I hereby this day grant and confirm unto the above said children, all the right, title, claim, interest, property and demand of said Negro woman Linda to them and their heirs forever.
Allowing my said daughter Catherine Courtney the entire use of said Negro woman Linda, as long as she may have the care of said children above named, or any of them. And at such time, as she may be released of the trouble of supporting the youngest of said children, (ie) when the youngest arrives at the age of twenty-one years, then the said Negro woman Linda & her issues to be equally divided amongst them all to share and share alike.”
It’s ironic to think that Ezekiel, who had been labeled and always considered to have been a slave, was in fact a slave owner himself. However he was only around seven years of age at the time and could not have fully understood what owning slaves were about.
In the month that followed Mary Barkley’s so called gift to her grandchildren, she sold her interest in the property she lived on, to her son. The Deed of Gift along with the sale of her home was a sign that she was about to leave Rowan County. Her daughter Catherine was then married, and perhaps she felt as though her responsibility to her was done and that it was time to move on. But who really knows for sure? It’s probably unrealistic to think that an elderly woman of Mary Barkley’s age could travel any distance without the assistance of someone else. Therefore, she needed help. Her grandson’s father, Caleb Webb also seemed to have had reasons to leave the Rowan County. Years earlier,Caleb Webb’s first child whom he had by his first wife was put under the guardianship of his cousin, who was also named Caleb Webb. This was a likely sign that parenting and married life wasn’t his strong point, which were two things in Rowan County that would have made his life problematic. But due to the court ordered obligation for him to provide for his son, the only way that he could depart would be if his son, Ezekiel departed with him. Given everyone’s predicament at the time, it probably didn’t take much for Caleb Webb and Mary Barkley to convince Catherine to give them custody of the boy and let him go with them. After all, he would still be in the loving care of his maternal grandmother.
It’s more than likely the trio departed Rowan County, shortly after Mary Barkley’s two transactions in 1827. Their journey took them to Overton County, Tennessee. Listed on the 1830 Federal Census of that place, was a James Webb, those listed in his household were an elderly woman around the same age as Mary Barkley, and a young boy who appeared to be somewhere around Ezekiel’s age. Researchers who had conducted research on the Webb families of Rowan County, North Carolina revealed who this James Webb really was, where he came from and where he had ended up. Given their findings, there is no question as to whom the elderly woman and young boy were. Even though, Caleb Webb changes his name and his home of residence. He could not change his personality.
Ezekiel’s ordeal may have been viewed as a better way of life, with an eye to the future. Unfortunately, that’s not what he got. Thereby, it probably didn’t take long after their arrival in Overton County for James (Caleb) Webb to show his true colors. It’s not surprising that, by the time the 1840 Federal Census was taken for James Webb, both the elderly woman and young boy were no longer a part of his household. In the place they once occupied, there were another woman and his two sons, who had been born in the meantime. They were Ezekiel’s half brothers, Uriah Jackson Webb who was born in 1834, and Thomas Webb who was born in 1836. Many years later, Uriah Jackson married into the White Coe family and became the CoeRidge’s neighbor.
There was something about James Webb that the record books never revealed. So why those who were close to him didn’t stay close for very long, is something that is left to the imagination. Once again, it