Dear Ms. Wilson,
It appears as if you may already have a copy of James Dowdell, Sr.'s 1855 will in which he names slaves as parts of his bequests to his children--including the daughter Louisa (aged 15 in 1855) from whose slaves are descended some of your family. If you don't have that will, I have a copy and would be happy to send it to you by snail mail. (It's in a 1930's era typescript which would not scan very well.) I found it in the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), Chambers County reference shelves, as "Chambers County, Alabama, Wills, Vols. 1-3, 1818-1861." I'll look again in the same source when I go back to the ADAH and see if there is a will for Louisa Dowdell, particularly, but I suspect that the communal property laws of the day mean that her slaves became her husband's--if she married. She may also have recorded a will after 1861, a date beyond which this resource does not extend. I may be able to find out if she did indeed marry and to whom in my family records. The bequest to her is combined with that to a younger brother, Luther Martin Dowdell, who would have been only 12 years old in 1855.
Here are the names of the slaves inherited by Louisa as I can best decipher them from the irregularly punctuated lists. To Louisa I. (or J.?) Dowdell, he specifies "twenty two [slaves] in number," but I can't get the numbers to come out the same because of confusing punctuation, most likely. I get twenty-one:
Ellick and his wife Mary and their children: Chancy, Lorick, Asberry, Jim, Clarisey, and Selva (8 total);
Dick and his wife Silla and her children: Alfred, Lewis & Susan (5 total);
Shadrick and his wife Lucinda and their children: Eliza Jo, Henry & Lilas (5 total; if "Eliza" and "Jo" are names for two people, you can get the number to come out to the 22 specified in the will);
Dilley Ann & her two children: Freeman and an infant child
I'm a descendant of Louisa's sister, Susan Dowdell, my great-great-grandmother.
I hope this helps.
Andrew Dowdell (Lan) Lipscomb
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