Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.
Morris Adkins, born about 1835, ... we believe was the son of Fannie Adkins and a teenager when she and siblings were relocated to Mississippi. We do not know when he escaped slavery in Virginia but obviously did so as evidenced by Union Army records. He was likely one of the angry young Black men in the south after his mother and siblings were "sold down river." For him, the Civil War was not just about saving the Union but finding his mama though it is doubtful that he ever did live with her again.
It is quite possible he never saw her again, using his Army mustering out pay for return to Virginia and marriage to Ann around 1864-1865 evidenced by birth of son William Adkins.
|31||Adkins, Morris||Union||Infantry||101st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry |
He was indeed one of the young men that fulfilled the promise Frederick Douglass made to Abraham Lincoln, that if afforded liberty to join and fight for the Union cause, tens of thousands of young men would leave southern produce to rot in the fields and literally end plantation agriculture upon which the rebel states depended. Virginia's great Shenandoah Valley with it's rich history of being the breadbasket of the southern lifestyle became fruitless without slave labor to do the tedious hard-work necessary and even now seldom mentioned by writers about "John Boy" and other make-believe love stories.
| Name ||Relation||Marital Status||Gender||Race||Age||Birthplace||Occupation||Father's Birthplace||Mother's Birthplace|
| Morris ADKINS || Self || M || Male || B || 45 || VA || Laborer || VA || VA |
| Ann ADKINS || Wife || M || Female || || 40 || VA || Keeping House || VA || VA |
| William ADKINS || Son || S || Male || B || 16 || VA || Farm Hand || VA || VA |
| Hannah ADKINS || Dau || S || Female || B || 10 || VA || At Home || VA || VA |
| Lue ADKINS || Dau || S || Female || B || 9 || VA || || VA || VA |
| Lee ADKINS || Son || S || Male || B || 7 || VA || || VA || VA |
| Missie ADKINS || Dau || S || Female || B || 5 || VA || || VA || VA |
| Mary ADKINS || Dau || S || Female || B || 2 || VA || || VA || VA |
| Morris ADKINS || Son || S || Male || B || 2M || VA || || VA || VA |
| ||Census Place||Brookville, Campbell, Virginia|
| ||Family History Library Film ||1255358|
| ||NA Film Number ||T9-1358|
| ||Page Number ||13A |
Family oral history handed down by William Thomas Atkins, Sr. indicate that Morris Adkins/Atkins was likely a coal miner in and around Campbell County after and perhaps before the Civil War working in the mines of southwestern Virginia coal veins of the Appalachian Mountain chain that ran from Pennsylvania down to Alabama. Tens of thousands of Black men like him had the courage and stamina to daily risk their lives in the dangers of working underground where color could not be seen in the blackness of laboring that lesser men never attempted and most writers are completely ignorant in writing about Black men.
Coal miners, both Black and White, were without exception, strong believers and without faith there would have been few if any. The coal miner's functional church was always underground where he had to join in the body and spirit of Christ to get along, trust and work with men he could not see and often not even hear. Above ground, Black miners routinely greeted each other as brother long before the term became fashionable among preachers and teachers who seldom knew them in the great moments of fear, ... when the mountain waters poured in, timbers cracked above them and pockets of black gas killed their friends.
And, men like Morris Adkins in union with their wives raised up a new generation in the name of Christ that brought them up: from slavery, the Civil War killing fields and each work day fears and tears underground.