Therefore, I decided I would make a form on the order of the
original page but with five columns. I would incorporate
pertinent data from the original record into these five columns.
Over the years as people asked me to seek information concerning
their slave ancestors, I would look in the SLAVE STATISTICS
first. Each time that I used the reference I would copy a few
pages. I finally put all of the pages in numerical order and
found that I had transcribed over three-fourths of the book.
Then, why not copy the rest of the book and insert an index. In
this manner, the book would be assessible to everyone, and this
is what I did. This copy would be especially valuable to those
whose ancestors were slaves. It would be also valuable to those
seeking the name of the slave owner.
After several trips to the State Archives and continued
reading and examining each page, I finally came to a page
on which I came face to face with the names of some of my
ancestors. I carefully read the names one by one. There were the
names of William, Frank, Matilda, Temperance, Alice, Ellen, all
Canes. Altogether, there were 12 Canes listed. These were my
ancestors, these were the folks that I had been seeking. There
was the name of Dr. Walter Hanson Briscoe, the owner of a large
plantation named Sotterly and the owner of 53 slaves. Here were
the names of my ancestors, written boldly and legible for
everyone to see. Here were slaves identified in official records
with a surname. This was overwhelming.
The first name I came across was George Cane, age 20 and his
brother Frank Cane, age 17. These were some of the same names
that my father told me that his father relayed to him. In fact,
some of the names of the 12 Canes listed as being slaves of Dr.
Walter Hanson Briscoe, my father knew when he was a child. Frank
Cane, his father's brother and the father of Julia Kane Jordan,
(1900-1993) died in 1928. My father.knew him well.
I turned two more pages and there under the ownership of
Chapman Billingsley, the Judge of the Orphan's Court of St.
Mary's County were the names of more Canes. From this point on I
felt that I must let others know that they can find their slave
ancestors. So I continued to gather notes on slaves in some
cases entire families. I always noted the page number so that I
would not have to look all over the book when I wanted to refer
back to a particular name. Persistently, I compiled page after
page of data and shared it with whomever asked for assistance.
This book is definitely a major research tool for anyone who has
ancestral "roots" in St. Mary's County, Maryland.