Slave Record for “Little Hannah”

This is a copy of an actual slave record from 1853 for an infant girl named on the document as “Little Hannah.”  The document states that on December 31, 1853 she was part of the estate of Thomas Bransford with a value of $90.


In Joy Medley Lyons book “Making Their Mark”: there is this interesting end note that read:

“Inventory and Sales, December 31, 1853, Book 7, Page 172, Barren County Clerk, Glasgow, KY.  A child described as “Little Hannah” was also listed on the Bransford’s inventory of slaves.  It is probable that this was Nick Bransford’s daughter, Hannah, who would have been an infant around this period of time.  The identity of her mother is unknown.”

The copy of the document was sent to me by Sandra Gorin, a professional genealogist, who runs Gorin Genealogical Publishing  She writes:

Attached is the document Joy referred to in her book. A couple of possibilities. Normally, they listed the mother with the child so you’d know! But there is no “Big Hannah” listed. I checked and found no birth or death records on any of these Bransford slaves – there was a short time when records were kept prior to the official birth and death certificates (1911) – but no luck on these.  One more thing which might be a clue. On 26 May 1876 Hannah Bransford married William Garvin, the cave guide, in Edmonson Co. 16
was shown as age 16; he 25. If she was 16 in 1876, it means she was born ca 1860 give or take. If this was “little Hannah”, she was born 7 years after the distribution of Thomas Bransford’s slaves. But most didn’t know their actual age. Names were used and re-used for slaves which makes it harder.

Franklin Gorin was the owner of Mammoth Cave for a brief period from 1838 until it was purchased a little over a year later by Dr. John Croghan. He is sometimes a person lost in the shuffle when looking at the history of Mammoth Cave, but he must be credited with recognizing the potential for tourism at the cave, and he is also responsible bringing the slaves Stephen Bishop, Materson Bransford, and Nick Bransford to Mammoth Cave.  About herself, Sandra Gorin writes:

My daughters are kin to Franklin, I am a Gorin by marriage. Their ancestor was the brother of Franklin’s father, John Gorin, who founded Glasgow. We came here 24 years ago because we had fallen in love with Glasgow and I am a researcher and author. Now I have such a limited time to work on the Gorin family since I’m helping others find their ancestors.

About Edward Forrest Frank

My name is Edward Frank. By training I am a geologist with published research on caves found in the United States, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. I am the webmaster, BBS administrator, and run the Facebook Page for the Native Tree Society and am involved with tree research with the group. I am the author, or coauthor, of a number of tree related articles and publications available for download from the NTS website and NTS BBS. I edit the monthly magazine for the group - eNTS Magazine. I write science fiction and fantasy stories reflecting a lifelong love of the genres. Most recently I published a fantasy role playing game Knarf 4, available through Amazon Kindle. I have an extensive science fiction and fantasy library and have long enjoyed table top role-playing games. Not satisfied with commercially available games, I started creating my own game variations in the mid 1980's. Knarf 4 is latest version best version of those games. I also write non-fiction. I currently am working on a book on "The Old-Growth Forests of Cook Forest State Park, PA" targeting older children and teens. I am suave, sophisticated, funny, kind, considerate, thoughtful, brilliant, devilishly handsome, and above all modest.
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2 Responses to Slave Record for “Little Hannah”

  1. Peter Wesley Byrd says:

    Greetings Mr. Frank,
    I am Peter Byrd, a 2nd great grandson of Sam Bransford, the 2nd son of “Little” Hannah of the Thomas Beard Bransford farm in Kentucky. Please email me so that I can email you the scanned pages of the Bransford Family History, written in the hand of Anna Hayslip, Thomas B. Bransford’s granddaughter. I am certain that it will answer many questions you have regarding Mat with letters he wrote to Anna after the farm was sold off.


  2. Debra Middleton says:

    Dear Peter, my name is Debra Middleton, I am the 3rd great granddaughter of Nicklaus (Nicholas) Bransford (listed on the estate record with Hannah) and 2nd great granddaughter of Hannah Bransford Bishop Garvin, If the referenced letter is indeed my Hannah, I would love to learn more details. My my e-mail address:


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