Joseph H. Slade
My Slade research began two Christmases ago when I promised my father that I’d find a patriot to add to my DAR member ribbon from his side of the family. My fourth great grandfather on my father’s maternal line was Joseph H. Slade. He was rumored to have been born in Georgia, somewhere around modern day Atlanta. And while I haven’t been able to find any substantiated evidence, family lore says that his home and business were so well known that there is a street in Atlanta named in his honor.
He is also rumored to have bought and sold slaves at the old market in New Orleans. And while I also have found no evidence for that, he did own property in New Orleans as well as in Union Parish, Louisiana. The 1850 Federal census lists him as an overseer in Jones County, Georgia and the 1870 Federal census has his occupation listed as a farmer.
Joseph died in Union Parish, Louisiana on the 9th of May in 1890. It took me ages to track down his will since I knew nothing about the Louisiana governmental system. They call them “succession records” down there, and I was thrilled to finally get the correct roll from the Family History Center. And now that I’ve actually been to the courthouse down in Farmerville, LA I could have kicked myself for not looking up the actual book — it just totally slipped my mind — especially since the copies I made from microfilm are terrible [Click here for a transcription]! Since our travels down to Louisiana took us on a Saturday, the best I could do was coerce my mother and her friend to make a quick stop on the way home to a cemetery so I could attempt to find Joseph’s grave.
Using the GPS coordinates that Findagrave.com gave and my handy-dandy Maps app on my iPhone we had no trouble at all finding Spring Hill Cemetery just outside of Oakdale, Louisiana. The cemetery, located out nearly in the middle of no where, but within eyeshot of a pretty little church was fairly well kept up. There were no tall weeds to wade through, and most of the memorials seemed to be in pretty good condition. We were greeted with a sign informing us that “Jennifer Wicker” needed to be contacted prior to performing any grave openings; I guess that ended any thoughts of meeting good Ole Joseph Slade…
I was surprised at how quickly I was able to find Joseph’s memorial. Usually I spend some time tromping around, reading other stones, and getting lost in the stillness. But this time I nearly walked right to it. I got a bit nervous when I first walked in because I came upon a large memorial for the members of Springhill Baptist Church and the pioneers of the Oakland community. J. H. Slade was first on the list. It worried me that perhaps his grave was unmarked and this memorial had been erected for some of the earlier graves that were no longer marked or never had been marked. However I needed only walk another few hundred yards before I came across Mr. Slade’s tombstone. Sadly it was in a bit of disrepair, but still very legible. I had expected to only find his stone in this cemetery as he predeceased his wife and most of his children. But there were several other Slades buried there as well. I assume that I will be conducting some further research to see how they are all connected. I believe one may have been Joseph and Elizabeth’s young son Ernest, died at only 11-years-old.
I hope that my future trips down to Union Parish, Louisiana will happen on a weekday so I can run over to the courthouse for a little research as well as cemetery exploring!