The McGuires in Louisiana

slave trade
“Internal Slave Trade, U.S., ca. 1830”, Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed June 26, 2021,

Robert W. Williams of Tallahassee purchased 82 of Casa Bianca’s enslaved families from Ellen Beatty and promised to insure them as they traveled from Florida to his plantation in Louisiana. Among the families purchased were William McGuire, Sr., his wife Bella, and their children Bill (William), Rhoda, Moses, and Minty. They, along with Frank Nelson, his family, and his mother Hope, were shipped to William’s plantation. While Frank and his family stayed in Louisiana after emancipation, William McGuire, Sr. made his way back to Jefferson County, Florida sometime before 1872, when he was one of the founding trustees of the Casa Bianca Missionary Baptist Church. But his son William (Bill) stayed in Louisiana. He was enumerated with his wife Francis and their children in the 1870 census for St. James Parish, west of New Orleans. His younger brother Moses also lived in St. James Parish and married Ellen Bishop in 1879. And between 1875 and 1880 two of their cousins, Robert and Clement Nelson (their mother was Jane McGuire, William Sr.’s sister), joined them in St. James Parish. Work is ongoing to determine how the McGuires ended up in St. James Parish and what happened to them after the 1880 census.

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