Monday, December 29, 2014

Who is the Unnamed Slave Boy in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana?

Photo Credit: Dr. Charles Smith
Under a oak tree in Hammond, Louisiana., you can find the gravesites of Peter Hammond, his wife, three daughters,  and the grave of a little boy who was his slave. No one has ever mentioned the little boy by name. He is referred to as the favorite "slave boy."

Hammond, Louisiana is located in Tangipahoa Parish.  The city of Hammond is named for Peter Hammond-(Peter of Hammerdal)- a Swedish immigrant who first settled the area around 1818.

In the Hammond Graveyard; The Hammond Vindicator, Hammond, Louisiana, Nov 5, 1977.  They counted eight graves, nine if they counted the one, unmarked, of a little negro, a pet of Peter Hammond, who he buried there in the early sixties.

The article also mentioned that the spot became a favorite one with Hammond and when a dedicated slave child died, his especial pet, he buried it there. The first grave in the Hammond Graveyard, a striking expression of a Southerner's love for his slaves.
Photo Credit: Dr. Charles Smith
Dr. Charles Smith was shocked and outraged by the anonymity of "favorite slave boy," Dr. Smith
contacted local officials and researched the library for clues to the identity of the unidentified child slave to no avail. He realized that Hammond, Louisiana., would be just the place to begin his second African-American Heritage Museum and Black Veterans Archives, where he educated today's generations of black youth who seem uninterested.

I know that I can say not only should we educate the youth, adults in the area need to be educated as well about their local history and the history of their ancestors as it relates to the area in which they live. As a genealogist and family historian, I'm committed to researching any information I can find on this little boy to give him his name if I can find it. My heart aches as I write and publish this article. He wasn't a pet, he was a human being.

A very special and warmed hearted thank you, Dr. Charles Smith for caring enough to do something in remembrance of the child who was a slave. There are many unmarked graves that hold our enslaved ancestors in the parishes of Tangipahoa and St. Helena, La., Today, I light a candle in remembrance of all of them. But especially for the little boy who is buried in Hammond, LA.

For those of you that will celebrate NewYears Eve 2014, can you at least stop to think about what January 1,  1863, meant to your enslaved ancestors? If it wasn't for them where would you be today?  Because we chose to forget our history, past, and present this is why so many unjust situations are repeating itself again.

Light a candle in remembrance of those who died as slaves. Light a candle in remembrance of those who died fighting for freedom. Your freedom was given to you, there were much bloodshed for a little taste of freedom. To say the least I'll call him "Freedom Child."

For further reading please visit the following sites:,_Louisiana.html