Wednesday, May 4, 2011


 On November 10, 1838 64 slaves were sold by Rev.Thomas Mulledy of Georgetown, District of Columbia to Jesse Batey of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Among those slaves were my great-great-great grandparents, Nace, 50 years old and Biby Butler, 45 years and their children: infant, 1/12 years; Caroline,16 years; Basil, 14 years; Martha Anne , 12 years; Ann, 10 years; Gabe, 9 years; Biby, 8 years; Henry, 7 years; Tom, 5 years: Mary, 3 years. 

The Butler family were on St. Inigoes Plantation in St. Mary's County, Maryland and transported to Louisiana on Ship # 2.  Nace, Jr. ran away and did not board the ship.

We are a big Louisiana family of Roman Catholics. My paternal and maternal grandfathers were Catholic men married to Baptist women. Interfaith marriages where one spouse is Catholic, in accordance with Church doctrine, all of the children must be baptized Catholics. So everybody in my family began life as a Catholic and many members are still practicing Catholics. We attended Catholic schools and made our First Communions and Confirmations. In all of the years of our Catholic education, including cathecism and history classes, no one ever mentioned that Catholic priests were big time slaveholders. To say that our entire family was appalled to discover that our ancestors were enslaved by Jesuits of Maryland, would be an understatement.

The Butlers were discovered as we prepared family history presentations for the Hicks/Estes Family Reunion in 2004. My aunt, Dr. Onita Estes Hicks, and I co-chaired the reunion planning committee. Given the shortage of information and time, Judy Riffel, a professional genealogist, was hired to assist me in my research.

On March 19, 2004, I mailed ten documents to Ms. Riffel for examination. A notation of the birthplace of my maternal great-grandmother, Rachel Scott Hicks, on the 1910 U.S. Census schedule, led to the discovery of her mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles and their last slave owner. When Ms. Riffel noticed that Rachel's parents were from Maryland on the census, she decided to research the records of Jesse Batey of Terrebonne Parish who owned a plantation in Bayou Maringouin. She knew from prior research that in 1838 Batey had purchased a large number of slaves from Maryland.

The late Dr. Jesse Batey's inventory is dated 5 March 1851. Rachel is not listed in the inventory, but her mother and her mother's relatives are found among the slaves. The 1851 inventory lists the family as follows: 1. Nace Butler, negro man, aged sixty-five years appraised at three hundred dollars
2. Bebe, his wife, negro woman, aged about sixty, appraised at three hundred dollars
3. Martha, a negro woman, daughter of Babe(sic), aged twenty-two and her two children, Bridget, aged five years and Emeline, aged two years, appraised at twelve hundred dollars
4. Babe(sic), negro woman aged, twenty, appraised at twelve hundred dollars
5. Gave(sic), negro boy, aged eighteen years, appraised at eight hundred dollars
6. Henry, negro boy, aged seventeen years, appraised at eight hundred dollars
7. Tom, negro boy, aged sixteen years, appraised at eight hundred dollars
8. Mary, negro girl, aged 15 years, appraised at seven hundred dollars
9. John, negro boy, aged fourteen years, appraised at seven hundred dollars

Acknowledgements: Ms. Judy Riffel, Dr. Onita Estes-Hicks
For more information , Google Jesuit Plantation Project

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