A Good Worker Who Deserves Some Negroes

1728 Johann Adam Matern, of Rosenheim, Upper Alsace. 26 years old. Weaver. A good worker who deserves some negroes. Three pigs.

Thus reads the roll in or around 1728, describing my forebear, the first Matern/Matherne who came to the New World with several hundred Germans as pioneers.

I don’t know why he was considered worthy of owning other human beings. Yet so the record reads.* A few years later, in 1731, Johann has increased his holdings. By then, he acquired 3 sons, 3 negroes and 7 cows.

He got his Negroes. I suppose that’s a sign of success. Just like you and I might be proud to have a new car or a house with no mortgage, Johann was the proud owner of 3 negroes. I hope my readers are not incensed beyond reason. It was a sign of the times.

I am rather proud that he’s described as being a good worker, not so much as a man who owned other people



Published by YaYa Girl

Welcome to Gumbo YaYa. My writings are an eclectic blend. A Louisiana gumbo is a composite dish of roux, rice and whatever else the cook wants to add. Yaya is a Creole term for ladies all talking at the same time. The Gumbo Ya-Ya features my writing on spirituality, travel, culture, and humor. Grab a bowl of gumbo here and dig in!

4 thoughts on “A Good Worker Who Deserves Some Negroes

  1. Your ancestor’s owning of some negroes would have any statue of him summarily dismantled in today’s America. I am assuming no such statue exists, so … no problem.

    Interesting that they believed that one deserved some negroes. Deserved?

    Good think you did not write that other n-word. You’d be tarred and feathered. You and I know, of course, that negro simply means black in Spanish. No harm, no foul.


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