Re: Garveys of Color
I have a connection to James GARVEY of SC. His neice was Elizabeth RITCH who married Archibald LONGWORTH of NJ.
My family goes back to Christopher RITCH/RICH whose dau. Elizabeth RITCH b. 1759 m. John SHOAKES/SHOKES in St James Santee Parish, Charleston Dist., SC.
The area where the families lived in the 1700s is in now-a-day McClellanville, SC (along the coast just below Georgetown).
I am led to believe that some of the RICH family later moved to the Beaufort, SC area (another coastal area).
I can understand how one may think that if their was a black ancestor in the family that they would most likelyhave been a slave, but not all blacks were slaves. There were free blacks and mullatoes, and there were some people listed as slaves which were actually members of white families. Before the Civil War mixed marriages were not recognized by the state of SC. Persons could be living as man and wife yet could not claim to be so under the law.
I mention this because I have a gggg-uncle that married a slave that was given to him in a will. In years to follow no other slaves were mentioned in this family, but several children followed. Yet, the wife and children had their relationship column left blank in one census. In future census they were listed as wife and children. All these children went to college around the mid 1800s.
From there some of these mullato children married white and othes blacks, or persons of mixed blood.
I have been unable to find a record of immigration for the RITCH/RICH family or the SHOKES. I did however find a Capt. RICH from the Bahamas, as well as other surnames that caught my interest. Since trade and travel between SC and the Bahamas was common during this same period it gives reason to investigate the possibilites.
In my SHOKES line there have been marriages of persons with mixed Indian blood, and possibly Portuguese or Spanish (CORTES). These mixed lines can be difficult to trace since many people often tried to pass as white. Indians did so to avoid being sent to the reservations. There was also a policy where the government gave land to Indian families if they chose to live as "whites" and give up their heritage rights. However, if they left this land it would be taken away from them. I know of one family that left to visit relatives and when they returned their land and possesions had been sold.
My point is that some blacks or people of mixed blood may have come to America as free people. Some 'whites' were mixed. Many blacks were not even black but listed as so on census just because of dark colored skin.
I know of one family line that was listed as white even though they were black, only because they were wealthy. I know of a white man who legally provided for his mixed children knowing that they would encounter others who would try to strip them of their wealth and position in life after his death. The children of this family became some of the wealthest 'black' slave owners in the country and were often refered to as being white.
Therefore, I do not rule out people listed of any color because it was not an exact science. One census taker's vision of dark skin may have differed from another's.
With this information it does make if difficult to tell which blacks were slaves who later took or were given their owner's surname. Other slaves took the last name of someone other than their owner or of important people or people of recognition.
WILLS and INVENTORIES are a great source of info concerning slaves. Also, newspapers listed the sale of slaves or info on runaways.
If you have or find any more info on James GARVEY of SC... please think of me.