One of my fav finds in Black Ancestry Research

However, slaveholder Nathaniel Ford, an influential settler and legislator, kept them in bondage until 1850, even then refusing to free their children. Holmes took his former master to court and, in the face of enormous odds, won the case in 1853.

Breaking Chains

Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory

R. Gregory Nokes

“When they were brought to Oregon in 1844, Missouri slaves Robin and Polly Holmes and their children were promised freedom in exchange for helping develop their owner’s Willamette Valley farm. However, slaveholder Nathaniel Ford, an influential settler and legislator, kept them in bondage until 1850, even then refusing to free their children. Holmes took his former master to court and, in the face of enormous odds, won the case in 1853.

In Breaking Chains, R. Gregory Nokes tells the story of the only slavery case ever adjudicated in Oregon courts—Holmes v. Ford. Drawing on the court record of this landmark case, Nokes offers an intimate account of the relationship between a slave and his master from the slave’s point of view. He also explores the experiences of other slaves in early Oregon, examining attitudes toward race and revealing contradictions in the state’s history. Oregon was the only free state admitted to the union with a voter-approved constitutional clause banning African Americans and, despite the prohibition against slavery, many in Oregon tolerated it, and supported politicians who were pro-slavery, including Oregon’s first territorial governor.

Told against the background of the national controversy over slavery, Breaking Chains sheds light on a somber part of Pacific Northwest history, bringing the story of slavery in Oregon to a broader audience.” — by the Oregon State University Press

Oregon State University Press
121 The Valley Library
Corvallis, OR 97331
541-737-3166
Book Order: 1-800-621-2736

Email: osu.press@oregonstate.edu

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I am a curious, dedicated genealogist who began my adventure at age 10 by asking questions about my family’s ancestors. Five decades later, I am taking my research to a new level. Stay tuned.

Author: Our family histories

Our genealogy traces the family from western and central Africa and western Europe. Our ancestors entered the United States at the Virginia and Georgia Ports. . First cousins Mark Owen and Ann Lineve Wead (it is protocol to use the maiden names of females in genealogy searches). Although Ann has been involved in genealogy research while searching for certain ancestors since the age of 10, the cousins began deeper research of their families during the COVID-19 Pandemic Year of 2020. Devoting as much as 6 hours some evenings to the methodical training and research of genealogy, the cousins completed their year by becoming certified in the growing field of Genealogy. Join us. Sign up for our blog and enjoy the journey.

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