“WE STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE THAT CAME BEFORE US” Johanna Smith Blount

 

Johanna Baker Smith Blount (1830-1902) was the Great Grandmother to Mama Margaret Williams Armstrong also called Mobo by some of the grandchildren. The information below was taken from “Johanna… In Her Own Words”  which was transcribed from various sections of the Invalid Civil War Pension File for  Harry and Johanna Blount

Also

 From Johanna Smith Blount’s Last Will and Testament (Sate of Mississippi Archives).

 

 Some spelling editing occurred for ease in reading

 Copies of original documents are in my possession.

 

  State of Mississippi

 Jackson County.

 May 14, 1898

 

  “I was born in West Virginia near Abingdon.  I was taken to Sumter County Alabama when about 12 years old and sold to David Boyd.  I was a slave and was known as Johanna Baker.  I was taken to wife, as the custom was among slaves, by Sam Smith when I was about 13 years-old; He also belonged to David Boyd. And by him I became the Mother of nineteen children. Six of whom are still living - we were bought to Mississippi when I was about fourteen years old, where I’ve remained the property of the said Boyd.

 

 After the Emancipation Proclamation we were told that the white folks were going to send us back into the Country away from any danger of our being taken by the Northern Soldiers.  And many of us left and went to Ship Island and were sent by the United States officers to Louisiana.  Sam Smith and myself and eight of our children and there by the direction of the Provost Marshall of St. Charles Parish and by him Sam Smith and I were Married under the Law.

 

 Sam Smith my Husband died near Boutte Station on the Morgan Ry (River) in St Charles Parish La during the year Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Four as near as I can remember.

And soon after, I returned to Ocean Springs Miss, where I had previously lived and where I now live every since

 

 There are no persons living known to me, who were present, or who had personal knowledge of the death of Sam Smith, my first Husband, except my own children and myself.

 

  We were poor refugees Negroes, no notice was taken of us, No record of our comings or goings, or whether we lived or died was kept.  And those around us were like unto us, without house or friends, and are scatted no one knows where.

 

  I was married to Harry Blount in Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Seven as shown by the certificate of C.A. Alley to attached Marked Exhibit “A” And made a part of this affidavit.

 

  I further resolve and say I own a small lot in the town of Ocean Springs on which is a small house in which I live, I also own a fractional 40 acres in Section 19 Tw 7, South Range 8 West Jackson County, Miss.  It is wild land and ______ of these bring me any income.  I have not disposed of any Real Estate whatever since Apl 1st 1893.  I supported myself during 1893 and every year since by the labor of my own hands and did not then nor have I since had any income from any other source whatever".

  

The exact date of Johanna Baker Smith Blount’s death is not known at this time.  What we do know is it was between the date of the codicil to her Last Will and Testament on June 6, 1902 and the filing of said Will and Codicil on August 30, 1902.  She was 72 years-old.

 

Besides her husband Harry Blount, Johanna had two sons who served in the United State Colored Troops during the Civil War… Alfred Smith became ill while serving and died at Louisiana., Samuel Smith, Jr. served his three years in Company F, 10th Regiment, USC and died at New Orleans February 3, 1877 of a chronic cough contacted while in the service and of  small pox.

 

Another son Henry Smith was with the Harbor Crew at Ship Island during the Civil War. After the war he is believed to have served briefly as the Postmaster at Ocean Springs. 

 

Johanna’s children living when she died were the Rev. George W. Smith (1857-1953) a Methodist Minister he lived to be 96 yrs-old, Edgar D. Smith (Mama Margaret’s grandfather), and Henry Smith, daughters Polly Smith Shivers and Alice Smith Jones Gillispie all born into slavery with the exception of maybe Alice who is believed to have been born in Louisiana after the family was freed by their last enslaver in 1863.  

 

My Grandmother Margaret 'Maggie' Williams Armstrong  1902-1987

Born at Ocean Springs, MS and Died at New Orleans, LA 

 

BLOUNT Street named for Johanna Baker Smith Blount

Ocean Springs, MS

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