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A while ago, I wrote a diary about Henderson Judd of Moore and Chatham Co, NC.  He lived on the former border between the two counties along the Cape Fear River.

Henderson Judd was a slave owner.  He was also my African-American husband's g-g-grandfather.

A gentleman who had a close relationship with Henderson was Stokes Maddox Judd, a former slave.  Stokes Maddox Judd was not his original name, it was his adopted name.  Before he was a Judd, he was Stokes Maddox.  Before he was Stokes Maddox, he was just Stokes.

This is Stokes Maddox Judd, which I assume was taken between 1900 and 1910

A pretty handsome fella.

Stokes is not my husband's ancestor, but since his children, grandchildren and g-grandchildren married into my husband's Judd family line, more than a few Judd family members are descendants of both Henderson and Stokes.

The descendants say Stokes was half black, half Cherokee, which I don't doubt, judging from that photo.  The family says that just before he became a Judd, Stokes was a slave belonging to James Maddox, who lived on the northern banks of the Cape Fear River.  Maddox was said to have an evil temper and for some reason beat Stokes badly.  Stokes was said to have swum across the Cape Fear to escape and found a group of individuals living on the other side who was of his liking.  These people were the Judds, headed by slaveholder Henderson Judd.  Stokes asked Henderson if he could stay with them, and he said yes.  So Stokes took on the Judd name, and that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. was a little more complicated than that.  But good information with which to start the search.  From what I've gathered from the family, from the internet, from marriage and death records of Stokes and his children, and from records at the State Archives in Raleigh, here's what I've found on ole' Stokes.

As best I can determine, Stokes was born some time around April of 1841. I was told by his g-granddaughter that he was originally from western North Carolina, which would make sense if he was half Cherokee.   From the time he joined the Henderson Judd group, he remained on the land next to the Cape Fear River for the rest of his life.  I found Stokes in the census rolls from 1880 to 1930, living in the Cape Fear Township of Chatham Co.  I don't know what happened to him in 1870, but he was either missed by the census-taker or hadn't made it to the Judd land yet.

Stokes was married twice, first to Adeline Douglass with whom he had at least 5 children (there was likely 1 or two more who didn't survive, judging from the date gaps between known children), and married again to Nettie Lawrence with whom he had 12.  Kids 9, 10 and 11 were triplets.  Stokes also had at least one child out of wedlock.  I figure he had around 20 children total.

He was apparently pretty busy guy.

In January 1871, Stokes was one of the former slaves attacked by the KKK that I reference in my earlier diary. When the ‎United States Congress Joint Select Committee on the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States met in 1871, the Deputy Marshall Joseph G Hester testified that Stokes was assaulted at his home, whipped by "men going in disguise on public highways" ... the Klan.

Stokes did not take the attack lying down.  The next day, he and the others who were attacked that night went to Raleigh and filed complaints with Deputy Marshall Hester, who arrested the Klan members responsible.  The Klan visited Stokes again a few nights later, but this time Stokes was able to run off into the woods.

The records show Stokes made the trip to Raleigh a number of times afterwards to testify against his attackers, even after his friend Henderson Judd was killed by the Klan.

The Klan members were eventually convicted, though I find no record of the sentences.  From that point, Klan activity dissipated in the area - at least for a little while, though later came roaring back.

Stokes eventually accumulated enough money to purchase a bit of the land that had once been owned by Henderson Judd (today, my husband and I own a percentage of it, too).  This is where Stokes built his home, raised his crops, and also raised his rather substantial family.

Stokes died on July 30, 1933, at the ripe old age of 92.  His death was noted in newspapers as far away as Tennessee.  Stokes had apparently achieve a measure of fame ... for fathering triplets the old fashioned way ... at the age of 70.

While I was researching my husband's Judd family line at the NC State Archives in Raleigh, I came across something very curious about Stokes.  In 1929, Stokes completed and was granted a pension as a Confederate veteran.

A Confederate Pension granted to a former slave? How curious.

According to the application, Stokes signed up (or was signed up) in Wilmington, NC.  The application states:  "Company Wheeler Calvary leaves Dore(?) at Wilmington NC April 1864 to leave with the armies of the late Confederate States.  Received no wounds.  Was enlisted for a term as a body guard for Capt Davis for about 3 months of war and then went to work at salt works in Virginia hauling salt through rail and snow, and was discharged at Avents Ferry, Moore Co, NC after Sherman's Army came through the South."

This explains how Stokes ended up in the Judd land area from his origin in Western NC, as Avents Ferry crossed the Cape Fear River nearby.  Sherman's army came through Cape Fear area in March 1865, meaning that when Stokes was discharged there and went to work for the Maddox family (and assumed the name Stokes Maddox), he was no longer a slave.  Therefore, since Stokes went to work for Henderson a short time later, that would mean he was never a slave of Henderson's, contrary to the family lore.  It also explains how Stokes was able to stay with the Judds without fear of being returned to James Maddox as a runaway.

The pension application says Stokes was enlisted as a body guard, otherwise known as a body servant as in this photo (note this is not Stokes)


Information I've found on body servants:

The first year  of the Civil War saw large numbers of black body servants accompanying their masters to Confederate military camps. Both officers and enlisted men from slaveholding families took slaves with them when they marched off to war
Typical responsibilities included cooking, washing clothes, and cleaning quarters. The servants of cavalrymen would also be required to help take care of the horses. ... Many body servants became very adept at foraging, the practice of procuring food from civilian areas surrounding a camp, and they were often used as couriers between the camp and home
Body servants also accompanied their masters to the fight, sometimes bringing in fresh horses and additional ammunition to their masters, but they mostly remained in the rear and didn't participate.

But as the War progressed, fewer body servants were brought from the home plantation to the battle.  Many body servants were assigned to unrelated officers.

... most people are not even aware that tens of thousands of slaves were impressed during the war. It's a measure of where we are in terms of our popular understanding of how African Americans experienced the war. What is important to keep in mind, however, is that there is no difference between the legal status of body servants and those who were impressed. They were all legally owned.

Impressed slaves were not attached to individual Confederate officers.

So was Capt Davis the original slave owner of Stokes?  If so, then in order to find more information on the early life of Stokes, I'd have to find out just who this Capt Davis was and try to research his family for clues about their slaves.  To date, this Capt Davis is still a mystery.

Or was Stokes an impressed slaved assigned to Capt Davis.  And how in the world did Stokes end up in the Virginia salt works?  Was Capt Davis killed?

Information on the Virginia salt works in Saltville

Saltville was extremely important to the Confederacy during the Civil War.  Since salt was the primary method of preserving food and Saltville was the South's only significant source of salt, the Confederacy wanted to hold Saltville and the Union wanted to capture it.

Two Civil War battles were fought in Saltville -- the first was fought on October 2, 1864 and resulted in the defeat a Union army of 5,200 men.  The second battle on December 20, 1864, resulted in the destruction of the Saltworks by the Union army.

This is a link to more information on the battles at Saltville.  It seems there were 600 African-American members of the Union Army's U.S. Colored Cavalry who participated in the October battle.  The Union Army was defeated.   Instead of being taken as prisoners, every black Union soldier that the confederates could get their hands on was systematically hunted down and slaughtered.

Seems poor Stokes was there in the middle of the battles again.  It's a wonder Stokes survived to age 92, considering all he had been through.

In 1929, Stokes application was approved.  I'm assuming that the board that approved the pension had some kind of records that verified the information on the application.  So where would those enlistment records from April 1864 Wilmington be?

After Stokes' death, his widow Nettie applied for a widow's pension.  She was denied.  The reason cited ... there was nothing in the legislation that provided for pensions for the widows of colored veterans.  Ridiculous.  There were state pension officials who were sympathetic to her situation and urged for further consideration based on the fact that Nettie was old, poor and had a lame foot.  Denied again.

Interestingly, special legislation was introduced and passed in the NC State House of Representatives that would give Nettie her widow's pension, but once it arrive at the NC State Senate, it never made it out.  Nettie had to go without.

I'm absolutely fascinated with Stokes, and I'd love to find out more about him and his origin, but for now, this is where I'm stuck.  I've gone through records at looking for information on Stokes and Capt Davis, but have so far come up empty.

Is anyone familiar with Civil War Records who could give me some suggestions?

Anyway ... It's Friday and the floor is open (happy, happy, joy, joy!).

Originally posted to Genealogy and Family History Community on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Community Spotlight.

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