Mary Elliott owned slave John Donaho from at least 1818 until she died in 1864.
Sometime around the death of her husband, John Crenshaw Elliott, in 1827, her slave
John began a lifetime relationship with Winnie Brooks, the daughter of free African-American
Sarah Brooks (c1787-c1842) living nearby, probably on the plantation of neighbor
Daniel Lattimore (1875-1833). Sarah raised daughter Winnie and four sons, Jerry,
John, Nathaniel and Daniel while she likely lived in a slave cabin working for subsistence.
Brooks family lore tells that the father of Sarah’s children was a slave, perhaps
named Robert, on a nearby unknown plantation. Following in her mother’s footsteps,
Winnie had five children by Elliott slave John Donaho between 1827 and 1847. Though
we know very little about her slave father, we know much about her slave husband.
Winnie Brooks and John Donaho were legally married in 1873. John and Winnie, the
second of two Brooks odd couples pairing freewoman and slave, are buried together
in Brooks Chapel Cemetery.
I am looking for manumission records for John Dunaho in particular or any Elliott
records that document Elliott and Brooks interactions It is not known whether he
was freed at widow Elliott’s death in 1864, the Civil War in 1865 or perhaps earlier,
though it appears he was still legally an Elliott slave in 1860. Are thereElliott
papers, bibles or archives that might shed light on other relationships with the
free Brooks living nearby? Perhaps Winnie’s father was an Elliott slave, who sired
five children by bond-servant Sarah Brooks. Circumstantial evidence points to the
Elliotts or their neighbor, Daniel Lattimore, as yhe likely landlords for free woman
Sarah Brooks. The other may have been the owner of her slave husband. If you have
records or folklore that can shed light on these mysteries, please e-mail me by clicking
on the e-mail icon below.