And they worked to keep it under wraps and, at times, to appear separate. Though she knew about her white ancestor from a very early age, she began a deeper exploration of her mixed-race roots 10 years ago.
A year later, Mr. Ramey followed his older brothers into the Civil War, and enlisted in the Confederate army. Back on the battlefield, Mr. Ramey was eventually captured and held prisoner until the war was over.
Ramey was the youngest son of Nathaniel Ramey, a businessman who owned a small of slaves. He was buried in a white cemetery.
The marriage between Mr. Ramey and Ms. The couple eventually raised nine children together in Edgefield. So she stayed at the only place she really knew.
Simkins and her family worked from sunrise to sunset six days a week on the Edgewood plantation. Ramey died inand his sister successfully petitioned the probate court to name her administrator of his estate, arguing that he had no widow and no children.
She did not know if Mr. Ramey would return alive, let alone return to her. Many people assume that their relationship was yet another tragic example of a female slave being raped by a white man. Wright with a few of the photos she inherited from her grandmother.
Ramey, born incame from a prominent white family. In one photo, family members stand on the steps of their Edgefield home on the day of Mr. Wright said of the photo.
Close, but worlds apart
Their relationship defied convention, and yet it survived war and bitter family resentment. Their marriage was unheard-of at the time.
Descendants of One Couple Think So. Close, but Worlds Apart Ms. An Acceptable Union Mr. Protecting an Interracial Legacy In order to protect his family, Mr. Wright, who lives in Atlanta, said in an interview. The love affair could have been lost if not for Paula Wright, a seventh-generation descendant of the couple who inherited vintage photographs that inspired her to document eight generations of her family, dating to The box of mostly black-and-white photographs offered a rare glimpse into an interracial marriage that took place nearly years before Loving v.
At one point, he became engaged to a white woman, but he called the wedding off when his second child with Ms. Simkins, a son, was born in He married Ms. Simkins two years later, induring an interlude in Reconstruction when statutes prohibiting interracial marriage had been suspended.
An acceptable union
He was wounded near Richmond, Va. He returned to Edgefield to convalesce and began an affair with Ms. Their relationship was interrupted when Mr. Ramey re-enlisted in By then, Ms. Simkins had become pregnant by him. Whatever feelings may have come to the surface, they were quickly put to the side. His father and Mr. Pickens had a mutual business interest in pottery, and young Mr. Ramey most likely attended parties at Mr. That is probably where he met Ms. Simkins, inwhen Mr. Ramey was about 20 and she was about Wright said. In order to protect his family, Mr.
Ramey listed himself in 19th-century census records as a head of household and his wife and their children as his servants. Ramey began a law career and later was appointed as a judge.
She did eventually leave the plantation, and sustained herself as a seamstress and housekeeper. It was said that William believed in doing what was right. But that changed when he became ill in He listed Ms. Simkins in the census that year as his wife, and said they had been married for 38 years. But by then, most of Mr. Simkins, who lived comfortably until her death 17 years later in Wright knows that the story of Mr.
Simkins is full of contradictions. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down miscegenation laws.
She was buried in a black cemetery. He sent her, their children and many of his assets to New York, where he believed they would be protected, after his sister threatened to take them away upon his death. On April 8,she gave birth to a daughter, and that same month, Mr.
Ramey returned to Edgefield for a three-month furlough.
That was the easy thing to do. Simkins was born a slave inmost likely on a property called Edgewood owned by Francis Pickens, who would become a Confederate governor. Pickens opposed the mixing of races, but he did not send Ms. Simkins away. When he returned to Edgefield, he continued to have a relationship with Ms. Simkins, who had remained on the plantation along with many former slaves.