Dianah <I>Dickerson</I> Goins

Dianah Dickerson Goins

Grayson County, Virginia, USA
Death unknown
Grayson County, Virginia, USA
Burial Baywood, Grayson County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 139034617 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Dianah Dickerson (or Dickenson) Goins was the wife of Albert Goins, a "free colored person". (I derived Dianah Goins’ maiden name from the 1931 Virginia Death Certificate for her daughter, Minerva Goins Pugh.) Dianah Goins, however, was a slave. Dianah's husband, Albert Goins, lived and worked along side Dianah Goins' slave masters, a father-son duo named Isaac Garrison (1771-1860), and David Garrison (1797-1887), of Grayson County, Virginia, for more than 25 years.

I suspect Albert Goins worked for the Garrisons in order to eventually set his wife, Dianah, and their children free. This was the custom of the day. And I believe this was the case with Albert Goins. There is, however, some controversy as to the real status of Dianah Dickerson Goins. Was she "free" or was she a "slave"? The short answer is: yes, she was a slave, but the public record before 1840 also suggests that Dianah Goins may have once been considered free by the Garrisons--for whatever reason.

In the 1830 US Census report for Isaac Garrison of Grayson County, Virginia, a child is listed in the Garrison household under the column: "free colored persons-female-under 10". This could only be Dianah Goins. But in the 1833 Grayson County, VA Personal Property Tax list for Isaac Garrison the same child is now reported under the category: "Blacks under 12" (i.e. slave), rather than the "Free Negro" category. Thereafter in all of Isaac Garrison's personal property tax reports the same child/woman is listed as his slave. The 1840 US census also lists Dianah Goins, or a female her age, as a slave in Isaac Garrison's household. Was the 1830 US Census report just a clumsy error made by the census taker, or was Dianah Goins actually considered free in 1830 by Isaac Garrison? We don't know. But it does seem clear to me that Dianah Goins was indeed considered a part of the Garrison household, be it as a free person or a slave, and that she was raised right along side Isaac Garrison's daughter, Mary (Polly) Garrison Shupe (1809-1882). By 1865, however, Dianah Goins had gone from being a free person in the household of Isaac Garrison to being a slave in the household of his son, David Garrison, to being a former slave of Benjamin Shupe, Sr. (1802-1888)--the husband of Mary Garrison Shupe.1 This suggests to me that Dianah Goins was more than just a mere Garrison household member or slave, she was family. This too is supported by the conventions of the time. And should not come as a shock to anyone.

--Christopher Walker, 03-04-2017

1. See 1865 Census Returns of the Colored Population of Grayson County, Virginia located in the "Virginia Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872), Digital Folder #4152454, Image 410.

Family Members



Planning a visit to Goins Cemetery?



  • Maintained by: Christopher Walker
  • Originally Created by: Carole Conrad
  • Added: 20 Nov 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 139034617
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dianah Dickerson Goins (1818–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 139034617, citing Goins Cemetery, Baywood, Grayson County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Christopher Walker (contributor 48377626) Unknown.