A Man Named McClammy

“First Love” a setting from a gift of China from my mother, May 1974

I believe in the goodness of people. I believe in good gifts and deeds and land deeds. But documents exist that paint a clear picture of history. Seeing my belief in the goodness of people crumble as I discover evidence for people in my ancestry is uncomfortable. However! when I found the records of October 15, 1743/ 1744, and 1752, one thousand six hundred and ninety four pages of grantor, granter in the Enslaved Book, New Hanover County, North Carolina, I had to face this truth as ugly and painful as it maybe. It is the errors of the past and I can not change it. As a white child growing up in rural Alberta, I never experienced and I never knew my relatives “owned” other people and supported slavery.

I was gifted my china from my mother. We registered at a bridal store so others could also purchase. I stood in a stubble field at an auction sale, raised my hand and bid on a parcel of land and received the deed with our name on it. To me these are legitimate gifts and deeds!

A quote from Aldous Huxley, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.”

What did I find in those record books.

Mark McClammy gifted and deeded these slaves to his children, born of his housekeeper Mary Walton. In his will these children were named Walton: Rebecca, Easter, Sarah, Mary and Vashti. He left unto wife Jane his plantation and mill at Mill Swamp bought from Thomas Bishop, until Vashti became of age. His will was witnessed by my 4th great grandfather Stockley Sidbury Sr, and Benjamin Atkinson, before 1803 and proven in court in 1809.

Close by were the cousins of Uncle James Sidbury, brother to Woodman Stockley Sidbury Jr. James married Sarah Drew and they had three children: Moses, 1740-1791, Comfort 1742- and George 1745-1791. When Uncle James died in 1748 these children were 8, 6, and 3. When James Sidbury died at the age of 36 his mother Elizabeth Bishop was alive and attested to his will. He named his loving brother Woodman his executor. He left his wife Sarah 1/4 of his estate and the children named Moses, Comfort and George, to equally share 3/4 when obtained the age of 21, 400 acres found at the mouth of Bearbly Creek on Humpy Sound. James signed his name with an X, while Elizabeth his mother wrote her name. Six years later Sarah died and left children Moses 16, Comfort 14 and George 11.

In 1744, when George Bishop Jr. will was proven, their step cousin gave Moses 5 cows and calves, and Comfort 3 cows and calves. Grandmother Elizabeth (called her his dear mother)(really his step mother)) was given the riding horse known by name of Smory. Uncle James Sidbury was given one Indian man by the name of Cupid and the son of Cupid.

The above says that George Bishop Jr. had an Indian man named Cupid. He willed him to Uncle James Sidbury, with the stipulation that if James died, Cupid would gain his freedom. Since James died at age 38, did Cupid gain his freedom? It was not only African slaves but also captured Native Americans who were slaves.

My great grandfather Woodman was given 1743 by this step brother 1 Negro called Moll, 1 feather bed and furniture, and stock that runs on his father’s plantation. (When Woodman died the year his son Stockley L. Sidbury Sr was born in 1752, Stockley would inherit this land when he was 21, or in 1773. He chose guardians named James Howard, Stockly Bishop and Bishop Dudley, all of said New Hanover County, who paid 100 pound bond, dated June 1764 when Stockley was 12.)

It doesn’t seem Mark McClammy was the marrying kind? Mark and Comfort had a child together. Comfort died in childbirth. Mark never married his housekeeper Mary Walton, as she retained her maiden name in his will. But to the five girls he gifted and deeded slaves, but the boys weren’t mentioned. Two of those children would marry my Sidbury Uncles: William Barlow Sidbury married Mary Walton McClammy and Stockley L Sidbury Jr. married Rebecca Walton McClammy. These two men were brothers to my 3rd Great grandmother Judith Sidbury Costin Atkinson Costin and other siblings Woodman Stockley Sidbury and Aggy; all children of the man who witnessed McClammy’s will, Stockley L. Sidbury Sr. 1752-1815., my 4th great grandfather. It would be his son, Stockley Sidbury Jr. listed below.

These are only one counties records of Slave Deeds of North Carolina. The entire 1694 pages are upsetting but perhaps the one that breaks my heart was the gift to Hester Walton, child of Jane, Mark McClammy’s housekeeper. “The child that old Phyllis is now big with, unborn, unnamed gift found in record M/166 of the Slave Deed Book. Not even born yet, but gifted and deeded by a man named McClammy.

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