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Enslaved Families of Belmont

 

Belmont was the home to several extended families who lived in slavery for multiple generations. Below is a list of those individuals we have documented as having lived at Belmont. 

 

Betsy and Children

 

Betsy:  House slave given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in Joseph Acklen May 1849 marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Mother of Harriet, James, Alexander, Joseph, Amanda, and Ive.

 

Alexander:  Son of Betsy.  Given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Sibling of Harriet, James (could be James Alexander), Joe/Joseph, Ive, and Amanda.

 

Amanda:  Daughter of Betsy.  Given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document. Sibling of Harriet, James, Alexander, Joe/Joseph, and Ive.  Possibly the same Amanda [with no last name given] buried in the Nashville City Cemetery on March 10, 1871. 

 

Most likely, she is the cook referenced in an October 1868 letter from Adelicia  By April 1869, Adelicia had a new cook. 

 

Harriet:  Daughter of Betsy.  Given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia. Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Sibling of James, Alexander, Joe/Joseph, Ive, and Amanda.

Ive:  Daughter of Betsy, born after September 1847 but before May 1849.  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Sibling of Harriet, James, Alexander, Joe/Joseph, and Amanda.

 

James:  Son of Betsy, possibly known as James Alexander.  Given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Sibling of Harriet, Alexander, Joe/Joseph, Ive, and Amanda.

 

Joseph:  Son of Betsy.  Given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Sibling of Harriet, James, Alexander, Ive, and Amanda.

 

In 1860, Adelicia wrote that Joe was to help Mary put up lace curtains at Belmont.  In November 1856, there are also accounts of a Joe who was to wash the flowerpots after Mr. McGrady emptied them; he may be the same Joe/Joseph.  In the 1880 and 1881 Nashville City Directories, there is a Joseph Acklen listed as African American, working as a laborer at 121 N. Cherry Street.  In 1880, his home address was N. Spruce near Gay, and in 1881, Quarry near Line.  The 1881 directory listed another Joseph Acklen listed as African American, also working as a laborer at the Union Stockyard, with a residence on Clinton near Walnut.

Baker and Snowden Families

 

Baker, John:  Born ca. 1820.  Slave at Fairvue, according to records dated September 28, 1847, and listed as being 27 years old at the time.  Married to Betsy or Bettie Baker.

 

Baker, Betsy or Bettie:  Born ca. 1825 at Mount Vernon, Virginia.  Purchased by Isaac Franklin from John Washington, adopted son of George Washington.  Slave at Fairvue, according to records dated September 28, 1847, and listed as being 20 years old at the time.  Married to John Baker.  Listed as having at least 9 children; the 1910 census noted 15 children with 6 still alive.  Died in 1923 at Peach Valley in Sumner County, Tennessee.

 

Ruffin Baker, one of her sons, born ca. 1846, has more information on Betsy/Bettie listed under his own entry below.   Besides Ruffin, according to some records, Betsy/Bettie also had a son Mark Baker, born in 1847 or 1853.  He married Fannie who lived from 1861 to before 1900.  Betsy/Bettie also had a daughter Hanna Baker born in February 1858.  Mark and Hanna are easily traceable because Betsy/Bettie lived with her adult children near the end of her life.  The 1900 census listed Hanna (age 42) as head of household, living with her brother Mark (age 53), nephews Willie (age 22), Mark (age 18), and another nephew whose name is illegible (age 15), and her mother Betsy/Bettie (age 80).  In the 1910 census, Mark (age 56), Hanna (age 53), and Betsy/Bettie (age 90), are all residing together.  In the 1920 census, Mark (age 68), lived with Hanna (age 64), and Betsy/Bettie (age 107, but more    likely 101).  It is noted Mark and Hanna could read and write; Betsy/Bettie could not read or write.  The age discrepancies are within a logical margin of error for census records.

 

Ruffin:  Most likely the son of Bettie/Betsy and John Baker.  Listed as being two years old on a September 28, 1847, inventory.  Born ca. 1846; married Mary Jane Sergeant (born 1850) on April 23, 1870.  They had the following children: John (born 1869), Celina (born April 1882), Alex (born October 1892), and Anna May (born June 1893).  Two grandchildren are also listed in the record:  Brutus (born September 1892) and Margaret or Martha Ann (born August 1889).   There is a Mark Baker who is likely the son of Ruffin (not listed in the notes above), born in April 1875, and married in 1895 to Hannah, also born in April 1875.  According to the 1910 census, Mark and Hannah, both age 34, lived with their children, Henry, age 14 (born May 1896), Anthony, age 11 (born June 1899), Parker, age 8, Jennie, age 6, and another son, Dorsey, age 3. 

 

Aggie:  According to family tradition, Aggie was the personal maid to Adelicia and sometimes took care of the children.  She traveled with the family to New York in 1866.  While there, she met and married Sam.  Aggie remained in New York until Sam’s death and then moved back to Fairvue.  It is believed she is the mother of Eva Snowden Baker (the cover image on this publication).

 

Baker, Eva Snowden:  Born ca. 1856, and died in 1939. [Portrait on Front Cover]  According to family tradition, she was Adelicia's personal maid or personal dresser after the Civil War.  It appears she was married three times.  We believe her maiden name to be Snowden, but it is possible that her first marriage was to a Snowden, and then perhaps to a Lane and later a Baker, according to her children’s surnames.  One of her marriages was to Mark Baker (b. ?, d. 1940).  He was one of nine children of Betsy Baker, who was born in 1825 at Mount Vernon in Virginia and died in Sumner County.  (The 1870 census for Sumner County listed an Eva, age 12, daughter of Richard Dixon, age 28, and his wife Hannah, age 22, and sister, Dinah, age 3.  [This family is only a possible match for Eva Snowden Baker.] )

 

The 1900 census listed her as Eva Snowden, age 45, having eight children and head of the household.  At least five of her children were by Mark Baker.  In 1900, she lived with Peter Snowden, age 23 (born March 1877), Neal or Sarah Lane, age 17 (born May 1883, although some records say 1893), Gus Lane, age 13, (born August 1886 or 1889), Baby Love Baker, age 8 (born June 1891), Eldritch or Eldridge Baker, age 6 (born November 1894), Ruffin Baker, age 3, (born November 22, 1895 or 1896), and Bennie Baker, age 6 months (born November 1899).  In 1900, she was living in the Peach Valley area of Sumner County with a number of other former slaves from Fairvue.  She cannot be found in the 1910 census.  In 1920, the Sumner County census listed  her as 61 years old and living with Ben, age 40; an illegible male name, age 38; Wilkins, age 34; and Gertrude, age 30.  The 1930 census listed her living in Peach Valley with her sister Sally Ann Smith, a widow.  Eva is listed as being able to read and write.

 

 

Brutus and Fanny

 

Brutus:  Isaac Franklin’s valet.  Married to Fanny/Frances.  Given to Adelicia by Isaac in his will.  Sent to Louisiana (Angola Plantation) in September 1847 as he may have been involved in or sympathetic to the attempted murder of the overseer at Fairview.  Following Adelicia’s marriage to Joseph Acklen, he became Joseph’s valet.  Sold in New Orleans in March 1857 for “drinking all winter and behaving very badly,” he was jailed on several occasions.  Purchased by a General Pike and taken to Little Rock, Arkansas.  Records indicate Adelicia wrote on April 29, 1857, that he had been sold in New Orleans from Angola Plantation.  Died on December 22, 1869, having by this time taken the last name of Jackson.  In a newspaper story about him, the article tells his story and recounts his recovery from heavy drinking.

Fanny/Frances:  Wife of Brutus. House servant given to Adelcia by Isaac Franklin in his 1846 will.  It is still unclear (and will probably remain so) if this is the same Frances who was the children’s nurse. (See separate entry below.)

 

Maria and Children

 

Maria:  House slave given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Mother of Ezekiel, William, and Mary Ann.

 

Ezekiel or Zeke:  Son of Maria.  Given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes, in 1839.  Listed in September 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate.  Listed in May 1849 marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  Sibling of William and Mary Ann.

 

Mary Ann:  Daughter of Maria.  Given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  Listed in 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate. Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelcia.  Listed in October 1857 legal document.  Sibling of Ezekiel and William.

 

In 1860, Adelicia wrote that Mary, with the help of Joe, was to put up lace curtains at Belmont.  She was to regulate the house as well.  Mary Ann could be Mary Fleming, an African American servant listed as working at Belmont in the 1870 census, 28 years old and born in Tennessee.  Her actual age would be 31 in 1870 if she were a year old or less in 1839.  The difference of 3 years is very much within the range of age discrepancies found in census records.  For more information on Mary Fleming, see her listing under the “Other Servants and Estate Workers” section.

 

William Acklen:  Born between September 1847 and May 1849.  Son of Maria, who was given to Adelicia by her father O.B. Hayes in 1839.  While not listed on the 1847 inventory of Isaac Franklin’s estate, he is listed in the May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.

 

In 1866, a William Acklen, age 19, a former slave of Adelicia's and a servant after the war, was called as a witness for damages that occurred at Belmont during the Civil War.  This document indicated his birth year as 1847.  An 1857 legal document listing slaves given to Adelicia by O.B. Hayes noted Maria, along with her children Ezekiel and Mary Ann, and then William.  This name order may indicate William was likely born after 1847. 

 

Other Known Listings For William Acklen

It is difficult to know whether any of the following men are the same William Acklen who lived at Belmont, but they are included here as reference.

 

William Acklen or William Acker:  Married Rosa Powers by Reverend Lemon on September 28, 1865, in Davidson County.  [Book 5, page 75]

 

William A. Acklen:  Married Mary A. Boyd on April 4, 1889, by J.M. Mitchell in Davidson County.  [Book 9, page 155]

 

The 1890 Nashville City Directory listed a William Acklen living  on Deluge Street.  This person is not listed in the 1889 or 1891 directory.  A William (Billy) Acklen died July 31, 1890, age 70.  He was born in Tennessee, married, and resided on Deluge Street.  He died of dysentery, and his death was certified by Dr. Richard Cheatham [son of Adelicia’s third husband Dr. William A. Cheatham].  He was buried at Mt. Ararat Cemetery.  This is probably not the same William Acklen as this man would have been born around 1820; the William in most of Belmont’s records would have been born ca. 1847.  A Mary Acklen, widow of William, lived at 819 High Street in 1896. 

 

William Acklen:  The 1889 and 1890 Nashville City Directories listed William R. Acklen as a driver.  By 1893, he was listed as a salesman.  Listed as a painter in the City Directories of 1900, 1902, 1903, 1909, and 1913.

 

William D. Acklen:  Listed in the 1900 directory as a porter.

 

Individual Slaves

 

Frances:  Probably the same Frances who was the children’s nurse.  Mentioned in letter dated December 1857, as taking care of the baby.  Mentioned in a letter from Adelicia in April 1860.

 

Gant [aka Grant], Ben:  Born ca. 1831.  Listed on the estate inventory at Fairvue on September 28, 1847.

In 1848, Adelicia “hired” him, and he was still with her in September of 1854.  By March of 1861, he was “attached” to the Angola Plantation and was married to Maria Gant [Grant] who was born ca. 1841.  They had a son, also named Ben.  Vertical Record at the Sumner County Archives, Mortgage Statement, March 15, 1861 in New Orleans.

 

Georgiana: Given to Adelicia by Isaac Franklin in his will.

 

Gibbs, Rena:  Born ca. 1833.  Listed on the estate inventory at Fairvue on September 28, 1847, where she was part of the house staff.  Her mother was Maria Gibbs, born ca. 1815.  By September 1847, Rena had two younger sisters, Louisiana, born ca. 1838, and Rachael, born ca. 1841.  She also had a brother, Martin, born ca. 1845.   

 

She was “hired” by Adelicia in 1848 from the Trustees of the Franklin Institute.  By September of 1854, she had two children, names unknown.  In November of 1857, she was mentioned in a letter as being at Belmont after the Acklens had left for Louisiana. Vertical Record at the Sumner County Archives.

 

London:  Buried at Old City Cemetery on February 16, 1850, on the Poplar lot, at the cost of $2.00.  Listed as slave of J.A.S. Acklen at the time of death; age and cause of death unrecorded.  Lived at Adelicia’s house on Cherry Street.  Nashville City Cemetery Records (5-1862: 133).  Found online at the Nashville Public Library website.

 

Marcius:  Given to Adelicia by Isaac Franklin in his will.

 

Mortimer:  Listed in May 1849 Joseph Acklen marriage contract as belonging to Adelicia.  There is no record of him before or after this document. 

 

Randolph: Slave impressed by the Federal Army to build Fort Negley in 1862.  Employment Rolls and Nonpayment Rolls of Negroes Employed in the Defenses of Nashville, Tennessee, 1862-1863.  File #98, Tennessee State Library and Archives. 

 

Salley: Listed as “servant to Cpl. Joseph A.S. Acklim” [sp] when buried at the Old City Cemetery on March 21, 1862, in the “Negro lot” at the cost of $4.00; age 23 and died of “Pneumonie.”  Nashville City Cemetery records (5-1862:133). Found online at the Nashville Public Library website. 

Belmont Research by Family Groups and chronology research by Erica Hayden, Ph.D.

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GPS ADDRESS

Belmont Blvd & Acklen Avenue 

Nashville, TN 37212

MAILING ADDRESS

1900 Belmont Blvd

Nashville, TN 37212

615-460-5459

Photos by Ed Houk

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