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Norfleet Family Genealogy

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Biographical Sketch of Emily Norfleet

by Phil Norfleet

Emily Norfleet (b. 1825) was a slave belonging to the Reverend Abraham Norfleet (1802-1870) and his wife, Margaret Campbell Norfleet.  Emily had originally been a slave belonging to David Campbell (1772-1838) of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  On 14 October 1829, shortly before the Campbell family migrated to Missouri, Emily was, by deed of gift, given to David's daughter, Margaret Campbell (1803-1872).   The indenture [1] states that Emily was about four years old at the time; this would indicate that her year of birth was about 1825.  In Callaway County, Missouri, in the year 1832, Margaret Campbell met and married the Reverend Abraham Norfleet, a Methodist minister. It appears that Emily, henceforth, took on the role of a house-servant for the newly married couple.

Emily's husband was a man named Jenkins (Jenk) Norfleet. It is unclear to me whether Jenk was a slave owned by Abraham Norfleet or whether he was owned by another Norfleet family living in the area, such as Abraham's brother, Ivy Norfleet, whose farm was close by.  Jenk and Emily had five children: two sons, Horace Washington and Joseph; and three daughters, Eola Frances, Viney and Lou.  Jenk died just before the Civil War began, in 1861.

In 1863, Horace enlisted in the Union Army and apparently died in the Service.   Several years after the war, Horace's mother, Emily, applied for a pension based on her son's military service (Application Number 210,489, Certificate Number 185747)   In support of her application, sworn affidavits by the three sons of Abraham Norfleet, i. e., John W., Adam C. and David C. Norfleet, were prepared and recorded in the Moniteau and Cole County, Missouri Clerk's Offices.  These sworn statements are reproduced below, in their entirety, as they provide substantial primary information regarding Emily and her family.

Statement of John W. Norfleet (16 December 1878)

State of Missouri, County of Moniteau

Personally appeared before me, a Justice of the peace for the County aforesaid, J. W. Norfleet, who being duly sworn on his oath states the following, to wit:

I will say in regard to Emily Norfleet a colored woman about 56 or 58 yrs of age, now residing in Jeff. City:  That she did belong to my Father, Abram Norfleet of Cole Co. Mo., who is now dead.  That she is the mother of five children, Horace Washington, Eola Frances, Lou, Viney and Joseph.  Three of these are dead: Horace, Lou and Joe.  Emily's husband Jenk Norfleet died just previous to the war.

In the latter part of the Summer or early in the Fall of 1863, Horace Washington, in company with my Father, came to Jeff. City and Horace enlisted in the U. S. Army.  I think Abram Fulkerson was the recruiting officer.  The papers stating the facts were placed in my Father's hands for safekeeping.  In the Fall of 1864, when Price's Army [2] robbed Father's house, those papers with others belonging to Father, were destroyed.  I was a soldier myself and went to the camp a day or two after Horace enlisted, talked with him, and bade him goodbye.  I have not seen him from that day to this, but I am satisfied, in my own mind from the best information received, that he died in the service of his Country.

On the Evening of the 23rd day of Dec. 1864, Emily in company with three of her children, Eola, Viney and Joe, left Father's and came to Jeff. City in search of freedom.  O glorious thought!  My wife and I met Emily on the street on the following day and she said they had engaged to carry a certain pile of staves [?] around into the cellar for which they were to receive $1.58.  Joseph, the youngest was 6 or 7 years old then.  Since that time she (Emily) has had no means of support save that of her daily labor that I know of and I think her living has been scant from the fact that she was never very healthy and strong, and further deponent saith not.

/S/  John W. Norfleet

Subscribed & sworn before me this 16th day of December 1878.

/S/  J. F. Tising, Justice of the Peace

Statement of John W. Norfleet (15 August 1879)

State of Missouri, County of Cole

I, John W. Norfleet of the County of Moniteau and State of Missouri do certify the following facts:

Emily Norfleet did formerly belong to my Father Abram Norfleet of Cole County Missouri, who is now dead.  She, Emily Norfleet is the mother of Horace Washington.  Horace Washington, Emily Norfleet's son, did enlist in the Army of the United States in the late Summer or early Fall of 1863.

I will go back to the year 1859, from which time until 1864 I owned a farm joining my Father's and made Father's house my home.  Father's family consisted of himself, Mother, Sister Eliza, Brother David and Emily and her three children besides Horace Washington.  Brother David and Horace Washington was the laboring hands on the farm from 1859 until 1863 when Horace enlisted in the Army.  Brother David was afflicted with Scrofula on his legs so that at times he could not work.

Horace Washington was stout and able bodied and did the greater part of the work.  Hence, not only Emily and her little children, but the whole family was in the greater part dependent on Horace Washington for support.  My Father, being an old man, then 65 years of age.  In 1860 and 1861, Horace Washington worked some for me.  In 1862 and 1863, Brother David and Horace Washington cultivated my farm in connection with Father's.  I received 100 bushels of corn for rent each year, corn being worth 40 cents per bushel.

At that time, there was no written account kept of the value of Horace Washington's labor, but to the best of my knowledge, his labor was worth at least $150 per year.  So Horace Washington did in this manner contribute to the support of his mother, Emily Norfleet, from 1859 to 1863, the time of his enlistment.   As to his contributions to his mother's support while he was in the Army, I only know from the statement of her youngest son, Joseph, who is now dead and herself.

Emily Norfleet has remained a widow ever since the death of her husband Jenkin Norfleet previous to the War of 1861.  I am not interested in the prosecution of this case.

/S/  John W. Norfleet

Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 15th day of August A. D. 1879; and I certify that there is no record evidence on file, in this office, of Emily Norfleet ever having owned any property whatever.

/S/  M. H. Lush, Clerk, Circuit Court, Cole County Mo.

Statement of Adam C. Norfleet and David C. Norfleet (8 June 1877)

State of Missouri, County of Cole

Now on this 8th day of June 1877, personally appeared before the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace in and for the County and State aforesaid, Adam C. Norfleet and David C. Norfleet, residents of Clark Township in the County and State aforesaid, whose Post Office address is Hickory Hill, depose and say that our age is forty and thirty-six years of age respectively; that we know Emily Norfleet (Colored) and that she was a slave of our Father Abraham Norfleet before the War, and that she was the mother of Horace Washington, who enlisted in the Army of the U. S. at Jefferson City, Mo.   These facts we know as we were of the same family and were raised together.   Horace enlisted about the year 1863.  He was known in the family by the nick name of Hop.  Why he enlisted in the name of Horace Washington we do not know.   He was born according to records of our Father's family on or about the 10th day of November, 1847. Emily remained with us as a slave until the Winter of 1864, when she left to enjoy her freedom. ...

Given under our hands and seals this 8th day of June 1877.

/S/  David C. Norfleet  (Seal)

/S/  Adam C. Norfleet  (Seal)

Sworn and subscribed to before me this day and year above written.

Given under my hand.

/S/  D. G. Smith, Justice of the Peace, Clark Township

Federal Census Data

The slave lists for Abraham Norfleet for the 1840, 1850 and 1860 Federal Census reflect the following age information for Emily and her children (note that my comments are in brackets):

1840 Census:

1 female slave age 10-24 [Emily]

1850 Census:

1 female age 24 [Emily]

1 male age 2 [Horace?]

1 female age 9 months

1860 Census:

1 female age 33 [Emily]

1 male age 12 [Horace?]

1 female age 11

1 female age 6

1 male age 4 [Joseph?]

The above census data permits us to make at least three genealogical observations concerning Emily and her family:

1.  The data provides additional support for the birth of Emily in about 1825.  John W. Norfleet's statement, dated 16 December 1878 (see above), that Emily was about 56 or 58 years old appears to be in error.

2.  The date of birth for Horace Washington Norfleet (10 November 1847) included in the statement of Adam C. and David C. Norfleet, is supported by the census information.  This means that when Horace enlisted in the Union Army in 1863, he could not have been older than 16 years of age!

3.  Emily's husband, Jenk Norfleet (died about 1861), apparently was not a slave owned by Abraham Norfleet.  Jenk may have been a slave belonging to Abraham's older brother, Ivy Norfleet; Ivy lived nearby in the Hickory Hill area.  The 1850 and 1860 census data for Ivy Norfleets slaves are as follows:


1 female age 48

1 female age 36

1 male age 28 [could this be Jenk?]

1 male age 22

1 female age 10

1 male age 12


1 female age 60

1 female age 45

1 male age 35 [could this be Jenk?]

1 male age 27

1 male age 21

1 female age 19

Emily's Pension Allowed

Emily's quest for a pension was apparently successful.  In a letter, dated 14 November 1879, written to John W. Norfleet, Emily stated that "My Pension has been allowed."

Emily's Ultimate Fate

The ultimate fate of Emily and her surviving children is unknown to me.  When I get the opportunity, I plan to review the Federal Census for 1880 and 1900 for any data pertaining to her and her family.

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1.  See Muhlenberg County, Kentucky Deed Book 7, pages 123-124.   At the same time that David Campbell gave Emily to his daughter Margaret, he also gave a slave girl named Eliza (aged about 9 years) to his daughter Mary Campbell.   The recording clerk inadvertently reversed the names of David Campbell's daughters.   Hence the indentures, as recorded in the Muhlenberg County records, reflect a four year old Emily as going to Mary Campbell and a nine year old Eliza as going to Margaret Campbell.

2.  In September and October of 1864, Confederate Major General Sterling Price conducted a major cavalry raid (about 12,000 men) through many of the Missouri Counties bordering the Missouri River. Elements of Price's army passed through a portion of Cole County where John W. Norfleet's father, Abraham Norfleet, had his residence.

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