We do not exactly when or where the African-American Adkins/Atkins in Virginia first came into existence but we care to speculate by back-tracing known ancestry to potential sources and clues. We owe our clues to the will of Lucy Harrison Adkins whose will indicated the existence of Anaka/Annaka (likely an African born slave), ... and Fannie (likely a daughter born to Anaka/Annaka) and their loan/transfer to her brother William Harrison in western area of Virginia.
It is not certain but would appear that Anaka/Annaka and Fannie may have been party to disputes between the Harrison and Adkins/Atkins families about dowry slaves versus other forms of ownership practiced. The issue is important in our attempts to determine the age and origin of both Anaka/Annaka and Fannie/Fanny in the context of customs of slave owners at the time. For example, was Anaka/Annaka a African-born maid servant to Lucy? If so, was she a childhood playmate or wet-nurse for Lucy? From this we can determine her likely age and that of Fannie/Fanny and the offspring African-American Adkins we know for certain?
We can further speculate that if Anaka/Annaka was a dowry slave of the Harrison family given to Lucy as a wedding gift pursuant marriage to one of the below listed Adkins, ... both Anaka/Annaka and her offspring daughter Fannie would have reverted back to ownership and disposition by Lucy as a Harrison dowry slave after death of her husband, and likely contested in court by her step-son who inherited from his father/her deceased husband. Chattel slavery was an amazing institution often with devout Christians and Jews dressed in their best Sabbath day clothes attending auctions of hapless Africans being bought and sold as slaves for breeding, labor and sex; and, in some cases speculative investments?
White wives, midwives and nursing slaves of slave owners were keenly aware of mulatto slave offspring by masters and sons; and, such was always the biggest items of gossip among plantation wives and daughters, both Black and White.
We are inclined to believe from evidence found that Lucy Harrison, sister of William Harrison, was the widow of either Henry Adkins or his brother William Adkins. And, most likely one of two or more wives in a culture where women often died early to be replaced by second or third wives who outlived their husbands. William apparently lived and died in western Virginia where we know for a fact that many African-American Adkins were enslaved.
A relative question to also ask is whether one of the Adkins brothers or sons fathered Fannie or any or all offspring by she or her mother Anaka? If William below fathered Fannie before he died, she would have been about 15 years of age on or about 1795; and her mother Anaka/Annaka born about year 1765 to have given birth about 1780. Dating back to the Norman conquests of the Celts and Saxons in the British Isles, ... landlords exercised their so-called divine rights of "firsts" with newly blossomed maidens among serfs and presumably slaves. Men all over the world for thousands of years perhaps, ... have more often than not entertained slavery of women for the added benefits of sexual pleasures.
And, slave owners in America had the legal right to do so or even openly retain favorites as their concubines if they chose to do so. God help the slave woman who gave her favors to anyone, Black or White, without the owner's consent and especially so if desired by himself. In one of the more infamous Virginia court cases in the 1850s, ... a 65 year old slave owner was sentenced to 18 years in prison for mercilessly tying up to a tree and beating a young slave girl for three hours to death. The sentence cited by trial judge was not because the owner killed her but rather due to abolitionist publicity which proved embarrassing to southern slave owners.
A not so amazing fact is that Fannie apparently chose to use the surname of Adkins when naming her offspring. Why? Slave owners were controlling and jealous owners of all around them, especially females, animal and human, Black and White, ... and, approved any and all male access to same and their names. The common belief among many historians that slaves and ex-slaves had the liberty to adopt surnames on the basis of owner and former owner names tends to avoid the touchy subject of sexual relationship privileges between enslaved mothers and owner fathers during lifetimes or after death by either.
Property records by the county tax collectors clearly distinguished whether or not a slave above six years was Black or Mulatto but seldom, if ever, names of fathers. Mind you, many enslaved young women were physically attractive and witty enough to seduce or be seduced by Black and White men in contemplating their lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness.
And, few scholars any longer doubt the rationale of women having children to foster benefits for themselves and their offspring even as slaves.
Names are important and we ought to contemplate where they originated and why continued, both by the known and unknown such as likely offspring of the first Fannie who might have given birth to at least two daughters around 1897 and 1800.
Images of two women on left were copied from a depiction of slave women in Williamsburg Virginia during the era of Thomas Jefferson and others in early 18th century. Our point to be made is that many young slave women were also physically attractive to men, ... both Black and White sufficiently enough to pursue sexual relationships.
Keep in mind that Black men and White men did not have the privilege of such access without an owner's expressed permission. Many men tried and some Black men were, sold away, punished or even died at the hands of a jealous owner wishing to keep certain slave women for himself or "bucks" chosen for purposes of breeding more slaves. Even worse, there often erupted vicious fights on the plantations between enslaved young men competing for or claiming the affections of a young slave girl or girls.
Chattel slavery in the very first instance was all about fertile women as breeding stock, ... and from a Messianic Christian perspective, was every bit as bad as imagined relative to the cause of generating better generations of human beings.
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