In the last few days, several Confederate heritage sites have been passing around a post from our good friend George Purvis, the head of his one man band known as Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education … SHAPE, in other words. Here’s what Mr. Purvis has found:
Displaying the research skill that is characteristic of certain Confederate heritage groups, Mr. Purvis tells us that the 1860 census reveals that Abraham Lincoln owned a slave in Springfield, an 18-year-old woman named M. Johnson.
Just a little research would have revealed that the woman in question is 18-year-old Mary Johnson, who some claim was Irish (the census says born in Illinois, however). The census page clearly indicates that it is a record of “free inhabitants” and states (see the bottom) that of the forty people on this page, twenty-six were white men and fourteen were white women. In short, most of the evidence was right in front of these folks’ faces. As for Mary’s first name and a mention of her Irish roots, go here.
Just another day to remind us that it’s not history, but heritage, and, as Connie Chastain so sweetly reminded us recently, it’s a heritage warped to promote present-day political beliefs and perspectives.
UPDATE: Mr. Purvis defends his research, suggesting that Mary Johnson may have been a white slave. Really.
People have brough facts to Mr. Purvis’s attention before, but he has problems accepting facts that contradict his speculations. This this comment from him made me smile:
Mr. Purvis has offered no facts, just speculation, on whether Mary Johnson was a slave. He has declined to consider the facts that say otherwise.
The Confederate heritage groups who reposted Purvis’s post have not dared to challenge his assertion. Nor has Connie Chastain, who adores him as a commenter (give George credit … at least he offers his real name, unlike Connie’s favorite supporter).
It’s another chapter in that endless tale of Confederate heritage follies.