Friday, May 8, 2009

Charity Rounds & Family Discovered!

I have great news! I've recieved my copies of the Ellis-Farar Papers slave inventories from their plantations: Presleigh, Ormond and Beverly (Laurel Hill). After reviewing all of the documents regarding the enslaved Africans at the plantations owned by the Ellis and Farar family descendants, I believe that I have discovered my great-great-great grandmother Charity Rounds and her immediate family listed together having a value of $1700.

They are listed as follows:
Chisolm, MaryAnne, Margaret, Hannah and Charity.

They appear on multiple slave inventory records belonging to the Ellis-Farar children, which leads me to believe that they are a family. I was also able to find a Charles on the records, which could be my great-great-great grandfather. He is listed alone on multiple inventory records. Census records from 1870 and 1880 show that he was born in Virginia, which could indicate that he was purchased by the Farar's and had no family in Mississippi other than his wife and children. Which could explain why he took the surname Rounds and not Mercer or Farar.

I was advised by seasoned genealogical researchers to find out as much as I could about the slaveholding families, which I did to a degree because it helped me locate my ancestors. However, its not about the enslavers its about my ancestors. So in that vein, below is a short biography from LSU's special collection.

The Ellis-Farar families owned plantations in Adams County, MS, Pointe Coupee and Houma, LA. Biographical information on the Ellis-Farar families from Lousiana State University Hill Memorial Library Special collections.

The Ellis and Farar families were early settlers and major landowners in Mississippi and Louisiana. Richard Ellis owned White Cliffs, Homochitto, and Laurel Hill plantations in Adams County, near Natchez, Miss. Upon his death, these plantations and the property associated with them were inherited by Ellis’ children John, Abram, Jane, Mary, and Martha. Dr. Benjamin Farar (1773-1826) was an early settler of Pointe Coupee Parish, La. and also owned lands in Adams, Miss. He had three children: Captain Benjamin, Ann Frances, and Margaret Madeline.

Mary Ellis married Capt. Benjamin Farar and moved to Laurel Hill Plantation. She inherited the land from her father and they became successful planters. Their daughter, Ann Eliza married Dr. William Newton Mercer (1792-1874) and inherited Laurel Hill. Abram Ellis and his family (daughters Margaret and Ann, son Richard G.) resided at Homochitto Plantation and later moved to Evergreen Plantation in Houma, La. Margaret Ellis married Dr. Stephen Duncan (1787-1867) and Ann Ellis married Thomas Butler (1785-1847) who owned The Cottage near St. Francisville, La. Richard G. Ellis attended Cumberland College and married Julia Saul. He later owned Evergreen, which was passed down to his son, Richard G. Ellis, Jr. Jane Ellis married Major George Rapalje and lived in Natchez, Miss. They later moved to Laurel Hill Plantation and Jane Ellis Rapalje took on a major role in its management.


Dorsey said...


Family Griot said...

Thank you! The ancestors are just waiting to be found! Still waiting on that DNA test. It seems just as long as waiting for my children to be born! lol Only a few more weeks left, hopefully!

Iris Rounds Johnson said...

This is such wonderful information! I've been conducting my own genealogical research for about 25 years now and found a lot of the information posted but seeing it in print with pictures is great. I have a copy of Charles Rounds' original Will that contained a lot of good information about the real estate and land he owned.

My great, great, great grandfather was Andrew Rounds. Goliah was his brother. Looking at Goliah's picture, you can see he was a sharp brotha -- a man of distinction.

I grew up visiting Glen Aubin as a child when Cousin Adelle Rounds lived there. One day while playing out there, my sisters and I found a lot of small glass medicine bottles under the front porch -- I don't have a clue where they are but those bottles piqued my interest in collecting antiques and vintage items, I think. Those medicine bottles may have been castoffs from Dr. William Newton Mercer's practice as a surgeon.

There are also two cabins to the west side of the big house (used to be slave quarters, I believe). They are probably still there -- they had a fence in front of those houses that had the most beautiful red rambling roses on it!

At the big house, the back porch was screened in and had a cistern right out back of it. It was always so cool back there. The back yard was lined with large, old oak trees with hanging moss -- man, if trees could talk! Inside the house, there was a spiral staircase that led upstairs to the bedrooms. I remember the cemetery out front and to the left side of the house and there used to be a small pond right adjacent to that but it has since dried up and disappeared.

Oh, how I wish Cousin Rosie had not sold that house and property. We really wanted to keep it in the family and use it as a retreat for family to gather during holidays, family reunion, funeral and other familial events. Maybe one day . . . .

Iris Rounds Johnson

Anonymous said...


i was talking with a relative tonight about the laurel hill plantation - she lived there at one time - i was at the plantation last week

my relative said she had the ledger of the slaves at laurel hill, and donated it to the black museum in natchez - i plan to visit the museum soon to look at the ledger - if there is something or someone of interest to you, i will be happy to look for you

there are papers from the ellis/farar/mercer/butler families at ole miss, tulane and lsu - but the actual documents are not online - my relative got the ledger after the plantation house burned - she knows the current owner quite well and the donation to the museum was his idea

i will check back to see if there are names of interest to you that i can look for

Anonymous said...

Family Re-Onions!

Count me in for squash cassarole, cornbread & a rhubarb pie. I have many "Southern" cookbooks, not many people know that these are valuable genealogy tools. Church cookbooks too.

Love this blog and history of the Griot Family. I only have the book "The Unhurried Years" by Peirce Butler, and it mentions Laurel Hill people and letters sent by by Mr. Butler's mother to her relatives, mentions journal entries where a bit of black history might be gleaned.
Mostly first names, but a few last names. Anyone interested, please let me know before I put the book in storage (yet again). It might also be online, I haven't checked lately.

Happy to know the plantation ledger was saved by your relative! What treasures they are, and blessings to the current Laurel Hill owner.

Also interested in the actual letters/papers/etc. at Ole Miss/Tulane/LSU. If anyone gets to go diggin', please keep us in mind, to collaborate or unfabricate.
I will try to check back in soon too! Especially if can go there.

I have not been to Natchez to do research, only brief "house tours" on the way through with (uninterested) family members and fussy little toddlers in tow.

Ellis/Farar/Mercer/Butler online information is sparse. If anyone else is as eager as I to know more, I'll be glad to share what I have if I may.

There is also fairly good info (though sometimes NOT reliable) at Find A Grave online. Church music, old programs, sheet music, songs and orally passed down ballads interest me too.

Please keep posting.

Yours in shaking the roots, branches, acorns, moss of the ancient oaks, for their memory which lives now in all of us.