Thank you for your very informative and thorough website on the 'Little
Dixie' area of antebellum Missouri, www.littledixie.net.
Ms. Saundra Brown of the Rootsweb Gen-African listserv forwarded a link and
summary of your site to a listserv on Afrian-American genealogy which she
I am the great-great-great grandchild of Jane Whitesides an African-American
woman enslaved by the Whitesides family which owned plantations in both Pike
and Lincoln Counties, Missouri at the time of the Civil War. According to a
sworn statement of Jane's daughter, Rosanna, contained in the pension
records of Rosana's husband, Pvt. Henry Cowden of the 60th U.S. Colored
Troops (USCT) a/k/a First Iowa Infantry of African Descent, her mother Jane
fled her mistress' "in-town" home in Louisiana (Lincoln County) Missouri in
December 1863 following a band of Union Army soldiers who swept through the
area. Jane, Rosanna and a sister Mary Frances travelled first to Fort
Madison then settled in Burlington by 1868. By the 1870 Census Jane owns her
own boarding house and daughters Rosanna and Mary Frances are enrolled in
the Burlington Public Schools. Rosanna died at age 90 in Burlington.
My great-great grandfather Henry Cowden tells a pension agent that he had
been born [a slave] in Maryland or Virginia, had lived in Tennessee and
Kentucky as a child and came to Missouri with his slaveholder who rented him
out to work in what he refers to as a "tobacco factory" in Boonville, Cooper
County, Missouri. In the pension file of another African-American soldier,
Charles Cowden of the 68th USCT, I have found documentation awarding the
slaveowner of Charles Cowden $1,200 to cover his/her losses for "allowing"
his/her slave to enslist in the Union Army. The slaveholder listed is "W.W.
Todd, for the estate of Judge David Todd." Judge David Todd was the first
Circuit Judge of the Missouri Territory (beginning in 1835) and the son of
the Revoluntionary War General William Todd, who was given a large land
grant in Kentucky following Independence.
Ironically, I have also located a letter written my the young Mary Todd to a
girlfriend in Springfield, Illinois from the estate of her "Uncle David near
Columbia, Missouri." The letter was written whle Miss Todd vacationed with
her Missouri relatives and she freely discusses the 'marriageability' of her
various male cousins and the fine food, accommodations and hospitality she
received at the homes of the uncle and other relatives. I attribute her
comfort as a visitor to the hard work of African-American servants of the
Todd family, who, very likely were my forebearers.
Of further note is the uncommoness of the surname Cowden which is also the
name of a small village south of Springfield in Shelby County Illinois.
Please visit my genealogical "on-line homestead" at
Once again thank you for your research and I would very much like to hear
from you regarding any of the details of my personal story that may resonate
or touch-upon the research that you continue to conduct.
Wishing you contined success,
Dana D. Turner, J.D.
"First they ignore you,
then they attack you,
then you win!
- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)