Julia Randle found in her research that,
Of the 112 Episcopal clergy canonically and physically resident in the Diocese of Virginia in 1860, 103 could be located in the U.S. Census of that year. Eighty-four of the brethren, or 82 percent, possessed at least one slave, while some owned dozens.
In our own research, we have located thus far located 99 in the U.S. Census of 1860. Thus far we find 67, or 68%, were slaveholders.
We found our 67th slaveholder yesterday, the Rev. George W. Dame. He served Camden Parish in Danville, Pittsylvania County (map), and is remembered as the father of the Episcopal Church in the area. Like most us, a single story does not describe us. Dame was a slave holder, but he was also a faithful chaplain to Union soldiers imprisoned in Danville.
Dame is found in this Census page where you can see his age (48), occupation (“Clergyman P.E.”) and place of birth (New Hampshire). Given the precision of the occupation we can be certain this is our man. The census record also shows the other members of his household, their race , the value of his real estate and the value of his personal estate.
The value of Dame’s estate was considerable for the time: real estate is $10,200; his personal estate, $14,000.
There were eleven persons in the Dame household, all white. Eight of those are probably his wife and children. Besides Dame, four others in the household are earning an income. Two others, last name Cushing, are likely relatives: see biography and Dame family papers below.
The census slave schedule shows Dame owned fourteen slaves, and had four slave houses. Slave names are not given in census slave schedules. His slaves by age, gender and color:
- 27, F (female), B (black)
- 35, F, B
- 35, M, B
- 28, M, B
- 26, F, B
- 26, M, B
- 23, F, B
- 15, M, B
- 9, M, B
- 7, M, B
- 5, M, B
- 3, F, B
- 3, M, B
- 1/2, F, B
(A hint to other researchers: The reason this record was not found quickly on ancestry.com is due to an electronic mistranscription of his name. He has located by looking on the Census page for neighbors who likely owned slaves.)
More about George W. Dame
Civil War Prison Chaplain. Most of the 1300 Union soldiers who died in the six Confederate prisons in Danville are
buried in National Cemetery in Danville. Dame “would go to the prisons each day and copy down the names of those who had died.” His records have been used in a project to more fully identify the men buried there. More: Dr. Rev. George Washington Dame lived on a three-acre tract on Colquhoun Street not so far from what became the National Cemetery after the Civil War. Dr. Dame prepared wooden markers for federal prisoners who died while being held prisoners of war. He is largely responsible for preserving the identity of more that 1,300 soldiers who remain buried in the cemetery on Lee Street.
Biography. “Dr. George Washington Dame, father of Dr. William Meade Dame, was a prominent clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal church, and for the remarkably long period of fifty-six years was rector of Camden parish, Danville, Virginia. He was at one time Professor of Latin in Hampden Sidney College, and for several years held the office of superintendent of public schools in Pittsylvania county, Virginia. He was a man of “dauntless energy, gift for teaching, utter unselfishness and great charity toward all men.” He married Mary Maria, daughter of Major Carter Page, of “The Fork,” Cumberland county, Virginia, and his wife, Lucy (Nelson) Page.” More: “Lived Danville Virginia. Came to Virginia May 1823 to be educated at Hampden-Sidney College, of which his uncle, Jonathan P. Cushing, was President. Was a professor there from 1832 to 1836. Was principal of a female academy in Lynchburg Virginia in 1838, and at Prince Edward Courthouse in 1839 and 1840. Ordained and moved to Danville Virginia in Sep 1840. Was principal of a female academy from 1840 to 1864, and rector of Camden Parish from 1840 to 1890 – fifty years.”
This collection centers on George Washington Dame (1812–1895), Episcopal minister and educator of Danville, and his wife, Mary Maria (Page) Dame (1813–1895). Letters, ca. 1850–1859, from George Dame to Mary Dame discuss his work as a minister and the operation of their household during her absence (section 2). Letters, 1846–1863, to Mary Dame from her sister, Lucy Jane (Page) Cushing (1804–1872), include information on religion and the activities of family members, as well as events in the neighborhood and beyond (section 3). The collection also contains Jonathan Cushing Dame’s (b. 1836) letters to his parents, as well as letters to Mary Dame from her other children, her nieces, and other female relatives (section 6). A letter, 1851, from Jonathan Dame offers a detailed account of the escape of one of the family’s slaves, and one, ca. 1850, from his brother, William Meade Dame (1844–1923), provides a similar account of a murder allegedly committed by a free black. A small amount of correspondence pertains to schools operated by George Dame, sometimes in conjunction with his wife, including one for girls in the 1850s (sections 2, 3, 6 and 7). The papers contain little information on the Civil War, but offer insights into family relationships and gender roles and expectations in the mid-nineteenth century.