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Lee-Findley Generations
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Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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John Findley, born abt 1760

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1810 Virginia Census

Enslaved Coal Miners

Nancy Lee's relationship with Thomas Findley existed before, during and after the Civil War.  We have to assume she loved him and gave her first-born son by him (Thomas Findley Lee) the same name.   

Our original research led us to believe the Thomas Findley of Abington, Virginia who was a lifelong bachelor and served in the Confederate forces was likely Nancy's de-facto husband and father of her children.  Our reasoning was based upon age group and locations of both persons.  We have since concluded, based on Nancy's residences in and around Richmond during and after the Civil War, that her Thomas Findley was more likely of the lineage listed below.

So far as I have been able to determine, the father of my grand-father was never mentioned by name or any other reference in our family conversations and discussions about ancestry other than fact that we had a Irish heritage via way of Grandpa Findley whose father was descended from Ireland.

Regardless of which Findley, we are fascinated about the generations of goodness in America via the Findley lineages in Ireland that apparently emigrated to America throughout the second half of the 18th century.  And, like the Kennedy's who came in a later great migration, it matters that they came for goodness sake.  And, thus we too are part of the great cause.

Perhaps in our selfish sense of reasoning we are compelled to imagine that perhaps there was a "hidden hand effect" for generations in the cause of goodness.  Does it matter to believers?  Without attempting to join reasoning to our inherited faith, we should not have ever attempted to understand our ancestral attitudes and behaviors that dwell within us.  In fact, we would be compelled to simply connect the dots by name and location in a empirical data chart defined by race and ethnic groups that may or may not be believers in the "Living Christ" our ancestors like Nancy believed in.  We do not seek to prove existence of relationships but that of beliefs even before faiths.

               Nancy Lee Banister Watson                                    

It is the kind of southern style tragedy unknown or written about by screen-writers. The complexities of race in America is a very old story about issues of faith, hope and love. Who has it, for who, and when. We do not know why any woman loves any man.                                            

We have determined that this very amazing woman who was born legally free but not freed lived an amazing life in Virginia and apparently did not leave the state to join her twin brother in Ohio until after the death of her defacto common law husband, a white man who had fought for the confederacy that kept women like her in slavery or indentured service.  The story gets even more amazing in that after educating her children in Ohio and encouraging them to marry, which they all did, .... she legally married David Watson (Civil War Veteran) in Ohio who had fought valiantly to end slavery. 

For such women born in the bowels of slavery, ... it was more than a symbol in which to marry but more importantly the Church would be a place where they could indoctrinate and educate their offspring in the body and spirit of HIM who had set them free.  And, all the men like David Watson, who loved them said, "Amen" and labored to be helpful.      

In addition to the institution of chattel slavery, Virginia had many laws for controlling and restricting liberties of Blacks and Mulattoes.  A particular law that affected ex-slaves and other people of color was the one that required annual registration with the courts and sheriff, and approval by the legislature to remain in the state for one year or more.  The approvals were routinely restricted to persons whose employment was indentured to a prominent Virginia family. 

Indentured servants were better treated than persons legally classified as slaves, but their pay, benefits and mobility were very minimal.  The White Lee family members were very numerous in Virginia and expanded westward to own thousands of slaves in states like Texas and others.  Virtually all the lands acquired and wealth accumulated by various Lee family men could not have ever occurred without ownership of slaves. 

Employers such as Robert E. Lee took great comfort in having the benefits of dowry slaves and indentured  servants like Nancy Lee; ... but not being accused of  having slaves in their own name.  Men like Lee did sincerely believe, having been born and raised up in a culture that held people of African heritage in chattel slavery, ... that they were better off being enslaved in America than living free in Africa.  It was always rationalized as Christian caring.

 

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