A Slave No More

On a recent trip to San Francisco for a conference I attended, I was in a bookstore in Oakland, CA and picked up this book by David W. Blight, A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation.


I bought the book because one of the men profiled in the book is named Wallace Turnage.  Wallace was born August 24, 1846 in Greene County, North Carolina. His parents were a slave named Courtney and a white man named Sylvester Brown Turnage.  Sylvester was the stepson of Courtney’s slaveholder, Levin Turnage.  I was interested in the book because Blight used historical and genealogical research to add context to Wallace’s narrative.

Wallace was sold away to Richmond, Virginia by 1860, so his time in NC was brief, but I still had to get the book.  His mother Courtney married Louis Hart and had four more children.  In fact, I was able to quickly locate the Freedman’s Bank Record for his brother Nelson Hart.   In the bank record, Nelson indicates he was born in Pitt County and that his father Louis was deceased by now (1874) though his mother Courtney, is still alive. He lists as his siblings Wallace Turnage, along with siblings Daniel, Annie & Peggy.

U.S. Freedmen Bank Records, 1865-1874. FamilySearch-Record Search

Wallace also had several entries in the database for his own bank account. On his from 1871 in Maryland, he lists his mom and siblings Nelson, Daniel & Siah.

U.S. Freedmen Bank Records, 1865-1874. FamilySearch-Record Search.

Though Wallace would spend his adult life outside the state, I’m sure he must still have relatives in state.  I look forward to learning more!