I’ve discovered of a potential slaveowner/slave relationship. I’ve also heard my inlaws point out that someone was adopted from this ine, but I am unable to confirm their identity. My husband’s grandmother’s middle name was Pawnee and she lived on a reservation in Oklahoma. If these people were descendants of African Aericans, how did they end on a reservation? I’m so confused!

    • I have a little info on the family, as Sampson Jefferson “Jeff” Ainsworth was my great-great uncle one one side of my family and he married my great-great-great aunt from another side of my family. However, the info I have won’t answer all your questions. I have that Jeff had a family of children with Martha Jane Ainsworth, but I hadn’t heard the “Park” info, so I can’t say about that. I would “guess” it’s the same Martha Jane since it would be unlikely he had two women his life both named Martha Jane and I’ve never seen any info to indicate there were more women in his life than Anna Jones and Martha Jane Ainsworth. According to all info I’ve seen, Martha Janes was a mulatto slave mistress of Jeff’s. What I’ve read has been that the mulatto offspring of Martha and Jeff weren’t accepted by blacks or whites. The same was true of the mulatto offspring of Newt Knight and his slave mistress. So it seems those families married into each other since they were from similar backgrounds and racial mix. I have been confused by the conflicting information on the Native American lines of the family. Some people accept it as true and others refute it. But “supposedly”, Jeff’s grandmother Nancy Welch Ainsworth was the daughter of a Choctaw. It is accepted by some that she and Levin Ainsworth I had a son named Thomas Phillemahay Ainsworth, named Phillemahay after her Choctaw father. This Thomas P. Ainsworth was a Jeff’s father. So that would make his offspring part Choctaw. However, I have seen where a direct descendant of Thomas adamantly refutes that Thomas was part Choctaw. I understand your comment about some families not wanting to admit to having Native blood, but in a family already known to have racially mixed children it wouldn’t make much sense to be ashamed to claim their Native heritage. Like you, I have seen photos of members of the family who definitely look ethnic. There were also those who were racially mixed that look totally white. I’ve learned that some of the white descendants of the Ainsworth family had no idea there were bi-racial descendants. It took a site like this to bring it all to light, for which many of us are thankful to know the true history of the family. It’s certainly an interesting, albeit confusing history. Since the Choctaw heritage affects my own direct line, I’d love to one day know the actual facts as opposed to conflicting family stories. I’m not sure who might have been adopted. And I certainly don’t know enough fact from fiction on these issues of this family to speak with any authority on it. My info is a hodgepodge of conflicting information. One of those that “may” be related to an adoption is that of Andrew Buckwalter. I’m totally confused on that one. He has the Buckwalter name and was definitely part Black. But some say he was the son of Caroline Duckworth and Jefferson Napoleon “Polie” Ainsworth. Here again, I’m related to both sides. Caroline Duckworth, if truly the daughter of Joseph Wakefield Duckworth and Mary Polly Green Duckworth would be my distant cousin. There is conflict over whether she was mulatto or not. Some say her mother was mulatto. That would be the only explanation of how she and Polie Ainsworth could have been the biological parents of Andrew Buckwalter, who was bi-racial. So, my question is was Polie Ainsworth Andrew’s father? If so, did Wiley Buckwalter, Caroline’s 2nd husband, adopt Andrew and give him his name. Wiley was black. All of these would be my distant cousins or partial relations, but I have no clear facts on this couple and their offspring. I only learned of the Choctaw and black heritages of this family this past year and haven’t really put a lot of research into these particular lines since they would be my distant cousins rather than my direct ancestors, but it’s definitely part of my own family history and I would like to sort it all out. If you or anyone else on here has or comes across information that would once and for all clear up the conflicting information on the relationships of these folks, I’d love to have the facts of it all, too.

      • Martha Ann Ainsworth and Martha Jane “Park” Ainsworth were two different people. Martha Ann was Jeff Ainsworth’s slave concubine and Martha Jane “Park” was his daughter with his legal wife, Anna Jones.
        Cherokees owned slaves and took them to Oklahoma. Also, runaway slaves were often adopted into Native American tribes.
        In Mississippi, there has always been a lot of racial mixing which I call “an open secret. Take a look at any of the two slave schedules and you will see that there were many mulattoes in both Smith and Jasper Counties.
        Caroline Duckworth was married to Wiley Buckhalter and while working as a maid in the home of Polie Ainsworth, he forced himself on her resulting in the birth of Andrew. Caroline Duckworth was given to Wiley and Mary Duckworth Keys as a wedding gift in 1852. Mary was the daughter of Joseph Duckworth.
        If Wiley Buckhalter had challenged Polie Ainsworth, he would have been lynched, so Andrew was raised in his home as a Buckhalter. Andrew’s wife, Adaline McCoy Lewis, was mixed, not his mother Caroline.
        DNA evidence shows that Thomas Ainsworth was not Native American.

      • Well, that pretty much clears all that up. Thanks for sharing all that. Regardless of how it all came about, the mixed race Ainsworths are my distant half cousins and I’m thankful to learn the actual facts about them.

    • Martha Jane and Martha Ann Ainsworth were two different people. Martha Jane “Park”Ainsworth was born about 1832 in Smith County, MS to Sampson Jefferson “Jeff” Ainsworth and his legal wife, Anna Jones. Jeff Ainsworth purchased my great great grandmother, Martha Ann around 1841. His illicit relationship with her resulted in the birth of my great grandfather and his five sisters. Although in the only photo we have of Martha Ann, she appears to be Native American, my grandmother said that she was not “an Indian”. She was born in Virginia.

  52. Not to dispute your grandmother, but I have Native blood from two sides of my mother’s family and other than to have a few whispers about it, the family denied it until the last one of my grandmother’s siblings was alive and in a nursing home did she finally confirm and tell me about it. The first time I had asked her about it, she denied it and said she knew nothing about it. Then later she told me all the details right down to where my part Choctaw great-great grandmother is buried. I belong to a site where descendants of mostly Muscogee Creek but also some Chocotaw, etc. discuss their families and try to find more info. Stories have been shared about how families back then were taught to deny being Native American so they wouldn’t have their children taken from them and sent to the schools where the whites were converting them from Native to white ways and/or round them all up and put them on a reservation. So as many as could tried to pass for anything but Native American. At one time it was actually illegal to be of Native blood and reside in Alabama or Georgia. So after decades of denying any Native connections, many families stopped passing any info down about it and there are probably a lot of folks with Native blood that are clueless to that fact. My mother who is 80 didn’t know until last year that her ggggg-grandparents were full-blood Muscogee Creek, and I’d never even heard of that tribe before last year. So it may well be that there is Native blood in your family and either it was supressed so long that no one knows about it or they still don’t want to own up to it. That’s not to say I’m right about that. It’s just something to consider. My mother didn’t even want me to tell her about her Native ancestors. She is blonde, green-eyed and lily white and and to tell her she is part anything other than white was an insult to her. It’s a shame there are still such stigmas that people don’t even have curiosity about their true heritage. I’m just sharing what happened in my own family in that regard. Yours may actually not have a drop of Native blood in it, but just saying…just because someone denies it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s so. Now the DNA thing is totally different. That’s not just someone’s denial. It must be confusing for many though that the Choctaw names are used in the Ainsworth genealogy. I wonder how that even got started.

    • Caroline was indeed a mix woman she was not fully black she did marry first and have Andrew Ainsworth ( Buckhalter) those are facts she was made to marry Wiley Buckhalter a freed Slave.. Who soon died after they did indeed love eachother Caroline and Jeff that is She passed for white until the mess with the marriage enullment a lot of times things are cons reward based on info passed down from generation to generation I’ve met family in Louisiana who knew Andrew growing up they are well in age and age was well off because he was Close to his Biological father as far as business was concerned His mother was Caucasian if you her father and her mother was mixed to be clarified his her picture but I know for sure she was not married to Wiley first and was not just black that would make here grandchildren and descendants a lie I’m a direct line from her and I will correct what us wrong a ms loosely said about her. Thankyou My Great Great Grandmother who was Choctaw Indian who married her Son Andrew which had 7 children and one of Whom was my Great Grandfather. My Grandfather mention that Adeline was I tuned with her Heritage of being American Indian I’ve found her on the Dawes roles of the 5 Civilized tribes. Also Caroline was a beautiful woman who was strong I know this because of me :) She was not just a house maid but someone who fought for what was hers Story’s on my side who were direct descendants knew of them being married and loved eachother Hd dic not force himself on her. This info was passed down on our side the distant side wouldn’t know the detail as much that’s why they call if distant but with puzzles you put them together you don’t knock a story down because you have your information . This records I have steamed from all of our records from each family who us connected I doubt very seriously that Caroline would have went back to that household right after her do called husband died and explain why Jeff didn’t have any kids by that second wife he didn’t love her his first wife he loved who he did indeed marry the family had that proof that is why that dory was passed down not some maid story of mere disrespect she was young that explains Andrews adult heritage of his white fathers Jefferson and grandpa Sampson’s land of farming….common sense not heir say Thank You have a blessed Year .. Needed to get that Out And was bothered by some comments on the story of suppose facts gathered on Caroline who is partly is to why I’m here did not like some of the opinions on her placed on here . They are not true just wanted to clear that up Vicki Bynums ‘ post from last year is more accurate to what was told from me by her direct descendents who are now all deceased who were upstanding godly men who I met as a little girl that had the artifacts. Not some stories by someone’s grandma who didn’t have a relationship with her that was my ancestor grandmother so please be careful how you respond to others family members who want facts not opinions on who she may of been thankyou respectfully . mrs Vicki I’m sorry if I caused a disturbance being that this was over a year ago post but I love your site because it has information about my ancestors and if don’t take that lightly but was just disturbed on how my post was pushed to the side and brushed off by a conclusion of ” a house maid that was forced by Jefferson Ainsworth and she was already married and she was not mixed all these lil comments stirred me up ” Your facts you found were correct they set right in my spirit the other troubled me Mrs Yvonne to be exact on sorry but I had to respond that was disrespectful. That’s how I seen it. It annul listed all what Vicki Found vibe cause what you wrote which was the opposite .. So good day

      • “…and never the twain shall meet,” especially so when family history contradicts historical facts, therefore I don’t argue because it is fruitless.

  53. Thanks so much for clearing this up for me! My husband will be amazed when I tell him that he has African American relatives (right up the road, as we live in Mobile) who descend from Sampson Jefferson Ainsworth. I don’t think that I have ever heard that from his parents or other family members, so I am wondering if it has been kept a secret all of this time. His Martha Jane “Park” Ainsworth married a McNeil, and they ended up in Oklahoma, then West Monroe, Louisiana. My husband was born in West Monroe. I’m still trying to fill in some gaps, but every little bit helps! On ancestry.com, I have a photo (which looks more like a sketch) of Martha Jane “Park” Ainsworth. It has a blue background and she seems to have blue eyes. She is also dark skinned. Could this possibly be a photo of Martha Ann Ainsworth? Could you post your photo of Martha Ann so I can see if it is the same photo (or could you check my tree on ancestry)?

    • Martha Jane Ainsworth dark appearance was a result of being in the sun most of the year farming. I am familiar with that photo that you mentioned as I got it from Brenda Sumrall Bundy who is descended from Park, too. I do have a photo of my great great grandmother and think that it might have been posted on this blog by Vikki. My cousin who is descended from my grandfather’s brother, Louis Delmus Smith, and Newton Knight’s granddaughter, Ollie Jane Knight just received the results of her DNA test through Ancestry.com. This test shows that she is 32% British, 27 % Central European and 20% West African. Her mother is Black Creole from St. Tammany Parish, LA. This test didn’t say anything about Native blood.

      • This has nothing to do with any particular family discussed here. I just thought you might find this as interesting as I did. I grew up in the Deep South and lived several years in South Louisiana, including New Orleans where the term Creole is used to designate a certain ethnic and cultural group and used to market Creole foods, etc. That was all I knew of the word Creole – that it referred to people of French, African and sometimes Native American mix. In our own research in our far past ancestry, we learned something insightful about the word Creole – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Creole_people I found this very enlightening and more encompassing than I’d grown up believing Creole to be. There are a lot more “Creole” people in America than people would think, given this broader definition! It just points out something I’m become increasingly aware of in my family research, very few (if any, really) people are “pure” anything. Races have been mixing since very, very ancient times and even the white cultures of the world all stem, at some point, from more ancient cultures who weren’t originally “white”. Europe evolved from people who migrated for ages from Africa and Asia. Some people still balk at the fact that Jesus, for example, was not white, much less at the idea that their own European ancestry was already mixed before it “became” the British Isles, France, or whatever. Those countries were not the cradle of civilization. They all evolved out of people migrating out of Mesopotamia, Africa, and other ancient civilizations. Far enough back, we all have more in common than we may “look like” we do today. What we see in diverse colors and cultures of people today took a long, slow process over time. In more ancient times it seems to me they worried less about mixing of colors than that of mixing religions. They fought wars over religion and to acquire land and wealth as humanity expanded on the face of the earth. It seems wars weren’t fought over race in particular until more modern history. In that sense, we lost the sense of seeing people different from ourselves as exotic and of interest to seeing them as a threat to who we are. God obviously loves diversity. It’s in all His creation – so many colors in everything in nature. There isn’t just one color flower, bird, etc. And so it is with people. We come in varieties and if we dig far enough back to find what our far ancestors had in common rather than focusing on all that divides us in color and culture, we would find the harmony I believe God intended because no matter what color we are, what culture we come from, etc. – at the bottom line of it all, we’re all just people with more in common as part of humanity than the things that “seem” to separate us. I embrace every ancestral heritage that combined to result in “me”. Without each of them coming together just as they did, “I” would not exist. So to have biases is to deny part of who we are, because I don’t believe there is a person in America who isn’t from a diverse background if they dig far enough back in time, not just to which European country their relatively recent ancestors came from. Those Europeans came from “somewhere else” originally. It gives a whole new concept of America as the “melting pot”. The world had long been a “melting pot” in the larger sense long before our ancestors came to America. And, I think the article on Creoles exemplifies in America.

      • What a fascinating discussion you all have engaged in here! Promoting an understanding of our nation’s history of ethnic diversity and interaction–both the exploitive and loving sorts–is a major reason why I created this blog.

        My husband and I are heading out this morning for Texas, where we will spend the holidays. However, I will continue to moderate all comments, though perhaps not as quickly as I’d like. Please continue the conversation!

        Vikki

  54. That’s interesting. I descend from the Baudreau/Baptiste Creoles in Mobile, Alabama. They moved all over the Gulf Coast. Today, there are over 10,000 coastal residents that can trace their lineage to this family. They originally came to Dauphin Island, Alabama (via Montreal), to establish a French colony. My ancestors ended up in Coden, Alabama (not too far from Dauphin Island), and others founded Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Some Baptistes ended up in New Orleans and joined the Creole community there.

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