Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Rebecca Culver (b. circa 1785 - d.?)
MSA SC 5496-015208
Property Owner, Montgomery County, Maryland

Biography:

    Rebecca Culver was born about 1785 in Montgomery County, MD, the daughter of Henry Culver and an unknown mother. When Henry Culver died he willed to his daughter Rebecca a slave woman Amelia and all of her increase, which included fifteen children. Rebecca Culver was diagnosed as a lunatic and therefore mentally incapable of taking on the task of complete ownership. Amelia Edmonson recalled to Harriet Beecher Stowe and instant between she and her mistress: "When I wan't more than fourteen years old, Missis was doing some work one day that she thought she couldn't trust me with and she says to me, Milly, now you see it is I that am the slave and not you." Francis Valdenar, Rebecca's brother in law, was appointed trustee to Culver's estate. He made all the decisions in regards to Culvers' estate, which included her slaves.

    Valdenar had all of the Edmonson children hired out to work in Washington, DC. Four of the children (Elizabeth, Martha, Eliza, and Eveline) were allowed to purchase their freedom from Culver, through Valdenar. Amelia the mother of the children was allowed to live with her husband Paul on his farm in Montgomery County. She was expected to complete her slave duties for Rebecca Culver while she was at the home of her husband. Eventually Culver's trustee decided that he would not manumit any more of the Edmonson children.

    In 1832, Hamilton Edmonson the eldest son of Paul and Amelia Edmonson, fled from the estate of Henry Culver. Hamilton ran with another slave named Charles Briscoe and the two were caught and jailed. The following year Hamilton was sold south to Louisiana for $500. Hamilton Edmonson lived out the remainder of his life as a slave and eventually a free man in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1848, six more of the Edmonson children escaped on the schooner Pearl in Washington, DC. They too were caught, jailed, and shipped to the Louisiana slave market. The Edmonson children were purchased for $750 each, a great profit for Rebecca Culver's trustee Francis Valdenar. Most of the Edmonson children would eventually be manumitted. By 1850, Rebecca Culver had no slaves in her possession and was worthless to Francis Valdenar. She was placed in the care of Michael and Drusilla Connelly, who was the sister of Rebecca's father, Henry Culver. Culver lived with her aunt and uncle until her death.
 

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