Tag Archives: ohio

Toledo’s First Black Doctor – Dr. James FIELDS

After reviewing the 1860 Census for the black and colored population, I made an edit to that post for additional suburban communities of Lucas County due to not including them with my initial transcriptions. One family included in the additional citizens lived in Maumee, Ohio at the time and was the FIELDS family.

In 1860 the FIELDS family was headed by James FIELDS. James FIELDS was listed as a “Doctor” on the census, which was interesting considering the nature of his stated employment. He would be the first known black American doctor working in the Toledo area if the entry was correct regarding his occupation.

One of my favorite, boring hobbies includes reading old newspapers online. Recently, I was VERY excited to find an obituary of James FIELDS that was published in a newspaper called The Elevator out of San Francisco, California. This publication was a “negro” publication, meaning it was a black owned and published newspaper in the 19th century. These early negro publications were the infancy of what is now called “the black press.” They focused on major issues of the day and were primarily written by black journalist and funded by black advertisers and subscribers. Unfortunately, Toledo itself did not get a black owned newspaper until the mid-1900s but due to the size of the city, residents of Toledo, including former residents of the city were mentioned in various black newspapers of the 19th century.

The obituary of Dr. FIELDS was published on June 12, 1868 and an image of the obit is included in this blog post. A transcription, which provides wonderful insights about Dr. FIELDS’ life is below. The obituary was written by one of the journalist on staff of The Elevator and provided many interesting details about the personality and life accomplishment of Dr. FIELDS. Unfortunately, I could not ascertain who wrote the obituary, but if I discover the author, I will edit the post with his name.  UPDATE:  I quickly found out who wrote the obituary and published newspaper The Elevator – he is one of the founders of the black press – Philip Alexander Bell

As someone who loves to read about black American history, I was especially pleased in reviewing this obituary and thought it was something others may enjoy. Dr. FIELDS as is mentioned in the obituary also was disabled due to having had a leg amputated as a child, so he would probably be the first black and first disabled doctor to have practiced in our area. He also was a writer, a member of various organizations and he attended the Free African School in New York, City, one of the few places in the early 19th century that black children and teens were able to receive a high quality education in NYC. It was an organization founded by white benefactors, including Founding Father – Alexander Hamilton. The Free African Schools were later absorbed in the NYC public school system for black children. Dr. FIELDS later moved to Adrian, Michigan with his family where the obituary stated he died.

A perusal of records on FamilySearch.org verified that Dr. James Fields died in May of 1868 and was a resident of Adrian, Lenawee County at the time.  Prior to moving to Maumee, Ohio in the 1850s, he was enumerate on the 1850 US Census living in New York City, Ward 1 with his wife and son.

Of interest personally is the fact that there were other FIELDS families in Toledo around the time that Dr. FIELDS moved to the area.  It is unknown whether or not Dr. FIELDS is related to these other families, one of which included George FIELDS mentioned in a previous post as being Toledo’s first professional black photographer.

One of his former associates, mentioned in the obituary Dr. James McCune Smith was the first black doctor to run a pharmacy in America and was a staunch abolitionist and heavily active in working to obtain the rights afforded to black Americans in this country.  He founded the first national, longstanding civil rights organization for black Americans called the National Council of Colored People in 1852.  It can be assumed based on the alumni of the class of Dr. FIELDS that FIELDS  was also involved in the abolitionist movement and early Civil Rights Movement of the late 19th century following the Civil War.  His classmate Dr. James McCune Smith was also the physician at the Colored Orphans Asylum in 1863 during the height of the Civil War and when the New York City Draft Riots occurred (as is alluded to in the film “Gangs of New York”).  In this riot, hundreds of free New York City black citizens were attacked, including the orphanage for black children, which was burned to the ground.


By a paper received from Mr. John A. Fields, of Adrian, Michigan, we learned with sorrow the mournful intelligence of the death of his father, Dr. James Fields, who died on the 6th of May ultimo.

Dr. Fields was one of our oldest and dearest friends. He was born in the city of New York, September 20, 1805, where he resided until about fifteen years ago, when he removed to Toledo, Ohio and from thence to Adrian. When about twelve or fourteen years of age he had the misfortune to lose a leg. It was caused by the maltreatment of a physician, who mistook a simple bruise for an ulcer, and by his injudicious treatment it ultimately into a white swelling, and when too late more competent medical advice was consulted and amputation was necessary to save his life.

Being thus maimed and incapacitated for arduous avocations, he became studious, and having acquired all the education then imparted in the New York African Free School (where the writer hereof was a fellow classmate), he sought private tuition, and finally became a thorough English scholar, and also acquired considerable knowledge of the classics.

In 1830 he was one of the founders of the Philomathean Literary Society. We were seven. After a lapse of forty years, four of us survive – Rev. John Peterson, Ransom F. Wake, of New York, Robert Banks, now of St. Paul’s, Minnesota and ourself. We have had to chronicle the deaths of three of our early associates in that institution – Dr. David Ruggles, Wm. L. Jeffers, and now James Fields. Of the others who became immediately connected with us, Dr. James McCune Smith, Rev. Isaiah G. Degrasse and Henry Nott are numbered with the dead. Robert McDougall and Theodore C.B. Vidall still survive.

At the time of the assassination of Elijah P. Lovejoy at Alton, Ill, in November, 1837, James Fields pledged himself that he would never drink ardent spirits until slavery was abolished in America, and we believe he religiously kept his promise.

In 1842-3, in connection with Messrs. Peter Ogden, T.C. B., and U. B. Vidal, G. T. Downing, Henry Smith and a few others, he established the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, for which a charter was obtained from England, the Independent Order of America having refused to admit colored members, or grant a charter for opening a separate Lodge. The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows is now a flourishing institution, numbering perhaps twenty Lodges. In 1846 he went to Bermuda, W. I., and organized two Lodges of the Order on that island.

James Fields was a Calvinistic Presbyterian, a member and for many years clerk of Shiloh Church, of which Rev. Theodore S. Wright was pastor. He was a fine writer and a deep philosophical thinker. He contributed frequently to the Colored American, and the essays of “Uncle Ben” were always welcome to our columns.

He was always devoted to the study of medicine, and before leaving New York he became quite proficient in the Botanical practice. Believing he could find a larger field and a wider scope for the exercise of his talents, he emigrated to Ohio, where he was very successful and became favorably known as the Indian Doctor.

Thus has gone to his long and silent home one whom we have known and loved for more than half a century. For over two-thirds of that long period we were almost daily companions. Since our separation we have maintained friendly correspondence, not frequent, but always loving and affectionate. He has lived to a good old age – long beyond our expectations. He was for many years afflicted with a disease of the heart, which at last terminated his existence. Far away in the boundless prairies of the Peninsula State, my heart is in the coffin with my friend.

Copy of original obituary:

James Fields Obituary file


African American Newspapers (accessed via home with library card from TLCPL number and pin on 1/18/17) database – Elevator, published as The Elevator (San Francisco, California)06-12-1868Page [2]

New York, 1850 federal census, Household of James Fields via FamilySearch.org

Find A Grave Memorial – grave of James Fields via FamilySearch.org

Michigan Deaths 1867-1897 via FamilySearch.org (line number 32)

Wikipedia – James McCune Smith (see link above)

University of Chicago Press – The New York City Draft Riots of 1863 (see link above)

Alton, Illinois in the Civil War – Biography of Elijah  P Lovejoy (see link above) NOTE:  Elijah P Lovejoy was a white abolitionist who was attacked by a pro-slavery mob and killed based on his work to help free the slaves in the USA

NOTE many of the individuals mentioned in the obituary were well known black abolitionists and if readers are interested information should be queried about them as many of them have amazing life stories!

Death Records for Genealogy Research – What you might not be looking at! (Part 1)

Over the course of 2016 I’ve gained a lot of distant family members to my family tree. Some I have been blessed to have reached out to me via various social media sites, others have sent me emails and I’ve even called some distant relatives who I never knew I had until really expanding my family tree.

Many of these individuals and various unnamed connections were made via the use of death records which can include death registers, death certificates (there is a difference!), obituaries, and funeral home records.

A very important tip in regards to perusing death records, especially registers and death certificates is to always look at the original document. We are very fortunate to be genealogical researchers in the digital age whereas we can type in a query into a search engine and our ancestors information pops up, but only looking at the transcribed information shown to you at Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org or any other genealogical website you may use, means you are overlooking important clues that can add additional value and branches to your family tree.

Death registers – basically a list of everyone who died, their age, cause of death and sometimes their address and where they were buried, were kept by the City of Toledo and Lucas County starting in the 1840s. There are few records between 1840 and 1860 but from the 1860s forward there are quite a lot of entries. I am currently working on transcribing the death records of all black/colored individuals who died in the City of Toledo from 1860 through 1880 and I may go a bit further if time warrants. Below is a sample of one of my ancestors whose information I discovered via the Death Register of the City of Toledo. It is the death record of Elias Whitfield, one of my first documented early Toledo ancestors. Elias died in 1897 at the age of 35 and was the husband of Martha/Mattie JONES and the father of Harold Elias WHITFIELD. If I had only looked at the transcribed version of the death register record, only the following information shows up:

Name                                           Elias Whitford
Event Type                                Death
Event Date                                 25 Nov 1897
Event Place                               Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, United States
Gender                                         Male
Age                                                 35
Marital Status                           Married
Race                                             C
Race (Original)                         C
Occupation                               Drayman
Birth Year (Estimated)          1862
Birthplace                                  U.S.
Cemetery                                   Forest
Father’s Birthplace                 US
Mother’s Birthplace               US

Please the first line of the attached picture below and note that WHITFORD is a variant spelling of WHITFIELD. Many times surnames and even given names were mis-spelled or incorrectly written by record keepers. Everything else I knew about Elias WHITFIELD matches with this death certificate since I had other sources about his life. He was born approximately 1862-1863. He was black/”colored” as mentioned in the record. He was married and he died in Toledo in the 1890s. This transcription provides a lot of information that is useful for a family tree.
Here is the original version of the death record:

As you can see, the original version gives a bit more information. It also states that he was 35 when he died. It shows the address where he died, which was 1611 Canton Avenue in Toledo. I could assume this was his home address. The Canton Avenue district in Toledo near Cherry Street and Bancroft was the location of the largest percentage of the black population in the city at the time. Elias’ cause of death was Phthisis Pulmonalis Congestion of the Lungs, basically Tuberculosis, something that was a huge public heath epidemic from the late 1800s through the 1950s with the invention of antibiotics to combat this illness. He had been sick for 18 months before his death. He had lived in the city for 20 years, so had moved to Toledo in the 1870s. The physician who attended him was named J.A. Wright .

Starting in the 1900s the federal government required all states to issue Certificates of Death for everyone who died in the country. Many states didn’t begin to implement this directive until they were required to do so around 1915. This is the case especially for many southern states who unfortunately didn’t routinely record the deaths of black people. Their lack of doing so can be a road block in black genealogy. In Ohio and Toledo specifically, we are lucky that Toledo kept death records on all citizens who gave a record of death. My earliest ancestor who had an official Death Certificate was Amy BLICK/BLECK JONES the mother-in-law of Elias WHITFIELD. Amy BLICK/BLECK JONES died in 1903. Below is the transcription of her Death Certificate:

Amy Jones
Ohio, County Death Records
Name                                        Amy Jones
Event Type                             Death
Event Date                             01 Sep 1903
Event Place                           Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, United States
Residence Place                 Toledo, Lucas, Ohio
Gender                                   Female
Age                                          abt 60y
Marital Status                    Married
Race                                      black
Race (Original)                 black
Occupation                       house work
Birth Date                                1843
Birthplace                                U. S.
Burial Place                           Toledo, Lucas, Ohio
Cemetery                               Forest
Father’s Birthplace           U.S.
Mother’s Birthplace          U.S.

On the original document below Amy’s cause of death was listed as “endocartitis” and “rheumatism.” It shows her approximate year of birth. Since I am fairly confident that Amy BLICK/BLECK JONES was a slave, it can be assumed that her exact birthdate was unknown, which is why “about 1843” was written on the certificate for her birthday and “about 60” was written as her age. It lists the funeral home that took care of her burial “Wilson and Feese.” The certificate also shows her address of 218 Avondale Avenue, which corresponds to the accumulation of the black population, starting in the late 1800s to about 1930 being centered in what is known as the “Port Lawrence” district of the city near St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and where the current Port Lawrence housing community is situated. Amy also was stated to have lived in the city “about 20 years.” A perusal of City Directories shows her husband and herself as residents of Toledo in in the 1880s.
This early death certificate differs in look from the ones used starting in the 1910s. They are pretty similar from all across the country in regards to the ones I have reviewed from 1915 forward. Below is the Death Certificate of Edna ROBINSON PARROTT. She was a 4th great aunt of mine. Information found within this Death Certificate pointed me toward the genealogy of her mother Nancy JONES. As stated earlier in the JONES/ROBINSON post, I was unaware of Nancy’s maiden name for a number of years due to believing it was BAKER. Details in the original image of the death record allowed me to put some pieces of the JONES/ROBINSON puzzle together.

Name                                             Edna Parrott
Event Type                                  Death
Event Date                                  19 May 1929
Event Place                                Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, United States
Address                                        138 Hamilton St.
Residence Place                      Toledo, Lucas, Ohio
Gender                                         Female
Age                                                48y 6m 14d
Marital Status                          Married
Race                                             Colored
Race (Original)                         Colored
Occupation                               housewife
Birth Date                                  05 Nov 1880
Birthplace                                Toledo, Ohio
Burial Date                              22 May 1929
Cemetery                                Forest
Father’s Name                      Ed. Robinson

Father’s Birthplace             Harrisburg, Pa.
Mother’s Name                    Nancie Jones

Mother’s Birthplace           Greenfield, Ohio
Spouse’s Name                    Bert Parrott

As shown above, this death record provides some great information in the transcribed form. It does show birth her parents, even her mother’s maiden name and the places of birth for both. However a review of the original certificate showed that the “Informant” for the Death Certificate was “Nancy BAKER” meaning Edna’s own mother provided the information so it can be seen as much more factual than other certificates, like Amy BLICK/BLECK JONES’ above, which have a physician or hospital worker as the informant for the data within the document. The document also says that Edna was buried by the WANZO Funeral Home, a black owned funeral home that was later sold and is still in existence today as the Dale-Riggs Funeral Home on Nebraska Ave.

Earlier this year I read a 2011 thesis paper/book written by a PhD student from Bowling Green State University. The research paper was titled “Revelations fron the Dead: Using Funeral Home Records to Help Reconstruct the History of Black Toledo” by Camillia Z. Rodgers. Prior to reading this thesis, I had never considered using funeral home records before for genealogical research and especially never knew that I would be able to get access to long ago funeral home records. In the paper, Dr. Rodgers wrote about the Wanzo Funeral Home. Elvin B. WANZO was a prominent black citizen in Toledo and moved to the area in the early 1900s. A review of my relatives’ death certificates from the early 1900s when Wanzo opened his funeral home through the 1950s when he sold the business showed that Mr. Wanzo buried 3-4 generations of my direct ancestors and distant family members during the time his business was in operation, including Edna ROBINSON PARROTT above.

The records and registers that Mr. Wanzo kept regarding his services, primarily for the African American community in Toledo are currently housed in at BGSU’s library in its special collections department. I have yet to make a visit to BG to view the records but wanted to let readers know that these records may provide additional information on your ancestors and it may be worth a drive to BG if you are in the Toledo area.

The next post on this subject will be about Obituaries, which I feel warrant a separate entry.


Ohio County Death Records 1840-2001 via familysearch.org

Ohio Deaths 1908-1953 via familysearch.org

OhioLINK ETD (see link above for thesis)


1860 Census Free People of Color in Toledo

I’ve been working on getting the data from the 1860 Census uploaded onto the site and it is listed below.  In contrast to the previous census transcriptions posted (1850 Census of Toledo and 1840 Census of Toledo‘s free person of color population) There were 270 individuals listed versus only 37 in 1840 and 121 in 1850.

There were some familiar surnames including FIELDS, DEASE, NICKLOS/NICKLAS, and WILLIAMS that were on previous census records.  Also even one of my own ancestor’s surnames – WHITFIELD.  Unfortunately a man by the name of John WHITFIELD was the only black person in jail when the 1860 census was taken!!  I’ll have to visit the library to see if they have any information on early jails and court records that have indexes to see if there is any information about what happened to him.

Some interesting information found in the 1860 is as follows:


The oldest black resident in Toledo was listed as Essa Brown who stated she was 116 years old!  I don’t know if I believe this but the record stated that she was born in Virginia. She lived in the Harris household, which was headed by Peter Harris and what looks to be his wife Maria.  There was another black resident with the surname BROWN  on the census  – JW BROWN.  He did not live in the same household and I am not certain if they were related.  Perusing the early death records of the City of Toledo showed that a black female child by the name of Minerva BROWN died in 1859 at the age of 12.  It is uncertain if she is related to either JW BROWN or Essa BROWN.


An eight year old black child named William HINDERS(or HINDERSON) was enumerated in the household of Morrison R. WAITE, a prominent Toledo resident and who Waite High School is named after.  WAITE became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1874.

William HINDERS/HINDERSON was listed as a “servant” in the household and he did not attend school in 1860.


There were six households who owned real estate with a total value of $6,800.00.  Those persons were:

  • Robert NICKLOS who was on the previous Census records for Toledo from 1840 and 1850. He was listed as a Carpenter in 1860 and was born in New York.   He owned real estate valued at $1500 and a personal estate value of $300
  • George W TUCKER who was listed as a Barber from Kentucky owned real state valued at $300 with a personal estate valued at $250.
  • Alford COALMAN/COLEMAN who was listed as a Laborer from Virginia owned real estate valued at $200. Records reviewed on FamilySearch.Org showed a an “Alfred COLEMAN” died in Toledo on July 15, 1867 of Consumption.  He was listed as black with the occupation of “Washer.” Alford COALMAN/COLEMAN was headed a household of 4 other free persons, including a white woman, seemingly his wife Catherine COALMAN/COLEMAN who was born in Germany and 3 “mullatto” children.
  • William H MERRILL/MERRITT who lived in Sylvania and had the highest valued property at $3,500 in Sylvania. He was also listed as a Barber and was from Virginia.  He also had a personal estate of $500.  There was an entry on FamilySearch.Org of a Wm A. MERRETT who died on December 9, 1879 at the age of 59 years.  His death record stated he was born in Virginia in 1820.  He was married and “colored” with the occupation of Barber.  (Citation:  “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6X1-5YF : 13 December 2014), Wm. A. Merrett, 09 Dec 1879; citing Death, Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, United States, source ID P. 296-297, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 909,032.).  William H. MERRITT lived in Toledo with a woman, seemingly is wife Elizabeth MERRITT.
  • Oliver JACOBS was owned real estate worth $300 and was from Indiana
  • John JACKSON was a Porter from Virginia who owned property valued at $1000.


There were 22 children who were marked as having attended school in Toledo in the year of 1860.  Only 3 black children had attended school in 1850.  Per a previous entry regarding A Brief History of Toledo Public Schools, starting in 1853 all “colored” children were allowed to enter the public school system in segregated facilities.  In 1858 the city built a new school for black children and information from the Toledo Public School system showed that 31 children attended school in 1858 in that facility.  Some of the children in 1860 may not have been marked as having attended school or some may have left the system by 1860.  The children who attended school based on the 1860 Census were:

  • Charlotte L. NICKLOS age 9
  • Alphonse TUCKER age 16
  • Capar/Caspar TUCKER age 14
  • Carline FRANKLIN age 11
  • William FRANKLIN age 8
  • ___(unreadable) B. GREEN a female aged 13
  • Lerrisa(?) GREEN age 7
  • Edward WALKER age 15
  • George COALMAN/COLEMAN age 9
  • Julia COALMAN/COLEMAN age 7
  • Mary DENT age 10
  • William H. NATHAN age 14
  • Cornelius MARONY age 10
  • Sidney RICKEN age 8
  • George STEVENS age 10
  • Georgianna STEVENS age 8
  • David TABBOT age 8
  • Lusinda TABBOT age 12
  • John LOCK age 12
  • Albertson PARKS age 11
  • Mary E. EDWARDS age 9
  • Ellen LEWIS age 11

According to the 1860 Census 17 adult residents could not read or write out of 179 adults older than 15 years of age, so around 10% of the adult population were illiterate.

UPDATE:  Recently I have been doing some additional research into the JONES family headed by John W. JONES and Mary ARMSTRONG JONES.  One of their daughters Martha JONES married a man by the name of John DENT.  John DENT was the child of J. DENT and Sarah DENT shown on the 1860 Census below.

Below is a copy of the spreadsheet I created:

Residing In: Family# Name Age Gender Race Occupation  Value of RE  Value of PE Birthplace Attended school within the year Peron over 20 who cannot read/write Deaf,dumb, blind, insane idiotic, pauper or convict COMMENTS
Manhattan 1 Nicklos, Charlotte L. 9 F Mullatto Ohio Yes
Toledo 1 Nicklos, Electra 32 F Mullatto Michigan
Toledo 1 Nicklos, Florence 2 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 1 Nicklos, Isabelle 5 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 1 Nicklos, Robert 49 M Mullatto Carpenter  $      1,500.00  $       300.00 New York
Toledo 2 Fields, Anna (Mona) 13 F Black Ohio
Toledo 2 Fields, Harvey 48 M Black Labor  $                   –  $                – Canada
Toledo 2 Fields, Jane 43 F Black Washing  $                   –  $                – Canada
Toledo 2 Fields, John 11 M Black Ohio
Toledo 2 Fields, Lucious 18 M Black Labor Canada
Toledo 2 Fields, Mary 4 F Black Ohio
Toledo 2 Fields, Robert 21 M Black Teamster Canada
Toledo 2 Fields, William 14 M Black Canada
Toledo 3 Talbert, Benjamin F 19 M Black Barber Indiana
Toledo 4 Schuler, Charles 36 M White Laborer  $                   –  $                – Germany Cannot read/write Married to Mullatto woman
Toledo 4 Schuler, Elaina 40 F Mullatto North Carolina
Toledo 5 Hinders(Henderson), William 8 M Mullatto Ohio Lived in household of MR Waite, looks to be a servant boy.  Did not attend school
Toledo 6 Tucker, Alpheus(Alphonse) W. 16 M Mullatto Michigan Yes
Toledo 6 Tucker, Capar (Caspar) M. 14 M Mullatto Michigan Yes
Toledo 6 Tucker, George W. 48 M Mullatto Barber  $         300.00  $       250.00 Kentucky
Toledo 6 Tucker, Georgetta A. 18 F Mullatto Michigan
Toledo 6 Tucker, Mary W. 23 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 7 Franklin, Carline 11 F Mullatto Indiana Yes
Manhattan 7 Franklin, William 8 M Mullatto Indiana Yes
Toledo 7 Franklin, Amanda 19 F Mullatto Indiana
Toledo 7 Franklin, Ambros(Ambrose) 65 M Mullatto North Carolina Cannot read/write
Toledo 7 Franklin, John A. 22 M Mullatto Barber North Carolina
Toledo 8 Martin, Sara M 25 F Mullatto Canada
Toledo 8 Martin, Thomas 25 M Mullatto Cook New York
Toledo 8 Parker, Frank 5 M Ohio Lived with Martin family
Toledo 9 Green, Ellen 12 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 9 Green, Martha 26 F Mullatto Virginia
Toledo 9 Wright, John 27 M Black Porter Ohio
Toledo 10 Harris, Dennis 25 M Black Cook Michigan Lived with Watson Family
Toledo 10 Harris, Harriet 25 F White Germany Lived with Watson Family
Toledo 11 Watson, Henry 40 M Black Waiter Maryland Lived with Harris Family
Toledo 11 Watson, Nancy 38 F Mullatto Michigan Lived with Harris Family
Toledo 12 Wright, Mary 25 F Mullatto Virginia
Toledo 12 Wright, Richard 6 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 12 Wright, William 4 Ohio
Toledo 13 Green ____ B. 13 F Mullatto Indiana Yes
Toledo 13 Green, Lerrisa(?) 7 F Mullatto Ohio Yes
Toledo 13 Green, Eliza 25 F Mullatto Indiana
Toledo 13 Green, Jacob C. 49 M White Butcher Maryland
Toledo 13 Green, Linda 6 F Mullatto Ohio
Spencer 14 Liner, James 40 M Black Ship Washand Kentucky Cannot read/write
Toledo 14 Liner, Mary 45 F Black Kentucky Cannot read/write
Toledo 15 Powell, Charles 1 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 15 Powell, Charlott 6 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 15 Powell, Dayton(Layton) 3 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 15 Powell, Henry 5 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 15 Powell, Lawrence 37 M Mullatto Labor North Carolina
Toledo 15 Powell, Mary A. 34 F Mullatto Tennessee
Toledo 16 Walker, Edward 15 M Black Ohio Yes
Toledo 16 Walker, Elias 32 M Black Barber Virginia
Toledo 16 Walker, James 20 M Black Waiter Ohio
Toledo 16 Walker, Nancy 28 F Black Misissippi
Toledo 17 Prichard, Julia 14 F Black Ohio Lived with Walker Family (17)
Toledo 18 Coalman(Coleman), George 9 M Mullatto Ohio Yes
Oregon 18 Coalman(Coleman), Julia 7 F Mullatto Ohio Yes
Toledo 18 Coalman(Coleman), Alford 35 M Black Labor  $         200.00 Virginia
Toledo 18 Coalman(Coleman), Catherine 39 F White Washing Germany
Toledo 18 Coalman(Coleman), Mary 4 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 19 Washington, Lewisa 25 F Mullatto Servant DC
Toledo 20 Nicklos, Edward 33 M Mullatto Buggy Maker New York Two white individuals lived with this family – Ann Frederick (age 20) and Charles Johnson (age 5)
Toledo 20 Nicklos, Elizabeth 27 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 21 Randle, Mary 28 F White Ireland
Toledo 21 Randle, Thomas 28 M Mullatto Waiter Ohio
Toledo 22 Hands(Hearns), David 4 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 22 Hands(Hearns), William 8 M Mullatto Ohio Lived with Randle family
Toledo 23 Hall, Martha 23 F White Ohio Lived with Randle family may have been mother of boys listed as Hands/Hearns.
Toledo 24 Jackson, Hannah 24 F Mullatto Kentucky Cannot read/write
Toledo 24 Jackson, John 37 M Mullatto Porter Virginia
Toledo 24 Jackson, Wilson 0.5 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 25 Good, Arnold 57 M Mullatto Washing Kentucky Cannot read/write
Toledo 25 Good, Isabelle 16 F Mullatto Kentucky
Oregon 26 Brown, Essa (Isa) 116 M Black Virginia Cannot read/write
Toledo 26 Hans(Harris), Levi 3 M Black Ohio
Toledo 26 Hans(Harris), Maria 22 F Black Ohio
Toledo 26 Hans(Harris), Peter 32 M Black Labor North Carolina Cannot read/write
Toledo 26 Hans(Harris), Samuel 5 M Black Ohio
Toledo 27 Franklin, Alvinia 4 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 27 Franklin, Francis 6 F Mullatto Indiana
Toledo 27 Franklin, Mary J 2 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 27 Franklin, Olevie(Olivia) 23 F Mullatto Tennessee
Toledo 27 Franklin, Samuel 24 M Mullatto Barber $200 North Carolina
Toledo 27 Franklin, Samuel 0.3333333 M Ohio
Toledo 28 Henderson, Alex 20 M Black Barber Indiana Lived with Franklin family (Samuel Franklin)
Toledo 29 Jones, Francis L 31 M Mullatto North Carolina Lived with Franklin family (Samuel Franklin)
Sylvania 30 Merrill(Merrit), Elizabeth 38 F Mullatto Ohio
Sylvania 30 Merrill(Merritt), William H. 40 M Black Barber  $      3,500.00  $       500.00 Virginia
Toledo 31 Wells, L. 15 M Black Ohio Lived with Merrill(Merritt) family
Toledo 32 Johnson, Anna 9 F Mullatto Michigan Lived with Merrill(Merritt) family
Toledo 33 Lott, Charott 26 F Mullatto Servant Canada
Toledo 34 Phillips, Alice 1 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 34 Phillips, David 28 M Mullatto Waiter Virginia
Toledo 34 Phillips, Francis 24 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 35 Wilson, Henrietta 21 F Mullatto Ohio Lived with Phillips family
Toledo 36 Harris, Ann 6 F Mullatto Michigan
Toledo 36 Harris, Eliza 21 F Mullatto Washing Indiana
Toledo 36 Harris, Isaac 32 M Mullatto Cook Tennessee
Toledo 36 Harris, Ophelia 0.9166667 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 37 Franklin, Ann 21 F Mullatto North Carolina
Toledo 37 Franklin, Belle 4 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 37 Franklin, Sarah 3 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 37 Franklin, Sinthia 40 F Mullatto Washing North Carolina Cannot read/write
Toledo 38 Linn, Henry 45 M Mullatto Labor Pennsylvania Cannot read/write
Toledo 38 Linn, Mary 43 F Mullatto North Carolina Cannot read/write
Toledo 39 Ricken, Sidney 8 M Mullatto Ohio Yes
Toledo 39 Ricken, Alfonso 40 M Mullatto Barber Tennessee
Toledo 39 Ricken, Cathe 23 F Mullatto Tennessee
Toledo 40 Goulder, Ann 1 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 40 Goulder, Lucinda 23 F Mullatto Ohio Cannot read/write
Toledo 40 Goulder, Shadrick 24 M Black Labor Tennessee
Toledo 40 Goulder, William 4 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 41 Bennett, Ann 29 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 41 Bennett, John 32 M Mullatto Porter Indiana
Toledo 42 Kelly, Prince 41 M Black Store Market Kentucky
Toledo 43 Whitfield, John 18 M Black Ohio  Jail – Burglary
Toledo 44 Rice, Mary 22 F Black Ohio
Toledo 44 Rice, William H 38 M Black White Washer Illinois
Toledo 45 Rhodes, Julia 19 F Black Ohio
Toledo 45 Rhodes, Simon 32 M Black Porter Ohio Cannot read/write
Toledo 46 Pinchen, Elizabeth 50 F Black Virginia Cannot read/write
Toledo 47 Stevens, George 10 M Black Indiana Yes
Toledo 47 Stevens, Georgianna 8 F Black Ohio Yes
Toledo 47 Sevens, Rachel 30 F Black Indiana Cannot read/write
Toledo 47 Stevens, Eddy 2 M Black Ohio
Toledo 47 Stevens, Edward 56 M Black White Washer South Carolina
Toledo 47 Stevens, Georgetta 4 F Black Ohio
Toledo 47 Stevens, William 0.6666667 M Black Ohio
Toledo 48 Tabbot, David 10 M Black Indiana Yes
Toledo 48 Tabbot, John 8 M Black Indiana Yes
Toledo 48 Tabbot, Lusinda 12 F Black Indiana Yes
Toledo 48 Tabbot, Benjamin 64 M Black Blacksmith Kentucky
Toledo 48 Tabbot, Benjamin 18 M Black Barber Indiana
Toledo 48 Tabbot, Henry 24 M Black Labor Indiana
Swanton 48 Tabbot, Mary 20 F Black Indiana
Swanton 48 Tabbot, Sarah 50 F Black Indiana
Oregon 49 Blacker(Blackshear), George 46 M Black White Washer Virginia
Oregon 49 Blacker(Blackshear), Mary J 40 F Black Virginia
Toledo 50 Lock, John 12 M Black Ohio Yes
Toledo 50 Lock, John B 38 M Black Barber Tennessee
Toledo 50 Lock, Mary 27 F Black South Carolina
Toledo 51 Mayfair, Ann 15 F Mullatto Virginia
Toledo 51 Mayfair, Francis 17 F Mullatto Virginia
Toledo 51 Mayfair, Naomi(?) 9 F Mullatto Michigan
Toledo 51 Mayfair, Thomas 33 M Mullatto Waiter Virginia
Sylvania 51 Mayfair, William 4 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 52 Briggs, Ellen 17 F White Servant Michigan Lived with William Jones family
Toledo 52 Jones, Mary A 21 F Mullatto New York
Toledo 52 Jones, William M. 29 M Black Cook Georgia
Toledo 53 Vanblunt(?), Mary 24 F Black Ohio
Toledo 53 Vanblunt(?), William 25 M Black Waiter New York
Manhattan 53 Vanblunt(?), William 0.5833333 M Black Ohio
Toledo 54 Jacobs, Fanny 3 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 54 Jacobs, Harriet 24 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 54 Jacobs, John 1 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 54 Jacobs, Oliver 28 M Mullatto Waiter  $         300.00 Indiana
Toledo 54 Jacobs, Oliver 7 M Mullatto Michigan
Toledo 54 Jacobs, Sarah 5 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 55 Parks, Albertson 11 M Mullatto Ohio Yes Lived with Jacobs family
Oregon 56 Davis, Mitch(Hatch) 34 M Mullatto Barber Tennessee
Toledo 56 Smith, Elizabeth 31 F Mullatto Virginia
Toledo 56 Smith, George 16 M Mullatto Labor Ohio
Toledo 57 Dease, John 33 M Black Labor Kentucky Cannot read/write
Swanton 57 Dease, John 4 M Black Ohio
Toledo 57 Dease, Joseph 0.0833333 M Black Ohio
Toledo 57 Dease, Julia 3 F Black Ohio
Toledo 57 Dease, Mary 9 F Black Ohio
Toledo 57 Dease, Sarah 24 F Black Kentucky
Richfield 58 Davis, Mary 39 F Mullatto Canada Cannot read/write Nova Scotia listed as birthplace
Toledo 59 Douglass, Horace 38 M Black Labor Virginia
Toledo 60 Dunbar, James 40 M Black White Washer Virginia
Toledo 61 Washington, James 64 M Black Laborer Virginia Cannot read/write
Toledo 61 Washington, William 20 M Black Laborer New York
Oregon 62 Brown, JW 55 M Black Labor New York
Toledo 63 Edwards, Mary E 9 F Mullatto Ohio Yes
Toledo 63 Edwards, Elizabeth 27 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 63 Edwards, William 29 M Mullatto Labor Virginia
Toledo 63 Edwards, William 56 M Mullatto Barber Virginia
Toledo 63 Edwards, William 6 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 64 Lewis, Ellen 11 F Mullatto Ohio Yes
Toledo 64 Lewis, William 19 M Mullatto Barber Ohio Lived with Edwards (William Edwards) family
Toledo 64 Whitfield, Mary A 17 F Black Canada Lived with Edwards (William Edwards) family
Toledo 65 Wilson, Charles 11 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 65 Wilson, Emma 6 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 65 Wilson, Julia 31 F Mullatto Virginia
Toledo 65 Wilson, William 33 M Black White Washer Virginia
Toledo 66 Tusang, Kate 7 F Mullatto Michigan
Toledo 66 Tusang, Mary 35 F Black Servant Virginia Cannot read/write
Toledo 67 Massey, Thomas 23 M Mullatto Labor Virginia
Sylvania 68 McGinnis, Robert 27 M Mullatto Labor West Indies
Toledo 69 Hawkins, Willaim 28 M Mullatto Labor DC
Oregon 70 Dangerfield, C 18 M Black Labor Virginia
Toledo 71 Johnson, Henry 23 M Black Labor Kentucky
Toledo 72 Wright, Nad(Ian) 21 M Black Labor Ohio
Toledo 73 Estill, James 17 M Black Labor Kentucky
Toledo 74 Hudlin, Joseph 18 M Mullatto Labor Kentucky
Sylvania 75 Moore, William 18 M Mullatto Labor Virginia
Toledo 76 Young, Elijah 17 M Mullatto Labor Virginia
Toledo 77 Chase, William 22 M Black Labor Maryland
Toledo 78 Gray, John 18 M Black Labor New York
Toledo 79 Price, Nat 16 M Black (Can’t Read)Labor Delaware
Toledo 80 Franklin, E. 16 M Black Labor Ohio
Toledo 81 Felton, John 40 M Black Porter Delaware
Toledo 82 Harris, Franklin(Massa) 28 M Black Cook Kentucky
Toledo 83 Pickett, H. 25 M Black (Can’t Read)Labor Kentucky
Toledo 84 Hill, James 18 M Black Porter Kentucky
Toledo 85 Robison, Charles 18 M Black Waiter Kentucky
Toledo 86 Crane, Henry 25 M Mullatto Waiter Kentucky
Toledo 87 Harris, William 16 M Mullatto Waiter Ohio
Toledo 88 Todd, Benjamin 20 M Black Waiter Ohio
Toledo 89 Newton, Richard 31 M Black Waiter New York
Toledo 90 Jones, Willy 25 M Black Cook North Carolina
Toledo 91 Rhodes, Simon 32 M Black Porter Maryland
Toledo 92 Congrove, Charles 24 M Mullatto Porter Louisiana
Toledo 93 Prichard, J 18 M Mullatto Bus Boy Ohio
Toledo 94 Jackson, John 31 M Mullatto Porter  $      1,000.00 Virginia
Swanton 95 Henders, Thomas 23 M Black Labor Georgia
Toledo 96 Andews, Charles 31 M Black Labor Kentucky
Toledo 97 Russell, William 20 M Mullatto Labor Virginia
Toledo 98 Price, Joseph 25 M Mullatto Labor Virginia
Toledo 99 Henley, Moses 24 M Black Labor Ohio
Toledo 100 Phillips, David 30 M Black Labor Maryland
Toledo 101 Paine, Eliza 3 F Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 101 Paine, Ellin 6 F Mullatto Ohio
Sylvania 101 Paine, John W. 29 M Black Cook Virginia
Sylvania 101 Paine, Lusinda 27 F Mullatto Washing North Carolina
Toledo 102 Preston, Eliza 41 F Mullatto Virginia Lived with Paine family, may be mother of wife.
Toledo 103 Williams, Maria 37 F Black Servant Ohio Cannot read/write
Toledo 104 Clark, Sarah 50 F Black Servant Virginia
Sylvania 105 Walker, Bill 20 M Black Labor Kentucky
Toledo 106 Harris, William 19 M Mullatto Labor Canada Cannot read/write Lived on farm of white family Lewis
Toledo 107 Jenkins, Mary 60 F Black Virginia Cannot read/write Lived on farm of white family McLedge
Toledo 107 Jenkins, Stephen 70 M Black Labor Virginia Cannot read/write Lived on farm of white family McLedge
Toledo 108 Dorsey, T. 60 M Black Labor Virginia Cannot read/write Lived on farm of white family McLedge
Toledo 109 Dent, Mary 10 F Black Ohio Yes
Toledo 109 Dent, George 0.1666667 M Black Ohio
Toledo 109 Dent, J. 30 M Black Labor Kentucky
Toledo 109 Dent, John 5 M Black Ohio
Toledo 109 Dent, Julia 3 F Black Canada
Toledo 109 Dent, Sarah 27 F Black
Oregon 110 Cunningham, E. 48 M Black Labor Virginia
Oregon 110 Cunningham, Ellen M. 5 F Black Ohio
Oregon 110 Cunningham, Marion L. 8 M Black Ohio
Toledo 110 Cunningham, Nancy 38 F Black Viginia Cannot read/write
Oregon 110 Cunningham, William H. 21 M Black Ohio
Toledo 111 Tilton, John 37 M Black Farmer Delaware
Toledo 111 Tilton, Sarah 29 F Black Pennsylvania
Toledo 112 Ingraham, John 40 M Black Laborer Georgia Lived on farm with Tilton family
Toledo 113 Deringer, Woodsen 14 M Black Ohio Lived on farm with Tilton family
Sylvania 114 Walker, Caroline A. 7 F Black Ohio
Sylvania 114 Walker, Charles 38 M Black Farmer $20 Michigan
Toledo 114 Walker, Cinderilla 36 F Black Ohio
Sylvania 114 Walker, George 9 M Black Ohio
Sylvania 114 Washington, Josephine 80 F Mullatto Michigan Lived with Walker family in Sylvania, may be mother of Cinderilla Walker.
Manhattan 115 Nathan, William H. 14 M Black Pennsylvania Yes
Sylvania 115 Nathan, Elizabeth 19 F Black Pennsylvania
Toledo 115 Nathan, Joseph 48 M Black Farm Labor $50 Pennsylvania
Toledo 115 Nathan, Joseph 20 M Black Pennsylvania
Toledo 115 Nathan, Mary H 21 F Black Pennsylvania
Toledo 115 Nathan, Susan 42 F Black Pennsylvania
Toledo 116 Patterson, John 2 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 116 Patterson, Lewis 32 M Black Farmhand Indiana
Sylvania 116 Wilson, Harriet 30 F Mullatto Ohio
Sylvania 116 Wilson, James M 6 M Mullatto Ohio
Sylvania 116 Wilson, William 4 M Mullatto Ohio
Toledo 117 Smith, John 40 M Black Labor Kentucky Cannot read/write
Manhattan 118 Marony, Cornelius 10 M Mullatto Ohio Yes Lived with family of Abram Johnson Jr. from PA
Total Number of Individuals 269
Number labled “Black” 128
Number labeled “Mullatto” 130
Number labeled “White” 7
Number of Mixed Race Families (white wife) 6
Number of Mixed Race Families (white husband) 1
Average Age 23.093519
Average Age of Males 23.882911
Average Age of Females 21.979911
Number of Females 111
Number of Males 158
Age of Oldest Male (William Jenkins) 70
Age of Oldest Female (Essa Brown) 116
Age of Youngest Male (Joseph Dease) 1 month
Age of Youngest Female (Ophelia Harris) 8 months
Number Older than 15 179
Number 15 or Younger 90
Toledo Residents 233
Sylvania Residents 19
Manhattan (North End) Residents 5
Swanton Residents 4
Richfield Residents 1
Oregon (East Side) Residents 11
Spencer Residents 1
Birthplace of Canada 11
Birthplace of DC 2
Birthplace of Delaware 3
Birthplace of Georgia 3
Birthplace of Germany 2
Birthplace of Illinois 1
Birthplace of Indiana 18
Birthplace of Ireland 1
Birthplace of Kentucky 21
Birthplace of Maryland 5
Birthplace of Michigan 14
Birthplace of Mississippi 1
Birthplace of New York 9
Birthplace of North Carolina 12
Birthplace of Ohio 102
Birthplace of Pennsylvania 8
Birthplace of South Carolina 2
Birthplace of Tennessee 8
Birthplace of Virginia 37
Birthplace of West Indies 1
Occupation of Barber 13
Occupation of Buggy Maker (Edward Nicklos) 1
Occupation of Bus Boy 1
Occupation of Butcher (Jacob Green – white) 1
Occupation of Carpenter (Robert Nickos) 1
Occupation of Farm Labor/Farm Hand 2
Occupation of Farmer (Charles Walker & John Tilton) 2
Occupation of Laborer 44
Occupation of Porter 9
Occupation of Servant (all females) 6
Occupation of Ship Wash Hand (James Liner) 1
Occupation of Washing (all female except 1) 6
Occupation of White Washer 5
Occupation of Waiter 12
First Most Popular Surname (Franklin)
Second Most Popular Surname (Harris)
Value of Real Estate  $  6,800.00
Personal Estate Value  $  1,320.00
Numer of individuals who could not read/write 17
Number of individuals in Jail (John Whitfield) 1
Number of children who attended school within the year 22
Maumee 118 Bowan, John 54 M Black Labor Maryland Cannot read/write
Maumee 118 Bowan, Mary 53 F Black Virginia Cannot read/write
Maumee 118 Bowan, William 14 M Black Indiana
Maumee 118 Bowan, John 14 M Black Indiana
Maumee 118 Bowan, Mary 12 F Black Indiana
Maumee 119 Johnson, Jenny 16 F Black Servant Kentucky Enumerated in white household of Elizabeth Nelson
Maumee 120 Fields, James 44 M Mullatto Doctor New York
Maumee 120 Fields, Mary 39 F Mullatto New York
Maumee 120 Fields, John 13 M Mullatto New York
Maumee 120 Fields, William 1 M Mullatto Ohio
Waterville 121 Smith, Nancy 66 F Mullatto Pennsylvania
Additions added on 11/1/2016

Early Black Toledoans 1850 Census

After creating the post “Early Black Toledoans 1840 Census” I became interested in reviewing other early census records of NW Ohio and SE Michigan.

I perused both the 1820 Census and 1830 Census of Monroe County, Michigan Territory due to Toledo, prior to its official formation, being a part of Michigan until the conclusion of the “Toledo War” and the it subsequently became an Ohio city.

I also decided to look up the 1850 Census and see if I could find more black/colored residents who may have been listed on 1840 like the NICHOLS/NICKOLAS family of 1840. I’ll write more about (very interesting) findings on the 1820 and 1830 censuses on a later post and after additional information, but wanted to share the data I pulled from the 1850 Census on this entry.

The 1850 Census was the first which listed out every household member by name and age. For those who worked (particularly males) it also listed an occupation.

Other information found on the 1850 Census was the state or origin of every resident, whether or not the resident was married in 1850, whether the resident could read and write, or if the resident attended school that year.

I created a spreadsheet of the black/colored families listed on the 1850 census, which I will post on this blog in the future along with the spreadsheet I made for 1840. Hopefully this will give other genealogist and local historians more information regarding the earliest black Toledoans or just provide some interesting reading material.

On the 1850 Census there were 43 black/colored families listed with a total of 121 residents within those families.

As on the 1840 Census, not all people were actually African American, many were multi-racial and there were whites who had married a black spouse who I included due to them being a part of the 43 families.

During this time period, the City of Toledo was not the same size and distance that it is today, as such, I included different areas that now make up the city. I was unsure of a few of the areas that were listed and I will have to research them more and if there are any changes to this data in the future I will update this post.

Some raw information from the 1850 Census is as follows:


  • There were 54 resident labeled as “black”
  • There were 62 residents labeled as “mullatto”
  • There were 5 residents who were labeled as “white” who lived with black or mullatto heads of households
  • There were 50 females
  • There were 71 males


  • The average age of all individuals was 21
  • The average age of males was 19.26
  • The average age of females was 23.14
  • The oldest male on the 1850 census was William NICKOLAS  who was 59 years old
    • Remember, he was on the 1840 Census as well as a black head of household
  • There were two females who were the oldest females – Peggy CRUMMEL and Alice LUCAS were both 60 years old
    • Note – There was a white male with the surname CROMWELL on the 1840 Census who was tallied as having a black female aged 36-55 living with him in his home.  Peggy CRUMMEL may have been a part of the CROMWELL household of 1840.
  • There were two males who were the youngest male babies in Toledo – James AMBROS and James KINES(HINES) were both 8 months old
  • The youngest female was Sarah WILSON who was also 8 months old


On the 1850 Census the residents were listed by residence in Wards and in certain townships that now make up the City of Toledo.  In 1850 there were 4 Wards.  Townships which are included in this tally are Manhattan (now North Toledo/The Old North End), Washington Township, Port Lawrence (downtown), and Oregon (includes current Oregon and East Toledo).

  • Ward 1 contained 24 residents
  • Ward 2 contained 22 residents
  • Ward 3 contained 0 residents
  • Ward 4 contained 67 residents
  • Manhattan contained 8 residents
  • Oregon contained 0 residents
  • Washington Township contained 0 residents
  • Port Lawrence contained 0 residents


There were 17 states/countries listed that residents stated they were from.  Please note that during this era, Toledo was a part of the Underground Railroad system and as such, many black or mullato (mixed with black or lighter skinned) residents who may have been escaped slaves, would have been hesitant to share their state of origin for fear of being recaptured and sent back to slavery.  Other research material I have read regarding Ohio and Pennsylvania relatives indicates that lying about their state of origin was very common for escaped slaves and that many of them would not provide a location.  This can be seen in Toledo’s black residents of 1850 being that 11 individuals stated that their place of origin was “unknown.”  Residents on later census records I have reviewed changed their states of origin on later census dates.

Below are only listed the top 10 places that black/mullatto residents stated that they were from:

  • 31 individuals stated they were born in Ohio (this included a large amount of children/babies)
  • 11 individuals stated they were born in New York (this included the large NICHOLS/NICKOLAS family)
  • 9 individuals stated they were born in Canada
  • 9 individuals stated they were born in Michigan
  • 8 individuals stated they were born in Virginia
  • 7 individuals stated they were born in Tennessee
  • 7 individuals stated they were born in Pennsylvania
  • 6 individuals stated they were born in North Carolina
  • 6 individuals stated they were born in Indiana

Some locations of note are as follows:

  • 1 individual stated that he was born in Massachuesetts
    • His name was Harvey FIELDS, a barber by trade
    • The 3 oldest FIELDS children (William, Julius, and Robert) were the only black/colored children who attended school in 1850.  They were listed as born in Canada.
  • 1 individual stated that she was born in Ireland
    • Her name was Mary Ann CAMPBELL a white woman married to James CAMPBELL a black man from Virginia working as a Drayman
    • They had 3 mullatto children on the census (Castillia, 7; William, 5; and Mahala, 2)


As stated above, women’s occupations were usually not described on early census records unless they were heads of household.  Though there were some single women who would have been considered heads of household in Toledo, their occupations were not listed.  Not all of the men had occupations listed either even though in 1850 all men aged 15 and older should have had their occupations listed.  Two men had occupations listed as “none” – George FRENCH an 18 year old mullatto and William NICHOLS/NICKOLAS who was the oldest man in the black/colored community in Toledo in 1850.

  • 11 men stated that they were a Barber
    • Black/mullatto men who were barbers during this period had a much higher rate of socio-economic mobility due to being businessmen.  They were some of the most influential and well off members of the black community though not all had the same amount of prestige.
  • 6 men stated that they were a Cook
  • 4 men stated that they were a Waiter
  • 3 men stated that they were a Drayman
  • 3 men stated that they were a Laborer
  • 3 men stated that they were a Teamster
  • 2 men stated that they were a Porter
  • 2 men stated that they were a Painter
  • 1 man stated that he was a Cooper

Some of the more interesting occupations only had one man who worked in that position:

  • 1 man stated he was a Musician
  • 1 man stated that he was a “Reseller of Old Clothes”
  • 1 man stated that he was a Store Maker
  • 1 man stated that he was a “Recef”
    • I have seen this occupation before on old census records but don’t know what it is so I will have to do some more research on this one
  • 1 man stated that he was a “Gurny”
    • I have also seen this one but don’t know what it was.  Information I have come across inclines me to believe that a Gurny was a man who carried things around or was a delivery man of some sort

Some other interesting items taken from this research was that the most popular surname amongst Toledo’s black/colored population was WILSON.  There were 2 households with the surname WILSON.  The second most populous was NICHOLS/NICKOLAS as was on the previous 1840 census.  There were 4 households with the surname NICHOLS/NICKOLAS.

The lone black/mullatto family that lived in Manhattan/North Toledo were called the LEBLEW family.  I am thinking that this is a mis-spelling and it may have been a French name.  The male head of household’s name was Arvill/Orville and he was a mullatto who stated he was from Canada.  He could not read or write.  He was married to a white woman named Jane who stated she was from Michigan.  Their household included 6 children who were labeled as both white and mullatto.  Many times the skin color of the individual dictacted whether or not a census taker labeled an individual a particular race.  The older children of the family were labeled as “white” – Margaret, 15; Mary, 12, and Cyril, 10.  The younger children were all labeled as “mullatto” – Tabatha, 8; Francis, 5; Catharine, 2.  The older children may have had lighter skin than the younger children or may have had a different father who was white.

One individual would not provide their first name.  His last name was DEASE and he was a Cook.  He stated he was born in “unknown.”  His wife – Celia DEASE provided her name and that she was born in Ohio.  Mr. DEASE may have been a runaway slave hesitant to give out his information.  Mrs. DEASE, due to being born in Ohio was more than likely free born so would not have had to fear the release of her name like her husband.

There was a MANLY family listed as well, which was very interesting being that the same family looks to have become “white” by the 1860 Census.  In 1850 the MANLY family, living in Ward 2 of Toledo was headed by “mullatto” Levi MANLY and his wife Sarah MANLY with their 4 children.  By 1860 Levi MANLY was living in Springfield and was a farmer and was listed as “white.”  The entire family was labeled as “mullatto” in 1850 by in 1860 they were “white.”

UPDATE:  Another interesting tidbit regarding this census is the entry for James E. FRANKLIN and his wife Clarkie FRANKLIN.  The information found stated that Clarkie FRANKLIN was initially Cynthia PETTIFORD and that she married James FRANKLIN on July 12, 1834 in Wake County, North Carolina.  James E. FRANKLIN stated he was from North Carolina.  He was 39 years old in 1850 and was working as a Carpenter.  He lived in Ward 1.  Additional reading for pleasure on the Afrigeneas website stated  about this family as follows:

James E. Franklin & his wife Cynthia Pettiford were married in Wake County, NC per mar. bond dated 12 July 1834. By 1850, they resided in Toledo, Ohio. Three known descendants are Anne (1839), Bill (1856) and Sarah (1857).

Cynthia’s father William Pettiford served in the Revolutionary War

Another interesting tidbit on this census for me personally was that there was a WHITFIELD family on the 1850 Census.  As indicated in a previous post, I have a line of WHITFIELDs on my maternal side.  I am not sure if this earlier line of WHITFIELDs are related to me and more digging will be necessary.  My early ancestor Elias WHITFIELD may have come to Toledo due to having a relative already living in the area.  The 1850 WHITFIELDs were headed by John WHITFIELD and his wife Hannah.  Hannah and the oldest of the WHITFIELD children in 1850 were all born in Canada.  John stated that he was born in Virginia but he may not have told the truth if he were an escaped slave.  I have done some earlier vital records searches on the WHITFIELD family looking up my known family members and I did find out that two of the 1850 WHITFIELD children died and were buried in Toledo.  Jacob and James WHITFIELD were the only twins in the black/colored community of Toledo in 1850 and were 4 years old at the time.  Information I have found has shown that Jacob WHITFIELD was one of the known Civil War soldiers from Lucas County, Ohio.

Some information about his service is below:

Jacob Whitfield was the third child born to John and Hannah Whitfield in 1846 in Ohio. In 1850, Whitfield was residing in Toledo, Ohio, with his parents and four other siblings.

At the age of 18, Whitfield enlisted on September 8, 1863, in Lucas County. He was mustered in on September 20, 1863, at Camp Delaware, Ohio. He was described at 5′2″ with black hair and eyes. He was a laborer.

In November and December 1864 Whitfield was hospitalized and entitled to back pay and a bounty. From January to August 1865, he was detached to the division’s ambulance train. He was mustered out on September 20, 1865 having received his last pay on that April. Whitfield was due a $100 bounty, and owed a sutler $35.

There is no further information about Whitfield after he was discharged. He possibly died in June 1866 and was buried in Forrest Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio. Plot: section OC, lot 39, grave 199.


UPDATE:  January 2017 – there were no updates to this Census for additional persons with inclusion of different areas referenced in 1870 Census post.  However, notes regarding some individuals listed are as follows:

Toledo Ward 2 15 Price, B. A. 35 M Black Musician Illinois Mentioned in Warren AME History (http://warren-ame.org/church-history/)
Toledo Ward 4 19 Rice, Henry 15 M Black Waiter unknown Mentioned in Warren AME History (http://warren-ame.org/church-history/)
Toledo Ward 4 29 Richmond, Alfred 30 M Mullatto Barber Tennessee Mentioned in Warren AME History (http://warren-ame.org/church-history/)


Below is a copy of the spreadsheet for the 1850 Census:

Family# Name Age Gender Race Occupation Birthplace Attended School Cannot Read Condition Ward/Township
1 Hall, William 26 M Mullatto Cook Unknown Ward 1
1 Hall, Eliza 37 F Mullatto New York Ward 1
2 Washington, Eli 0.67 M Mullatto Ohio Ward 1
2 Washington, Estera (?) 3 M Mullatto Ohio Ward 1
2 Washington, Henry 21 M Black Barber Unknown Ward 1
2 Washington, Josephine 21 F Mullatto Michigan Ward 1
3 Stanton, Nancy J 24 F Mullatto Tennessee Ward 1
3 Stanton, Henry 26 M Mullatto Barber Pennsylvania Ward 1
4 Frilds(Fields), John 1 M Mullatto Ohio Ward 1
4 Frilds(Fields), Anna 4 F Mullatto Ohio Ward 1
4 Frilds(Fields), William A 6 M Mullatto Canada X Ward 1
4 Frilds(Fields), Junius(Julius) 8 M Mullatto Canada X Ward 1
4 Frilds(Fields), Robert 11 M Mullatto Canada X Ward 1
4 Frilds(Fields), Harvey 35 M Mullatto Barber Massachuesetts Ward 1
4 Frilds(Fields), Jane 35 F Mullatto Georgia Ward 1
5 Mitchel, Jane 35 F Black Unknown Ward 1
5 Mitchel, ______ 40 M Black Cook Unknown Ward 1
6 Franklin, Clarkie 39 F Mullatto North Carolina X Ward 1
6 Franklin, James E 39 M Mullatto Carpenter North Carolina Ward 1
7 Nickolas, George 38 M Mullatto Painter New York Ward 1
8 French, Julia 16 F Mullatto Canada Ward 1
8 French, George 18 M Mullatto None Canada Ward 1
8 French, Spencer 56 M Mullatto Teamster Unknown X Ward 1
8 French, Mary 57 F Mullatto Michigan X Ward 1
9 Rolp(Ross), Robert 23 M Mullatto Labor Unknown Ward 1
10 Nickolas, Wilson 17 M Mullatto Painter New York Ward 2
10 Nickolas, Elizabeth 18 F Mullatto New York Ward 2
10 Nickolas, Edward 22 M Mullatto Drayman New York Ward 2
10 Nickolas, Marlon 24 M Mullatto Drayman New York Ward 2
10 Nickolas, Calvin 27 M Mullatto Carpenter New York Ward 2
10 Nickolas, William 59 M Mullatto None Virginia Ward 2
11 Anthony, Maria 36 F Black Maryland Ward 2
12 Kines(Hines, James 0.58 M Mullatto Ohio Ward 2
12 Kines(Hines), Mary 5 F Mullatto Indiana Ward 2
12 Kines(Hines), Sarah 25 F Mullatto North Carolina X Ward 2
12 Kines(Hines), James 31 M Mullatto Teamster North Carolina Ward 2
13 Manly, William 2 M Mullatto Indiana Ward 2
13 Manly, Roxana 4 F Mullatto Indiana Ward 2
13 Manly, Malinda 5 F Mullatto Illinois Ward 2
13 Manly, Obadiah 15 M Mullatto Tennessee Ward 2
13 Manly, Sarah 24 F Mullatto Tennessee Ward 2
13 Manly, Levi 45 M Mullatto Teamster Tennessee Ward 2
14 Crummell, Jane 11 F Mullatto Ohio Ward 2
14 Crummell, Peggy 60 F Black Maryland X Ward 2
15 Price, Albertina 1 F Mullatto Ohio Ward 2
15 Price, Louisa 3 F Mullatto Ohio Ward 2
15 Stanton, Harriet 18 F Mullatto Tennessee Ward 2
15 Price, Caroline 27 F Mullatto Ohio Ward 2
15 Price, B. A. 35 M Black Musician Illinois Ward 2
16 Wilson, Sarah 0.58 F Black Ohio Ward 4
16 Wilson, Robert 2 M Black Ohio Ward 4
16 Wilson, Maria 22 F Black Conneticut Ward 4
16 Wilson, Francis 24 M Black Barber Pennsylvania Ward 4
17 Nickolas, George N. 27 M Black Barber Virginia Ward 4
18 Williams, Harvey 19 M Black Barber Michigan Ward 4
19 Rice, Henry 15 M Black Waiter unknown Ward 4
20 Graves, Ann 28 F Mullatto Ohio Ward 4
20 Graves, John 31 M Black Porter Virginia Ward 4
21 Van Pelt, Louisa 24 F Mullatto Ward 4
21 Van Pelt, Henry 34 M Mullatto Barber New York Ward 4
22 Walker, Nancy 26 F Black Mississippi Ward 4
22 Walker, Elias 30 M Black Barber Virginia Ward 4
23 Williams, John 24 M Black Waiter Virginia Ward 4
24 Alexander, Thomas 38 M Black Waiter Kentucky Ward 4
25 Matthews, Benjamin 23 M Black Waiter Louisiana Ward 4
26 Coleman, Alfred 26 M Black Porter Kentucky Ward 4
27 Watkins, John 25 M Black Cook Tennessee Ward 4
28 Rivers, Frank 30 M Black Barber Ohio Ward 4
29 Richmond, Marcus A. 8 M Mullatto Indiana Ward 4
29 Richmond, Catherine 28 F Mullatto Pennsylvania Ward 4
29 Richmond, Alfred 30 M Mullatto Barber Tennessee Ward 4
30 Bartlett, Elizabeth 22 F Black New York Ward 4
30 Bartlett, Anderson 30 M Black Cook North Carolina Ward 4
31 Whitfield, Robert 0.83 M Black Ohio Ward 4
31 Whitfield, Jacob 4 M Black Ohio Ward 4
31 Whitfield, James 4 M Black Ohio Ward 4
31 Whitfield, John W. 5 M Black Canada Ward 4
31 Whitfield, Ann M 7 F Black Canada Ward 4
31 Whitfield, Hannah 22 F Black Ohio Ward 4
31 Whitfield, John 26 M Black Recefs Virginia Ward 4
32 Dease, Celia 25 F Black Ohio Ward 4
32 Dease, ________ 28 M Black Cook unknown Ward 4
33 Nickolas, Charles 25 M Black Butcher unknown Ward 4
34 Lucas, Alice 60 F Black unknown Ward 4
35 Buck, James L 2 M Black Michigan Ward 4
35 Buck, Alice 5 F Black Ohio Ward 4
35 Buck, Miles 6 M Black Ohio Ward 4
35 Buck, Alice 26 F Black Pennsylvania Ward 4
35 Buck, Miles 40 M Black Barber Pennsylvania Ward 4
36 Campbell, Mahala 2 F Mullatto Ohio Ward 4
36 Campbell, William 5 M Mullatto Michigan Ward 4
36 Campbell, Castillia 7 F Mullatto Michigan Ward 4
36 Campbell, Mary Ann (White) 31 W White Ireland Ward 4
36 Campbell, James 33 M Black Drayman Virgina Ward 4
37 Pule, Franklin 18 M Black Labor Pennsylvania Ward 4
37 Smith, Nancy 22 F Mullatto Canada Ward 4
37 Smith, George 25 M Mullatto Store Maker Canada Ward 4
38 Smith, William 1 M Mullatto Michigan Ward 4
38 Smith, George 5 M Mullatto Michigan Ward 4
39 Ambros, James 0.58 M Black Ohio Ward 4
39 Ambros, Julia Ann 23 F Black unknown Ward 4
39 Ambros, James 35 M Black Reseller of old clothes Pennsylvania Ward 4
40 Lynn, Mary 33 F Mullatto North Carolina Ward 4
40 Lynn, Henry 38 M Black Cooper Virginia Ward 4
41 Wilson, Charles S 2 M Black Ohio Ward 4
41 Wilson, Lovejoy 3 M Black Ohio Ward 4
41 Wilson, George H 6 M Black Ohio Ward 4
41 Wilson, Henrietta J 9 F Black Ohio Ward 4
41 Wilson, Cassandria S 12 F Black Ohio Ward 4
41 Wilson, Frances C 14 F Black New York Ward 4
41 Wilson, Julia Ann 36 F Black Conneticut Ward 4
41 Wilson, William H. 42 M Black Grower(sp?) Maryland Ward 4
42 Griswold, Daniel 25 M Black Cook New York Ward 4
43 LeBlew, Catharine 2 F Mullatto Ohio Manhattan (North End)
43 LeBlew, Francis 5 M Mullatto Ohio Manhattan (North End)
43 LeBlew, Tabatha 8 F Mullatto Ohio Manhattan (North End)
43 LeBlew, Cyril 10 M White Ohio Manhattan (North End)
43 LeBlew, Mary 12 F White Ohio Manhattan (North End)
43 LeBlew, Margaret 15 F White Indiana Manhattan (North End)
43 LeBlew, Arvilla 36 M Mullatto Labor Canada X Manhattan (North End)
43 LeBlew, Jane 39 F White Michigan Manhattan (North End)
Total Number of Individuals 121
Number labled “Black” 54
Number labeled “White” 5
Number labeled “Mullatto” 62
Number of Mixed Race Families (white wife) 2
Average Age 21.00206612
Average Age of Males 19.26760563
Average Age of Females 23.14795918
Number of Females 50
Number of Males 71
Age of Oldest Male (William Nickolas) 59
Age of Oldest Female (Peggy Crummel & Alice Lucas) 60
Age of Youngest Male (James Abros & James Kines(Hines) 0.58
Age of Youngest Female (Sarah Wilson) 0.58
Number of children who attended school in 1850
(Frilds/Fields) children in Ward 1.   Father was only Mass born resident.
Number Older than 15 74
Number 15 or Younger 47
Ward 1 Residents 24
Ward 2 Residents 22
Ward 3 Residents 0
Ward 4 Residents 68
Manhattan (North End) Residents 7
Oregon (East Side) Residents 0
Washington Township Residents 0
Port Lawrence Residents 0
Birthplace of Canada 9
Birthplace of Conneticut 2
Birthplace of Georgia 1
Birthplace of Illinois 2
Birthplace of Indiana 5
Birthplace of Ireland 1
Birthplace of Kentucky 2
Birthplace of Louisiana 1
Birthplace of Maryland 3
Birthplace of Massachuesetts 1
Birthplace of Michigan 9
Birthplace of Mississippi 1
Birthplace of New York 11
Birthplace of North Carolina 6
Birthplace of Ohio 31
Birthplace of Pennsylvania 7
Birthplace of Tennessee 7
Birthplace of Virginia 8
Birthplace Unknown 11
Occupation of Barber 11
Occupation of Butcher 1
Occupation of Carpenter 2
Occupation of Cook 6
Occupation of Cooper 1
Occupation of Drayman 3
Occupation of Grower(Gourny) 1
Occupation of Laborer 3
Occupation of Musician 1
Occupation of Painter 2
Occupation of Porter 2
Occupation of Recep/Recef 1
Occupation of Reseller of Old Clothes 1
Occupation of Store Maker 1
Occupation of Teamster 3
Occupation of Waiter 4
First Most Popular Surname – WILSON (2 households) 12
Second Most Popular Surname – NICKOLAS (4 households) 9

Maternal Genealogy – JONES/ROBINSON Families

Some of my earliest ancestors to move to Toledo arrived in Northwest Ohio between 1860 and 1870.

Nancy JONES was born in 1859 in Bainbridge, Ross County, Ohio. She was enumerated with her family on the 1860 United States Census when she was 8 months old.

Her parents were Mary JONES and John Wesley JONES who was listed as an “ME Minister” on the Census record. I believe that “ME” stood for “Methodist Episcopal. My maternal line have been members of Warren AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church for many generations.

Nancy was the youngest child listed for Mary and John JONES on the 1860 Census. She had two older siblings listed as well. Her older sister’s name was Martha JONES and her older brother’s name was John JONES Jr.

John W. JONES Jr. was the oldest child. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1852. Martha JONES was also born in Pennsylvania but in 1854. Nancy JONES was the first of the JONES children born in Ohio.

John W. JONES Sr. stated on the 1860 Census that he was born in Maryland. He was born in approximately 1805. Mary JONES stated that she was born in Pennsylvania in approximately 1823.

I found Mary JONES and her three children on the 1870 Census living in Washington Township, Lucas County Ohio.  Washington Township is now a part of the City of Toledo.   On the 1870 Census there was another JONES child listed who was a younger sister to Nancy JONES. The youngest JONES child was named Francis JONES and she was born in 1860. I believe that they moved to Northwest Ohio around 1866. The Toledo Lucas County Public Library has a death record for a John JONES in 1867 but I am not certain that this is “my” John JONES due to the common name. However, he is the only John JONES listed in the death records between 1860 and 1870 and I am 80% certain that this is “my” John JONES.

During my genealogical compilation for this family, I was faced with many odd, in my opinion, difficulties. When you start out doing genealogy, one should start from the most current generation and work their way back. Luckily, Nancy JONES did not die until 1950 so my grandmother and her sister (my great aunt, who is still alive) knew Nancy JONES and they were able to provide me with a decent genealogical link to her that was easily verified via the census record information contained within familysearch.org.

My grandmother remembered Nancy as Nancy BAKER. She stated that Nancy, her grandmother, had lived with them for a time when she was a child. So going by that information, I looked up Nancy BAKER and basically hit a wall on this family that lasted for about 10 years.

In 2010 the 1940 census was released. I was not actively researching during that time due to regular life’s busy-ness so it wasn’t until around 2012 that I searched again for genealogical information. I looked up my grandmother on the 1940 Census since she was born in 1936. I thought it would be cool to have such a close link to historical information. My grandmother died in 2004 and I still miss her dearly and I was thinking of her at the time when I looked her up in 2012.

That query did pull up my grandmother, her siblings, including my great aunt who is still alive and their parents. It also showed that a Nancy BACKER lived next door to them which finally gave me a true connection to Nancy BAKER.

Many times on Census records surnames and given names are horrendously mispelled. Finding a Nancy, who was listed as approximately 80 years old in 1940 was extremely exciting for me!

From there, I found that Nancy had been living with a man named Stephen BAKER on the 1930 Census. At that time she also lived near my great grandmother. A big tip for people using Census records for genealogy is to peruse the entire handwritten page for neighbor’s names. Many times, people lived near their relatives or with their relatives and with today’s technology, if you search for a specific name, it will only provide you a printed, transcribed version of exactly what you were looking for so it is up to you to do additional digging.

After much research, I found out that Nancy was not originally married to Stephen BAKER. I had been looking for my 2nd great grandmother under the last name of BAKER due to thinking that BAKER may have been her maiden name. Instead I found out that Nancy was originally married to a man named James Edward ROBINSON.  Stephen BAKER was her second husband.

I found the death certificate of my 2nd great grandmother on familysearch’s database for Ohio Deaths. She died in 1941 from kidney disease. On her death certificate her mother was listed as Nancy JONES and her father was listed as James ROBSON. As with BACKER on the Census, ROBSON was written incorrectly. She was actually a ROBINSON.

This discovery allowed me to pull up all of the information regarding James Edward ROBINSON and Nancy JONES ROBINSON on Census records all the way back to 1900.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a solid marriage certificate for them. Due to Nancy being in Lucas County, Ohio on the 1870 Census, I know that she lived in this area. Lucas County kept pretty good records for deaths, marriages, and births long before most states started to do this consistently. I did find a marriage record for a James E. ROBERTSON and Amanda JONES for November 11, 1874. I am somewhat sure that this is James and Nancy ROBINSON. Throughout the years ROBINSON has been spelled in many variations including the following: ROBINSON-ROBSON-ROBESON-ROBISON-ROBERTSON and another crazy variation that I will speak of below, which caused another brick wall for me that lasted until this year (2015).

James Edward ROBINSON showed up in the city directory for the City of Toledo in 1876.

He death certificate states that he was born in Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania.  His father’s name was listed as Frank ROBISON and his mother as “Becky” only.

Upon further review of ROBINSON’S in Pennsylvania on the 1860 and 1850 census records, I found a James E ROBINSON on the 1850 census listed with his father Franklin ROBINSON and mother Ellen ROBINSON.  Even though Ellen differed from what was listed on James’ death certificate as his mother (Becky), I am 100% sure that Ellen was James E ROBINSON’s mother.  Many times the informant who fills out a death certificate did not know the name of the person who passed away.  Information I have found lead me to believe that Ellen ROBINSON may have died or separated from her husband Franklin by the early 1860s.  On the 1860 census, Franklin ROBINSON is listed with his son but this time the name was listed a Edward James ROBINSON.  On various census records throughout the years, James Edward was listed as Edward James.  I am certain that he was the same person due to always being listed with his wife Nancy and their children as either James E, James Edward, Edward, or Ed.  The switching of the first and middle name is actually what made me know 100% that this family was the ROBINSON family I was looking for.

I have yet to find any death records for Franklin ROBINSON or Ellen ROBINSON.  I did find an exciting tidbit regarding Ellen in an online scholarly article about the effect of the Fugitive Slave Act on blacks in Harrisburgh, PA, but I will save that for another entry.

Due to census records not providing much detailed information prior to the 1850 census, I am temporarily at another road block for this family.  An interesting tidbit I am currently looking into is the fact that Franklin, Ellen, and James E ROBINSON lived with Thomas and Dinah WATKINS on the 1850 census.  I am going to attempt to connect the WATKINS families with the ROBINSON family and I am hoping that they are relatives of Ellen and/or Franklin.

After moving to Toledo, James Edward ROBINSON married Nancy JONES.  They eventually had seven children – Francis (1876-1932), Edna (1880-1929), Edward (1884-1951), Florence (1892-1941), Fred (1894-?), Naomi (1894-?), and William Alton (1898-1917).

Florence ROBINSON was my second great grandmother.

James Edward ROBINSON died in 1910.

As stated above, Nancy JONES ROBINSON BAKER did not die until 1950.  She was 90 years old when she passed away.

One of the best finds I discovered just this year was finally locating James Edward and Nancy ROBINSON on the 1880 Census.  After searching through both electronic records at the library via micro film, on family search and ancestry.com via census records and via hardcopy 1880 census indexes at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, I was unsuccessful in locating this couple in Toledo or in PA or anywhere really.

I had decided this past summer to make a visit to the Newberry Library in Chicago since we make frequent visits there to see family.  I was initially only looking up a specific family that also was an early settler in NW Ohio – the WHITFIELDS.  I will write another post about that research later.  After finding the information I was looking for on the WHITFIELDs, I decided to look up other holdings of the library and they had a book which was loosely titled (going off my memory here, will edit later with the correct title) Blacks in Ohio in 1880.  It basically was a book that contained a list of all the black or mullatto or other “colored” residents in the state of Ohio on the 1880 census.

Within that book, I found all of my Ohio lines and due to there not being many black people in Toledo itself in 1880, I also saw a entry which listed a Nancy and Ed “BOBISON” who had older children who matched the names of the older ROBINSON children mentioned above.

I wanted to scream at the library!!  It was soooo exciting for me to see them in this book!  I had almost given up on this line and just chalked it up to not having any other way to research them.

Upon reviewing the 1880 “BOBISON” family it showed that they lived in a house with a Mary JONES and her children, John and Francis JONES.  This was how I found an entire new generation of the JONES family detailed above.

I am currently trying to connect the ROBINSON and JONES families to see if they both lived in the Harrisburgh, PA area.  Hopefully it won’t take another 10 years to find a connection.


The Story of Mrs. Hannah Davidson – Former Slave/Toledo Resident

The second formerly enslaved person interviewed by the WPA (see The Story of Mrs. Julia King) was Mrs. Hannah Davidson. Mrs. Davidson was approximately 85 years old at the time of her interview in 1937. She was interviewed by a person identified as K. Osthimer.

At the time of her interview, Mrs. Davidson lived at 533 Woodland Ave. Below is a picture of her home obtained from the Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s “Images in Time” collection. This collection contains many pictures of homes, businesses, and neighborhoods in Toledo from the 1800s forward. Mrs. Davidson’s home was photographed between 1937 and 1965 and the photograph was a part of a tax assessor’s records.

Hannah Davidson House

UPDATE:  I recently found a picture of Mrs. Hannah Davidson at the google news archives website.  She is pictured with another woman who is labeled as the “oldest members” of an organization.  I am thinking they were the oldest members of Third Baptist Church:

Mrs. Davidson is on the right


In the narrative, it was shared that Mrs. Davidson lived off of a $23 a month “old age pension.”  She was a boarder and rented a room in her home.  Many black Toledoans rented rooms as boarders or rented out rooms in their home for extra income during this time period.

Mrs. Davidson stated that her maiden name was Hannah Merriwether and that she had four sisters and two brothers.  Her parents names were Isaac and Nancy Merriwether.  She was born in Ballard County, Kentucky in approximately 1852.  She and her family were the slaves of Emmett and Susan Merriwether.

Mrs. Davidson’s story is dramatically different from that of Mrs. Julia King’s being that Hannah Davidson’s family did not come to the Toledo area via the Underground Rail Road as runaway slaves.

Mrs. Davidson stated that her folks were sold so many times that she “lost track” of them.  She also mentioned that she and her sister  Mary were kept over twenty years after emancipation by their slave master as slaves because the master would not let them leave.  She spoke of how she desperately wanted to learn to read and go to school but that the one black man who came to her county to teach “colored” people was beaten and run out of town by whites.  Mrs. Davidson eventually learned to read by herself with the help of WPA programs in the 1930s.

Mrs. Davidson reiterated many times about how hard she had worked her whole life.  She spoke of how one time she was so tired that she hid under a house just to take a nap and go to sleep because she was exhausted.

She also mentioned that her mother was the last slave to try to leave the plantation.  Her mother tried to take Mrs. Davidson as well but their master would not let the mother take her children.  Her mother was kicked off the plantation and Mrs. Davidson never saw her again.  Later on in life Mrs. Davidson forced her own sister Mary to leave the plantation by threatening her with a rolling pin.

Mrs. Davidson mentioned that “terrible” things happened to herself and her sister Mary.  She did not go into detail but it is well documented that female slaves were highly likely to be sexually assaulted and abused.

When she was 31, Mrs. Davidson stated that she married her husband William L. Davidson.  She stated that at the time of the interview, she only had one grandchild still living – Willa May Reynolds who was a teacher in City Grove, Tennessee.

Mrs. Davidson was a member of Third Baptist Church in Toledo.

My favorite quote from Mrs. Davidson was “I believe we should all do good to everybody.”

The idea that she maintained such positivity throughout her lifetime is a testament to the human spirit and is indicative of black American culture in regards to strength in faith and hope for the future.

I was very saddened and inspired when initially reading Mrs. Davidson’s narrative.  It is also interesting to compare the two persons interviewed in Toledo – Mrs. Julia King and Mrs. Hannah Davidson.  Mrs. King’s family escaped slavery when she was a young girl and so Mrs. King did not have to live with the trials of this horrible institution like Mrs. Davidson.  Mrs. Davidson did not get the benefit of being educated and thus could not obtain employment such as that afforded by Mrs. King’s background and subsequent work for the local government.  Mrs. King owned her home while Mrs. Davidson rented a room in  her old age.  The contrasts between the two women really do show how oppression and forced servitude and a lack of freedom can drastically reduce the opportunity afforded to one in their life.

The Story of Mrs. Hannah Davidson


William DAVISON/DAVIDSON born 9/8/1865 died 3/10/1920 (familysearch.org – Ohio Deaths 1840-2001)

George DAVIDSON born 1898 in KY, lived in 1930 in Toledo, Ohio (familysearch.org – 1930 Census) son of Hannah DAVIDSON

Wanda DAVIDSON born 1915 in OH, lived in 1930 Toledo, Ohio (familysearch.org – 1930 Census) daughter of Hannah DAVIDSON

Hannah DAVIDSON born 1852 in KY, lived in 1930 Toledo, Ohio (familysearch.org – 1930 Census)

Helen DAVIDSON died 1/18/1928 in Toledo, Ohio (familysearch.org – Ohio deaths 1908-1953) wife of George Davidson



The Story of Mrs. Julia King – Former Slave/Toledo Resident

During my research and due to my interest in black history, I discovered the Federal Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) slave narrative collection about 15 years ago.

During “The Great Depression” of the 1930s, President Roosevelt created the WPA in order to put educated Americans, especially in the arts, back into the workforce due to the extreme unemployment and economic conditions faced by Americans during this era.

Luckily, the WPA took an interest in recording the lives of black Americans who were former slaves.  The year 1935 marked seventy years since the end of the Civil War.  Those persons interviewed by WPA workers were primarily in their 80s and 90s.  Some were centenarians (aged 100 or above).   Two individuals who lived in Toledo and who attended Third Baptist Church were interviewed – Julia King and Hannah Davidson.  Both of their interviews provide a wealth of information about slavery, escaping slavery, and black history in Toledo.

Mrs. Julia King was approximately 80 years old when she was interviewed in 1937.  She was the wife of Toledo’s first black police officer – Albert King picture below.

Albert King

At the time of her interview, Mrs. King lived at 731 Oakwood Ave.  A search on googlemaps shows that her house has been demolished as an empty lot is now at that address.

She spoke of how both of her biological daughters died, one as an infant and one at 13 years of age.  Black children in Toledo had high mortality rates in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  During the time of the interview, Mrs. King lived with her adopted daughter Elizabeth KING KIMBREW (KIMBROUGH).

In her interview she spoke of how she was the first black “colored juvenile officer” in the city of Toledo.  She worked in this position for 20 years.  The first 3 years she did it on a volunteer basis and was not paid for her work.

Mrs. King’s maiden name was Julia WARD.  She was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Samuel and Matilda WARD.  She had a sister named Mary WARD who was about 1.5 years older than she was.  Her parents were slaves in Kentucky.  Her father ran away via the Underground Railroad to Canada and left her mother, herself, and her sister in Kentucky.

Later, Mrs. King’s mother also decided to run away and join Samuel in freedom.  Mrs. King spoke of how her mother was happy that on the day that she planned to run away, Matilda’s mistress decided not to take Mary to the market with her.  The mistress usually had Mary accompany her to the market.  Matilda was prepared to run away and leave Mary behind, but due to the mistresses decision, she took both Julia and Mary to freedom.

They made it all the way to Detroit via boat and then went up to Windsor to meet Mrs. King’s father, who had been working there as a cook. They eventually settled in Detroit and she spent her childhood there prior to moving to Toledo.

In her narrative, Mrs. King also relates lots of information about the conditions faced by slaves on their plantation and about a song her mother sang to her.  The WPA had a specific list of questions that they were supposed to ask their interviewees and one was to ask them to sing a song from their childhood.  During the 1930s there was a large interest in black folk music for anthropological study and the interviews reflect this interest.

Mrs. King mentioned that she was a member of Third Baptist church and was drawn to the church due to them having a requirement of an “immersing baptism.”  She also mentioned that she was involved with national colored women’s clubs and had met Booker T. Washington and his wife and had heard a reading of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poems in Toledo.  Dunbar lived in Toledo for about a year while he was ill with tuberculosis, an extremely common disease in the late 19th and early 20th century.  He would eventually succomb to the condition as did many of my own family members.

I loved Mrs. King’s interview.  Mostly due to the wealth information obtained from her recount of the escape from slavery, a topic which is now a heavy focus for historical research.  I also loved that she seemed to come alive to me, mostly due to my favorite quote from her interiew when she was asked about Frederick Douglass (as mentioned a man I thoroughly love)

“The only thing I had against Frederick Douglas was that he married a white woman.”  LOL!  I thought it hilarious that she exhibited the same feelings many people have about interracial marriages even today amongst older black women.

That said, Mrs. King seemed like a formidable woman.  She had been through a lot and it is amazing to me that she went to the same church that my family attended.  I had read Mrs. King’s interview prior to my step great-grandmother passing away and asked her if she knew Mrs. King and Mrs. Davidson, another former slave interviewed in Toledo.  She said she knew of them at church and had seen both but didn’t know them personally since they were older members and she was just a young woman during this time period.  It is fascinating to me that she knew actual slaves and I knew her.  She only recently died in 2008.  This goes to show that we are not as far removed from slavery as we think we are.

The Story of Mrs. Julia King – Toledo Ohio


A review of records from www.familysearch.org showed the following in regards to Mrs. King’s listed family members from her narrative:

Mary WARD born appx 1856 in Kentucky, died in Detroit, MI in 1891 – listed parents were Samuel and Matilda WARD (Michigan Deaths 1800-1995)

Julia KING born appx 1856 in Kentucky, died in Toledo, OH in 1938 (one year after interviewed – they made it in time!) – listed parents were Samuel WARD and Matilda MACALVIN, listed spouse Albert KING (Ohio Deaths 1908-1953) buried at Forrest Cemetery

Albert McKinney KING born 1/21/1851 in Toronto, Canada, died in Toledo, OH 1934

Samuel WARD born appx 1830, died in Detroit, MI 1890 (Michigan Deaths 1867-1897)

Matilda WARD born 8/3/1844, died in Toledo, OH 1916 lived at 731 Oakwood Ave, buried at Forrest Cemetery (Ohio Deaths 1840-2001)

Marriage record of Betty(Elizabeth) KING KIMBROUGH (spelled KIMBREW in the narrative) married on 8/12/1935 to Samuel KIMBROUGH both were divorced at time of marriage and this was the second marriage for both parties

Marriage record of Elizabeth KING married on 9/14/1928 to John LYTLE.  This was the first marriage of both parties.  Elizabeth KING listed as 21 years of age at date of marriage.

Marriage record of Albert KING and Julia WARD married on 10/20/1875 in Toledo, Ohio


Part 2: Researching Black American Genealogy – Actively Researching

Free information you say! (I hear you state in your mind!)

Yes, free.

As stated earlier, I did start out on ancestry.com.  It is a wonderful site and  I never suggest people not utilize that site at all but there are a lot of free resources available that in my opinion are just as good as the pretty expensive ancestry.com service.

But before we delve into all that, the first step everyone should take when beginning to do genealogical research is to do what I did and badger your older relatives.

It doesn’t have to be annoying for them or invasive, as I’ve found older people don’t like to be bombarded with questions about who was “so and so’s” mom and dad or grandpa and what year they were born, etc.  If you can just get names and interesting stories out of your relatives about ancestors, that is a start.

I started out by asking my own grandmother and great grandmother if they knew their grandparents and what were their grandparents’ names and what sorts of things they did, churches they went to, best dishes they cooked, funny things my current relative remembered about them.  This is more respectful of your older relatives and more useful for your research in bringing your ancestors to life instead of just a name and dates of birth, marriage, and death.

Make a small family tree, hopefully back to at least your great grandparents and then go online to do more research based on the information you have compiled.

My favorite website for genealogical research is www.familysearch.org.

Family Search is a free online genealogical database.  They have much of the same data as ancestry.com but you don’t have to pay them for anything.  Everything is right at your fingertips.

If you want to use ancestry because they have great ads online and commercials then you should sign up for their free trial next.  I am one of those people who will set an alarm telling me to cancel before the deadline so that I am certain not to pay for anything.  If you chose to go the free trial way, be sure to do the same if you are not financially able to shell out hundreds of dollars a year for an online subscription.

If you want to use ancestry outside of the free trial or don’t want to do the free trial but still want to check them out then visit your local library.

Here in Toledo, I frequently visit our downtown/main branch.  The Local History Center is located on the 3rd floor and they have a WEALTH of information in that section of our library.  You also get free access to ancestry.com’s library edition along with other online genealogical databases like Heritage Quest.

If you don’t have a library card, get one.  Most libraries, including here in Toledo allow you to have free access at home to many of their genealogical databases!  Heritage Quest is free to use at home.  Familysearch.org many times won’t show actual images of census records, but Heritage Quest has all images and transcriptions of every Federal American census from 1790-1940.

I have actually come to a point in my research where most traditional online records are no longer useful for me.  Due to being black, there are very few records of our people prior to 1870 and the end of the Civil War.  There is information, but you have to really dig through a lot of online images and it can be VERY tedious as you cannot easily search by name many of the court records or newspaper records or even books that may have been written about the local area that feature your ancestors.

Since I am not utilizing as many online sources, I have branched out and become more of a library researcher.  I have been reviewing books about census records and recently had a great find that I will discuss on a later post while visiting a library in Chicago.  I am scourging through the microfilm newspapers at the Local History Center at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.  I have been contacting other libraries to request that they perform some research for me for a fee for distant ancestors who did not live in this area.

All that to say, research is a really fun hobby.  There is nothing like sitting at a standstill for months (and for me in some cases years) and then FINALLY finding a breakthrough that opens up more avenues of research.  For those starting out please be sure to view the “helpful links” and as long as you don’t ask me to create an entire tree for you, I’d even be willing to look up some local requests for ancestry research for you.


www.familysearch.org Family Search Website this site has been invaluable to me in regards to the wealth of information you can get from census data, marriage info, and death certificates from the State of Ohio.  There is a TON of great info on this site and it is completely free.

Toledo Lucas County Public Library Research Databases (this will get you to the page that shows all the biography and genealogical resources available from the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.  You can use their databases – all except ancestry.com – for free with your library card at home)

Hertiage Quest Online Heritage Quest provides all census data.  Be sure to go through the link above from the Toledo library in order to log in with your card and PIN so you can get free access.

WGTE Channel 30 Documentary A documentary called “Cornerstones:  The African Americans” about the black American community of Toledo, Ohio.


Part 1: Researching Black American Genealogy – How I got started

Many black Americans today are interested in learning more about the history of their families, including those of us here in Toledo.

I always have been a self-proclaimed “history nerd.”  Black history has always been a passion.  I grew up here in Toledo and am a product of Toledo Public Schools.  I felt that I received an adequate, “All American” education in our public school system even though many people here gripe about the state of TPS.  I recently moved back here to my hometown and being away for over 15 years has showed me that all in all, we have pretty good schools and the curriculum here is much better than other larger cities, especially in the southeast where I lived during my time away.

That said, I didn’t learn a lot about black history in TPS.  Mostly just during “Black History Month.”  During February, we primarily learned about the same people every year – Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and various sports figures like Jackie Robinson.  Only the “firsts” it seems were important during Black History Month.  I learned nothing of local black history until I saw a special on our local PBS station – Channel 30.  I didn’t grow up in the Central City.  I have been told that the schools in that area did focus more on black history but the majority of my school years were spent in the Old South End schools of Westfield, Jones Jr. High, and Libbey where I graduated from high school in the late 1990s.

Luckily I was a voracious reader.  I read “Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave” when I was around 9 or 10 years old and it made me obsessed with black American history.  I’ll speak on my odd love affair with the great Mr. Douglas at another time, I’m sure but we’ll save that for later.

I read every “narrative” I could find at our wonderful library system here in Toledo after reading Douglass’ book.  I read all I could on slavery in general.  I read about black people in America and the system of indentured servitude.  Everything was and is still pretty fascinating.

My mother made me watch “Roots” every year on TV and when I was around 12 or 13, I finally paid attention to it and became intrigued and wondered if I could find out about my own family and trace us back to Africa.

Unfortunately, like the majority of black Americans, my family was not aware of any old African ancestors.  We had no passed down Mandika  words.  So I began my research by badgering my older relatives about our family history.  I know I particularly got on my grandmother’s nerves while helping her remodel her home in the Old West End when I was a teenager.  She finally told me that many of the answers to my questions were “none of my business.”  But she did give me a couple picture books that belonged to her mother of which I still have in my possession.  And she told me of her parents lives and her grandparents who she remembered and even a great grandparent who she said was an “Indian.”  (Us black folks always have an “Indian in the family.”  This will be discussed later as well).

Luckily I was born during the internet age.  We got “America Online” service in my home on a black Hewlett Packard that I thought was super “techy” in 1995 or 1996.  I found a site that listed Ohio death certificates and looked up all the last names I had gathered from my maternal grandmother and my paternal great grandmother.  I found the Social Security Death Index.  I found a lot of different people but could not 100% connect them to my own family.

I found ancestry.com back when it was free and developed my first family tree around 1999 when I was 20 years old.  I went all the way back to the 1870 census on multiple branches of my tree which today is even more simple to accomplish given the large amount of free information available online for us to peruse.


Black In Toledo – An Introduction

I began this blog due to an interest in black American genealogy and local history pertaining to the Toledo area of Northwest Ohio.

I anticipate posting various items regarding my own genealogical research, interesting historical finds regarding black Toledo, and current events that I find interesting in relation to our local history.

Though the focus will be on Toledo and Northwest Ohio, due to the transient nature of black Americans from the 1800s to the mid 1900s, other locales will also be discussed regarding my own genealogical finds.

Hopefully others with an interest in the black history of this area will find the posts insightful and it will encourage other black Toledoans and black Americans in general to discover more about our rich, cultural past.