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Slaves of Andrew B Calhoun, Georgia

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Coweta, Georgia, United Statesmap
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Andrew B. Calhoun was recorded as owning 5 slaves in 1840, 12 in 1850, and possibly 73, along with his son Abner, in 1860.

1840, Coweta County, Georgia:[1]

  • Free White Males - 30 thru 39: 1
  • Free White Females - 20 thru 29: 1
  • Slaves - Males - 10 thru 23: 1
  • Slaves - Males - 24 thru 35: 1
  • Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23: 2
  • Slaves - Females - 24 thru 35: 1
  • Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2


Text from Encyclopedia.com, "The African American Family":[2]

"In the summer of 1864, Andrew B. Calhoun and some of his slaves left Newnan to visit his son Abner, who had been wounded in the war. Calhoun's daughter Fannie remained at the house in Newnan and wrote to her father, complaining about slaves who had run away to the Yankees. In the same letter, she sent a friendly hello to Nelley's child and grandchild, Siny and Catherine (Kitty), who had accompanied Calhoun on the trip. Calhoun and his slaves were present a few months later when Sherman burned Atlanta. According to family legend, Nelley was ill. They put her on a mattress in a wagon, and everyone escaped to safety.

House servants were often accused of identifying or siding with their owners over their family or friends working in the fields. Slaves were not always open about their feelings, however, and so it is hard to tell whether they were truly attached to their owner's family or only acted that way out of a sense of duty or fear. Nelley and her daughter and granddaughter did remain with the family and performed their duties. It seems that they had won the affection of the white Calhouns—not only did Fannie remember them in her wartime letter, but in 1870 Calhoun deeded the three women a plot of land as a reward for their loyal service.

Yet Nelley's family always remained important to her. Though separated from her mother, father, brothers, and sisters when they moved north, she corresponded with them and traveled north to be by her mother's deathbed. The strength of kin ties can also be seen in the family's naming practices. Nelley took the Calhoun name, but she named her daughter Siny for her mother, and both Siny and Moses named children for their aunts and uncles. In this way, like so many enslaved people, Nelley and her children used names to keep family connections and memories alive.

Siny [Catherine] Calhoun had married Preston Webb, and they had had one child, Catherine Webb—or Kitty, as the white Calhouns called her. Not much is known about Preston, but when he died in 1868 at a young age, it left a profound mark on his eight-yearold daughter. Siny gave Catherine an atlas from the year her father died, and in the pages of this volume were pressed his rumpled freedom papers. Catherine kept the atlas in a box on which she inscribed the date of her father's death. This box has been passed down through the generations.

Although A. B. Calhoun had deeded them property in Newnan, Nelley, Siny, and Catherine finally chose not to remain near the people who had owned them. Like many ex-slaves, they moved away from the plantation and into the city. In 1870, they were living on Frasier Street in Atlanta with Nelley's son Moses, his wife, Atlanta, and their children, Lena and Cora. Nelley was working as a laundress and Siny as a hairdresser, and Moses owned a cafe. They must have done quite well, because Catherine attended Atlanta University in 1875 and 1876, and Cora did so in 1882."


  1. "United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHBZ-4F5 : 2 March 2021), Andrew B Calhoun, Coweta, Georgia, United States; citing p. 318, NARA microfilm publication , (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll ; FHL microfilm .
  2. The African American Family

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