For several decades family genealogists have been stopped in the year 1790 when Keziah Burgess was bonded to Jno Nichols, in Bedford County Kentucky. The mystery continues with another two bondings of a James Burgess, and James McDaniel’s, son of Mary Burgess within a few years of Keziah’s bonding. Researchers have made a connection with Keziah and her three sons again in 1840 in the Kentucky Census, revealing yet another relationship who was also bonded; her son Armstead Burgess in 1817, who was 7 or 8 at the time. Bonding in the early days was similar to slavery; by 1790 it was used to pay a debt or to raise an orphan. Freedom did come after a period of several years, or when the child reached adulthood. Naturally it can be a devastating experience; one that would surely stay with a person for life. This website is dedicated to the discovery of Keziah Burgess. Who was she, how did she live and provide for her three sons? Why was she bonded out and who was her family? This site will take you through the odyssey of that discovery, and in a strange way, remember someone who otherwise was unknown, someone who was undoubtedly at the bottom of the social strata. Yet she and her boys did win their freedom and her family did eventually have a chance at American prosperity.
The Mystery of Keziah Burgess
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A marketer, writer, and small business consultant. This blog was inspired during my genealogy work and the story of Kehiah Burgess of Kentucky.