I have researched my Maternal and Paternal lines of my Ancestry back to 1870.

Sometime we as African American Researchers can get stuck at this point because prior to 1870 our Ancestors was considered property.

I refused to be stuck and pressed on in pursuit of a Slaveowner for my Nola Ancestors.

I previously did a post asking was the “Hodges” my Ancestor’s Slaveowner. I assumed this to be so because I was going on the theory that they were considering they were the nearest White Family living next to my Ancestors on the 1870 census.

Keeping that theory in my head I recently made contact with an “Hodges” Descendant that shared some very interesting information and took my Research in a totally different direction that leads to more questions.

According to the information that I recieved in the early 1840’s John and David Hamiter and several other families(including  Matthew Hodges and family which I am a descsendant from) moved to Louisiana. Altogether there were 30 Whites and about 200 Slaves. They departed Haynesville, Houston County, Georgia and arrived in Minden, LA on Christmas Day(the year is unknown).

By the time the 1850 Bossier Parish, LA 5th Ward Census was taken there were 11 Surnames listed that were from Georgia. They were: Hodges, Hortman, Carter, Codwell, Bryan(my Great Great Grandmother’s Surname), Cross, Lister, King, Boon, Wight, and McKine.

Then there was Edmund William Hodges son of Matthew Hodges that lived in Houston and Randolf Counties in GA. It is written that he invested all his available cash in 60 Slaves and moved with the Slaves, his Family, and Father to Cotton Valley Plantation, 20 miles North of Minden, LA. He arrived there February 1858.

It is written that Edmund William Hodges left Georgia because he was concerned about the potential for Civil War and did not want any part of it

By the time the 1860 Bossier Parish, LA Ward 6 Census was taken(this is the area that turned into Cotton Valley and where my Ancestors were found in 1870) there were 22 Surnames listed that were from Georgia. They were: Schesheir, Stanton, Sandlin, Robers, Dellafield, Mitchel, Lewis, Conutts, Cole, Okley, Hendricks, Martin, Mcdaniel, Jordan, Crownover, Bryan, Smith, Mathewes, Young, Jones, Tarey, and Hodges.

After I reviewed this information here are my questions:

1. What year did my Ancestors move to LA?

2. What are the connections that the Hodges have with my Ancestors or is there a connection?

3. Did all the Surnames from Georgia have Slaves?

4. Is there a listing of the names of the 200 slaves and who has it?

5. The Robers Surnames on the 1860 census is it short for Roberson and Robertson? Are those Ben’s Slaveowners?

6. Should my next step be to Research those GA counties or Bossier Parrish, LA?

7. Are the Bryans my Great Great Grandmother’s Slaveowners and do they have any connections with the Hodges or Robers?

I’m sure there are more questions that I need to list. I will not give up until all my questions are answered.

One thing I know for sure, my Ancestors were among one of the groups that traveled from GA to LA and their Slaveowners are among the Surnames that is listed. I feel that I am on the right track and the Ancestors have guided me this way and I have to go by their guideness. Thanks for Listening.

Source cited: All information obtained in this post about the Hodges was given to me by Ken Hodges Descendant of Edmund William Hodges.  The Surnames were obtained from Ancestry.com 1850 and 1860 Census


  1. luckie says:

    GREAT discovery & post FeFe! Good questions too!

    You’re thinking along the right vein – you MUST identify if there is a HODGES connection, so that you can isolate your search for Ancestor data.

    Along with your questions, I’d want to know:

    1. If the white HODGES/BRYANS intermarried at some point? Could be you’re really from the BRYAN line & via marriage, sell or otherwise, they came to share common property.

    2. Is it the fact the HODGES were close in proximity to your Ancestors in 1870 that makes you believe there’s a connection? Any other indicators that would tie your line to theirs?

    3. I’d check the historical society in Houston County to see if there’s record of the multi-family migration. I’d also check the message boards & family trees of some of the white BRYAN descendants to see if any of those surnames surface — particularly HODGES.

    4. Add the prominent surnames to your post title, so that the engines pick them up easily & other researchers find you via keyword searches.

    5. You’ve been to the Houston County GenWeb site? How did 30 families come together to migrate together? What’s their connection? Church? Family? — that connection will provide more clues.

    I still think the BRYANS are your original family – the question, is what’s their connection to the other migrated families.

    Good job — this should be fun!:-)


  2. Lori says:

    I also am doing research and I am a descendent of both the Bryans whom I am certain were slave owners and the Hodges whom I have very little info to share. Don’t stop at Webster parish!! Back then, that whole area was known as Bienville parish and my Hodges relatives are as far south as Rapides parish and as far west as Vernon parish (all in the same area but not what is present day Webster parish now). You are welcome to follow my tree at ancestry.com, just give me an email and you can check in from time to time to see if I have any new information that could help your search. Good luck!

  3. Lori says:

    PS Most of my family who settled in the early 1800’s, like the Hodges, were affluent and loyal to Thomas Jefferson. The LA purchase was the new frontier and the promise of hearty land for the taking was a real draw. In my research, I see the move west to escape the Civil War as a common theme for those who settled LA. At the time Texas was neutral and many thought that northern Louisiana (past the Mississippi) was Texas!

  4. Mary says:

    I believe I am descended from the Smith family of this area, they were slave holders and I was searching for any of their descendants. I may also be connected to the Bryans as well.

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