Her Name Is Susan

I do not know Susan — meaning to my knowledge she is not connected to my family line. I can’t really tell you how I happened upon the aged bill of sale transferring ownership of Susan from the estate of Cecilia COMPTON to William WOOTEN or why Susan’s plight tugged my heart tonight.

It’s late and out of frustration I’ve closed my new reference book — Warren County Georgia 1793-1900 Genealogy II (Crumpton) — for the night.

Frustrated because I’m honestly questioning if in a book of some 822 pages, there will be any thing found to help me better understand the lives of my CODY Ancestors. Will the book reveal how Rachael, my 5th Grandmother born about 1780, came to be owned by Edmund CODY? Did she arrive from an unknown region in Africa, by way of an unknown boat to an unknown port to be sold? Or did Edmund acquire her through one of the MANY legal dealings I barely understand but have evidence of in Crumpton’s book?

Is 1780 early enough to connect my line to Africa OR will I need to identify a 6th Great Grandparent, and if so — just how the hell will I do that?

I’ve wanted this book for MANY years and expected to really enjoy it. But I’m not. Glossing over the NAMED Slaves in search of my CODY relatives leaves me feeling a tinge of guilt. As if I too am ignoring them and reducing their importance. Am I dismissing their presence too?

Record after record; page after page. Can’t help shaking my head. How could ANYONE — regardless of the time period — find  peace with handling humans as hogs?

How can anyone REALLY look at our shared history and not understand our present-day realities?

I know what called me to Susan tonight.

Blood or not, Susan is connected to me. Sold on the day I was born some 126 years later. Woman. Brown. Disconnected. Certainly heavy in heart as she stood on the auction block, sold along with household goods for $515.00.

Susan is my Rachael CODY, my Annie FAVER and my Ailey CODY. Susan is my unknown Katie WILLIAMS, named as Mother to my Kate DORSEY on her 1933 death certificate. I have MANY Susan’s.

May the Universe have mercy on Susan, her descendants and all the descended daughters seeking answers [and solace] tonight.


[Details: 1840 Slave Receipt, One Negro Woman Named Susan. This document is interesting on two points: (1) The listing of a human with household furniture for sale; (2) The “half cent” of the purchase price on the furniture, which really does total to the sum listed! Here’s the transcription: “A bill of the sale of property belonging to the estate of Celia Compton. Sold the 7th day of July, 1840. By Charles F. Compton, administrator on a credit until the first day of October 1840……………Wm. Wooten purchased 1 negro woman named Susan $515.00; Wm. Wooten purchased 1 table & 1 trunk $2.871/2, Wm. Wooten purchased 1 table $2.621/2; Carney W. Brock 1 bed & mattress $25.00; (total) $545.50.]