The Chase Family: Documenting the free and enslaved and Goodhand Family Relationship

The Christopher Goodhand family of Kent and Queen Anne’s County, Maryland were wealthy landowners, farmers, and enslavers originating in England. Christopher Goodhand born 1650, in Lincolnshire, England, arrived on Kent Island in the late 1660s as an indentured servant. He served his contract and received a land grant.  His family and descendants are well-documented on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Goodhands later settled in the Sudlersville area between Dudley Corners and Crumpton on the Chester River.

Speedwell-type ship, Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, Netherlands.

Christopher Goodhand’s brother Capt. Marmaduke Goodhand commanded the Speedwell of Dartmouth, owned by the Royal African Company, and made voyages Senegambia, to purchase African slaves and take them to the colonies, the first in 1868. The Speedwell also took 170 slaves to Barbados from Mozambique in 1682. The Speedwell was the second ship in the pilgrim contingent that included the infamous Mayflower, but was abandoned for its lack of seaworthiness. Were it not overmasted and leaky, it may have had a much better and positive provenance than as a slave ship.

Only in 1685 did a serious slave trade to Maryland tentatively begin: in that year, instructions from the RAC’s Committee on Shipping (the ever-active Lord Berkeley was on it) asked a sea captain, Marmaduke Goodhand, to deliver two hundred slaves to be shared among Edward Porteus (a merchant of Gloucester County, Virginia), Richard Gardiner, and Christopher Robinson (a future secretary of the colony), on the Potomac River. Next year, there was a reference to a consignment of “slaves and sugar” in Maryland from Barbados. The intention had been to load tobacco, as if the transaction were normal; and there are some other isolated references to slaves arriving at Annapolis or smaller ports on Chesapeake Bay.

Erenow.com, Lawful to Set to Sea, Chapter 11

EMORY CHASE – FREE

The Emory Chase family of Queen Anne County begins as a family of free blacks and enslaved in Kent County in the 1830s. Some of my eldest ancestors on the Upper Shore, the Chases were both free and enslaved by the Goodhand family up to and through the Civil War. While there is no documentation to indicate the Chases descended from Capt. Goodhand’s cargo of slaves, DNA research does indicate my own family has roots in the Senegambia region.

Emory Chase Sr. first appears on the written record in the 1832 Free African-American Census of Maryland in Kent County.

“Emory Chase, 28”

The census was taken in response to the growing population free blacks living in Maryland. There are no other Chases in the immediate vicinity of Emory’s name on the list.

Among the legislative actions of the Maryland General Assembly of 1831 was the passage of “an act relating to the People of Color in this state…The primary intent of the act was to achieve the removal of free African Americans from the state of Maryland in their entirety, sending free blacks to the colony of Liberia.” The state undertook the census to enumerate the free black population. In some counties, free men were asked directly if they would remove themselves to Liberia. The Maryland Colonization Society which lead the local effort was founded in part as a response to the threat of slave rebellion (Nat Turner’s uprising in Virginia was in 1831). The Society saw colonization as a remedy for slavery.

“In 1832 the legislature placed new restrictions on the liberty of free blacks, in order to encourage emigration. They were not permitted to vote, serve on juries, or hold public office. Unemployed ex-slaves without visible means of support could be re-enslaved at the discretion of local sheriffs. By this means the supporters of colonization hoped to encourage free blacks to leave the state.”

Goodhand Plantation, Queen Anne’s County, 1866.

Four generations later, the great-great-grandson of the original scion of the family, Christopher Goodhand b.1787, was dying around 1857 on his plantation southeast of Crumpton and near Sudlersville, Maryland. He had served as a Private in the 38th Regiment, Wright’s Militia during the War of 1812, a state delegate, a farmer and hotel owner. By 1850 he had at least five children (Hiram, Josephine, Eugenia, Martha, and Samuel), was married to Susan Pope Sturgess of Baltimore County, and had an estate worth $16,000 according to the Census. According to the US Federal Slave Schedule he owned 10 slaves of various ages by 1850.

  • 25, female
  • 22, male
  • 18, male
  • 17, male
  • 14, male
  • 13, male
  • 21, female
  • 6, female
  • 4, male
  • 8 months, male

Several enslaved individuals appear in the inventory of the will of Christopher Goodhand. Remarkably, his will provided for gradual freedom to all of his enslaved, which numbered 11 by then.

1857, Christopher Goodhand will lists 11 enslaved, several confirmed Chase family members.

This is my last will and testament, that the following named negroes shall be outfitted to their freedom at the time as specified –


Negro woman Maria to be free 1st January 1859
Negro woman Harriet to be free 1st January 1864
Negro girl Amanda to be free 1st January 1873
Negro woman Mary to be free 1st January 1879
Negro woman Mary Ann to be free 1st January 1882
Negro man Richard to be free 1st January 1862
Negro man Emory to be free 1st January 1868
Negro boy Henry to be free 1st January 1870
Negro boy Levi to be free 1st January 1872
Negro boy James to be free 1st January 1882
Negro boy William Emory to be free 1st January 1890


Will of Christopher Goodhand, 1857, Maryland State Archives.

The manumission dates appear to point to the age of the enslaved. The later the date, the younger the enslaved. Goodhand indicated his wife should take a third of the enslaved and the rest be divided by his heirs.

The Emory Chase Sr. family appear in the 1850 and 1860 census reserved for freemen. However, some of his presumed children or nieces/nephews also appear in Christopher Goodhand’s will probated in 1857. The Chase Sr. family group in the 1850 census includes:

  • Emory Chase, 40
  • Charlotte, 40
  • Mary Jane, 8
  • Addison, 6

By 1850, Emory Chase Sr. is a blacksmith. The Chase Sr. family group in the 1860 census includes:

  • Emory Chase, 60
  • Charlotte, 55
  • John, 21
  • Mary Jane, 18
  • Addison, 16

By 1860, Emory Chase Sr. is a farmer with a personal estate worth $400. The Chase Sr. family group in the 1870 census includes:

  • Emory Chase, 65
  • Charlotte, 64
  • Levi, 29
  • Emory Jr., 32 (Jr. my addition)
  • Addison, 24

A FAMILY FREE AND ENSLAVED

By 1870, Emory is still farming with $1100 in real estate and $300 in his personal estate. Among the listed enslaved in Christopher Goodhand’s will, my own confirmed ancestors from this group include Emory Chase Jr., Harriet Ann Chase, and Levi Chase. It is also plausible Mary is also my ancestor Mary Jane Chase, another daughter or niece of Emory Chase Sr. Perhaps Maria, to be manumitted the earliest via the Goodhand will, was a sister of Emory Chase Senior? After emancipation, Richard Chase appears in Sudlersville on the draft registration record for 1863, less than a year after his manumission. Richard and other members of the family group appear in the county, but it’s not possible to determine their exact relationship.

At first, I was really confused as to how several chase family members could appear in the 1850 and then it occurred to me that you simply can not assume that just because a black family appears in a pre-1870 census that the ENTIRE family is free. Slavery fell from the mother and clearly some of Charlotte’s children were enslaved before she gained her freedom.

Levi and Emory Jr. join the household of Emory Chase Sr. by 1870 according to the census. While Harriet never appears in the Chase Sr. household (she is married to neighbor James Milbourne by 1850), her younger brother John who is living with her in 1850 according to the census appears in the Chase Sr. household in 1860 (she is likely still enslaved but married). Later death records of Milbourne children identify Harriet as “Harriet Ann Chase.”

Sadly, the executor of the Goodhand will, Lemuel Roberts notes during the probate, “Boy, William Emory, mentioned in the will has died since the will was made.” William Emory was likely a Chase relation, perhaps Harriet or Maria’s son. By the time of the probate of Christopher Goodhand’s will, a young girl “Sarah” is also appaised in the inventory. After 1870 census, Emory Chase Jr. disappears from the record. Others, Maria, Amanda, Henry, Maria, James, and Mary Ann never appear in the record after emancipation.

It isn’t clear why Christopher Goodhand, who died by 1857, set out to emancipate his slaves gradually according to his will. They were a considerable part of the wealth of his estate. The probate inventory appraised the enslaved at over $6000. Perhaps the Goodhand family were Methodists. There were Methodist Episcopal churches in Dudley Corners, Crumpton, and Sudlersville about this time. Since its founding by John Wesley in the 1700s, Methodism wrestled with slavery. Generally, northern Methodists were opposed to slavery and southern Methodists saw slavery as essential to their way of life and legal. Maryland was very much on the border, sending its youth into both the Union and Confederate armies at the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1844, a Georgian Bishop and slave owner, James O. Andrew, was asked to resign his title after a 12-day conference, but was convinced by South Carolinian Methodists not to resign. Thus Northern and Southern Episcopalians split over slavery began only a little more than a decade before Goodhand wrote his will. This may have influenced the treatment of his enslaved – and why the Chase family appeared as free blacks on the census as early as 1850. I can only speculate how some of the Chase family lived were free while others were enslaved. Perhaps, since Emory Chase Sr. had a personal estate, he was purchasing the freedom of family members gradually, when and as he could. Perhaps the Goodhand Chase enslaved were children of an enslaved sibling.

Christopher Goodhand’s executors – wife Susan Pope Goodhand b.1812 nee Sturgis, son Hiram Goodhand, and Col. Lemuel Roberts (a neighbor, farmer, friend, slaveholder, and co-delegate to several State and Congressional conventions) followed the will’s instruction, as they did split up the enslaved. Levi was given to Samuel Goodhand (son of Christopher Goodhand) to “serve 15 years.” Emory Jr. was to serve Susan for 11 years before being emancipated.

FREE TO FIGHT

Susan Goodhand, widowed, eventually emancipated Levi Chase, my 3rd great-uncle during the Civil War –but for a fee.

“Whereas my slave Levi Chase has enlisted in the service of the United States now in consideration thereof I, Susan P. Goodhand, guar Samuell S. Goodhand of Queen Anne’s County, State of Maryland do hereby in consideration of said enlistment, manumit, set free, and release the above named Levi Chase from all service due me; his freedom to commence from he date of his enlistment as aforesaid in the Regiment of Colored Troops in the service of the United States.”

Manumission of Levi Chase, Queen Anne’s County Land Records, Maryland State Archives.
Levi Chase Manumission 1864

Goodhand took advantage of an offer from the War Department and offered Levi Chase to the US Army for a bounty and filed manumission for Levi in September 1864.

“To facilitate recruiting in the states of Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, and eventually Kentucky, the War Department issued General Order No. 329 on October 3, 1863. Section 6 of the order stated that if any citizen should offer his or her slave for enlistment into the military service, that person would, “if such slave be accepted, receive from the recruiting officer a certificate thereof, and become entitled to compensation for the service or labor of said slave, not exceeding the sum of three hundred dollars, upon filing a valid deed of manumission and of release, and making satisfactory proof of title.”

Civil War Soldiers, Union, Colored Troops 56th – 138th Infantry Fold3.

Records indicate she was paid $100 bounty after the war. The remaining enslaved Chases were freed when slavery officially ended in Maryland on November 1, 1864 after the Maryland General Assembly wrote a new constitution for the state that made slavery illegal upon that date. Thankfully, the Chases did not have to wait for freedom long.

Bounty Record, Maryland State Senate showing payment to Susan Goodhand after the Civil War.

Private Levi Chase served in the United States Colored Troops in Company I of the 39th Regiment until the end of the war. According to muster molls he mustered in March 31st, 1864 in Baltimore. The 39th U.S. Colored Infantry was organized in Baltimore, Maryland beginning March 22, 1864 for three-year service under the command of Colonel Ozora P. Stearns. The 39th participated in several battles including the Siege of Petersburg and Richmond, and the infamous Battle of the Crater in Richmond, VA.

The Battle of the Crater, part of the Siege of Petersburg, took place on July 30, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade (under the direct supervision of the general-in-chief, Lt. Gen.Ulysses S. Grant).

On July 30, Union forces exploded a 8,000 lb mine in blowing a gap in the Confederate defenses. The attack was a failure resulting in thousands of Union and Confederate casualties. The Confederates launched several counterattacks. The breach was sealed off, and Union forces were repulsed with severe casualties. The siege lasted another eight months.

Muster Record for Levi Chase, USCT 39th Regiment.

Levi’s regiment also participated in the bombardment of Fort Fisher in North Carolina, and its capture, the capture of Wilmington, and the surrender of Confederate General Johnston and his army. The 39th U.S. Colored Infantry mustered out of service December 4, 1865 in North Carolina. Levi returned home to Queen Anne’s county by 1870 according to census records.

MOSS TRACT

In 1869, Susan Goodhand, daughter Martha Sudler nee Goodhand, and Susan’s son-in-law J. Morling Sudler, later sold land known as “Moss Tract” to Emory Chase Sr., Emory Chase Jr., and Levi Chase, and to son-in-law John Jeffers (husband of Mary Jane Chase). MossTract directly adjoined the lands of Lemuel Roberts and James Dudley according to the deed. Emory Chase Sr. acquired two fifths and other purchasers –the remaining three fifths. The father and son relationship between Emory Chase senior and junior is confirmed in this deed.

Deed between Goodhands and Emory Chase Sr., Levi Chase, Emory Chase Jr.

In freedom, the Chase family along with the other formerly free black families they married in to (Doman, Jeffers, Johnson, and Milbourne families) were active members of their community, farming and educating their children, building schools and churches. In 1872, Emory Chase Sr., my 4th great-grandfather, and several other “trustees” including my 3rd great-grandfather James Milbourne, purchased land to found an African Methodist Church, later known as Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Pondtown, just northwest of Sudlersville. The trustees purchased land from the Gafford and Holliday families (African Americans), “being on the main road leading from Crumpton to Pondtown, adjoining lands…and the Pondtown Public School House.” The deed was testified to by William Tarbutton, on whose land both Christopher Goodhand and Lemuel Roberts are buried. Sadly, none of the Chases have headstones at Mt. Pleasant UM Church. The search goes on for their burial place.

Deed for land in Pondtown for African Methodist Episcopal Church, later, Mt. Pleasant UMC with family member trustees, Emory Chase Sr, Joseph Doman, James Milbourn, George Brown.

Levi Chase was my 3rd great-uncle by marriage and blood, as he married my 3rd great-aunt, Sarah “Sally” Johnson born 1850 to Asbury Johnson, my 3rd great-grandfather. The marriage took place in Pondtown between 1870 and 1880.

I am the great-great-grandson of Sally’s brother Walter “Wallis” Johnson. Furthermore, Walter Johnson married Sara Catherine Milbourn between 1870 and 1880 in Pondtown. Sarah “Katie” Milbourn was the daughter of Harriet Ann Chase and James Milbourn, my 3rd great-grandparents, and granddaughter of Emory Chase Snr.

Walter Johnson’s father and uncle, Asbury and Alfred, were born free to Phillip Johnson in the early 1820s. Philip, Alfred, and Asbury Johnson appear as a family group in the same 1832 Free African-American Census of Maryland that Emory Chase is recorded in.

Asbury Johnson’s 1866 will, just one year after the Civil War ends, shows he was an industrious farmer with dozens of farming tools, cows and horses. But he also owned items that suggested his eyes were on the horizon. He owned a looking glass, 3 pictures, and a clock. He wasn’t rich, but he was free and able to leave an inheritance that included money to each of his seven children and wife.

Certificate of Freedom granted simultaneously to Asbury and Albert Johnson, 1857 by Col. Lemuel Roberts.

Asbury and Albert both had Certificates of Freedom signed by Col. Lemuel Roberts in 1857, Christopher Goodhand’s estate executor. Roberts attests to the fact that they were “born free.” In 1805 the Maryland General Assembly passed a law to identify free African Americans and to control the availability of freedom papers. As the lawmakers explained: “great mischiefs have arisen from slaves coming into possession of certificates of free Negroes, by running away and passing as free under the faith of such certificates“. The law required African Americans who were born free to record proof of their freedom in the county court. The court would then issue them a certificate of freedom. If the black person had been manumitted, the court clerk or register of wills would look up the manumitting document before issuing a certificate of freedom. It is plausible Asbury’s father or mother was enslaved by Col. Roberts though I have no documentation yet. The Roberts connection to the Johnson and Chase family is palpable and leaves much to be explored.

Susan Goodhand passed away in 1877, about 10 years after her last documented contact with the Chase family. Presumably she is buried on the Tarbutton farm with her late husband Christopher Goodhand in an unmarked grave. I have yet to find the Johnson family in QAC cemeteries.

*Update – for more on the Johnson family, see Johnson Roots on Comegys Reserve.

Sources.