Benjamin Schooler

Benjamin Schooler

Spotsylvania County, Virginia, USA
Death 26 Jul 1863 (aged 76)
Garrard County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 146376430 · View Source
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Son of John Schooler and Nancy Catherine Hawkins, Benjamin Schooler was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia and traveled with his family as a boy to Kentucky. Benjamin called his plantation in Garrard County "Bowling Green." It was located along the Fall Lick Road southeast of Lancaster, Ky.

Thomas Kennedy, Jr.
had been the plantation's owner, through his mother Edna Withers Kennedy, by way of her stepfather John Jones. Thomas and Edna are buried on the plantation grounds (hence the name Kennedy Cemetery), along with Benjamin Schooler, his wife Margaret, and two of their adult children: William and Margaret who passed away during the Schooler ownership of the land.

Cattle, hemp, and tobacco were among the early agricultural products of the Bowling Green plantation. These were likely shipped by flatboat to downstream markets by way of the Kentucky River. The Schoolers were quite well off, but not the wealthiest farmers in the area. The 1860 census lists their real estate value at $16,500 and personal property at $10,575.

The success of the Schooler plantation was dependent on slave labor. On July 23, 1860 in Garrard County, Benjamin Schooler is listed as owner of 16 slaves, from age 1 to ninety. Nine are female, and eight are listed as mulatto.

On the 21st day of May 1860 Benjamin Schooler writes his will and immediately adds a codicil regarding his slaves: “I give my beloved wife, after her death I want sold to the highest bidder amongst my five children that is now living in Kentucky and the money equally divided among my children.” He also clarified that, for the land he has given in his will, “I don’t want any of the slaves taken off the place until the crop is secured.” Seventeen slaves are listed by name in Benjamin’s will and very specific instructions are given.

On May 16, 1861 a neutrality resolution is adopted by Kentucky’s Unionist-dominated legislature. On that very day Benjamin makes one last codicil to his will , this time instructing that the slaves John, George, Caroline, and her three children Margaret, Eliza, and Elizabeth are to be "sold by my executors and constitute a portion of my estate and this and the residence of my estate is to be so distributed among my children and grand children."

On September 1862 President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery as of January 1, 1863 within states that had seceded from the United States. Thus, it does not apply to Kentucky.

Benjamin dies that year. While all of the enslaved people of the Schooler plantation are named in his will, Benjamin specifies that three should not have a value placed on them: David, his faithful servant; Fanny; and Fanny’s mother, the "old and infirm" Charlotte. The others are: Miriam, Soloman, Mary, Miles, Jim, Alex, Olee, Ersa, John, George, Caroline, Margaret, Martha, and Elizabeth.

Finally, on January 31, 1865 Congress passes the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, abolishing slavery throughout the United States (although without ratification by Kentucky). At last, the Schooler slaves were free.

The 1870 census shows a Martha Schooler, mulatto, age 40, living with 59-year-old Miles Schooler and 9 year old Fannie, three year old Susan, and one year old John in Lancaster, Kentucky, the closest city to the plantation. Miles was listed as being unable to read or write; Martha and Fannie apparently could read but not write. Miles’ occupation was shown as gardener; he had real estate valued at $300. Could these have been emancipated slaves from the plantation who retained the name of their former master? Could Martha be a daughter of Benjamin Schooler?

-Nancy R.




  • Created by: Enjay
  • Added: 12 May 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 146376430
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Benjamin Schooler (17 Apr 1787–26 Jul 1863), Find A Grave Memorial no. 146376430, citing Kennedy Cemetery, Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Enjay (contributor 48738760) .