Archive for December, 2009

Battle of the Alamo Has Ties to Wessyngton Plantation

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Joseph George "Alamo Joe" Washington 

The history of the Alamo is an important part of American history and American lore.  Joseph George Washington was a participant in the defense of the Alamo.

Joseph was the son of Andrew Washington, brother of Joseph Washington, who founded Wessyngton Plantation.  He was born in 1808 and lived in Robertson County, Tennessee.  Joseph was described as a striking, tall figure, about six feet high, tolerably stout build, tolerably dark complexion, dark eyes and dark hair.

In 1833, Joseph George sold his uncle a slave Joe.  In December of 1835, he sold three more slaves to his brother Richard Washington for $830, before he travelled west to Texas.  We do not know why Joseph joined in the fight for the Alamo.  It could have been that the Republic of Texas offered land to men who helped win its independence from Mexico.  Another reason could have been he was seeking an adventure as he went with other young men from Tennessee and nearby Kentucky.

In 1836, during the 12 day siege by Mexican troops under the command of Santa Anna, Joseph George Washington was killed.  Within the Washington family and Alamo lore he became known as “Alamo Joe.”

Ann Nixon Cooper 1902-2009 Tribute

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I was deeply saddened upon learning that my dear friend Mrs. Ann Nixon Cooper had passed away at her home on Monday evening.

I first became acquainted with Mrs. Cooper in 1996, when she was 94 years young through my genealogical research on Wessyngton Plantation, which she also had family ties to.

Mrs. Cooper was a very beautiful person and I treasured our friendship over the years.  She was always very loving and kind when I visited her and also very helpful in providing me with information. 

Mrs. Cooper lived a very long, productive and interesting life.  I loved to listen to stories about her childhood in Tennessee and her adult life in Atlanta. She was so sharp it was hard to believe that she was more than 100 years old.

Mrs. Cooper became known worldwide last year when CNN television news chronicled her voting early for then Senator Barack Obama.

Although Mrs. Cooper became well known for voting for President Obama, she led a very interesting life before then which is told in her forthcoming book A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name.

I will truly miss my dear friend.

With Love,




Nat Turner’s Rebellion of 1831

Monday, December 21st, 2009

 Click to see an enlarged picture

In 1831, Nat Turner led the largest slave rebellion in the history of the United States.  Turner, born in 1800 in Jerusalem, Southampton County, Virginia.  Wessyngton Plantation’s founder Joseph Washington lived in Southampton County before he came to Tennessee.  Many of the slaves on Wessyngton Plantation were brought by Joseph to Tennessee. 

In Virginia, Turner, a self-proclaimed Baptist minister, was known as “The Prophet” to the enslaved African Americans and often conducted services for them.  He claimed to be given visions by God, and that he was ordained to lead his people to freedom. Unlike most slaves and many whites, Turner was able to read and write. 

Turner’s group of followers was composed of more than 50 fellow slaves and free blacks.  During the insurrection of 1831, the group went through the countryside of Southampton County killing 55 men, women, and children.  The insurrection lasted for two days before the local militia put it down.  Turner and several of the leaders were executed; others were transported out of the area.

The Turner rebellion put fear in the hearts and minds of slave holders throughout the South, which led to laws further restricting the activities of enslaved African Americans and free blacks. 

The revolt influenced the Tennessee legislature to pass laws in 1831 that prevented more free blacks from entering the state.  Any person emancipating a slave had to send him out of the state.  When the new constitution in Tennessee was written in 1834, free blacks were denied voting privileges.