Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Charles Daggs A Pioneer Who Stood the Test of Times

May 17, 1828
This advertisement appeared in the Alexandria Phenix Gazette
Charles Daggs was a man who stood his grounds and stood up against any man or system that brought about injustice. Charles, his mother Rachel and siblings arrived in New Orleans October 1,  1835 on a slave ship called the Tribune.  Charles was stated to be 21 years old when he arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana. A total of 977 enslaved Africans were shipped in last three months of 1835.

Rachel Dagg estimated birth year around 1800. She was 35 years. She and five of her children; Charles, Eliza, Joseph, Ellen, William Henry, departed from Alexandria, District of Columbia. John Armfield was the first shipper/owner. The second shipper/owner was Brandon McKenna and Wright.

Isaac Franklin and John Armfield leased a brick building with access to the wharves and docks in 1828 as a holding pen for enslaved people being shipped from Northern Virginia to Louisiana. They purchased the building and three lots in 1832. From this location, Armfield bought bondspeople at low prices and shipped them South to his partner Franklin in Natchez, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana. By the 1830s they often sold 1000 people annually, operating as one of the largest slave-trading companies in the United States until 1836.

Charles was married to Eliza Thompson Daggs, they were the parents of; James, William, Rachel, Lucinda, Joesph, Isaac, Emanuel, Sophia, George, and Louis Daggs. Many of descendants still live in the southern states. Some of them migrated up north. His daughter Lucinda went to Chicago with her son Jimmie Noone who was a professional Jazz musician. 

Daggs-At Hammond, LA Jan 26, 1909. Charles Daggs, colored. He was born in Washington, D.C.: served on the U.S.S. Scioto and went south soon after the war. He enjoyed the respect of all, regardless of race.  He attained the age of 99 years, four months, 18 days.

John Armfield
In John W. Gurley Papers at the LSU Libraries Special Collections,  you can find Charles Daggs in the John W. Gurley Papers (Mss. 507) Inventory. John W. Gurley, an attorney of New Orleans, La., was associated with Edward G. Stewart, a planter of Oak Lawn Plantation, Tangipahoa Parish, La., and former resident of New Orleans, Gurley and his wife, Rosa, were registered as being enemies of the United States during the Civil War but were excused after they signed oath of allegiance.

In the scope and content note, Charles Daggs was a tenant farmer, and he is discussing production and marketing of charcoal, farming, rations, clothing, needed goods, timber sales and freedmen wages (1865-1866). 

Charles a newly freed slave in 1867, established Greater St. James AME Church in Hammond, Louisiana. After being discharged from the Union Navy, he worshiped at St. James AME church in New Orleans, Louisiana for three years before moving to Hammond, Louisiana.  He was the first pastor of the new Hammond church.  Daggs was a powerful voice in the Africa American community after the Civil War. He advocated strongly for the voting rights of freed slaves, and once protested and testified at the courthouse in Greensburg, Louisiana. He knew that potential black voters were being threatened by whites with loss of their jobs.

During that time and era, Tangipahoa Parish was known as bloody Tangipahoa and Daggs knew that he was putting his life and the life of his family on the line. He stood up against prominent white men in the parish for corruption.

Just how much is known about a man who was bound by the shackle of slavery by determined to build a better life for himself,  his family and community.  The more I research Charles Daggs, I gain a deep appreciation for him, his works and legacy. This is the first time in my research that I can exactly say that I can place someone on a slave ship, the name of the ship.

I'm planning on visiting the LSU Library and the St. Helena Parish Courthouse to learn more about Charles Daggs. From my research, this is the first time I have heard that a family in Tangipahoa Parish has been able to trace their family history back to a slave ship, the owner of the slave ship, where they were held and when they arrived in Louisiana.

This article was written and researched by Dr. Antoniette Harrell, a genealogist and family historian, with genealogical concentration in the Southeast Parishes. 

Bibliography Resources

National Register of Historic Places Registration Form

Charles Daggs' gravestone in the graveyard of the former church site on E. Thomas in Hammond LA. (photo by Ann Swigart)

Charles Daggs, The National Tribune from Washington, District of Columbia-Page 7. Issue Date: Thursday, June 10, 1909

Gurley ( John W.) Papers 1858-1866, LSU Libraries Special Collections

Warren Jones, Oral Interview with Dr. Antoinette Harrell. Warren Jones is the 3rd great grandson of Joseph Daggs

May 17, 1828,  this advertisement appeared in the Alexandria Phenix Gazette,  Cash in Market

Photo of John Armfield, Courtesy of Elizabeth Coppinger, Beersheba Springs, Tenn (1981)

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Charles Daggs A Pioneer Who Stood the Test of Times

May 17, 1828 This advertisement appeared in the Alexandria Phenix Gazette C harles Daggs was a man who stood his grounds and stood ...