The estate of John Flowers.

We examined documents related to the people enslaved by Henry Flowers here. A look at the estate records of his father John Flowers, who died in 1806, reveals that several men and women had been held by the family for almost half-a-century.

Dr. John Vick and William Moore were administrators for John Flowers’ estate. As was common, they hired out four men (and rented out two plantations) for the years 1806 and 1807.

On 5 December 1807, a committee prepared a valuation of the twelve African-Americans comprising Flowers’ human chattel. They were Primus ($250), Peter ($450), Abram ($400), Frank ($425), Toney ($300), Jacob ($150), Will ($125), Annis ($5), Nell ($300), Dorcas ($300), Mourning ($200), and Joan ($175).


The same day, the committee divided the enslaved into four lots, and Flowers’ heirs drew for them. The first lot — Primus, Nell, Annis and Will — went to Flowers’ widow, Judith, who had remarried to Edward York. The second lot — Peter and Dorcas — went to Claiborne Mann for his wife Nancy, Flowers’ daughter. The third lot — Abram, Mourning, and Jacob — went to son Edward Flowers. The last — Frank, Toney, and Joan — went to son Henry Flowers.

Nell, Annis, Peter, Abram, Toney, and Frank, and Jacob share names with enslaved people listed in Henry Flowers’ estate. In 1807, Nell was a woman in her prime. She is likely the Nelly who died forty years later during the probate of Henry Flowers’ estate. However, Annis, whose valuation in John’s estate likely indicates old age, appears to be a namesake for the other Annis listed with her children in Henry Flowers’ estate records. Census records indicate that the latter Annis was born between 1810 and 1818. Similarly, Henry Flowers’ Peter was born well after John Flowers’ Peter. There is insufficient evidence about Abram, Toney, and Frank.

John Flowers Estate File (1806), Nash County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line],

Thanks again to Katherine Elks for alerting me to this rich trove of documents.

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