The Barlands - A Study in Black and White

The Barlands - A Study in Black and White (HM26M1)

Location: Natchez, MS 39120 Adams County
Country: United States of America

N 31° 33.462', W 91° 23.561'

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Natchez Trails

The will of William Barland, a wealthy planter and downtown property owner, disclosed an interesting domestic relationship that has long intrigued historians. Proven in 1816, the will legally acknowledged Barland's relationship with "friend and companion" Elizabeth enslaved and the mother of his twelve children.Demonstrating his love and respect, William Barland bequeathed Elizabeth a life interest in his estate and even sanctioned the possibility of her marriage after his death. Barland children and descendants straddled two racial cultures. In 1824 son Andrew Barland petitioned the legislature to remove his restrictions of race and stated that he had married a white woman, owned slaves, served on a jury, testified in court, and voted. He also noted that his sisters have all married white men..."Today Barland descendants include people who culturally identify themselves as African American and people who identify themselves as white. Pictured above are Walter and Alice Claiborne Barland and their children: Herbert (born 1889), Edna (born 1888), and Oscar (born 1899). Walter was a descendant of William and Elizabeth Barland whose history unfolds in the documents pictured at left. Walter Barland was a successful Natchez merchant who operated a grocery and dry goods store at 603 Franklin Street.Alice

Barland's descendants identify her and her two brothers Fred and Ferdinand as the African American children of an unknown member of the family of congressman and historian J. F. H. Claiborne of Adams County. Census records confirm that they were reared in the Claiborne household from childhood. They were still living as young adults with J. F. H. and Martha Claiborne in 1880. The Barlands both died in middle age. Alice died in 1913 and Walter a year later. The Queen Anne style house built in the 1890s for Walter and Alice Barland stood at 84 St. Catherine Street until it was demolished in the 1990s. The store built in the front yard survives and is typical of the small stores that were once dotted throughout the St. Catherine Street neighborhoods. The building above at 603 Franklin Street housed Walter Barland's grocery and dry goods store.The three children of Walter and Alice Barland all became part of the Great Northern Migration. Son Herbert Claiborne Barland married Libby Reale, both pictured above. Herbert operated the family store after the death of his father. Descendants acknowledge Libby Reale Barland as the daughter of an African American woman Gini Jackson and a member of the Italian Reale family who operated the store next door to the Barland Store on Franklin Street. Herbert and Libby Barland sold out in Natchez in 1925 and moved to Chicago to escape the bad economy and the racial restrictions of segregation. Herbert's younger brother Oscar became a doctor and moved to Detroit, where he was joined by his sister Edna who never married. Pictured below are Herbert and Libby Barland's four children. Herbert, Jr. is standing and seated (left to right) are Enola, Loval, and Alice.
HM NumberHM26M1
Series This marker is part of the series
Placed ByCity of Natchez
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, April 5th, 2018 at 10:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15R E 652553 N 3492531
Decimal Degrees31.55770000, -91.39268333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 31° 33.462', W 91° 23.561'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds31° 33' 27.72" N, 91° 23' 33.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)601, 769
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 90 St Catherine St, Natchez MS 39120, US
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