Slave Name Roll Project: Kenneth Bembry’s Florida Plantation

Looking at Thomas Bembry’s court case versus his brother Kenneth reminded me that Kenneth had more slaves than any other Bembry. With a bit of digging, I’ve found a few names.

Going back to Kenneth’s embezzlement of the estate of Nathan Harris in the 1820s, two slaves named Norfleet and Isaac were part of that estate. Naturally, the Bembrys and Dickens went to court to sort it out: my ancestors’ primary occupation at the time was apparently supporting lawyers.

North Carolina Free Press 29 October 1829. Click to enlarge.

North Carolina Free Press 29 October 1829. Click to enlarge.

In 1839, Kenneth mortgaged several slaves for $15,000. I did not actually know that PEOPLE could be used as collateral for a loan, but I suppose it makes sense, given the times. The slaves’ names were Sam, Harry, Warner, Calvin, George, Henry, Bristol, Phillip, and London. They most likely remained with Kenneth after the ten-year loan term was up, because he was doing well by 1850.

From Journal of the Proceedings of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida. Click to enlarge.

From Journal of the Proceedings of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida. Click to enlarge.

Kenneth was a cotton planter, and had one of the larger farms in Leon County, Florida, with 38 slaves listed on the 1850 slave schedule. I found this map showing the approximate location of his plantation in the northwestern part of the county on Google Books.

From The Red Hills of Florida, 1528-1865. Click to enlarge.

From The Red Hills of Florida, 1528-1865. Click to enlarge.

Kenneth also had political ambitions, stymied by his background as an overseer’s son. Read that story here.

Typical Leon County plantation house (not Kenneth's). From floridamemory.com.

Typical Leon County plantation house (not Kenneth’s). From floridamemory.com.

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