French Family Association
The Official Website of the Surname French
French Family Slaveholders
of Mulatto, Creole, Colored, Quadroon, and Black Slaves
This page was updated by Mara French on 12/23/09. Send any corrections or additions to this chart to firstname.lastname@example.org. Revisions: 2009.
The 1850 U.S. Federal Census of Slave Schedules shows 564 slaves with slave owners who have the surname French. There were 97 slave owners in 1850. These slave were both male and female and lived in Alabama, Arkansas, WDC, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The majority of slaves of French families in 1850 lived in Virginia by far, probably due to the huge tobacco crops.
The last U.S. census slave schedules were enumerated by County in 1860 and included 393,975 named persons holding 3,950,546 unnamed slaves, or an average of about ten slaves per holder. The actual number of slaveholders may be slightly lower because some large holders held slaves in more than one County and they would have been counted as a separate slaveholder in each County. Excluding slaves, the 1860 U.S. population was 27,167,529, with about 1 in 70 being a slaveholder. It is estimated by this transcriber that in 1860, slaveholders of 200 or more slaves, while constituting less than 1 % of the total number of U.S. slaveholders, or 1 out of 7,000 free persons, held 20-30% of the total number of slaves in the U.S. The process of publication of slaveholder names beginning with larger slaveholders will enable naming of the holders of the most slaves with the least amount of transcription work.
Kentucky was a slave state, and blacks once comprised over one-quarter of its population.
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named ten specific states where it would apply. Kentucky was not one of those states. The ten affected states were individually named in the second part. Not included were the Union slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Kentucky. Also not named was the state of Tennessee, which was at the time more or less evenly split between Union and Confederacy.
For details, see Jamaican Slaveholders
Jane Charlotte Beckford was "a free mulatto woman” in Spanish Town, Jamaica, who was the long-term mistress of a George Ffrench. George must have been besotted by her and/or his young sons as he sent them to England for their education and had a Private Act of Parliament passed in 1784 giving her and his sons equal rights to those of wholly white parents. Quite unthinkable today! Jane Charlotte Beckford ran a lodging house in Spanish Town called "Miss Ffrench's" at the corner of Ellis Street and Whitechurch Street to which Lady Nugent sent guests. There is a Ffrench Street in Spanish Town.
For details, see FFA Chart #14.
Trina Robinson is trying to trace her family who originated in Kentucky and first traveled to Chicago from Mount Sterling, Montgomery Co., KY in 1866. Their names are Martin French (born roughly around 1815 in Kentucky), his wife Martha, and their children, David, Martin, John B., Seward, Luther, James and Peter. She says some family members returned briefly to Shelbyville, Shelby Co., KY in the mid-1880s. She is looking for families named French who might have been slaveholders.
Richard French was a slaveholder in Montgomery Co., KY in 1850, and he had 17 black and mulatto slaves. If Martin French was a slave in 1850, he would have been 35 years old.
Chart #14 is from Montgomery Co., KY. The French Family plot is located in Montgomery Co., KY between Mt. Sterling and Winchester, KY. James French was b. in 1756 in VA, and the family relocated to KY. James died there in 1835. You would imagine that a large change took place in 1866 causing the family to move to Chicago. James is in the 3rd generation of FFA Chart #14. His descendants in the 4th generation had mostly all died by 1866, and Catherine French of that generation had moved to IL. See Richard French of the fourth generation of FFA Chart #14 for mulatto and black slave records.
For details, see FFA Chart #36.
Third generation Hugh French, b. 1711 in Stafford Co., VA had 6 slaves to tend the tobacco fields. Daniel French had 5 slaves. Margaret French had 3 slaves. Elizabeth French had 4 slaves. Ann French had 3 slaves. Daniel had by far the most slaves of all French men in Virginia – 60 slaves in 160, only second to the number of slaves George Washington had. He leased some slaves to George Washington to work the land. See also the Second Generation, Sixth Generation, and the Records links.
For details, see FFA Chart #28.
The 1860 U.S. Census Slave Schedules for Yalobusha County, Mississippi (NARA microfilm series M653, Roll 604) reportedly includes a total of 9,531 slaves. This transcription includes 152 slaveholders who held 20 or more slaves in Yalobusha County, accounting for 5,993 slaves, or about 63% of the County total. The rest of the slaves in the County were held by a total of 569 slaveholders, and those slaveholders have not been included here.
For details, see FFA Chart #47.
Daniel French of Beaufort Co. had one slave, and Robert French of Chowan Co. had one slave.
I didn’t have time to do research on these pages, but if anyone finds anything significant about the French family, please let me know at email@example.com.