Robert Weathersby of Rankin County, MS

Researched and Written by Linda Durr Rudd

Robert Weathersby, ex-slave, lives a few miles from Braxton Mississippi in Rankin County. He was born about the year 1847, was owned during slavery time by a Mr. Weathersby of Rankin County. He is about six feet and one or two inches in height, and weighs around one hundred and sixty five pounds. His hair is gray and neatly cut and his general coloring is what the colored people call a ginger cake brown. He is in very poor health but yet able to be up and to go around his place.
(Federal Writer's Project - Slave Narratives)

Read Robert's complete slave narrative.


1870 Federal Census - Simpson County, Westville, Mississippi, Page 315
Weathersby, Jack, 50, farmer
CHANEY E., 60, keeping house
Frank, 16 (1854)
Harriet, 3 (1867)
Daniel, 1 (1869)
"My ma was raised by her ole Marse Norwood what lived close to Marse Weathersby, an' when pa an' ma fell in love wid one another an' was a wanting to git married. Den pa's master bought or traded an' got ma an' dey married an' lived deir till de surrender in '65"

1880 Federal Census - Simpson County, Beat 3, Mississippi, Page 220
Weathersby, Jack, head, 65
Chaney, wife, 55
Laura, daughter, 19
ROBERT, son, 17
Esther, daughter, 13

Robert Weathersby m. Eliza Lee December 27, 1888 in Simpson County, Mississippi. Book 2, Page 338.
"I married in 1888 an' jes' raised one chile an' he had a heap mo' vantages dey I had."

1900 Federal Census - Rankin County, Beat 5, Mississippi, Page 243
Weathersby, Robert, 37, May 1863, married 11 years
Elizer, wife, 33, February 1867, 2 births/2 living
Allie or Sallie, daughter, 11, August 1888
Cleveland, son, 10, August 1889
Morris, Alice, lodger, 31 September 1869, 2 births/2 living

1910 Federal Census - Rankin County, Cato, Mississippi, Page 262
Weathersby, Robert, head, 49, married once, married 20 years
Liza, wife, 38, married once, 2 births/2 living

1920 Federal Census - Rankin County, Clear Water, Mississippi - Roll 893, Page 184
Weathersby, R. B., head, 60
Liza, wife, 56
Purvis, ?, none, Male, B, 7

1930 Federal Census - Rankin County, Mississippi
Rob, head, 69
Lizer, wife, 65

Robert referred to the slave owners using only their surnames. Robert reported that his parents were raised by their slave owners. His parents were born as early as 1810, therefore, I surmised which Norwood/Weathersby were their owners by who owned slaves from 1810 through 1840. Slave owners John Norwood and Isom Weathersby had sons who owned slaves in neighboring counties of Copiah, Covington, Lawrence, Rankin, and Simpson. It is also possible that one of these sons could be the owners of Jack and Chaney.

John Norwood of Darlington, South Carolina moved to Mississippi about 1812 to what was to become Simpson County. Before leaving South Carolina, John married Catherine Powell. Their first children were born in South Carolina. Their move to Mississippi was made by horse and ox-drawn wagons.
(The Norwood Family, Compiled by John and Carroll Bolton, 1999, page 42.)

John and Catherine were among the prosperous families of Simpson County. On the 1850 Simpson County slave schedule, John owned 26 slaves. On the 1860 Simpson County federal census and the 1860 slave schedule, John owned 33 slaves, six slave houses, real estate valued at $8000, and personal property was valued at $36,000.

The Norwood family attended the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Simpson County. John and Catherine were charter members.

John Norwood died in 1862. His will was written in 1858. One of his bequests was as follows: "Second: I give and bequeath to Catherine Norwood, my daughter, my negro woman - CHANEY and her six children viz: PHILLIS, JUDY, FRANK, HARRIET, DICY, and FANNY and their natural increase.
(Simpson County Wills, Book A, Page 16, microfilm number 5380, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.)

Isom/Isham Weathersby was born March 12, 1780 in Bladen County, North Carolina. He was the eight child of Cade Weathersbee. He married Sarah Thomas when he was 17 years of age. He inherited 100 acres of land and a negro boy named JACK, from his father who died in 1793. They set up housekeeping in Bladen County where their first nine children were born. Isom Weathersby along with brothers and other kinsmen probably left Bladen County, North Carolina, traveling to Mississippi, about 1814 or earlier.
(Weathersby Family 1700 -1955, p. 12, 50, MS Dept. of Archives and History)

Isom was a successful planter and added to his land holdings through purchase and land grants. Isom was one of the earliest settlers of Lawrence County, MS, which was formed in 1814. Tradition says that his wagon train was composed of Magees, Slaters, Weathersbys, and others. The Weathersbys settled on Silver Creek and built a spacious home where they reared 13 sons and daughters to adulthood. They were members of the Old Hebron Baptist Church.
(Weathersby Family 1700 - 1955, MS Dept. of Archives and History p. 12 - 14)


1850 Simpson County Slave Schedule
1860 Simpson County Slave Schedules
1870 Simpson County Federal Census
1880 Simpson County Federal Census
1900 Rankin County Federal Census
1910 Rankin County Federal Census
1920 Rankin County Federal Census
1930 Rankin County Federal Census
Slave Narrative of Robert Weathersby
Simpson County Marriage Records - Weathersby, Microfilm Number: 4950
Simpson County Wills - John Norwood, Microfilm Number: 5380
"The Norwood Family, Compiled by John and Carroll Bolton, 1999"
"Weathersby Family, 1900 - 1955"
Microfilms and books are found at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Remembering Their Names