GOODMAN IS A NAME that I have not encountered much in relation to the Chowanoke or Meherrin Indians of Gates County and environs, perhaps with good reason, the Goodman family was a major landholding one, and one of the larger slave-owning families too. How could they possibly be Indians?
In the 1790 census, Henry Goodman has 15 slaves. Joel Goodman has 11 slaves. William Goodman has 15 slaves. And Ann Goodman has no slaves and, indeed, one free person of color in her household. Albeit, the rest of this household of seven is reported as white.
And yet we find some other interesting names in deeds related to the Goodmans of Gates County.
126 – 28 Jan 1789 – Henry Delday to Henry Eborn Sears – 20 Pds. – 50a. – joining Joel Goodman, William Gatling, Isaac Pipkin and William Goodman. Henry Delday Wts: James Brady, Samuel Collans, Mary Brady
I have addressed the existence of mixed-race Dildays in Gates County, indeed, several of whom later moved with the Choctaw Indians to Oklahoma. The Bradys are a similar story. And, as you know, this blog is about the Collins family to a large extent.
Then there’s this record:
356 – 23 Jan 1792 – Henry Dilday to Amos Dilday – 20 Pds. – 50a. – joining Joel Goodman, William Gatling and Isaac Pipkin. Henry Dilday Wts: Teberious Pervis, Benjamin Cross, Timothy Rogers
I have also shown the Purvises to be of mixed race in the records. Specifically, someone named Tiberius Purvis appears in the 1820 Gates County census as head of a household of four whites and four other free.
Both of these deeds have this in common: Henry Dilday is deeding land, and it is witnessed by people from proven mixed-race families: Purvis, Collins, Brady. The Goodmans appear to be neighbors and entrenched landowners. But there is more to the story. In the 1850 US Federal Census for Gates County, one finds Whitmell Goodman, born 1801, as the head of a household of five. He and his wife, Sarah, born 1800, have three daughters: Sarah, Martha V., and Mary S. Whitmell, Sarah, and their daughter Sarah are listed as white. Martha and Mary are listed as mulatto.
Martha V. Collins later marries in 1858 Alexander Jones of Camden County. They moved by 1860 to Hertford County where they are shown to be living in Winton and are described as “white” in that year’s census. In most if not all subsequent records, Martha V. Jones’ “mulatto” status is forgotten and she is described as “white.”
I have not been able to trace this Whitmell Goodman. He appears in the 1830 census as the head of a household of five white and one other free. In the 1840 census, he he two other free females in his household. Perhaps Whitmell Goodman descends from the Amy Goodman of the 1790 census. Perhaps not.