The Paul and Jincy Family
From Profile of a Black Heritage
by the late Dr. Lester F. Russell

Paul and Jincy were parents of eleven children, all of whom were born in slavery. They were: Moses and Abram (twins), born about 1832; David Crockett, 1837; Rachel, 1839; Lucy, 1840; Perry, 1842; Zacharias, 1844; Jincy, 1846; Floyd, 1848; Shade, 1849; and Paul, 1850. Abram, Rachel and Perry died in slavery. The remainder lived to be free and went forth to become solid citizens as farmers, preachers, and housewives.

Throughout the time that Paul and Jincy's children were growing up on the plantation, they were keenly aware of the many movements which took place to abolish slavery. They gained knowledge of such movements by the "grapevine" or through other sources. They knew about such people as L.W. Paine, a white Rhode Island machinist, who worked in Georgia to get slaves to use the underground railroad; John Brown, the white abolitionist and Harriet Tubman, the black abolitionist, both of whom worked directly with the underground railroad movement; and Frederick Douglass, a black anti-slavery lecturer of renown. Secretly they applauded the efforts of these people and prayed for their success.

Although abolitionist movements gave the Hubert slaves a ray of hope for freedom, they were wary and skeptical that it would ever become a reality. They were also acutely aware that many private citizens, organizations, and even the federal government were taking action to counter abolitionist movements. Their master had informed them about that side of the story on many occasions. He told them specifically about the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, by the federal government, and how it was designed to punish anyone who aided and abetted in the escape of slaves.

Paul and Jincy, based on their knowledge of what was going on pro and con regarding slavery, decided to train their children with a two-fold purpose. First, they were determined to prepare them to be good slaves in the event they must forever remain as slaves. Second, they wanted to prepare them for the eventuality of freedom should it indeed become a reality. They felt that should it be their children's plight to remain slaves, they should be well-disciplined and hardworking to cope with the bad situation. Should they become free, they wanted them to be prepared to assume responsibility and work to become self-sustaining.

To train their children to become good slaves, Paul and Jincy taught them to be obedient to their masters and to work hard to help them prosper. They were given to understand that their father's job was one of trust and confidence which was attained only through obedience and hard work. It was also pointed out to them that they could neither expect nor receive treatment from their father different from that accorded other slaves.

To ready their children for possible release from slavery, Paul and Jincy taught them different technical skills. The boys were taught, and became proficient in, horse shoeing, carpentry, painting and brick masonry; the girls were taught cooking, sewing, and housekeeping.

All of the Paul and Jincy children were converted to religion at early ages. They grew up working in their father's church alongside their parents. They too rejected "JuJu" like their father. They accepted their grandmother's teachings on the making of medicines and midwifery, but did not accept her sorcery teachings.

Both parents wanted very much for their sons to follow Paul in the ministry, but were able to persuade only one, Moses, to do so. He became a preacher at ten and joined his father in ministry at the large stump he used as a pulpit. He helped him to deliver his sermons by answering him and rendering occasional "hoops" to add emphasis to a point. Just one year before he went out of slavery, Moses replaced his ailing father as minister of Paul's Baptist Church.

In 1856, with death of their grandmother Phillis, Lucy and Rachel, were brought into the big house by Matthew Henry; Lucy was made a cook while Rachel was made personal maid-servant to the ailing master Hiram. She worked under the direct supervision of her mother, Jincy, who had been made head chambermaid to fill the job left vacant by Phillis' death. Rachel remained on that job until she died of "fever" in 1858. Her brothers Perry and Abram followed her in death from the same cause. Perry died in 1860 and Abram in late 1862.

On January 20, 1861, the Hubert plantation was thrown into a state of chaos. The whole place went helter-skelter when word was received by pony-express that Georgia had joined Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama in seceding from the union over the slavery issue. Paul, the slave, became a central figure in the arena of confusion. Matthew Henry, with the knowledge that his father was dying and that he and his sons were highly subject to be called up for confederate service, called Paul to the big house and talked the whole matter over with him. He explained to him what had taken place in Mil-ledgeville, the capital, and the far-reaching effects it could have on the slave issue. He directed Paul to do everything in his power to help him keep the slaves in check and especially from leaving the plantation. His greatest concern was that his plantation would cease to exist if he were called to the war.

Late that evening Paul called the slaves together and told them the news formally. The news came as no great surprise to any of them as they had heard Paul speak of it at church, and through rumors in the fields. He appealed to them to be calm and wait to see how things would develop before pulling up stakes and moving out. They reluctantly agreed to stay and then went to their cabins to talk the whole thing over among themselves. Jincy said that it appeared to her that for the first time in their lives the slaves had an aura of dignity and worthiness about them. They seemed relieved at the very prospect of having the yoke of slavery removed from their necks.

After the big meeting on January 20th, the Hubert slaves worked better and with greater spirit than they had at any previous time, and not one of them left the plantation.

In October 1861, several months before Hiram died, he called his youngest son, Matthew Henry, and Paul and Jincy to his bedside. He told them of his desires for the future operation of the plantation and thanked Paul and Jincy for their many years of dedicated and loyal service. He also told Matthew Henry that he had always considered Paul and Jincy and their children to be like members of his own family and instructed him to continue treating them in that manner. Matthew Henry was instructed by his father to keep the Paul and Jincy family on the plantation as long as they desired to remain there regardless of what happened about slavery. He was ordered to preclude them from being separated at any time unless they were to relocate with another Hubert family member.

In December 1861, a few days after his father's death, Matthew Henry joined the Confederate Forces. During his absence Matthew Henry designated his son, Henry "Hal" Clay Hubert, then twenty-one years of age, as supervisor of the plantation. He was informed to rely heavily on Paul to assist him and to listen to Paul and respect his decisions regarding planting, harvesting, and other operations of the plantation.

Things went very well with Henry Clay until around mid-1862 when the Confederacy required him to provide some of his slaves to work in the munitions factory at Macon, Georgia. Fulfillment of the requirement jeopardized his plantation severely as only less than half of the nearly 60 slaves remained. Nevertheless, with Paul's assistance the place continued to operate and produced enough to sustain the Huberts and their slaves well.

One night, early in October 1862, while Paul and his family were assembled in their cabin, Henry Clay summoned Paul to the big house where he told him that he had received word that Abraham Lincoln, President of the Union, had issued a proclamation on September 22, 1862, announcing his intention to free slaves in states fighting against the Union by the first of January, 1863. Henry Clay pointed out to Paul that he was not aware of what the state of Georgia intended to do on the matter, but he wanted Paul to know what was taking place and to caution other slaves to be calm and not run away. He informed him to attempt to prevail upon all slaves to stay on the "comfortable" plantation and assured Paul that if he were successful he would reward him personally when the war was finished.

Within a short time after talking with his master, Paul once again called the slaves together and explained to them the new situation. They were told that freedom was in sight, but it would be foolish for them to leave the plantation until they were officially released. They were also warned that should they leave they would likely get into serious trouble as the confederate troops were killing many ex-slaves out of vindiction.

The Hubert slaves agreed to stay on and work with Henry Clay and Paul until a decision was made regarding their status. They remained on the Hubert plantation until General William Tecumseh Sherman and his Union Forces moved through that section in November 1864, enroute from Atlanta to Milledgeville. At that time most of them left and accompanied Sherman's armies. Only Paul and Jincy and their children and about ten old and infirmed slaves stayed on beyond Sherman's march.

When Matthew Henry II returned from the war, in 1865, he found his plantation in a seriously disorganized condition. He had anticipated that the place would be disorganized and that some of the slaves would be gone, but had not expected to find things in disarray as they were. He had not been apprised that personnel of Sherman's armies had visited the plantation and pillaged the place, taking with them many of the Hubert valuables. He was, according to Jincy,'"palled and dismayed."

The morning following his return, Matthew Henry sought out Paul and told him that slavery was ended officially for him and the other slaves and they were free to go whenever they desired. He asked Paul to have all of the slaves assemble at noon at the big house so he could personally tell them the news. When noon arrived, the area surrounding the large pecan tree was occupied by the remaining slaves. Looking somber faced and melancholic, they appeared to be there to attend the funeral of a best friend, instead of an arch enemy, slavery. They had heard rumors of what the meeting was about and had mixed emotions concerning the news they expected to hear. Some were already confused and in a quandary as to how they could make out if, in fact, they were freed. They wanted to be free but were not sure they were prepared to survive it. Except for Paul's children, most were just too old or sick to even think about starting life anew.

Immediately after noon, Matthew Henry stepped to the back porch of the big house and made his announcement. He told the pitiful slaves they were free, free from slavery and free to go wherever they desired. He also told them that if they desired they could remain with him and work for daily wages. It was suggested that they think the whole matter over carefully for several days and then let him know their decision. He explained that the Civil War had tremendous financial impact on the operation of the plantation but he would sacrifice to share with them money he expected to receive from selling produce raised on the farm. He indicated that he wanted to do his best to help them prepare for a better life in freedom. He told them further that they would be expected to pay for their clothing and some of the foodstuff consumed, but could live there rent free. He then warned those who would leave that they should forever be honest and industrious and continue to place their trust in God.

When the meeting was over, Matthew Henry approached Paul and said, "Paul, we need you to stay here. I just can't see how we can make it without you and your family. If you stay 1 will make you my overseer." Paul observed that due to his age he was inclined to stay but he would talk the matter over with his family before making a final decision. After promising Matthew Henry to notify him of his decision in a few days, he then left to join his family at the cabin.

Upon arrival at his cabin, Paul called his entire-family together and prayed. He thanked the Lord repeatedly for ending slavery. He said, "God A'mighty, I knowed you was watching us, I knowed it, I done told my people you'd let dem go, jest to be patient. Thank you, Jesus, thank you Jesus." After each member of the family thanked the Lord and asked for guidance for the future they settled to the business of discussing whether they should stay on the plantation and work for wages or go into the free world and make their own way.

Jincy sided with Paul and agreed that they were too aged to start a new life. They attempted to persuade their children by reminding them of the "many good years" they had spent on the plantation, among other excuses. After much discussion, all of the children agreed with Paul and Jincy except Zacharias (Zach) and Moses, who were the ranking opinion leaders among the children. The two argued that it was plain foolish to even consider staying there, no matter how well they had been treated as a family and regardless of possible family ties with the white Huberts. They suggested that they leave the place, rent a farm and attempt to make a go of it as a family unit.

Moses became quite upset about the thought of staying and told his parents that to do so would be "slapping God after he done set us free." He pointed out to his father that he was quite surprised that as a preacher he would let the Lord know by his actions that he was not really serious when he preached and prayed over the many years for freedom. He was so adamant about the matter that he even threatened to pull out from the family and go it alone if they decided to remain as laborers.

Zach, who had just turned twenty-one, was also quite concerned about the manner in which his family was viewing freedom, but was not quite as aggressive as Moses. He simply reminded his father that he felt the same way Moses did and would leave and try to make it on the outside regardless of the way the family decided.

Paul became quite upset over the argument given him by Moses and Zach but continued to prevail upon them to stay. He retorted that he was thankful for all that God had done, but the freedom matter came as a shock to him. He said that although he had faith that God would answer his prayers, he did not believe it would come in his lifetime. On that basis he had not prepared himself for the eventuality and was confused as to what he should do in the best interest of his family.

After several days of arguing the advantages and disadvantages of leaving the plantation, Moses and Zach finally won the family over to their way of thinking. It was decided that they would leave and farm together as a family unit. They also decided to tell Matthew Henry their decision immediately and to ask him to help them locate a farm to rent in the general area.

Upon learning of Paul's decision, Matthew Henry expressed deep regret over the prospect of the family leaving, but offered immediate assistance to help them get a place to rent and farm. He even went a step further and gave Paul a bale of cotton to sell to get started on the new life.

With tears in his eyes, Paul thanked Matthew Henry, tipped his hat and started away. On second thought he approached him again and asked, "But Master, if we goes out, what's we going to call our family name?" "Hubert," replied Matthew Henry, "didn't my father always say you folks was part of his family?" With tears in his eyes and a broad grin on his face Paul hurried away. He went directly to his cabin and told his family the news. "Lawdy, Lawdy,"Paul cried as he entered his cabin, "master done said he'd help us git a place to live and done give us a bale of cotton to sell. And dat ain't all, we is all now Huberts." "Jesus, hab mercy" exclaimed Jincy, "you sure is good to us."

The man contacted by Matthew Henry about renting land to the Paul Hubert family was a former plantation owner who owned several hundred acres about three miles away from the Hubert place. He told Matthew Henry that it had been his policy to let the land on a share-crop basis. He explained that since Matthew Henry was personally interested in "those niggers" he would rent them 100 acres of land for $100.00 per year, on a trial basis, payable in advance. The site designated for their use was formerly used as a cotton farm and was situated about five miles from the Hubert place. It contained an old overseer cabin, four slave shacks and a cotton storage barn containing some farm implements, and a wagon. The place was ideal as there was plenty of living space available and permission was given to use the old farm equipment.

Paul sold the bale of cotton Matthew Henry gave him for $300.00 and paid $100.00 for rent for one year. With the remainder he bought a mule, a supply of staples, some cotton seeds and other items. When the remaining ex-slaves of the Hubert plantation learned about the rented farm, they asked to go with Paul to work for food and lodging. They wanted to gain experience so they could perhaps adjust to freedom and prepare themselves to start on their own. Paul was astonished at the request. He was happy that they had such faith in him but disappointed because he could not see his way clear to use and provide for the ten. He prevailed upon five of them, the youngest and ablest, to stay with Matthew Henry and work for wages until they would become able to go on their own. The others were told they could go but would have to work alongside him and his family to get the new place organized.

On May 16, 1865, the Paul Hubert family, along with five old and decrepit slaves, all stripped of the very essentials of civilization and devoid of any experience in independent living, bade farewell to the white Huberts and the other ex-slaves and started their trek to a new life. Most left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Upon arrival at the rented farm Paul and his small army went to work immediately cleaning and readying the place for farming. Life for them was rough. They arose early each morning to till the soil, hew benches and tables from logs, and a host of other materials from natural resources. Their meals consisted of cornbread, molasses and water for three meals daily for many weeks. Sometimes they became so hungry that they teased the old folks about eating them. Despite their hardships they never grumbled, but persisted to prove that they could develop for themselves a good farm and live a better life than they had lived previously. They put their faith in God and trusted he would lead them through as he had done before.

On the first Sunday of freedom, Paul and his son, Moses, organized a church in the lower section of the cotton barn. They called it the Hubert Baptist Church and Moses was designated as the minister. Paul became a deacon along with his other sons and two of the ex-slaves who had been deacons in the swamp church.

Six months after the Hubert Baptist Church was organized it had a membership of about seventy-five people. Many of its members came from settlements as far as ten miles away. Staunchest among them were the ex-slaves who came there from the old Hubert plantation to hear "Paul's boy Moses preach de gospel."

Moses preached constantly, almost repetitiously, about three subjects. He considered them to be extremely important to his people and never gave up trying to get them across. They were: "Staying out of trouble;" "Being good to your families;" and "Working hard to make a good life." At the conclusion of each Sunday's message, his brother, Senior Deacon Zach, followed with a stern lecture admonishing the people to follow the preacher's advice and to go out and find a way to get started on working toward self-sufficiency. He told them it was his prime objective in life to own a farm and that they should set that as an objective, too.

Both the preachings of Moses and Zach were heeded considerably by all worshippers. This is attested to by the fact that there are many descendants of those ex-slaves who still live in that same area and are a highly concentrated group of God-fearing, hard working people who still work for the good life.

As the Hubert Baptist Church progressed, so did the farm. As time advanced, the rough spots gradually became smooth and the farm prospered. By the end of 1867, with less than two years out of slavery, the Paul Hubert family succeeded in developing a cotton crop which grossed $1,000.00. Of that amount they saved nearly $100.00, a sizeable amount for a farmer, black or white, at that time.

In September 1868, a little more than three years after being freed, Paul Hubert died. Not long thereafter his family gradually began to leave the farm. The first to leave was Zach. Early in 1869, around April, Zach rented a twenty acre farm about eight miles away, near Powelton, in Hancock County, Georgia. While at Powelton he became a member of the white Powelton Baptist Church. He stayed there until 1871, when he moved to another location in Hancock County near Sparta.

Paul II was the second Hubert child to leave the rented farm. In late 1869, he went to work for William Hubert, a brother to his former master Hiram and uncle to his former master Matthew Henry. He joined the William Hubert family at Sumter County, Georgia. After working there for several years he accompanied the Hubert family to Polk County, Texas. When last heard from around 1875, he and his wife and five children were tenant farmers in Texas.

The third child to leave was Jincy II. In early 1870, she married an ex-slave by the name of Heath and moved to White Plains, Georgia. There they farmed rented land until they were able to purchase a farm many years later. The Heaths raised six children, four boys and two girls, all of the boys became successful farmers and the girls housewives.

In early 1871, David Crockett and Floyd joined Zach at Hancock County. They accompanied him when he moved from Powelton to Sparta and jointly the three purchased a tract of land. They became the first blacks to purchase land in central Georgia. Perhaps they were also the first black land owners in all Georgia.

Lucy married an ex-slave who lived and worked alongside her on the Hubert plantation, but moved away from the rented farm in 1874. They became sharecroppers on another farm owned by the man who owned the place the Hubert family rented initially upon leaving the Hubert plantation. After sharecropping for three years they commenced renting the farm. They continued to operate it on a rental basis until they were able to purchase land in Hancock County in the 1890's, where they became parents of three children, two boys and a girl. The boys grew up to be successful farmers and the girl a housewife.

In 1877, Moses and Shade, accompanied by their mother, Jincy, left the rented farm to join David Crockett, Floyd and Zach near Sparta in Hancock County. Thus ended the exodus from the rented farm.

Moses bought farm land about four miles from his brother Zach in a little community near Powelton, Georgia. He was a minister in the area for many years and served in all matters religious and civic. He married Antoinette Virginia Johnson, a slave girl from the neighboring Johnson plantation. To this union was born seven boys and two girls. Two of the children died before maturity. Those reaching maturity were: Pearl, Floyd Moses, India Virginia, Charles Dubois, Major Milliard, Arthur Brown and William Henry. All of Moses' children attended Morehouse College and Spelman and became worthwhile citizens of their state and country. They became teachers, preachers and housewives.

Examples of contributions made to society by Moses' children are: Charles Dubois Hubert was a star football player at Morehouse College. He graduated from the field of ministry and attained graduate degrees from other institutions of higher learning. He was the director of the Department of Religion at Morehouse College for many years and named acting president for two years. Many black ministers all over the United States praised Charles D. Hubert for the religious training received. A public school was named in his honor after his death. He was married to Mamie Jones Hubert, the daughter of Rev. Andrew Jones, the pastor of one of the largest churches in Atlanta during the early twentieth century. They were the parents of one son, Jerome. Another of Moses' sons, Major Milliard Hubert, also completed his undergraduate work at Morehouse. After having worked on the farm of his father for one year following college, he became interested in agriculture as a career. He entered Hampton Institute and remained there for three years when he received a degree in agriculture. Later he returned there to do special work in floriculture. Upon leaving Hampton Institute in early 1900, he was employed as County Agricultural Agent in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi. There he met and married Miss Ruth B. Gates of Newville, Alabama. In 1915, Major Hubert was appointed Mississippi State Agent for Negro Agricultural Work, a position in which he excelled by raising the level of proficiency of blacks in agriculture throughout Mississippi.