Saturday, April 18, 2015

Catherine Prophet Henderson (circa 1842-1918)

This week's entry for Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors Challenge is about another maternal ancestor.

My current focus is on the women in the family, since they are often overlooked. Part of the reason women are harder to find is because their surname often changes due to marriage and remarriage.

This is a story about my 3x great-grandmother Catherine Prophet Henderson.

Catherine Prophet Henderson's estimated date of birth is 3 Mar 1842 in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, USA. Her exact date of birth is unknown because she was born a bondswoman, held as a slave for the first decades of her life. According to her death certificate, her parents were Peggy and Miner Prophet, both of Natchez, Mississippi. 

Catherine Prophet married a man who carried the surname Henderson. Mr. Henderson's identity remains a mystery. I am not sure if he ever resided with his family in Ascension Parish or if they were split apart.

They had a daughter named Susan "Susie" Henderson. She would go on to marry Charlie Morris, son of Representative Milton Morris. Susie and her family lived on the neighboring Belle-Helene Plantation.

Ashland aka Belle-Helene Plantation
Geisemer, Ascension, Louisiana, USA
Ascension Parish, Louisiana

Catherine's Home

Catherine is buried on 
The Bowden Plantation, which was purchased in 1858 by Duncan F. Kenner. 

The Bowden Plantation was adjacent to the Ashland Belle-Helene Plantation on the Mississippi River near Geismar, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, USA. Both plantations were owned by D.F. Kenner. Kenner was one of the largest slave owners not only in Louisiana, but in the entire United States. Before the Civil War. In 1860, he owned over 473 human beings, including my Catherine. 

Catherine did not always live in Ascension Parish. She was born in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi circa 1842. 

The question remains...

How did the family get from Mississippi to Louisiana?


1. One of the largest slave markets in the country was located in Natchez. If I am ever able to piece together the family after the slave auctions, I would have to look here. There was an infamous outdoor slave market called "The Forks in the Road Slave Market at Natchez". It is possible that Catherine was born in Natchez and sold from this large market. 

Duncan F. Kenner
2. After researching Duncan Farrar Kenner's family (the slave holder), it appears Duncan's mother was originally from Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, USA. Her name was Mary Minor Kenner (1787-1814). Perhaps I could find some additional information about her which would lead to information about my Catherine. Maybe Catherine and her children were "gifted" to her son.
Future Research: 
1. Who was Catherine's husband? 
2. Did Catherine have more children? 
3. Research the Hendersons and Prophets. 
4. Was Catherine sold or gifted from Kenner's mother?
5. Pay a visit to the plantation to pay respect. 

Catherine Prophet Henderson died a free woman on the Bowden Plantation, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, USA on 12 Mar 1918. Her life was full of many hardships based on her position. She witnessed the injustice of slavery, the horrors of the Civil War and the violent aftermath. To me, Catherine symbolizes the opitme of feminine strength.

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