From Enslavement to Freedom: The Saga Of Butler Island Plantation

Genealogy Adventures Host, Brian Sheffey, had the honor of being invited to present at this special online event. He presented the multi-phased research he and a group of researchers have been conducting. Their research encompasses finding the descendants and the African ancestors of the enslaved community held by the Butler family on Butler Island in Georgia.

If you’re curious to discover what is entailed in researching an entire enslaved community over multiple generations of enslavement – or if it is even possible to do that kind of research work – this presentation series will give you an excellent grounding in what is involved in this kind of research project.

Event overview

Butler Island Plantation, near Darien, McIntosh County, on the Georgia coast, is primarily known as the home of some of the more than 400 enslaved people who were sold in the largest slave auction in U.S. history, known as “The Weeping Time.” Families who had lived for generations at Butler Island as well as at Hampton Plantation on nearby St. Simons Island were separated in this sale because Pierce Mease Butler, owner of both plantations, had gone bankrupt.

The tragic and cruel events of the sale were documented at the time, and Dr. Anne C. Bailey has chronicled the event in a sensitive and moving book, “The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History,” (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

But what can genealogy research tell us about the lives of the inhabitants of the Butler family plantations before and after The Weeping Time?

Ujima Genealogy of Coastal Georgia partnered with the Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society for this special Black History Month presentation, “From Enslavement to Freedom: The Saga of Butler Island Plantation,” on February 18, 2021. The second part of this presentation, featuring research by genealogist Terri Ward, will take place at a later date.

Presentation Speaker Order

Introduction/Overview: Michele Nicole Johnson:

HB906: Hermina Glass-Hill:

Resources: Michele Nicole Johnson:

Presenter 1: Brian Sheffey

Presenter 2: Tiffany Young, interviewed by Michele Nicole Johnson

Question & Answer Session: Brian Sheffey, Tiffany Young, Terri Ward, Michele Nicole Johnson, and Adolphus Armstrong

Books by Brian Sheffey

Purchase link:
Purchase link:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: