This is my first "Firend of Friends" post and it focuses on the only direct line of mine that I have evidence for that they owned slaves.
The pattern of the last couple of years (since I have begun doing research into the Wellons' slaves) is that I start looking for the slaves that worked the Wellons plantation in Kentucky, I get a little ways and then boom, nothing. Last summer I got a little glimmer of information, however. I went to the Mt. Shasta area where my Wellons family settled and found a biography for my third great-grandfather, John Chappel Wellons (written by his grandson). It said that while the family lived in Kentucky they had twelve slaves, that they freed them before Lincoln told them to but that the former slaves "wouldn't leave."
I wanted to see if the claim that they "freed their slaves before Lincoln told them to" was true or not and, thankfully, it was. By the 1850 census, I can find no record of any slaves associated with John Chappel Wellons. It was also in that year that the family left Kentucky and went west to Illinois. I've tried to track the slave history for the family and this is all I've found so far:
In 1810, Henry "Weldon" (which I'm sure is Henry Wellons, John Chappel's father) had six slaves, John Chappel would have been five years old.
In 1820, Henry "Willings" (a frequent early alternate spelling for Wellons) had 2 male slaves 14-26, 1 male 26-44, two females 14-26, one female 26-44 and one female 45 and up. John Chappel would have been 15.
1830 Census, Henry has eight, four males and four females. John Chappel would have been 25, but I think he was still living with Henry.
Henry died around 1840 and does not appear in that census. John Chappel is listed but I can't find any slaves associated with him. Hopefully, John Chappel freed them after Henry's death.
But, I haven't been able to find any of those freed slaves in Kentucky (assuming they used the Wellons surname, or any other variation on that name). There were two free men of color living together near the John Chappel Wellons family in the 1850 Census and I am pretty sure were former slaves of John Chappel:
Isam Wellens, b. circa 1805 in Kentucky; living in Pulaski Co., KY in 1850
Joseph Wellens, b. circa 1811 in Kentucky; living in Pulaski Co., KY in 1850
For an idea as to how big Henry's property was, he appears in Kentucky Land Grant records on 18 Sep 1798 as the grantee of 200 acres in Lincoln Co. (Pulaski Co. was formed from Green and Lincoln Co. on 10 Dec 1798). I have no idea what was farmed on that land.
If anyone out there does have any information on the slaves of either the John Chappel or Henry Wellons plantation in Pulaski Co., Kentucky PLEASE either post it online or give it to me to post. Don't sit on the information or try and ignore this part of your family tree. Thank you.