24 Miles:  Slavery, Civil War, the Woodsmalls and After

Oldham County:  James William Woodsmall

James William Woodsmall moved from Simpson’s Creek in 1805,  first to Brashear’s Creek, north of Taylorsville, in Spencer Co., where  he purchased 51 acres.  In 1814,  James William purchased 373 acres on  Floyd’s Fork, in La Grange, Oldham Co.  Census data indicates James  William Woodsmall of Oldham County was not a slave owner.

 James Woodsmall, son of James William and Sarah Eldridge  Woodsmall married Sarah Mount  October 28, 1830.  The Mount family were slave owners.  James Woodsmall died suddenly in 1838 in a wagon accident, leaving Sarah Mount Woodsmall with five small children whom she placed with various relatives.   Those relatives included her brother, John Clayton Mount.  The 1850 census for Oldham Co. shows Sarah living at the Woodsmall farm with her unmarried sister Polly, her brother Thomas and his wife, Emma,  and her daughter Harriet and son-in-law, James Ballard, and their child Charles Ballard.  The 1850 Slave Schedule for Oldham Co., also shows Sarah Mount Woodsmall as owning two male slaves, ages 51 and 60 and one female slave, aged 31.  John Clayton Mount is listed as owning 25 slaves.  Charlotte Woodsmall Mount Dowden, who was married to Sarah and Robert Clayton’s brother, Amos Mount, is, in 1850, married to Nathaniel Dowden.  

 This complex picture of the Woodsmalls and Mounts is important in two respects.  First,  the children of  James and Sarah Mount Woodsmall and the children of  Amos  and  Charlotte Woodsmall Mount, all lost their fathers at a young age (in 1838 and 1841 respectively).  All the children were raised by and around slaves at the homes of  Sarah Mount Woodsmall and John Clayton Mount.  Despite this upbringing,  John Charles Woodsmall (son of James and Sarah Mount Woodsmall) and Amos Mount (son of Amos and Charlotte Woodsmall Mount Dowden) not only rejected slavery, both fought for the Union in the Civil War.

The second impact of this interaction would come with the emergence in 1852 of a line of African American Woodsmalls, apparently connected to the slaves of Sarah Mount Woodsmall whom she may have freed before the war.


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24 MILES:   Main Index Page

Shelby County:   George Lasley Woodsmall, Senior and Junior

Jefferson County:  John Woodsmall and sons, Stephen May & Henry May Woodsmall


Copyright © 2005 Donald Murphy for David Dlouhy.  All Rights Reserved. David Dlouhy - scificity@starpower.net