Will of Roderick M. McGregor d.1857

29 slaves were listed in an 1858 inventory of Roderick McGregor’s estate, with 8 more (including the Bowie family) added in a supplemental inventory in 1860.

1858 Inventory of slaves, estate of Roderick McGregor

1858 Inventory of slaves. Prince George’s County Register of Wills (Estate Papers) 1790-1855. Estate Papers of Roderick M. Magruder. MSA C2119-63.

Sam (1000), Jack (1000), Bill (1000), Tony (400), George (900), Henry (800), Ambrose (100), Jeff, his wife Adeline & five children (2100), Tom, Mary his wife & two children (2200), Otho (500), Warren (600), Esther (700), Pinkney, [Cloe? Celia?] his wife & two children (2200), Bob (900), John Henry (800), John Godfrey (1000), Basil (800), Ned (600)

From other sources we can add more information for many of these people. See also Runaways from R. McGregor for additional detail, including personal descriptions.

  • Jack Bowie (mulatto) b ~1837 (per runaway ad 1858). Jack was advertised for sale in January 1858 and sold by the time estate accounts were settled in 1860. Jack was a son of the elder William Bowie, below.. (See William & Matilda Bowie page.)
  • William (Bill) Bowie “slave of estate of R. McGregor” was drafted on 24 Sept 1864, at Ellicott’s Mills, per Baltimore Sun, 26 Sept 1864. This William was another son of the elder William Bowie.
  • Tom Vermillion (mulatto) b 1821-24 (per runaway ads in 1838, 1844, 1849). This surname goes back at least to the 1776 Maryland census, and appears in Upper Marlborough by 1780. Several worked as overseers (though I don’t know on which plantations), including Lawson Vermillion in Upper Marlborough in 1850.
  • Henry Buchanan (mulatto w/ yellow complexion) b ~1820 (per runaway ads 1838, 1844)
  • Hanson Shaw b~1828 (per runaway ad 1844). He was 5’5″, and his mother was owned by William Coats, who lived on the plantation of Thomas B. Crawford.
  • Anthony (Tony) Chase b~1816 (per runaway ad of 1844). He was  5.5” and had a scar on his right arm and foot “from childhood burns.” From medical bills in the estate papers, we know that Tony was often ill, which probably explains his low appraisal value. (See McGregor Plantation Medical Records.)
  • Ned Dodson b~1821 (per runaway ad of 1844). He was 5’4″, and had been purchased from the estate of Dr. Edelon, near Piscataway, in P.G. County. (See Dodsons among the Magruder-Hamilton slaves.)
  • Otho Berry slave of estate of R. McGregor” was drafted on 24 Sept 1864, at Ellicott’s Mills, per Baltimore Sun, 26 Sept 1864.
  • (Bob) Robert Turner slave of estate of R. McGregor” was drafted on 24 Sept 1864, at Ellicott’s Mills, per Baltimore Sun, 26 Sept 1864. (Jno H. Turner “slave of estate of R. Magruder” was drafted at the same time; I have not yet identified this Magruder estate. Possibly a mistake for R. McGregor?)
  • John Godfrey b~1837 (per runaway ad 1858)
  • Ambrose b ~1795 (per inventory of John S. Magruder, Roderick’s father, 1825; at that time had a wife & 4 children).
  • Basil (pos. Mullin or Mullen) b~1801 (per inventory of John S. Magruder, 1825) If it’s the same Basil, the appraisal is high for his age. Possibly a house servant, possibly one one of the skilled carpenters known to have been on Roderick’s plantation in the 1830s. See Mullen family page.
  • Esther b~1807 (per inventory of John S. Magruder, 1825) If it’s the same Esther, the appraisal is high for her age. Possibly a house servant, possibly a different Esther.
  • A John Henry from P.G. County appears on an 1890 Veteran’s Schedule. A boy John Henry was sold from the estate of Matilda Magruder in 1849, for $431, but it’s too common a name to draw conclusions.
* * * *
Roderick McGregor 1860 inventory: Bowie family

Additional inventory, 1660, the Bowie family. Prince George’s County Register of Wills (Estate Papers) 1790-1855. Estate Papers of Roderick M. Magruder. MSA C2119-63.

“Negrows” William 59 (800), Matilda 56 (350), Tom 15 (1000), Nat 13 (850), Margaret 9 (450). This family was manumitted one year after Roderick’s death. See William & Matilda Bowie page.
Roderick McGregor, additional inventory 1860: 3 names

Additional inventory, 1860, 3 names. Prince George’s County Register of Wills (Estate Papers) 1790-1855. Estate Papers of Roderick M. Magruder. MSA C2119-63.

Adam 18 (900), Milly 17 (750), Nancy 17 (750). Roderick received children named Milly and Adam from his father’s estate, in 1825, but clearly these are much younger.

* * * *

The total number of 37 is a close match for the 39 slaves declared on Roderick’s 1850 Slave Schedule. However, unless ages on one or both of the documents are wildly inaccurate, the population was not as stable as it appears. See Interrelations page for more discussion.

We have names for at least 4 more people who were held by Roderick McGregor at some point, but do not appear in the inventory.

  • Phill b~ 1811 (per inventory of John S. Magruder, 1825), purchased by Roderick from his brother Henry McGregor in 1835, the same year he brought William [Bowie] into the state. Phill was left to Henry in their father’s will.
  • Barney b~1822, also purchased from Henry McGregor in 1835.
  • Frederick Chapman b~1818 (per runaway ads 1838). Fred Chapman was 5’8″-5′-10″, “very black,” with a scar on his right collarbone. Along with Ned Dodson, he had been purchased from the estate of Dr. Edelon, near Piscataway, in P.G. County. Fred was advertised twice in 1838, then again in 1839, when Roderick McGregor heard that he might be working on some vessel on the Potomac River. Said to be fond of strong drink and to play the violin. There is no indication he was ever caught.
  • A doctor’s bill in the estate papers records an October 1857 visit to “Manuel.” (See McGregor Plantation Medical Records.) If this is the Manuel who appears in John S. Magruder’s estate in 1825, he was ~51 years old, and was missed on Roderick’s inventory. More likely, this Manuel is one of the children, a son of Jef & Adeline, Tom & Mary, or Pinkney & Cloe [?]. The name also occurs in the Magruder-Hamilton pages-Manuel Dodson, a “boy” in 1827, manumitted in 1854 if instructions in Elizabeth Magruder’s will were followed.
* * * *

Roderick McGregor’s will (signed 5 May 1856) left varying amounts of cash to his sister Ellen McGregor Ewell and to the children of his brothers Nathaniel and Henry. The remainder of his estate, including real estate and slaves, was left to Nathaniel’s teen-aged sons Francis and Roderick. The estate was settled in 1860. Receipts in the estate papers indicate that the plantation was managed by Nathaniel (as executor) and two overseers, John T. Sansbury and William H. Tucker. Sansbury signed his receipt; Tucker signed by mark, witnessed by A.M. Ewell.

All indications are that people working on the plantation remained there until the war. In 1864, some of the men were drafted by the Union army, and it’s possible others also joined the army voluntarily. Nathaniel, the executor, did not file for reparations after emancipation, so there is no slave list from 1864. The younger McGregors farmed in P.G. County at least into the late 19th c., so some people may have stayed on (or returned) to work for them.

  • On the 1880 census, Roderick McGregor (younger) lived in close proximity (2 households away) from his mother Susan (widow of Nathaniel). In Roderick’s household is a black servant, Martha Williams, 16 years old. Other young people named Williams are servants in the household of Roderick’s mother-in-law, Margaret Weems Somerville Bowie, widow of Richard W. Bowie.
  • Several black families surround (and fall between) these two McGregor households. Their surnames are Coates, Addison, Fletcher, and Simms. Only one or two are old enough to have appeared on the elder Roderick’s 1858 or 1860 inventories, and their names do not match any here. (Of course, we don’t know the first names of most of the children on the inventories.)
  • See Will of William Mordecai Bowie & Addison Family pages.

* * * *

Archives of Maryland:

Prince George’s County Register of Wills (Estate Papers) 1790-1855. Estate Papers of Roderick M. McGregor. MSA C2119-63.

Prince George’s County Register of Wills (Estate Papers) 1789-1831. Estate Papers of John S. Magruder. MSA C2119-60-3.

General Assembly (Laws), 1834-1835, Session Laws 1834, Chapter 316, MdHR 820916, 2/2/6/14, An act to allow Roderick McGregor… to bring into this State, a negro man herein named, passed 21 March 1835, reproduced as Archives of Maryland  Vol. 541, p395 (accessed 18 Nov 2011).

U.S. Census:

1840 U.S. Census, Prince George’s County, combined population & slave schedule, Maryland, 3rd District, (Marlborough), p4, dwelling/family 5, family of Roderick McGregor, digital image, Ancestry.com  (accessed 18 Nov 2011).

1850 U.S. Census, Prince George’s County, Maryland, population schedule, Marlborough District, page 76, dwelling 554, family 554, Roderick McGregor, digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 18 Nov 2011).

1850 U.S. Census, Prince George’s County, slave schedule, Maryland, Marlborough district, pages not numbered, household of Roderick McGregor, digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 21 Nov 2011).

1860 U.S. Census, Prince George’s County, slave schedule, Maryland, Marlborough district, p75-76, household of Roderick McGregor, digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 21 Nov 2011).

1880 U.S. Census, Prince George’s County, Maryland, 3rd District, Upper Marlborough, p6-7, dwelling 45, family 45, family of Roderick M. McGregor, digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 18 Nov 2011).

Other sources:

Michael Hait, transcriber, “Prince George’s County, Maryland, Military Service Records,” name list from “The Draft in Maryland,” The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore MD, 26 Sept 1864, p1, Genealogy Trails (accessed 2 Dec 2011).

Sources of runaway ads listed on Runaways from R. McGregor page.

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