Note: to see a post for Robert Haskins Crozier CLICK HERE
While I continue to track down the parents of Peter McQueen I suppose putting some information up about him would keep me from writing one very, very long post about him. †
My relationship to Peter McQueen:
Virginia Marie Stalls (mother)
James Paul Stalls, Jr (granddaddy)
Minnie Virginia Richards (g-grandmother)
Jerome E Richards (2nd g-grandfather)
Caroline McQueen (3rd g-grandmother)
Peter McQueen (4th g-grandfather)
According to census records Peter McQueen was born about 1795 in South Carolina. I do know (due to a court case involving one of his daughters and his niece) that he had at least one older sister named Ann McQueen who married Stephen Wood. Ann McQueen, also from South Carolina, died in Meriwether County, Georgia.
Peter McQueen is not on any census records until 1840 for some reason, so tracking his exact whereabouts is difficult.
Peter married Elizabeth Freeland in 1820 in West Feliciana, Louisiana. They had (according to the divorce papers) three daughters: Louisa in 1822, Melissa in 1824 and Caroline in 1826. By 1827 the family was living in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.
In 1827, when Caroline was about a year old, Peter deserted his family. He had previously sold many of their belongings. When he left he took two slaves that Elizabeth’s father had given her, telling Elizabeth he would sell the slaves and return with the money. He disappeared for 10 years. I have been unable to find him on the 1830 census (or 1820 census, for that matter).
Peter apparently returned sometime in 1837 and took the two oldest daughters, Louisa and Melissa, from their home against their will, though why he did not take Caroline is not known (unless, as might be suspected, Caroline is not actually his daughter…). According to records he took the girls up to Marshall County, Mississippi and enrolled them in school.
Elizabeth filed for divorce in May of 1838. She assumed that Peter had fled west of the Mississippi River and was possibly living in Arkansas. A notice went out in the paper in Jasper County, Mississippi asking him to come forward and face the accusations. Of course he didn’t and the divorce was finalized May 1839.
In 1840 Peter is found living in Northern Division, Marshall County, Mississippi. Listed in the household are:
1 white male between 15 and 19 years of age
1 white male between 40 and 49 years of age
3 male slaves under 10 years of age
1 female slave under 10 years of age
1 female slave between 10 and 23 years of age
1 female slave between 24 and 35 years of age
It is not clear who the white male between 15 and 19 years of age is, nor at this point do I know if the female slave between 10 and 23 years of age and the female slave between 24 and 35 years of age are the two that he took from Elizabeth.
It was about 1840 when Peter brought Louisa and Melissa to live with him. According to court records between 1840 and 1850 Peter became upset when his daughters attended a Methodist Church and kicked them both out of his house. It’s not clear whether he kicked them out for attending church, for attending a Methodist Church or attending the night meetings at the Methodist Church. However, Reverend Robert Haskins Crozier wrote a novel based on the incident titled Fiery Trials: Or, a story of an Infidel's Family, Rogers and Company, 1882. The book paints Peter as an atheist who forbid his family to even think about religion.
On April 24, 1843 Peter, who had been named the administrator of William M Bostwick’s estate, reported that the estate was insolvent. Peter may not have been forthcoming in filing a list of the assets of the estate until October 1846. (William Trezevant et al. vs. Peter McQueen, Administrator of William M. Bostwick, deceased)*
The January Term of 1849 found Peter in court again when Theodore Bostwick sued him for wages he felt Peter owed him. The judge found for the defendant (Peter) and awarded a new trial. Bostwick had failed to present evidence to prove his case and the judge declared that Peter had shown kindness in providing clothes, food and medical attention. (Peter McQueen vs. Theodore D. Bostwick)*
In 1850 Peter is found on the census still living in Northern Division, Marshall County, Mississippi. He is listed as Peter McQueen, 55 years of age, a farmer and born in South Carolina. This is the first time that it is shown where he claims to have been born. Also living in the household with him is a man named John Bogan, 23 years of age from North Carolina who was a carpenter. It’s not clear his relationship to Peter. The slave schedules also list Peter as having twenty-one slaves between the ages of 9 months and 33 years.**
The year 1850 found Louisa living with the Grey family in Marshall County, Mississippi. She would go on to marry Thomas Cottrell, then Jeremiah Elder. In 1850 Melissa was living with the Benjamin Cottrell family in Marshall County, Mississippi. Benjamin Cottrell owned the Sylvestria Girls School in Marshall County and Melissa taught there. Melissa died in 1851 and is buried in the Cottrell Family Cemetery in Marshall County, Mississippi. Her headstone reads “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up”.
The census enumerated in 1860 finds Peter living in Town 2 Range 5, Byhalia, Marshall County, Mississippi. He is living by himself, age 65 years, a farmer, extremely wealthy and still from South Carolina. He is again on the slave schedules as having 30 slaves between the ages of 8 months and 40 years.
In 1860 Peter’s niece, Mary Ann Wood Mullins lost her husband Patrick Henry Mullins to a brain inflammation leaving her to raise four children on her own. Peter’s will, dated September 3, 1863 appoints Mary Ann as executrix. Peter’s entire estate was left to her and her children, but nothing to his last living child Louisa. According to a Mississippi Supreme Court case, October Term 1866 between Mary Ann and Louisa (Mary A. Mullins et al. v. Louisa Cottrell) concerning the validity of the will Peter lived in Choctaw County (it is not clear whether Choctaw County, Mississippi or Choctaw County, Alabama, though Mississippi seems to be the most obvious) two years prior to his death. The record of the case*** goes on to say that in Choctaw County he “killed a man in that county, and was killed in attempting to escape”. It goes on to state that Peter died in the “autumn of 1865”, but it doesn’t give an exact date of death. It also doesn’t tell us where he is buried.
-Who are Peter McQueen’s parents?
-Where was Peter McQueen prior to 1820?
-Where was Peter McQueen between 1827 and 1837?
-Is Caroline actually Peter McQueen’s daughter?
-Who are these Mystery McQueens living with Robert Hoyle in 1860, Township 2 Range 4, Byhalia, Marshall County, Mississippi: Peter McQueen (age 2 years) and Infant Boy McQueen (age 4 months) who don’t appear to have any parents and there aren’t any other McQueens living in the area?
† information on court cases concerning him will be separate posts…he apparently was not at all unfamiliar with what the inside of a court room looked like…
* both William Trezevant et al. vs. Peter McQueen, Administrator of William M. Bostwick, deceased and Peter McQueen vs. Theodore D. Bostwick cases can be found in Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Mississippi, Volume 20, Mississippi, EW Stephens Publishing Company, 1849
**I am going to go ahead and say that what I learned about this guy concerning slaves makes me really dislike…no, hate him…he truly disgusts me
***found in Mississippi Reports-edition, publisher and publishing year unknown-photocopied pages found in research files of Hubert H McAlexander, the McAlexander-Marshall County Collection, JD Williams Library, University of Mississippi-information can also be found in The Southwestern Reporter, Volume 149, West Publishing Company, 1912