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Family, Stability, and Respectability: Seven Generations of Africans and Afro-descendants in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Minas Gerais

  • Douglas C. Libby (a1)

This article focuses on the history of an Afro-descendant family over its seven generations in one region of Minas Gerais. Although it is notoriously difficult to trace families founded by slaves, this one is an exception: it has proved possible to trace this family over a century and a half, and with a remarkable level of detail, because its members mostly stayed in one place. The implications of their permanence go beyond mere genealogy or family reconstitution to challenge long-standing historiographical perspectives. Over the years many scholars have agreed that Brazilian colonial and early imperial society was characterized by the near-constant movement of all segments of the population. New frontiers opened by agriculture, ranching, and mining attracted some members of the elite, but also beckoned the less favored with new opportunities. This incessant movement has even been touted as an impediment to the advancement of family history in Brazil.

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1. See for example Furtado, Celso, The Economic Growth of Brazil: A Survey from Colonial to Modern Times (Berkeley and Los Angles: University of California Press, 1963), 5871 ; and Prado Júnior, Caio, Formação do Brasil contemporâneo, 14th ed. (São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1976), 186210 . See the more recent works by Schwartz, Stuart, “Plantations and Peripheries, c. 1580-c. 1750,” in Colonial Brazil, Bethell, Leslie, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 67144 ; and Pereira Ivo, Isnara, Homens de caminho: trânsitos culturais, comércio e cores nos sertões da América portuguesa, século XVIII (Vitória da Conquista: Edições UESB, 2012). Minas Gerais during the gold rush period is often considered to have been plagued by the incessant movement of nearly all segments of the population. See Buarque de Holanda, Sérgio, História geral da civilização brasileira. Tomo I. A época colonial: administração, economia, sociedade, vol. 2 (São Paulo: Difusão Européia do Livro, 1960), 295298 ; and e Souza, Laura de Mello, Desclassificados do ouro. A pobreza mineira no século XVIII (Rio de Janeiro: Graal, 1982). Another classic that attributes a sort of nomadism to the non-slaveholding lower classes in Brazil is de Carvalho Franco, Maria Sylvia, O homem livre na ordem escravocrata (São Paulo: IEB/USP, 1974). A more recent return to this theme can be found in de Castro Faria, Sheila, A colônia em movimento: fortuna e família no cotidiano colonial (Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1998).

2. See for example Castro Faria, A colônia em movimento, 108–114.

3. See among others Guedes, Roberto, Egressos do cativeiro: trabalho, família, aliança e mobilidade social (Porto Feliz, São Paulo, c. 1798-c.1850 (Rio de Janeiro: FAPERJ/Mauad X, 2008); Machado, Cacilda, A trama das vontades: negros, pardos e brancos na construção da hierarquia social do Brasil escravista (Rio de Janeiro: Apicuri, 2008); Bacellar, Carlos de A. P., Os senhores da terra: família e sistema sucessório entre os senhores de engenho do oeste paulista, 1765–1855 (Campinas: CMU/Unicamp, 1997); and de Sampaio, Antônio Carlos Jucá, “A família Almeida Jordão na formação da comunidade mercantil carioca (c. 1690-c. 1750),” in Nomes e números: alternativas metodológicas para a história econômica e social, de Almeida, Carla Maria Carvalho and de Oliveira, Mônica Ribeiro, eds. (Juiz de Fora: Editora UFJF, 2006), 5170 .

4. Key to understanding this social ascendancy are the relatively low slave prices from the 1760s through 1850. The result was remarkably widespread slave ownership and solid social support for the slave system even in the face of growing international abolitionism. Frank, Zephyr L., Dutra's World: Wealth and Family in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004); Frank, “Wealth Holding in Southeastern Brazil, 1815–1860,” Hispanic American Historical Review 85:2 (May 2005): 221–255.

5. An important exception here is Guedes, Egressos do cativeiro.

6. An excellent study of the local history of São José is Olinto Rodrigues dos Santos Filho, Guia da cidade de Tiradentes: história e arte (Tiradentes: Instituto Histórico e Geográfico de Tiradentes, 2012).

7. Livros 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10A, 11, 11A, 12, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86, Óbitos 1860–1932, Arquidiocese de São João del-Rei, Centro de Documentação, Arquivo Paroquial de Santo Antônio de São José do Rio das Mortes [hereafter APSASJRM]; Livros 11, 32, 37, 38, Arquidiocese de São João del-Rei, Centro de Documentação, Arquivo Paroquial de Nossa Senhora do Pilar de São João del-Rei [hereafter APNSPSJR]; Registros, Arquivo Eclesiástico do Arquidiocese de Mariana, Processos Matrimoniais/Dispensas de Consanguinidade. The genealogy emerging from these parish registers serves as the backbone of this study, particularly in regard to the stability and remarkable permanence of the family in the Vila of São José.

8. Rol dos confessados desta Freguezia de S. Antonio da Villa de S. Joze, Comarca do Rio das Mortes, deste prezente anno de 1795, Instituto Histórico e Geográfico de Tiradentes. The Rol is unpaginated and it is therefore not possible to provide precise citations for specific data. The original manuscript lists are part of the holdings of the Arquivo Público Mineiro. Here we use data from the Listas nominativas da década de 1830, Seção Provincial, Arquivo Público Mineiro, organized in data bases by the Núcleo de Pesquisa em História Econômica e Demográfica of the Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional/Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. [Hereafter, Lista de 1831 and Lista de 1838] The nominal lists also provide snapshots of how groups within the extended family were organized at three points in time, the composition of slaveholdings belonging to family members, and, occasionally, indications as to individual economic activities.

9. The notarial sources are part of the holdings of the Escritório Técnico do Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional-São João Del-Rei [hereafter ETIPHAN-SJR], São José.

10. Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes. These local government sources contain indications of how some family members earned their living and what sort of standing they enjoyed in the São José community.

11. The best discussions of terms referring to African slaves and especially on the meanings ascribed to the term mina can be found in de Carvalho Soares, Mariza, People of Faith: Slavery and African Catholics in Eighteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011), 80100 ; Soares, Carvalho, “Histórias cruzadas: os mahis setecentistas no Brasil e no Daomé,” in Tráfico, cativeiro e liberdade: Rio de Janeiro, séculos XVII–XIX, Florentino, Manolo, ed. (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2005), 134 ; Florentino, “Indícios para o traçado das rotas terrestres de escravos da Baía do Benim, século XVIII,” in Rotas atlânticas da diáspora africana da Baía do Benim ao Rio de Janeiro, Mariza de Carvalho Soares, ed. (Niteroí: Editora da Universidade Federal Fluminense, 2007), 65–67.

12. Livro 7, fols. 34, 92, 131, APSASJRM. The oldest child who appears in later sources was probably baptized around 1748, a period for which almost no baptismal records have survived. He is listed in the Rol as a 47-year-old bachelor residing with his widowed mother.

13. Livro 7, fol. 205, APSASJRM.

14. Livro de notas do segundo ofício, ETIPHAN-SJR, fols. 10, 11

15. Ibid., fol. 126.

16. Quitéria's owner, Antônio Moreira de Carvalho, was buried in March of 1763, nearly four years after she first appeared as a freedwoman., APSASJRM; Livro 7, 131; Livro 80, 28v.

17. The literature on manumission in Brazil is vast. See for example Russell-Wood, A. J. R., Slavery and Freedom in Colonial Brazil (Oxford: Oneworld, 2002), 2749 ; de Sousa Soares, Márcio, A emissão do cativeiro: a dádiva da alforria e o governo dos escravos nos Campos dos Goitaceses, c. 1750-c. 1830 (Rio de Janeiro: Apicuri, 2009); França Paiva, Eduardo, Escravos e libertos nas Minas Gerais do século XVIII: estratégias de resistência através dos testamentos (São Paulo: Annablume, 1995); Paiva, França, Escravidão e universo cultural na Colônia: Minas Gerais, 1716–1789 (Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 2001); Gonçalves, Andréa Lisley, As margens da liberdade: estudo sobre a prática de alforrias em Minas colonial e provincial (Belo Horizonte: Fino Traço, 2011); de Pinto Goés, José Roberto, “Padrões de alforrias no Rio de Janeiro,” in Nas rotas do império: eixos mercantis, tráfico e relações sociais no mundo português, Fragoso, João, Florentino, Manolo, Jucá, Antônio Carlos, and Campos, Adriana, eds. (Vitória: EDUFES, 2006), 517568 ; de Queirós Mattoso, Kátia M., “A propósito de cartas de alforria: Bahia, 1779–1850,” Anais de História (Assis) (1972): 2352 ; Mattoso, Queirós, “A carta de alforria como fonte complementar para o estudo da rentabilidade da mão-de-obra escrava urbana (1819–1888),” in A moderna história econômica, Peláez, Carlos Manuel and Buescu, Mircea, eds. (Rio de Janeiro: APEC, 1976), 149168 ; Schwartz, Stuart B., “The Manumission of Slaves in Colonial Brazil: Bahia 1684–1745,” Hispanic American Historical Review 4:54 (November 1974): 603635 ; Kiernan, James P., “Baptism and Manumission in Brazil: Paraty, 1789–1822,” Social Science History 3:1 (Fall 1978): 5671 ; Karash, Mary, “The Forms of Manumission in Rio de Janeiro, 1807–1831,” Anais, VIII Reunião Anual. Sociedade Brasileira de Pesquisa Histórica (1989): 3941 ; Figueiredo, Luciano, O avesso da memória: cotidiano e trabalho da mulher em Minas Gerais no século XVIII (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio/Brasília: EDUNB, 1993); Guedes, Roberto, “De ex-escravo a elite escravista: a trajetória de ascensão social do pardo alferes Joaquim Barbosa Neves (Porto Feliz, São Paulo, século XIX),” in Conquistadores e negociantes: histórias de elites no Antigo Regime nos trópicos. América lusa, séculos XVI a XVIII, Ribeiro Fragoso, João Luís, Carvalho de Almeida, Carla Maria, and Jucá de Sampaio, Antônio Carlos, eds. (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2007), 337376 ; Higgins, Kathleen, 'Licentious Liberty' in a Brazilian Gold-Mining Region: Slavery, Gender, and Social Control in Eighteenth-Century Sabará, Minas Gerais (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1999); de Mello e Souza, Laura, “Coartação: problemática e episódios referentes a Minas Gerais no século XVIII,” in Normas e conflitos: aspectos da história de Minas Gerais no século XVIII (Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 1999), 151174 ; Libby, Douglas Cole and Paiva, Clotilde Andrade, “Manumission Practices in a Late Eighteenth-Century Brazilian Slave Parish: São José d'El Rey in 1795,” Slavery & Abolition 21:1 (April 2000): 96127 ; Libby, Douglas Cole and Graça Filho, Afonso de Alencastro, “Reconstruindo a liberdade: alforrias e forros na freguesia de São José do Rio das Mortes, 1750–1850,” Varia Historia 30 (July 2003): 112151 ; Chaloub, Sidney, Visões da liberdade: uma história das últimas décadas da escravidão na Corte (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1990); Botelho, Tarcísio Rodrigues, “As alforrias em Minas Gerais no século XIX,” Varia Historia 23 (July 2000): 6176 ; Duarte Lacerda, Antônio Henrique, Os padrões de alforrias em um município cafeeiro em expansão: Juiz de Fora, Zona da Mata de Minas Gerais, 1844–1888 (São Paulo: FAPEB, 2006); and Libby, Douglas Cole and Graça Filho, Afonso de Alencastro, “Notarized and Baptismal Manumissions in the Parish of São José do Rio das Mortes, Minas Gerais (c. 1750-c. 1850) The Americas 66:2, (October 2009): 211240 .

18. Rol dos confessados. Ana and Pedro appear in a separate household in the Rol. No children were listed, but they did possess three slaves. The couple never baptized any children of their own in São José, although they participated in other baptisms and saw to it that two infants born to their only female slave received the baptismal sacrament.

19. Livro 7, fols. 544, 630, APSASJRM; Livro 8, fols. 88, 196, 308, APSASJRM; Livro 12, fol. 31v, APSASJRM.

20. Thus far I have not been able to locate any sources dealing with Manoel's education or the steps leading to his ordination.

21. Livro 10, fols. 48, 162, 229, 281, APSASJRM; Livro 24, fol. 143, APSASJRM.

22. Livro 12, fol. 137v, APSASJRM; Livro 14, fols. 18-18v, 124, 144, 150, 173v, 189v, 223, APSASJRM; Livro 15, fols. 55, 60, 109, 111v, APSASJRM. This article also takes a closer look at the families of Roque Patrício Lopes and Joaquim Patrício Lopes, as well as the family resulting from José Vieira Lopes´s second marriage. Livro 27, fol. 92v, APNSPSJR; Livro 32, fol. 399, APNSPSJR; Livro 37, fols. 82, 148v, APNSPSJR; Livro 38, fols. 57v, 222, 308, APNSPSJR.

23. See for example Livro 27, fols. 110, 141v, 165v, 176v, APSASJRM; and Livro 28, fols. 13v-14 (double entry), 33, APSASJRM.

24. Livro 27, fol. 151v, APSASJRM.

25. Livro 16, fols. 94v, 143v, 182, APSASJRM.

26. Two of Bárbara Patrícia's daughters, Balduina Paulina da Fonseca and Claudimira Alexandrina, da Fonseca stood as godmothers for great-grandchilden of Maria Madalena Vieira, in 1877 and 1889 respectively. Livro 11A, fol. 88, APSASJRM; Livro 17, fol. 50v, APSASJRM.

27. Livro 14, fol. 284, APSASJRM; Livro 15, fols. 256v-257, APSASJRM; Livro 16, fols. 22, 47, 55, 70v, 86v, 98, 148v-149, 161, 172v, 175, 198, 198v, 222, 223, 226, 247v, 248v, APSASJRM; Livro 11A, fols. 7, 22, 33v, 45, 48v, 56v, 60, 82, 82v, 106v, 113v, 131v, 140v, 157, 161v, 170, 172, 181v, 182v, 195v, APSASJRM.

28. Livro 28, fols. 25v, 45, 49v, 58, 61v-62, 76, 84, 128, 132, 147, APSASJRM.

29. Livro 10A, fols. 37v, 47v, 72v, 84, 93v, 98v, 118, APSASJRM; Livro 11A, fols. 39, 53, 79v, 100v, 101, 119, 131, 132, 142v, 144, 156, 159, 159v, 161, 177v-178, 188, 189, 199, APSASJRM; Livro 17, fols. 50v, 61, 67, 81v-82, 127v, 148, APSASJRM.

30. This project, which focuses on the demographic and economic history of the São José do Rio das Mortes region during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries over the years, has counted on the support of the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) and the collaboration of a number of colleagues. From the Universidade Federal de Minas, these are Gerais Clotilde de Andrade Paiva and Tarcísio Rodrigues Botelho; from the Universidade Federal de São João del Rei, Afonso de Alencastro Graça Filho; and from Stanford University, Zephyr L. Frank.

31. Livro 7, fols. 242, 268, 323, 427, 497v, APSASJRM; Livro 8, fols. 10, 87, 101, 117, 119, 197, 200, 235v, 320, APSASJRM; Livro 9, fols. 365, 404, 493v, APSASJRM.

32. Rol de Confessados. It should be recalled here that children under seven years of age were not listed on the Rol, so it is possible that these holdings were slightly larger than indicated here.

33. The rank of alferes was equivalent to second lieutenant. For an important study of these militias, see Cotta, Francis Albert, Matrizes do sistema policial brasileiro (Belo Horizonte: Crisálida, 2012), 259292 .

34. Livro 7, fols. 229, 197, 230 (double entry, twins), 235v, 289, APSASJRM; Livro 8, fol. 129, APSASJRM; Livro 9, fol. 412 (double entry), 475v, APSASJRM; Livro 12, fols. 81v, 153v, APSASJRM.

35. The reference here, of course, is to Souza, Desclassificados do ouro.

36. Livro 27, fol. 6v, APSASJRM.

37. Lista de 1831. São José do Rio das Mortes, Padre Gaspar, Lage, Desterro, São João Batista, Passa Tempo, Japão, Oliveira, Cláudio.

38. Cartório JO, Caixa 512, fols. 6–7, ETIPHAN-SJR.

39. Livro 24, fol. 143, APSASJRM. In this marriage register and in the Rol de Confessados João Patrício Lopes was inscribed as a crioulo.

40. Listas de Vendas, Livro 1, fols. 1v, 2, 2v, 3, 3v, 4, 4v, 5, 5v, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José.

41. Lista de 1831 and Lista de 1838. In neither of these lists was any mention was made of Esméria's occupation.

42. Livro 10, fol. 141, APSASJRM. Ganguela was a designation of nação indicating a West Central African origin. Juliana may well have been part of Esméria's dowry (if, indeed, she had one). The couple's children were born between 1802 and 1808 and it thus seems very likely that Juliana served as wet nurse as well as performing the heaviest housework.

43. Documentação interna, caixa 1, parcel 97, fols. 46–17; parcel 118, fols. 8–9, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

44. Lançamentos de Fianças, Autos e Contratos e Arrematações, Livro 1, fols. 2, 3, 4, 6, 11v, 12, 13v, 16v, 19, 20v, 22v, 24, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes. It is of note that in his capacity as doorkeeper João Patrício regularly signed council documents. His signatures suggest a better than rudimentary literacy.

45. João Patrício's burial register, for example, designated him as a crioulo. Livro 85, fol. 97v, APSASJRM. For a description of the duties entailed in the post of doorkeeper (porteiro) see Cláudia Resende Silva, “Senado da Câmara da Vila de São João del-Rei: da administração colonial à pesquisa histórica,” (Master's thesis: Escola de Biblioteconomia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 1999), 84. The council doorkeeper's duties included those involving public bidding for contracts and offices and the auctioning off of properties to pay debts left by their deceased owners. These symbolic duties of the porteiro rendered the office somewhat analogous to the Anglo-Saxon post of sergeant-at-arms. See also Fonseca, Cláudia Damasceno, Arraiais e vilas d'el Rei: espaço e poder nas Minas setecentistas. (Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 2011), 282 . It is possible that the câmaras employed a system of awarding the position of porteiro to the highest bidder, although that seems rather unlikely given that the pay was minimal. See Teixeira Coelho, José João, Instrução para o Governador da Capitania de Minas (Belo Horizonte: Fundação João Pinheiro/Centro de Estudos Históricos e Culturais, 1994), 221229 .

46. Lista de 1831. The enslaved woman was named Catarina and she gave birth to a son in April of 1833. José and Maria José had three children between 1830 and 1836. Just as the slave woman belonging to João Patrício and Esméria back at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Catarina must surely have served as a wet nurse. Having a wet nurse, in other words, was not a luxury reserved only for the wealthy. Livro 15, fol. 143v, APSASJRM.

47. See among others Frank, Dutra's World; Frank, “Wealth Holding in Southeastern Brazil, 1815–1860”; José Newton Coelho Meneses, Artes fabris e ofícios banais: o controle dos ofícios mecânicos pelas Câmaras de Lisboa e das vilas de Minas Gerais (1750–1808) (Belo Horizonte: Fino Traço, 2013); Russell-Wood, Slavery and Freedom, 50–66; de Carvalho, Marcus Joaquim M., Liberdade: rotina e rupturas do escravismo no Recife, 1822–1850 (Recife: Editora Universitária da UFPE, 1998 ; Graham, Sandra Lauderdale, House and Street: The Domestic World of Servants and Masters in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992); Luna, Francisco Vidal and Klein, Herbert S., Slavery and the Economy of São Paulo, 1750–1850 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); de Souza Andrade, Maria José, A mão de obra escrava em Salvador, 1811–1860 (São Paulo: Corrupio, 1988); Nogueira da Silva, Marilene Rosa, Negro na rua: a nova face da escravidão (São Paulo: Hucitec, 1988); Francisco de Carvalho Dias de Andrade, “A memória das máquinas: um estudo da história da técnica em São Paulo” (Master's thesis: Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 2011); Fabiano Gomes da Silva, “Pedra e cal: os construtores em Vila Rica no século XVIII" (Master's thesis: Programa de Pós-Graduação em História, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 2007); Crislayne Gloss Marão Alfagali, “Em casa de ferreiro pior apeiro: os artesãos de ferro em Vila Rica e Mariana no século XVIII” (Master's thesis: Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 2012); Carlos Alberto Medeiros Lima, Artífices do Rio de Janeiro (1790–1808) (Rio de Janeiro: Apicuri, 2008); and Libby, Douglas Cole, “Habilidades, artífices e ofícios na sociedade escravista,” in Trabalho livre, trabalho escravo: Brasil e Europa, séculos XVIII e XIX, Libby, Douglas Cole and Furtado, Júnia Ferreira, eds. (São Paulo: Annablume, 2006), 5774 . The delightful narrative of the adventures of Rufino, an African slave and later freedman and suspected Islamic extremist, up and down the Brazilian coast and in West Africa often deals with his own activities as a cook and the craftwork and services carried out by his companions. Reis, João José, Gomes, Flávio dos Santos, and de Carvalho, Marcus Joaquim M., O Alufá Rufino: tráfico, escravidão e liberdade no Atlântico negro (c. 1822-c. 1853) (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2010).

48. Documentação interna, caixa 2, parcel 9, fols. 72–74, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes. Based on nominal annual incomes, laws regarding the electoral system enfranchised large numbers of votantes who were eligible to vote for a reduced number of eleitores, whose yearly incomes were much higher. The eleitores were charged with electing members of the provincial assemblies and of the Imperial House of Deputies.

49. Cartório JO, Caixa 432, fols. 4–5, ETIPHAN-SJR. Cabinda was a generic term referring to African slaves shipped out of the port of that name. Agreements sealed at the Congress of Vienna gradually outlawed the transatlantic slave trade north of the equator. From about 1820 the southern port of Cabinda became a major point for reshipment of slaves captured in West Africa (the areas above the equator); thus the Cabinda label was rendered extremely ambiguous for the last three decades of the slave trade to Brazil.

50. For a detailed account of inheritance laws and practices in the colonial period and during the Empire, see Lewin, Linda, Surprise Heirs I: Illegitimacy, Patrimonial Rights, and Legal Nationalism in Luso-Brazilian Inheritance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); and Lewin, Surprise Heirs II: Illegitimacy, Inheritance Rights, and Public Power in the Formation of Imperial Brazil, 1822–1889 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003).

51. Filho, Afonso de Alencastro Graça, A Princesa do Oeste e o mito da decadência de Minas Gerais: São João del-Rei (1831–1888) (São Paulo: Annablume, 2002), 144 .

52. Both Roque and his brother Joaquim would appear with two sets of names in the sources. Sometimes the former was listed as Roque Simões Lopes, and other times as Roque Patrício Lopes. The same happened with his brother, who was identified as Joaquim Patrício Lopes or Joaquim Simões Lopes. The genealogical studies carried out so far have not led to the origin of the family name Simões, although logically it must have come from their paternal line.

53. Livro 14, fols. 144v, 189v, APSASJRM.

54. The nominal lists of the pre- and proto-statistical periods obviously can present any number of problems. There is a fair possibility that the household of Roque and his family was simply skipped over by whoever was invested with the task of elaborating the list. Problems may have occurred when the document was transcribed onto the worksheet as well. It is also possible that the family had briefly relocated, later returning to São José.

55. Livro 6, fol. 236v, APSASJRM; Livro 14, fols. 264v, 276, APSASJRM; Livro 16, fols. 24v, 139, 186v, APSASJRM; Livro 11A, fol. 24v, APSASJRM.

56. Up to this fifth generation, very few people have been “lost” from this family's history. Among the second generation José was unaccounted for as an adult; he almost certainly died as a child. Of the third generation, Brígida should have appeared in her parents' household in the Rol since she would have been only 12 at the time; she too almost certainly died very young. As we have already seen, Ana Rita da Silva, daughter of Joaquim Moreira da Silva, would marry and remain in the Vila until at least the 1830s, when she would have reached her forties. As to José, Joaquim Moreira da Silva´s son by his second marriage, only his baptismal record has turned up. This José, undoubtedly named for his grandfather, probably died as a child, but the possibility that he grew up and married outside the parish cannot be discounted. I can confirm that he did not marry in the neighboring parish of Nossa Senhora do Pilar de São João del-Rei.

57. Livro 11, fol. 104, APNSPSJR. At the time of this marriage Maria Apolinária had not yet reached her eleventh birthday. It should also be noted that in her baptismal record, and in those of her six brothers and sisters, the parents, José Apoliário Almeida and Francisca Maria Chagas, were designated as crioulos forros. Livro 29, fol. 176, APNSPSJR; Livro 30, fols. 65v, 92v, APNSPSJR; Livro 34, fols. 18v, 46v, 93v, APNSPSJR.

58. Livro 32, fol. 399, APNSPSJR. The ease with which one could move between the two vilas is reflected in the fact that grandmother Esméria Martins dos Passos stood as godmother for Porciano.

59. See Graça Filho, A Princesa do Oeste.

60. The evidence points to Alexandrina Margarida having been baptized on June 28, 1818. Livro 12, fol. 67, APNSPSJR. Manumitted at the baptismal font, she was the natural daughter of Ana, a crioula slave belonging to Felícia Fernandes Barbosa.

61. Livro 37, fols. 92, 148v, APNSPSJR; Livro 38, fols. 57v, 222, 308v, APNSPSJR.

62. The marriage registers from these parishes do not record any weddings involving these six members of the fifth generation.

63. Livro 10, fol. 48, APSASJRM.

64. Livro 12, fol. 137v, APSASJRM; Livro 14, fol. 127, APSASJRM; Livro 15, fol. 60, APSASJRM.

65. Livro 14, fol. 9v, APSASJRM; Livro 15, fol. 109, APSASJRM.

66. Livro 14, fols. 150, 173v, 223, APSASJRM.

67. In the Lista de 1838 Silvestre's occupation was given as juiz municipal.

68. Processo Matrimonial/Dispensa de Consangüinidade, Ladislau Albino Nepomuceno and Francisca Sancha da Silva, Registro 114519, Armário 45, pasta 11452, Arquivo Eclesiástico do Arcebispado de Mariana. This dispensation dated from September 1889. Within the São José community the memory of Silvestre and Bárbara's “secret” consensual union was still quite fresh at the end of the nineteenth century.

69. Testamento 138, 1852; Cartório JO, Caixa 271, 1855, ETIPHAN-SJR. In the process of estate settlement Maria's annual services were evaluated at 60,000 réis and Felipa's at 10,000. Unfortunately, the inheritance papers give no clue as to what kind of work these slaves might have done. Because Maria and Felipa were conditionally manumitted in the will, their considerable value was not included in the estate which was evaluated at slightly over one conto de reis, or £114.17.

70. See Frank, “Wealth Holding”; and Libby, Douglas Cole, “O 'Grande Plantel' mineiro do século XIX: origens e posses,” in História de Minas Gerais. A Província de Minas Gerais, de Resende, Maria Efigênia Lage and Villalta, Luiz Carlos, eds. (Belo Horizonte: Companhia das Letras/Autêntica, 2013), 171198 .

71. Douglas Cole Libby “A Paróquia e a Vila de São José do Rio das Mortes: fontes e estudos,”Anais do Seminário Tiradentes: História e Cultura (Tiradentes: Instituto Histórico e Geográfico de Tiradentes, forthcoming). Here I point to population loss and a dwindling commercial sector as indicators of the stagnation and decline of the Vila as an urban center. In 'Grande Plantel' I argue that the disappearance of small holdings sapped the slave system of the strength it had long derived from a socially ample and diverse distribution of slave property. Former owners of small holdings and their descendants became indifferent to the fate of the slave system as abolition inexorably approached. In the specific case of the São João/São José region, chattel slavery was increasingly concentrated after 1850 into holdings generally considered as medium-sized (from 11 to 50 slaves) and well suited for the provisioning agriculture and ranching typical of the local economy. Libby, “O 'Grande Plantel.'”

72. As the evidence makes clear, the Moreira da Silva family members often took advantage of the employment opportunities offered by the Câmara. A little over a decade after the proclamation of the Republic, the renamed Tiradentes became a county seat and thus an important judicial center. In the earliest years of the twentieth century when the county seat was moved, Tiradentes continued the secular decline of old São José. See Santos Filho, Guia da cidade de Tiradentes, 9, 43–44.

73. Lista de Qualificação, January 1845, documentação interna, caixa 10, parcel 1, fol. 38, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

74. Documentação interna, caixa 11, parcel 26, fol. 11, November 8, 1869, parcel 32, fols. 21–23; January 11, 1871, parccel 32, fol. 39; Despesas, December 31, 1871, parcel 44, fol. 3; Despesas, June 30, 1874, parcel 47, fol. 10; Receitas e despesas, December 31, 1876. Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

75. Correspondência recebida, May 26, 1861, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes, caixa 11, pacotilha 4, fols. 19–22.

76. Receitas e despesas, Livro 126, fol. 3; Livro 127, fol. 2; Livro 134, fol. 2, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

77. Receitas e despesas, Livro 120, fols. 2, 7; Livro 121, fol. 5; Livro 125, fol. 2, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes; Receitas e despesas, Livro 116, fols. 2, 8; Livro 127, fol. 3; Livro 150, fol. 8, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

78. Receitas e despesas, Livro 130, fol. 3; Livro 131, fol. 3, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

79. Receitas e despesas, Livro 115, fols. 2, 4; Livro 116, fols. 3, 16, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes; Receitas e despesas, Livro 121, fols. 4, 10, 13, 14; Livro 141, fol. 3, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

80. Receitas e despesas, Livro 122, fol. 4; Livro 123, fol. 3; Livro 124, fol. 5; Livro 125, fol. 5; Livro 126, fol. 7; Livro 127, fol. 6; Livro 128, fol. 6; Livro 130, fol. 5; Livro 132, fol. 8; Livro 133, fol. 5; Livro 136, fol. 5; Livro 139, fol. 5; Livro 140, fol. 4; Livro 141, fol. 5; Livro 142. Fol. 9; Livro 143, fol. 6; Livro 144, fol. 5; Livro 145, fol. 8. Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

81. See notes 61–67. The only hard evidence regarding literacy levels of Moreira da Silva women suggests that schooling was not as readily available for girls as it appears to have been for some boys. Bárbara Patrícia Lopes was the executrix of her aunt Quitéria Maria de Souza's estate, but unlike her aunt who signed several documents as the executrix of her brother's estate, Bárbara Patrícia left no signatures in the respective documentation. For now, then, there is no way of knowing whether or not Bárbara's illiteracy was the rule for Moreira da Silva women of the fifth, sixth, and seventh generations. Cartório JO, Caixa 271, 1855, ETIPHAN-SJR.

82. Given the importance literacy appears to have had in securing the Moreira da Silvas' social and economic standing, it is especially frustrating that no sources relating to the education of family members have turned up thus far.

83. Receitas e despesas, Livro 134, fol. 2; Livro 135, fol. 2; Livro 139, 3; Livro 141, fol. 3; Livro 142, fol. 5; Livro 145, fol. 4; Livro 146, fol. 2, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

84. Livro 28, fol. 122v, APSASJRM. It is almost certain that Francisco was awarded a notary and registry office in São José; that is to say, he owned the office and may have tendered the highest bid in order to obtain it. That would have involved a good deal of money as well as prestige and political connections at the local and regional levels. This intriguing finding bears further investigation, but one possibility may have been that his wife´s dowry included the cartório or sufficient resources for Francisco to make the winning bid.

85. Receitas e despesas, Livro 157, doc. 66, July 31, 1912, Fundo Câmara da Vila de São José, Arquivo Municipal de Tiradentes.

86. São José, Cartório CSO, caixa 91, ETIPHAN-SJR.

87. A thorough study of the many families whose children were sponsored by members of the Moreira da Silva clan would constitute a daunting task. Among them were children of slaves and freedmen, but otherwise most of the godchildren seem to have belonged to middling social strata. This may suggest a pattern in which those in the middle of prevailing social hierarchies tended to stick together and not necessarily seek out supposedly prestigious godparents. That was the case in colonial Mexico. See Cope, R. Douglas, The Limits of Racial Domination: Plebian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660–1720 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994).

The author would like to thank Prof. Mariana Resende Libânio Dantas (Ohio University) and Prof. Lucy Gonçalves Fontes Hargreaves (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) for their commentaries and suggestions based on earlier versions of the text as well as those made by the anonymous reviewers of the article. As a Senior Researcher of the Brazilian National Council of Research (CNPq) the author has received vital and regular support for the research backing the findings presented here.

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The Americas
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