Name Changes of Newly Freed-persons
From doing genealogy research on Coastal Georgia
families, I have found that some families changed their names after
the Civil War (usually about 10-20 years later). No record has
been found in the courthouse of a legal name change in most
instances; however, the change can be found in census and family
records. It isn't known why the change happened decades later,
but I like to assume that it took this long to decide on the perfect
name and usually a name that had no identity or connection to
slavery or slave owners in the community.
The common knowledge
among many researchers is that newly freed persons took or was given
the name of their former masters; however, this isn't necessarily
always the rule. Before the Civil War slaves were known by
their given name and the last name of their owner so that it was
known where they lived or to whom they belonged. So, Peter
Nicolau was Mr. Nicolau's man Peter and after
freedom came Peter was still known as Peter Nicolau
and not because he was given this name or chose this name, but
because he was known as Nicolau's man and may not have
decided on his own family name yet; the government had to call him
something. Having a surname was a new concept so many people
did not adopt surnames until years later; after freedom was
obtained. By 1900, Peter's family became the Mack
Entries are listed below by the first known surname and then
second known surname. Dates in parentheses are the birth and
death dates. Most of the information was gathered from
following public records and personal family histories.
The term "married" is used loosely here. In many instances
no legal record of marriage was found yet a couple were living
together as husband and wife. The marriage could have happened
in a different county/state or the persons were not aware that they
had to file a license to marry (after all, they never had to do this
before the War).
abt. = about
bef. = before
d/o = daughter of
m. = married
s/o = son of
unk. = unknown
BECKET / FLYNN
Becket (1835 / bef. 1900) in 1870 census he has the surname BECKET
then in 1880 he is known as FLYNN and this is the name that his
descendants continued to use. It is believed that he may have had a
brother or other relative named Sam Becket-McClure.
wife was Nancy (1836 / bef. 1920) and together they had at least 9
children: Ida Becket-Flynn Lane (1863 / unk. m. Isaack Lane);
Tena Becket-Flynn (1866 / bef. 1930 m. William Carroll); Dolly
Becket-Flynn (1868 / unk.); July Becket-Flynn, Jr. (1870 / 1959 m.
1st Hettie Ann Hippard 2nd Martha); Moses Becket-Flynn
(1872 / unk.); Henry Becket-Flynn (02- - 1874 / unk.); Queen
Becket-Flynn Watson (1876 / unk. m. Joe Watson); Maggie
Becket-Flynn (1879 / unk.); and Rosa Becket-Flynn (10- - 1878 / unk.
had children with unknown spouse). July Flynn, Jr.'s wife may have
been a cousin; she was the daughter of Columbus Hippard & Peggy
possible that July was a slave on the Scarlett family properties
in what is now Brookman Community, Glynn County.
BECKET / McCLURE
Becket (1839 / bef. 1900) shows up in the 1870 census with the
surname of BECKET then after 1880 the name is changed to McCLURE
by his children and is continued to be used by the descendants. It is believed he may have had a
brother or other relative named July Becket-Flynn.
was married to a woman named Patience Parland on 1 February 1872
(d/o Henry & Diana Parland) who may have died by 1879; they had
one son named January who was born about 1878 (no further record was
found on him). On 18 October 1879 he married the widow Peggy Jenkins
(it is unknown if this is her maiden name). She was previously married to
a man named Columbus Hippard who had served in the U.S. Navy during the
Civil War. She had twin children by Columbus before he either died
or moved away: Andrew H. Hippard (01- - 1873 / 02-18-1961 m. 1st
Augusta Blue 2nd. Theresa Blue) . Sam and
Peggy had two children together: Winsor McClure (12-05-1879
/ 02-06-1928 m. Debora Wright) and Rebecca (McClure) Henderson
(03- - 1884 / 09-27-1965 m. John Henderson her step-brother).
longer appears in census records after 1880 so he may have died sometime between
1880-1900. Peggy went on to marry one more time to widower Jacob
Henderson sometime before 1909 (Jacob's son John married
Peggy and Sam McClure's daughter Rebecca). It is
believed that Sam Becket-McClure was a former slave of the Scarlett
family and may have lived and worked at Oak Grove Plantation. According to
her death certificate, Peggy Jenkins Hippard McClure Henderson died 24
July 1938 and was buried at Oak Grove the next day.
Although not confirmed, it is likely
that Peggy could have been a slave on the Dover Hall Plantation that was
originally owned by Thomas Dover and inherited by his nephew William
Dover Jenkins. This was a "neighboring" property to the Scarlett
holdings connected by the Turtle River. Peggy may have taken her
owner's name, or she may have been his child. W.D. Jenkins had a
family with one of his slaves and at the time of his death he had sent them
north to live as free-persons of color.
NICOLAU / MACK
Nicolau (1835 / unk.) was listed in the 1870 and 1880 census as Peter
Nickelo and Peter Nicolass; by 1900 his children all took the surname
Mack. Peter was likely a slave on Marengo Plantation owned
by the Nicolau family located in northwest Glynn County.
wife was Mary (1842 / unk.) and together they had at least 9 children:
James Mack (04- - 1865 / bef. 1930 m. Annie); William Mack
(08- -1866 / unk. m. Emma Davis); Olive Mack (1869 / unk.);
Paul Mack (1875 / unk. m. Mary Emma Dunham); Polly Mack (1875
/ unk.); Timmons Mack (02- -1878 / unk. m. Emma Parland);
Doctor Mack (04- -1880 / unk.); George V. Mack (04- -1881 / unk. m.
Mary Higginbotham); Jane M. Mack (04- -1883 / unk.); and Sylvia
Mack Bailey (04- -1891 / unk. m. Ross Bailey).