Enslaved People of the Vance Family

Richard & Aggy's Known Family


Richard (I) (b? - before 1835)

Richard and his wife Aggy were born in Virginia.[1] They most likely accompanied the Vances in their migration into these mountains as two of the three slaves listed in David Sr.'s 1790 census record in this area.[2]

Richard and Aggy seem to be the matriarch and patriarch of the Vance family slaves, being afforded more consideration than others. They had three children whose names we know: Hudson, Ann, and "young" Dick.[3][4] There were most likely several more. One record suggested that they had at least three more sons.[5]

In 1813, Richard was willed to Priscilla Vance by her husband, David Vance, Sr. The will stipulated that Richard not be sold out of the family. Also, upon Priscilla's death, Richard and Aggy along with Jo and Leah were to be given "full liberty to go and live with any of my children where their own children live, not as slaves, but as old acquaintances who have labored and spent their strength to raise my children and their own also".[6] Unfortunately, he did not live to be granted this freedom.[7]

Aggy/Agga/Agnus (b? - 1837)

Aggy was born in Virginia, probably sometime before 1775.[1] She and her husband, Richard, most likely accompanied the Vances in their migration into these mountains as two of the three slaves listed in David Sr.'s 1790 census record in this area.[2]

Aggy appears to have held an unusually high status and level of consideration from the Vance family. When letters were sent to Vance family members who had moved outside the area, Aggy was allowed to send greetings to their slaves.[8] She was "freed" by David Sr.'s will upon Priscilla's death.[6] Priscilla further willed, in 1835, that Aggy's children Hudson and Ann were not to be sold until her death; no mention is made of "young" Dick, who is also believed to be her son.[9] Although David, Jr. apparently intended to sell Ann and Hudson before that, he appears to have abided by his mother's request.[10]

Aggy was one of two early black members of the Reems Creek Presbyterian Church. Her death is recorded in church records by 1837.[11]

Richard (II)/Young Dick Vance (1807 - after 1870)

Richard (II) is believed to be the son of Richard(I) and Aggy and is referred to as "young Dick."[4] This would make him the brother of Hudson and Ann.[3] He was willed to David, Jr. when he was six years old, although both David and young Dick continued to live with their mothers for at least a few more years.[12][13] Dick (II) is not mentioned in the estate sale of David Vance, Jr.[14] He was probably sold before that time, perhaps when David Jr. was financing his move from Reems Creek to Lapland. But, it appears that Dick Vance did not leave the region.[13]

In 1842, Dick Vance married Nancy Weaver Vance, who was born in 1820.[13][15] In 1870, Richard is a farmer living in Reems Creek with his wife and their three children - Elisha, Julia, and Emily. They live next door to Hudson, Hudson's family, and Abe Vance, who may be another freed Vance slave.[13] Interestingly, in 1895, Dick and Nancy will have a grandson named Zebulon B. Vance.[16]

Ann (circa 1815 - d?)

Ann was born around 1815 in North Carolina, most likely in Reems Creek.[17][18] She was the daughter of Richard and Aggy and the sister of Hudson and, probably, of "young" Dick.[3][4] An "Anne" is mentioned in a note from Aggy in the 1830 letter between the Reems Creek Vances and the Bedford County Tennessee relatives; this may be the same person or someone else.[8]

In her will of 1835, Priscilla Vance stipulated that Ann be sold only after Aggy's death so that Aggy might enjoy the company of her children in her old age.[9] This seems generous at first, but David Sr. stipulated that any children born after 1813 to Aggy and Richard or Jo and Leah should be freed when Priscilla died.[6][19]

David Vance, Jr. desired to sell Ann before his mother's will allowed, though it appears that David purchased Ann from his sisters as she is assumed to be the Ann repurchased by Mira Vance in the 1844 estate sale upon the death of her husband.[10][14] No post-war census records or marriage registration has been found for Ann Vance and no further information is known about her.

Hudson/Hutsel (1822 - after 1900)

Hudson was the brother of Ann and "young" Dick and was born in 1822.[3][4][20] According to Priscilla's 1835 will, Hudson and his sister were not to be sold until after the death of his mother, Aggy.[8] However, this is far short of David Sr.'s 1813 request that they be freed upon Priscilla's death.[6][19] It appears Hudson was sold between 1837 and 1844, since he does not appear in the David, Jr. estate sale.[15] However, he did not seem to leave the region. It may have been at this time that he was sold to the nearby Alexander family.[5]

In 1849, Hudson married Elmira/Mira Mills who was born circa 1823.[20][21] He and Elmira were living with Abraham Vance in 1870, believed to be another former Vance slave. They are living next door to Hudson's brother, Richard (II), and his family.[20] In 1877, Hudson used two cows as collateral for a loan to pay a debt to Franklin Dawes and Company. It is unclear where the original debt came from.[22]

When the 1880 census was recorded, Hudson and Mira are living with Harriet Horn, a white woman, and her three mixed race children.[23] Hudson was the father of the youngest two children and had at least two more children with Harriet.[24] By 1900, Hudson was living alone in the French Broad Township at the age of 78.[25] He is likely the Hutsel Vance who, in 1901, married Mamie Berry, a forty-two-year-old widow living in Buncombe County.[26] Hudson died in a cabin fire on December 22, 1909.[27]


Return to top of page

See End Notes

Return to "Enslaved People" home page

Return to the Vance Birthplace home page