Discovery of California Professor's Shared Ancestry with Obama Leads to Research Part III

Professor Hicks, who shares Melungeon ancestry with President Obama, discusses a mixed ancestry servant, Mary Chilton Monroe, who worked in the household of the great-grandfather of President James Monroe (1758- ) and Obama's link to Edwin Conway.
Sept. 24, 2011 - PRLog -- Mary Chilton Monroe worked in the household, as an indentured servant, of the great-grandfather of President James Monroe (1758-  ).  Paul Heinegg's research shows that many (the overwhelming majority) of families in FPC were formed by white servant women and African American men rather than white slave-owners and African American slaves.  Viewed from this perspective, the case of Lydia Hilliard was not unusual in the formation of FPC communities.  The circumstances that created different life courses for Lydia Hilliard and Elizabeth Bushrod as well as their off-spring, despite the fact that they both form part of FPC communities, may have to do with the social class of their immediate ancestry as well as religious factors (Elizabeth Bushrod's descent from a Bushrod with links to Quakers).  Lydia Hilliard was a white servant, working before the American Revolution when white servants were treated severely.  In North Carolina at this time, beating a white servant to death was not a crime.  It can be surmised that Hillard's parents were poor.  One or both may have worked as servants themselves.  Elizabeth Bushrod was the daughter of Captain Richard Bushrod (1626-  ).  The Bushrods are discussed in David Underdown's Fire from Heaven (Yale).  The Bushrods in Dorchester, England, were wealthy.  After Richard Doggett, son of Rev. Benjamin Doggett (the Doggett family was wealthy) died, Elizabeth married Charles Chilton.  Although Hicks has not discovered the relationship  between this Charles Chilton and the John Chilton (1666-   ) who married Mary Ball, they may be related;  they were contemporaries.  John Chilton (1666-  ) was a descendant of John Chilton and Catherine Heneage.  Acording to Wills, Mary Chilton Monroe, the daughter of Lydia Hilliard, “married” (in a legally unrecognized marriage) William Monroe, Jr.  When their daughter, Mary Bowden, was born, she was dark-skinned.  The court system forced a thirty year indenture on her.  Mary Bowden may have had a child with a Tapp (Dominic Tapp Bowden).  This may be where the Hillard-Monroe-Bowden line meets the line of Sarah Ann Doggett.  Both Sarah Ann Doggett and her sister Elizabeth Doggett had children with a Tapp, possibly the same Tapp (William Tapp).  
The line established by Sarah Ann Doggett's illegitimate child, Bushrod Doggett, produced Nancy Doggett (1791-  ), his daughter, who married David Moseley in 1823.  Nancy Doggett's illegitimate son, Loveless Doggett, was a victim of a forced indenture.  He and Moseley are listed in Karin L. Zipf's Labor of Innocents.  Zipf does not used the euphemism “vocational training” in her analysis.  Forced indentures were common among poor families.  If parents were considered to be unfit, children could be placed in forced indentures.  In addition, FPC parents had to worry about their children being kidnapped and sold into slavery.  Despite the very different backgrounds of Lydia Hilliard and Elizabeth Doggett, they form part of a rhizomatic set of relationships linking the Monroe, Washington, Chilton, Ball, Bushrod, Kenner and Blackwell families.  In this Melungeon Bushrod line being formed, one that includes Sarah Ann Doggett, a Bushrod descendant, and that will lead to the Sand Mountain Melungeons in northern Alabama, divisions of ethnicity/race and social class are fluid.  
If Mary Bowden (1730-   ), daughter of Mary Chilton Monroe, had been born light-skinned, perhaps the marriage would have been legally recognized, and she would have been absorbed into the Monroe family.  George Washington's grandmother, Mary Montagu Johnson, had worked as a housekeeper for the Ball family before marrying his grandfather, Joseph Ball.  Joseph Ball was a contemporary of John Chilton's and William Monroe's.  He was seventeen years older than John Chilton.  
Anti-miscegenation laws, the shifting color line, the replacement of white servants with African American slaves, the resistance of Mary Bowden to her condition (she ran away more than once) were just some of the factors that interacted to produce the differing outcomes in the lives of Mary Bowden and her descendants in relation to Sarah Ann Doggett and her descendants.  Wills' research has uncovered that when Patty, the daughter of Mary Bowden, completed her thirty year indenture, she left with her child.  This arrangement was in recognition of her service to the family.
   Edwin Conway, grandson of President Obama's ancestor Edwin Conway, Sr. and Martha Eltonhead, married Ann Ball.  The Doggett, Ball, Washington and Bushrod families were intermarried.  Mary Ball was the mother of President George Washington.  Ann Ball and Mary Ball were half-sisters.  Those interested in mixed ancestry can begin their own research in relation to these well-known families.  Further information about Melungeons can be found on the web site of the Melungeon Heritage Association.

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The Border Institute for Advanced Studies is a research institute focussed on the following: borders, including geopolitical and cultural borders; minority and mixed ancestry populations, ethnic studies, Deleuze and complexity science;
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Page Updated Last on: Sep 26, 2011
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