It has been a SURREAL few days.
On Monday night, deep in the midst of final #DREAMFORWARD preparation I found myself on GOOGLE poking for family slave document leads on Emory University’s President James Edward DICKEY, son of James Madison DICKEY, the Methodist minister who was the second owner of my 4th Grandmother Catie [DICKEY] WINGFIELD-DORSEY.
How I landed on the AJC article referencing Emory’s slave history and research work by Emory Professor Leslie HARRIS, I cannot tell you. However that lead to my emailing Ms. HARRIS, which [per her recommendation] lead to additional outreach to Mark AUSLANDER, author of The Accidental Slaveowner. Which leads to a currently running research email thread on its 12th iteration!:)
On the other side of my Ancestor breadcrumb trail there’s Lisa HENDERSON of Scuffalong: Genealogy (our newest AAGSAR member) who inadvertently connects me to an acquaintance, artist Lynn Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier of Miss Kitty’s Cloak believing our Emory, Oxford, Methodist-church research might somehow be connected.
And guess what? It is! Every person I’ve bumped into over the past two days leads back to the exact same Ancestor — Rose CODY!:)
Rose was the first slave purchased by Michael CODY of Warrenton Georgia and many of the CODY slaves descend from her. Rose summoned me in 2009, and I produced these now archived posts Rose CODY, Born About 1782 and 09.20.09 Rose CODY & Her Descendants.
I connected to Rose long before I confirmed my 4th Aunt Ailey CODY DORSEY and reunited her with Catie. Long before I discovered all my many other CODY Ancestors I knew Rose.
Today, Rose answered back by way of all the folks I just named! From Mark I understand in fall 1864 Rose along with 3 of her children attempted to escape from Dr. Jeptha CODY’s plantation in Oxford, Georgia. Jeptha was older brother to Madison Derell CODY and son of Michael.
Here’s the narrative about my Rose shared by Mark Auslander via SAYING SOMETHING NOW: DOCUMENTARY WORK AND THE VOICES OF THE DEAD:
In any event, the enduring legacies of slavery were on everyone’s mind in early April, when Rob attended a community meeting in the fellowship hall of one of the town’s African American churches, after my students and I came across, in the basement of the County Courthouse, receipts paid to slavecatchers.
One script reads,
Rose and her three children had escaped from a local plantation and run westwards through artillery fire in a futile attempt to reach General Sherman’s Union lines. Several students wanted to exhibit the document in the exhibit we were putting up in the campus library on the cemetery. Yet other students worried that this receipt, raw evidence of slavery and of a woman risking the lives of her children in wartime, was too painful to show in public. What did community members think? After a long silence, Deacon Henry rose to speak,
All my life, I’ve heard white folks saying slavery was just a regular social security system, looking after people cradle to grave, and I never said anything. This woman, Miss Rose, I don’t know who her kin were, she could be lying right out there in the cemetery, all these years. But she said something. She said to her children we are going to be free even if we walk into the mouth of the cannon. Yea, even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Nothing holding us back. She said something.
Miss Alice, of the church mother board, nodded and said, “She saying something now.”
Two weeks later, on opening night in the college library, there was singing and constant conversation, joking and laughing in front of all the family photos and elegant heirlooms local families had lent for the show. But when people got to the corner where the slave catcher’s receipt hung, conversation always stopped, as each person slowly deciphered the old script and pondered the caption. Miss Alice’s husband, James, took off his trademark hat and stood still. Miss Alice squeezed my hand and said quietly, “She saying something now.”
Mark was gracious enough to share a copy of A Dream Deferred: African Americans at Emory and Oxford Colleges 1836-1968.
There on page 27 are the slave catcher’s receipts referencing Rose CODY and her 3 children. There are also receipts for Garrison, and Mary with an unnamed daughter. Given Jeptha is deceased, Madison Derell CODY, identified as M.D. CODY is managing his estate.
I’m going to sit with these receipts and transcriptions awhile. I do not think Rose is finished.
I just wanted to share and document the latest in my efforts to untangle all things CODY and DICKEY.
As Miss Alice and Deacon HENRY said, she’s saying something now.
And I am listening Rose!:)