In the post about the Brayboy surname, I rather blithely mentioned that I had found photographs of Buena Vista plantation in De Soto Parish, Louisiana, where my great-great-grandparents Brayboy (and likely LeJay) were enslaved. I glossed over my feelings about that discovery. I was very much surprised and thrilled! The discovery was so unexpected!
A few months ago, I had run into a previously unknown cousin at a genealogical workshop. I learned from her for the first time that the Brayboys (and likely the LeJays) were slaves of a man named Boykin Witherspoon, who had relocated his operations from South Carolina to Louisiana. This information was pretty exciting and set me off to discover all I could about the Witherspoon family. I ascertained the location of some primary sources and found other information. But what I didn't find was information about the plantation, strangely enough.
When I decided to do a piece on the Brayboy surname, I made a quick, and I thought, pro forma, Google search of the Witherspoon name--expecting to find nothing new. But there was a document that I did not recall having seen before. It turned out to be linked to the National Register information about Buena Vista. The document appears to be part of the National Register nomination package for Buena Vista. It includes the following contract between Boykin Witherspoon and M. Robbins:
State of Louisiana, Parish of DeSoto
Nov 29 1859
Memorandum of an agreement or contract this day made & entered into between M. Robbins of the one part & Boykin Witherspoon of the other part (both citizens domicitited [sic] in the State & Parish above written). Witnesseth that the said Robbins on his part agrees and binds himself to do the carpenters work in a workman like manner according to such plan and specifications as said Witherspoon may furnish or desire, the said Witherspoon on his part obligating himself to pay said Robbins one hundred dollars per month together with board & lodging for himself & horse and to pay monthly for the hands now in the employment of said Robbins or such of them as he may wish to keep, the same wages as he may have to pay the owners of said hands. The said Witherspoon having the right to put such of his own negroes as he may wish to work on said house under the direction & control of said Robbins.
Witness: C.A. Edwards
It shows once again that it's almost always worthwhile retrace your steps in this endeavor.