Yanceys of African American Ancestry In Early Ohio

Branches of the Family

Benjamin Yancy [Descendants]
Beverly C Yancey [Descendants] [More Info]

James H Yancey [Descendants]
Walter Claiborne Yancey (1) [Descendants]
Walter Claiborne Yancey (2) [Descendants]
William & Lucy Morris Yancey [Descendants]

Early Marriages

Walter C Yancey - Martha Ann Edrington, 24 Dec 1836, Cincinatti, Ohio
James H Yancey - Nancy Hale, 21 May 1849, Clark Co., Ohio
Beverly C Yancey - Nancy Jane Bass, 9 Oct 1850, Butler Co., Ohio
Benjamin Yancy - Louisa V Mundel, 10 Sep 1865, Gallia Co., Ohio
Lucy J Yancey - Edward J. M. Fairfax - 31 March 1881, Jackson Co., Ohio

[other Yanceys below, for which it is not proven were of African American origin - but may well be]

Mary Yancey - Harvey Hawes, 12 May 1827, Ross Co., Ohio
Martha Jane Yancey - Robert J Piles, 11 Apr 1839, Jackson Co., Ohio
Charles A. L. Yancey - Mary Jane Howard, 21 Aug 1848, Hamilton Co., Ohio
Anne B Yancey - John Pane, 1 Aug 1850, Harrison Co., Ohio

1830 Census

The 1830 census of  Jackson County, Ohio records one Claiborne Yancy [between 24 and 35 years of age].
Various other records seem to indicate his full name was Walter Claiborne Yancy (see biography at bottom of page).
It would appear as if this Yancy on the 1830 census is probably the same Claiborne Yancy found on 1820 census of Henrico Co., Virginia.
BUT It would appear that this must be a different Yancy that Walter Claiborne Yancy found on the 1850 census of Highland County, Ohio - though one would expect him to be a close relative (possibly father - son ).

1850 Census

Hamilton Co., OH

Elizabeth Yancy (mulatto), age 24, born in Vriginia
Joseph Harris (mulatto), age 23, born in Virginia
Mary Harris (mulatto), age 24, born in Virginia
Richard Conrad (mulato), age 27, born in Virginia
Amelia Yancy (mulatto), age 6, born in Ohio
James Metcalf (mulatto), age 7, born in Louisiana

Highland Co., OH

Walter C. Yancey, age 37, Male, Farmer & Clergyman (Wesleyan Methodist), born in Virginia
Martha A Yancey, age 37, Female
Leonora L. Yancey, age 13, Female
Nancy B Yancey, age 11, Female
Mary E. Yancey, age 9, Female
John E. Yancey, age 7, Male
Walter C. B. Yancey, age 4, Male
Martin A. Yancey, age 2, Male

[Walter C Yancey  is NOT recorded on this census as Negro or Mulatto - HOWEVER other sources indicate that he was a colored man of mixed  ancestry (referred to at times as mulatto) although his complexion is to have been very white. He was also a chaplain in the Colored Troops of  the Union  during the Civil War.   Also not yet found on the 1850 census is a half-brother of Walter C Yancey - one James H. Yancey who married one Nancy Hale in 1849 in Clark County, Ohio - they had descendants in Jefferson Co., Iowa  - Though there is a 1896 marriage record of Walter (3rd wife) that record his father as John Yancy - no where do I find record of a John Yancy that could have been his father - one would sure think it quite possible he was a son of  another Walter Claiborne Yancey - who was in Jackson County, Ohio in 1830 - see biography on bottom of this page] 

Belmont Co., OH

Hirum Huff, age 27, (non black), Farmer, born in Virginia
Mary E. Yancy, age 15, black, born in Virginia

Jackson Co., OH

William Yancey, age 62 (mulatto), Farmer, Born in Virginia
Melissa Yancey, age 62 (mulatto), Born in Virginia
Lucy Ann, age 25, Born in Virginia
Elizabeth (Morris), age 7, Born in Ohio
This would appear to be William & Lucy Melissa Morris Yancey who were married 11 June 1813 in Richmond, Virginia. Possibly the same William who is found on the 1820 census of Henrico Co., VA.  Also note there is a record of one emancipated William Yancey in Richmond in 1815.  The book "John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom 1829-65"  by William and Aimee Lee Cheek gives record of a William H Yancey of Cincinatti who was a barber and editor. Seemingly this same William Yancy.

John Yancey, age 25, male, Artist, born in Virginia
Mary Yancey, age 20, female 
[there is nothing explicit on the census to indicate that John Yancey here was a man of color - however based on other reasons, I have to wonder if this couple were indeed  mulattos of mixed ancestry - possibly fairly enough complected that the census taker made no mention of race.   DJY]

Butler Co., OH

Beverly Yancy, age 22, male, mulatto,born in Ohio



Yanceys in the Colored Regiments of the Union in the Civil War


The Underground Railroad


Walter C Yancey and the Palladium of Liberty

Some Biographical Records

Nancy Hale Yancey Biography
(submitted by Leslie Schwalm - lschwalm@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu ) First black family to settle in Fairfield, Iowa: Mr. and Mrs. James Yancey.  She [Nancy (Hale) Yancey] was born a slave, Nancy A. Hale, in Wheeling, West VA in 1831, taken to OH at an early age and given her freedom; reared in Miami Co., became a student at Oberlin College. In 1849 she married James H. Yancey, and they had a large family when they came to the city. Welty states they were active in URR. (Susan Fulton Welty, A Fair Field [Detroit: Harlo Press, 1968], 105). [Welty's SOURCE??? for this information is not evident.] Describes Mrs. Yancey as "far better educated than most of the white women of Fairfield in her time," as having been a teacher, but not permitted to teach in Fairfield. Husband's illness and 1870 death left her as family's sole supporter; she established a laundry where she employed several people; eventually returned on the savings she made. Left Fairfield with one of her daughters and died in Milwaukee, but was returned to Fairfield to be buried. (Welty, 133; Welty's source: Jefferson County Records, Vol. 5, Orville Louis Prill and Mary Barnes Priss (typescript vol.), 1965, pp. 356-57, at the Iowa State Historical Society. Transcription of *The Fairfield Ledger*, 1/14/1903: "A Remarkable Woman. Mrs. Nancy A. Yancey, at one time one of the best known women in Fairfield, died at the home of a daughter, Mrs. W. J. Poindexter, in Milwaukee, Wis., the 7th inst. Mrs. Yancey was a remarkable woman in many particulars." Born a slave in Wheeling , 2/12/31; taken to OH at an early age, given her freedom, reared in Miami Co.; "With a burning desire for knowledge, she became a student at Oberlin University, then the only collegiate institution in the United State which did not discriminate against people of her race, and received an education there which fitter her for almost any position in life. May 2d, 1849, she was married to James H. Yancey. They came to Fairfield in 1857, and were the first colored family to locate here permanently. They reared a large family of children, and six daughters survive their parents. The father died about twenty-five years ago [1878]. Their home in this city was ever open to the people of their race, and in the days of slavery many a fugitive from bondage was taken in and care for by these good people and given an opportunity to accomplish his freedom. In later years the care and rearing of a large family fell upon the mother, and she was fully equal to the task. She had spent considerable time as a teacher, a work for which she was especially fitted, but she sought a more lucrative employment and one which would keep her with  her family. She established a laundry in this city, employed several persons, and managed the business so successfully that when she retired it was with sufficient funds to support her in her declining years. A gentleman of this city who had known Mrs. Yancey all his life, says of her: "Mrs. Yancey was an educated and cultivated christian woman of far more than common ability and of the highest character. Her life was a complete and perfect example, so far as humanity is perfect, of the unselfish and absolute devotion of great abilities to the simple, homely duties of everyday life. She accepted her life among the lowly without a murmur, and brought to the humble little home the sunshine of cultivated christian graces. The weight of her influence, conversation and example upon all who came within her circle has been felt and recognized by those who know the history of our city. All who met her were benefitted. Limited in means to the product of her own exertions, she was charitable beyond some who have given millions. She gave of her own example and personal influence, and honest, painstaking service, as well as what money she could spare. Her children received all the advantages of education she could secure for them, and what success and standing they have obtained they may attribute largely to her, while many others not all of her own race, are under unspeakable obligations for her noble christian life and charity." " Her tombstone reads "She hath done what she could." Services were held at B. J. Fuller's home, her son-in-law, and conducted by Rev. O. Spelman. Note that according to the Fairfield Journal of 4/6/1911, Mrs. Mary E. (Yancey) Fuller died in the hospital at Mt. Pleasant on 4/5/1911, at age 44 (b. 1857). She was married in 1883. But her tombstone reads b. 3/31/63, d. 3/5/1911. Also: death of James Cassius Yancey at Butte City, Mont., 11/5/1897 (Fairfield  Ledger, 11/17/97). 

James H Yancey info
(submitted by Leslie Schwalm - lschwalm@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu )
Emancipation celebration:  8/4/65: The First of August: Last Tuesday was a gala day for the colored people of this vicinity. Agreeable to previous announcement they had a celebration in commemoration of Emancipation in the West Indies and in honor of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The day was auspicious--clear and cool. At nine o'clock they assembled at the African Methodist Church, formed in procession and marched through the principal streets and to Saunders Grove. Mr. Charles Davis [referred to in response on negro suffrage] acted as Chief Marshal. The procession was preceded by the Mt. Pleasant Brass Band, and never did "John Brown" sound better or more appropriate than on this occasion. Flags and expressive Banners were carried in this procession, and altogether the display was very creditable. By special request Mayor Edwards presided over the exercises at the grove. After prayer by the Rev. Mr. Burnett, Mr. [James H ]Yancey (colored) from Fairfield, Iowa was introduced. His oration was characterized by ability of no mean order, and was listened to with close attention by the large audience. The Rev. Mr. [Walter C.  Yancey], of Illinois--late Chaplain in the army, and half brother to the first speaker, next delivered a brief, pointed and eloquent address. This gentleman is as white as a majority of white men, and is much above an average in pint of talent. At the conclusion of his speech the meeting adjourned to dinner. The colored women had provided a repast worthy of any woman--the immense table was supplied with the substantials and delicacies of the season in great abundance, to which ample justice was done by the large crowd. After dinner the audience was reassembled, and interesting and appropriate remarks were made by the Rev. A. C. Williams, Hon. L. G. Palmer, Rev. Mr. Crane, Rev. Mr. Stout, and Rev. J. H. White. The exercises were interspersed with songs by the Mt. Pleasant Glee Club and music by the Band. At about four o'clock the exercizes closed, everything having passed off in good order and to the entire satisfaction of all. The colored people seemed entirely happy, and will no doubt long remember this celebration." (Mt. Pleasant Home Journal) 
1870 Census Jefferson Co., IA:  James, 50, b. OH, $4000 real, $500 pers. wealth; wife Ann [this is a mistake, name is actually Nancy, as it appears in 1860 census ], 40, b. VA, keeping house [in 1860, her occupation is listed as washer woman]; daughter Belle [listed as Galora Bell in 1860], 18, b. OH, at home [in 1860, she is attending school]; daughter Sonella, 16, b. OH, at home [in 1860, attending school]; son Clay, 14, b. OH, Laura?, 13, b. IA, attending school; Annie, 10, b. IA, attending school; Nora, 7, b. IA, attending school; Mary, 5, b. IA, attending school; all enumerated as "m" [mulatto]. NOTE that in 1860, family includes James, 4, b. OH; Ida, 2, b. IA; and Julia Brown, 23, a black domestic. In 1870, Boarder Sarira (Satira?) Freeman, 35, (male or female?), day laborer, $100 pers., b. MISS.


Walter Claiborne Yancey

source: John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom 1829-65  by William and Aimee Lee Cheek

An "eyewitness" to slavery, possibly in Virginia, Walter Claiborne Yancy was living in Jackson County in 1830.  Then between twenty four and thirty five years of age, he headed a household of five. A resident and community leader in Chillicothe  for much of  the thirties, Yancy was "admitted on trial" as a preacher in the A.M.E. [Methodist] church in 1837, subsequently becoming an elder and then a traveling preacher. In the fall of 1837, he was elected president of the first black convention held in the state and was selected to head the School Fund Society, which the delegates created for the "moral and religious elevation of the colored people of Ohio." As the society's agent, Yancy raised funds, visited and set up black schools.  In 1843 he lectured for the Garrisonian Ohio American Anti-Slavery Society and the following year the state's Liberty party.  Also in 1844, in the employ of the white abolitionist Ladies Education Society, Yancy visited various black settlements around the state, giving lectures and superintending moral and educational matters.  More than half a century later, when asked about the black protest movement in Ohio before the war, the black Cincinatti educator Peter Clark recalled Walter Yancy as one of its most active leaders.   [The book contains further information]     DJY:  Note that on many record this Yancy - simply went by "Caliborne Yancy".  also note that this appears to be a different Yancey - than the Walter C. Yancey who served as a chaplain in the Colored Troops during the war. Could this have been his father?


Chaplain Walter Claiborne Yancey

Source: Campfires of Freedom - The Camp Life of Black Soldiers During The Civil War - by Keith P. Wilson

However Physical courage was not the only measure of manhood.  Officers, particularly the chaplains, also sought to instill in their men the traits of true manhood,  By employing military training and moral instructions they endeavored to teach their black soldiers to be loyal to their comrades, to do their patriotic duty to the Union, and to uphold the honor of their families. Above all, the soldiers were urged to show manly self-restraint by resisting moral vices and the sins of the flesh. It was Chaplain Walter C. Yancey’s “object as far as possible to impress upon” his soldiers “not only the importance of their religious obligations but to inspire them with a proper sense of the true dignity of manhood.” Chaplains such as Walter C. Yancey encouraged their men to display moral responsibility, to make provision for their children and wives, to restrain their sexual passions, and to take their kinship obligations seriously. Ultimately this involved becoming the patriarchal heads of households. Those soldiers who accepted this challenge were urged by the chaplains to sign the marriage contract. Moral precepts were thus bound in contractual legal sanctions.

Chaplain George Carruthers, in contrast, used the institution of marriage primarily as a sexual safety valve, to curtail the level of promiscuity in his camp. In his January 1865 chaplaincy report, written near Vicksburg, he admitted that he had “married seventeen couples during the month,” even though he “generally discouraged such relations while the soldier” was “in the army.” However, he was prepared to override this consideration in order to prevent an increase in sexual immorality. “Rather than see them live in promiscuous adultery,” he had “married such as were urgent when there was no other objection.” Chaplain Yancey, stationed at St. Charles, Arkansas, in winter 1864, was far less reluctant to marry the couples that came before him. Indeed, he saw the increasing numbers of soldiers wanting to get married as indicative of a “disposition on the part of the troops to conform to the requirements of Christianity and the usages of civilized life.” Moral reform appeared to be working.

. . . In some camps, marriage and sexual morality became important areas of conflict between devout chaplains and pragmatic officers. Some of these officers opposed the marriage of their troops, because they believed it made soldiers unfit for military service. Chaplain Yancey experienced this opposition in the 66th U.S. Colored Infantry. He believed that his opponents’ policy was sacrilegious, “contrary to the spirit and letter of the Bible.” Moreover, it promoted immorality in the camp; it was “calculated to encourage fornication and all those practices which degrade rather than elevate the soldier.” In short, it crippled the development of the soldier’s manhood, an objective “which the service requires.”

[The source of teh above info - appears to be various letters written by Chaplain Yancey cited in the bibliography of the book by Wilson.

William H Yancey of Cincinnati [ seemingly the same William Yancey who married Lucy Melissa Morris in Richmond ]
Though few of these sources below give any significant amount of information concerning William - they do give an excellent background as to the time/place/events.
These sources record William H Yancey as an editor of the "Colored Citizen"

Frontiers of Freedom - Cincinatti's Black Community 1802-1868, by Nikki Taylor
Pamphlets of Protest - and anthology of Early African American Protest Literature, By Richard Newman, Patrick Rael, Philip Lapsansky
Race and the City - Work, Community and Protest in Cincinnati 1820-1970, By Henry Louis Taylor
John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom, By William Cheek

"the literate W. H. Yancy, co-editor of the "Colored Citizen" one of two black newspapers published briefly in the city during the 1840's"
"In 1863 barber William H Yancy and the Reverend Thomas Woodson established another Cincinnati weekly, the Colored Citizen.  The mission statement of the "Colored Citizen"  dated November 7 1863 read: "Feeling the stern necessity of a medium through which to speak, hear and be heard, to defend the  right and denounce the wrong, touching our interest more especially in this city, where colored citizens are shamefully wronged, we assume the responsibility of publishing the "Citizen".



Other Yanceys of Ohio [possibly related to Walter C & James H Yancey]

Charles A Yancey - Delegate - Colored Citizens of Ohio

later went to Mississippi - click here.,

James T Yancey -

Death Records of Jackson Co.,OH