I have been researching my ROBERTSON line for some time now, and when I read this story I thought “This could be one of my ancestors.” I found the story interesting and I hope you do too!!

On October 1, 1871, Nancy ROBERTSON a freed slave, was found dead at her home in South Bossier Point. Mysteriously, the house was locked from the inside. Neighbors could see her lying dead on the bed through a window and called for the parish coroner.

Earlier another freed slave had collapsed while plowing a field, from what white doctors diagnoised as fluid on the brain brought on by the heat of the summer. But fellow freedman were not convinced by the doctors diagnoses and remembered that the summer before this, Nancy had fell out with the man and had made vague threats against his life. The freedmen decided that Nancy had bewitched the man with a curse. The man lingered for a few days and died.

The local coloreds quickly arrested Nancy ROBERTSON and sent for Charles Steele, a freedman and a celebrated witch doctor to have her tested for being a witch.

Charles Steele had gained fame earlier for invoking a “miracle cure” upon another colored women. This women had been sick for months with chronic chills and fell into a general state of poor health. Charles informed her she was bewitched, and that he could cure her. He prepared a nauseous dose that caused her to vomit freely. Afterwards, he held up the vessel in which she had purged and showed her several lizards, toads, crickets, and such therein. He told her that they had caused her sickness, pronounced her cured and she did indeed become well.

While on their way to get the infamous witch doctor they came across a fellow white neighbor who warned them that they may face consequences for taking the law into their own hands. The white neighbor told the freedmen to have a post mortem examination to see if the man was poisoned. When physicians examined the man, they announced that poison had nothing to do with the death (they believed it had been caused by fluid on the brain.)

Apparently the freedmen were not happy with this explanation and still presumed the death to have been caused by Nancy ROBERTSON and her “bewitching.”

When the coroner, with his jury and physician arrived, the mystery of the locked house murder was solved. They broke into the house and quickly deduced that the woman had been shot through a crack in the wall with a shotgun. Indeed several of her neighbors had heard that shot, but had failed to investigate. Three of the pellets penetrated her heart and killed her instantly. An arrest warrant was soon issued for Anthony Williams for the murder of Nancy ROBERTSON.

Although Nancy was murdered, I can not dismiss the fact that she was suspected as being a witch and her last name is ROBERTSON. My research on this family is not complete, but I feel like she is apart of my family and in some way in me. How may times have we just wanted to say to people “Drop Dead” in this case Nancy would say it and it would happen.

It kind of makes since to me since my mom said someone had put a root on my great grandmother Amanda for messing around with married men or a married man, not sure which one. I know someone has the true story and would love to meet the ancestors of the person that put the root on Amanda, and ask why?

I know there are some that don’t believe and are skeptical, but it is always the unknown that gets the most none believers. Thats why we research, to make the unknown known.

(Disclosure: The article is from Bossier Parish History The first 150 years 1843-1993 by Clifton D. Cardin pg. 204-Witch Found Dead in a Locked House. Sources; Buried Treasure; Atlanta Times, (Georgia) February 13, 1872, Sunday Edition, Ray B Fults and Witch; Bossier Banner, October 7, 1871.)

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