The old Milford Plantation house
In 1850 a rare photograph was taken of two of the many slaves that worked at the Milford Plantation. According to the South Caroliniana the photo was taken in 1850, but I believe the photo was taken around 1860. They say the picture is of Mammy and Uncle Ben. The names given to the slaves were always given as Mammy or Auntie and Uncle. Uncle Ben was actually Benjamin Pleasant and Mamy Ann was Ann Johnson. Ann appears in the St. Mark's Church Confirmations; Servant of Hon. J. L. Manning, dated March 22 1863. Ann Johnson and her husband Thomas Johnson are buried at the Zion Hill A.M.E. Church, located on the Milford Plantation. Thomas Johnson was born 1834 and died 1910. Ann Johnson was probably born about the same time and died in 1919. The inscription on her headstone reads: "Known and loved for her many years at Milford in memory as Mamy Ann."
Ben's wife was Henrietta, also known as Hetty. Hetty was a servant in the household of J. L. Manning. She appears in the Baptisimal records at St Marks, having been baptised September 13 1863. Ben was born about 1826 in Virginia.
The Milford Plantation was built in 1839 by John Laurence Manning.
John Laurence Manning was born about 1816 and died 1889. Governor Manning was the States 37th Governor and served from 1852 to 1854. After reconstruction, Ben and his family remained on the plantation until the death of Governor Manning. Ben was the trusty body servant of J. L. Manning, and Hetty was probably the maid servant to Mrs. J. L. Manning.
The caretakers of the then Manning Plantation lived in a little white house just a short distance away from the big house. A small wooden house just a few yards away was where Ben and his family resided. Both houses still stand today. Bens former home is used as a storage place, but the outside still has the aura of old slavery days.
Not much has change since then, in terms of appearances. Time seems to have just stood still. Time and money has been able to recapture its past, and hold it in its grip. The presence of times gone by, still linger in the air. The only missing element is the presence of the slaves that have come and gone, who have made our existence possible. Not even the cemetery bears the relics of those days. The only clue left behind are the grave markers. Most of them without a name or date to signify that they ever existed. That they bore the scars or the harshness of slavery. That they worked from sun up to sundown and sometimes even beyond that. That they endured the greatest penalty of all time, servitude and bondage. The pains, the hardships, the scars long since forgotten, should be remembered by their descendants. Time has not been able to erase the fact that slavery existed, or that our ancestors were taken from their mother land so many rains ago. The knowledge of their greatness, stripped away and hidden for all time and eternity.
"A seed was planted, and from this will a tree grow"
"Heben oh Heben"
The plow still stands rusting in the field
The land they slaved in, still cotton yields
Their hopes of a future, they knew theyd never see
Why is this so important, to you and to me.
When a child was born, the whole place knew
"Whose massa gonna sell"
Is it me
Or is it you
Oh heben, oh heben.
Some worked their fingers to the bone,
Some raised their children, all alone
Some lived, some died
At night the mothers, silently cried
Oh heben, oh heben.
But freedom came, across the land
When the Lord stepped in, to lend a hand
The promised land, the promised land
Oh lord please take me to the promised land.
Oh heben, oh heben.
- emilys tribute-
The Elizabeth Cemetery, as it is called today bears many of the scars that they bore for us. There are at least 150 graves in that spot with maybe 49 known markers. Many with just a firstname. Many with just initials. Patcy Pleasant, the daughter of Benjamin and Hetty was given such a marker. Her grave site bears the brunt of those days long since forgotten. Although she passed on before the going got rough, she knew slavery very well indeed. Patcy was born in 1869 and died at the young age of 15 years, in 1884. Her life was craved, but God denied. The Elizabeth Cemetery bears many stone rectangular slabs with no identity, or implied life. Many times the headstone carries the only written record of a persons life. Those that were given a slab stone, were probably given a very hasty retreat from the misery of those times we seek knowledge of.
Hetty Pleasant has a beautiful headstone that appears to have been placed well after her departure from that world she knew so well in her 75 years. Her stone stands tall and proud as she must have towered above the best. Hetty born 1827 and died October 17 1902. Her inscription reads " The loving wife of Benjamin Pleasant, sleep on a little, and be at rest forever".
Ben and Hetty were the parents of the following children:
Zelia born 1848, Benjamin born 1853, Anthony born 1858, Dinah born 1861, Eliza born 1863, Robert born 1868 and Patsy born 1869.
1870 census, Ben is listed on page 440.
1880 census E. D. 116 sheet 4 line 41, in Manchester Township
1900 census E. D. 6 living in the Township of Fulton.
1910 census Ben was listed as 94 years old and a widower.
Of Benjamins children I have been able to follow Benjamin Jr. born 1853. He was listed in the 1870 census page 440 living in the household of Thomas C. Richardson, Planter. Benjamin was 17 years old.
Patsy born 1869 died at the age of 15 in 1884.
In my possession, I have two death certificates for another son of Benjamin Sr, Abraham Pleasant. Abraham was born in 1850 and died January 14 1919. Abraham was married to Polly, who was born about 1849. The death certificate #s for Abraham is # 3869 and #855. They both state that Abrahams father was Benjamin Pleasant, one states that the mother was Emma Coleman and the other states the mother was Emma Stevenson. The one that has Emma Coleman says he was buried at New Hope, the other states that he was buried in the Manning Cemetery. Abraham was buried at Zion Hill A.M.E., on the Milford Plantation, also called the Manning Cemetery. The headstone was probably placed there some years after he died. The headstone has his date of death as February 4 1919 and the death certificate has the date as January 14, 1919. The discrepancies in the certificates is as follows: Emma Coleman and Emma Stevenson are one in the same and someone must have amended the certificate afterwards. Coleman appears to have been the maiden name of Abrahams mother, for according to the 1880 census, Abraham is living in the household with his mother, Emma Stevenson, widow, age 63 years old. E. D. 15 sheet 3 line 28. Next door to them is his brother James Stevenson and his family. James age 23, his wife Ellen age 22 and their children, Abram, George and an infant that was born Oct 1879. By 1910 Abraham was a widower, with two of his daughters living with him and there were also 3 grandchildren in the household. Judy (Judea) Zelia (Della), his daughters, Abie Canty age 16, Polly Johnson age 10 and Martha Pleasant age 2, his grandchildren. Abraham and Polly were the parents of Sanders, Emma, Susan, Della, Judy and Phoebe.
Sanders married Sophia about 1890. These were the 8 known children of Sanders and Sophia:
Annie born 1892, Estelle born 1894, Caroline born 1896, Sanders born 1898, Wilbert born 1900, Earnest born 1902, Mathan born 1904 and Gertrude born 1906.
Other related Pleasant families:
Canty Pleasant born 1822 in Charleston, wife Eliza born about 1840. Their children were Charles born 1870 and Sarah born 1874. Listed in the 1880 census E. D. 83 sheet 17.
Charles Pleasant born 1850, wife Matilda born 1854. Their children were: Ingram born 1875 and Charles born 1879. Listed in the 1880 census E. D. 15 (page 71 b) sheet 22.
Ehloe Pleasant, grandson of Benjamin Pleasant. Listed in the 1880 census E. D. 116 sheet 4 line 49.
Elijah Pleasant born 1909. He was the son of Alice Oliver Pleasant. Alice was born 1885. Alice was the daughter of Willebee Oliver of Sumter. Willebee was born about 1828. Willebee died Oct 27 1928 in Fulton Township. Her death certificate is on file, # 19014. The informant was John Oliver of Pinewood. Burial was at New Hope Cemetery in Pinewood. Willebee was the daughter of William Brailsford who was born about 1800.
Alice was also the mother of the following children: Elijah born 1909, Haywood born 1912 and Rosa Pleasant born 1918.
Emma Pleasant, daughter of Abraham and Polly was born July 18 1870 and died July 1 1957. Emma is also buried at the Elizabeth cemetery just a short distance away from Hetty and Patsy Pleasant. Emmas headstone reads:Emma Pleasant Canty, Brown Born July 18 1870 Died July 1 1957. Close by the gravesite of Emma are these two graves. Hooper R. Brown Sr. Born January 8 1858 died May 28 1938 "At rest", and Abraham (Hammie) Canty Born October 11 1893 died February 18 1964, "Gone but not forgotten".
Mary Pleasant born 1886. Listed in the 1910 census page 203.
Nemia Pleasant born 1872. Listed in the 1880 census living in the household of Eli Harrison as his step-daughter. E. D. 116 sheet 7 line 21 in Sumter County.
Web Author: EE Vaughn
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