Nurturing Our Roots
The Harrells of Tangipahoa Louisiana
When I first started shaking the Harrell family tree, I had no idea what would fall off the tree. Not to mention when I started digging up the family roots, from the roots to the twigs, I found new information that educated me about my Harrell family history. What fell off that family tree are priceless photographs, documents, artifacts and antiques, not to mention new family members. After I collected all the oral information from my mother. I turned my attention to outside sources. My Harrell genealogy research led me to the Amite Courthouse and the Amite Genealogy Library in Amite, Louisiana. I remember the day I found my 2nd maternal great grandfather Robert Harrell in the 1870 Federal Census. You talk about excitement! I was so excited that I found Robert, his wife Dinah and their children on the census. I started with the 1930 census and worked my way back to the 1870 census. The information I found on the 1880 Federal Census led me East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana to a small town called Clinton. The census also revealed that his mother Priscilla lived with Robert and his family. Robert were born in 1821 and died in 1921 in Amite, Louisiana at the age of 100.
The Harrell family came to Louisiana as slaves with the slaveholder and his family in 1803 from Darlington, South Carolina. The slaveholder Fat Ole Levi they called him, sent his son Hezekiah Harrell to explore the Southern Land for a home large enough to accommodate his family, slaves and livestock. In order for Fat Ole Levi to pursue his mission, he first had to obtain a liberal Spanish grant. Hezekiah had to make a shelter for himself in the southern territory. Fat Ole Levi died in route to Mississippi and Louisiana.
Once they settled in Amite, County Mississippi & East Feliciana, Louisiana. They started clearing the land, cutting the trees and built log cabins for their master and their families. Before any planting could take place they had to cultivate the land. Finally after the land had been cultivated and cleared, the slaves were allowed to build their slave quarters. Many of the descendants of those held as slaves on the Harrell Plantation still reside in Tangipahoa and East Feliciana Parishes, Louisiana today.
Robert Harrell was married to Dinah Robinson. There were five children born to this union. John, Marrietta, Margaritta, Anow and my great grandfather Alexander Harrell. Alexander Harrell met and married Emma Mead Harrell in 1880 in Amite, Louisiana, 12 children were born to this union. Henry, Warner and Bertha Harrell migrated up north. Edgar and Shelton Harrell moved to New Orleans, LA. My grandfather Jasper, Palmer, Alex and Arthur remained in Amite, Louisiana and so did their daughter Ella Keith Harrell.