Saint Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, LA

Today, after another great breakfast cooked by Gene, we ventured to Saint Francisville, LA. It's about 30 minutes north of Baton Rouge, LA. We set out there to see if we could find information on our earliest traceable ancestors via slave sales with the Balfour family, who is who we think was the last slaveholder of our earliest traceable ancestors.

When first got there, I noticed a sign for a historic place that had the same name as the area that the Balfour family lived in during the 1820 US Census. It's called Bayou Sara. When we pulled over to take a picture of the sign, we noticed that the street that Bayou Sara was on was the same name as my last name. Of course, there is no irony in that!

Unfortunately, we did not find any transactions regarding slaves with the names King or Rachel. However, we did locate a free woman of color who made a land purchase in or around 1825 who was named Priscilla Balfour. We tried to find a manumission or emancipation document for her, but had no luck. It was amazing that she was a free woman of color during that period of time, especially in that area because it is known historically for being pretty racist.

We also located a conveyance record for Sarah Atlas, who married William Steven Atlas, Sr. She and her sister owned land in Saint Francisville, LA. In their land transcation, we found out that Sarah's maiden name was Hewlett. We have no idea how she got to Lake Providence or what the tie was to Saint Francisville, but we figured that this could possibly be a clue. The land transaction took place in or around 1909. We were able to confirm that she did not marry William Steven Atlas, Sr. in West Feliciana Parish.

The only conveyance record we found the mentioned slaves, was for a sheriff's sale that was conducted when William Balfour defaulted on a loan. The land he had, as well as 13 slaves were sold at auction. The names of the slaves were listed, but none matched our earliest traceable ancestors or had ages listed.

I forgot to mention that yesterday, while at the Louisiana State Archives, I was looking through tax records for Carroll/East Carroll Parish. I saw that from at least 1873, King Atlas, Sr., King Atlas, Jr., John Atlas and Andrew Atlas all owned land. I didn't find anything for William Steven Atlas, Sr., but I did find records for someone named Simon Atlas. He lives in the Stamboul area of East Carroll Parish. He may be a brother or cousin of King, John, Andrew and William. I'll be following up on him as much as I can at the East Carroll Parish Clerk of Court. We found him on the 1870 Census listed as Simon Allis, and then later his widow as Ann Ellis in 1880, and then in 1900, his son Simon as Simon Allen. Based upon his age on the 1870 Census, he would have been born about 1830 in Tennessee. That would make him older than all of King and Rachel's children and also born in a completely different state.

From here, we will be traveling to the Clerk of Court in East Carroll Parish, LA.


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