On May 9th, 1872, Phillis O Neil, opened an account at the Freedman's Bank in Charleston, South Carolina. She was 54 years old and she worked as a Cook, Wash and Seamstress. Her account numbered 10605, was rich in family information but so sad. Phillis' husband was Robert O Neil. Robert was 'killed' at Columbia?
Phillis was the daughter of James Brisbane, dec., and Charlotte, dec.
Phillis' children were
Brisbane, dec., and
Charlotte Watson and
She had 2 sisters Susan Geddis and Lizzie Sanders.
I found 2 women by the name of Susan Geddes in the 1880 Federal Census Charleston.
Susan Geddis, wife of Elex Geddes, in St. John's Coleton, mother of Rebecca and grandmother of Susan and
Susan Geddis, born 1818, wife of Stephen Geddis was living in St. Andrews, Charleston in 1880.
Nearby was the family of London Geddis (34), his wife Martha (25), and their children Isaac, Sarah and Celia. Given London's age I am wondering if he was Susan and Stephen's son.
However, after a cup of coffee, I began to wonder if Susan might also have opened a Bank account and then I found her in 1870; Susan Geddes born and raised in Charleston, sister of Phillis O Neil and Elizabeth Sanders. Susan was born 1807 and was a Nurse working for Charles Levey. Susan was 'imperfect in both eyes' and accompanied by her son Baccus Geddes 'only child ever had' Susan's father was Thomas Faulkner and her mother was Charlotte Brisbane, both dec. Susan also had a brother James Crocket, dec. Susan was seperated from her husband and no name is given.
Her employer's name Charles Levy was the break I needed. In the 1870 Federal Census, I found Chas Levy with his wife Lov and children, Chas, El, Hatte, Rose, Lov and Joe. There are also 7 people more people living in the household described as domestic servants of whom Sue Getters (Susan Geddes) is one.
By 1880 Charles Levy has become a Naval Stores Inspector and the family has grown to 10 children. Next door? are living Susan Grant and her daughter Mary Ann Grant, both servants, Robert Haynes, a coachdriver and Clara Young also a servant. Robert Haynes was listed as part of Charles Levy's household in 1870. Susan Geddes/Getters is no longer in either household.
In 1870, there is a Baccus/Bacchus Geddis, a painter living in the household of Harriet Green in Charleston Ward 5. There is also an Elizabeth Geddis listed in the household (his wife?)
I was unable to find a death certificate for Phillis O Neil, her sister Susan Geddes orher nephew Baccus Geddis at this time.
I learned a lot in this piece of research, the importance of not getting hung up on the spellings of names and the importance of checking to see if other family members opened accounts in the Freedman's Bank. In doing this, I was able to find that Phillis followed her sister in opening an account in the bank.
I also learned that Phillis and Susan's mother was Charlotte Brisbane and that their fathers were James Brisbane and Thomas Faulkner respectively. Time does not allow me to search for Elizabeth Sanders. It is important to remember that Phillis, Susan and Elizabeth were born into slavery as were most of the people above (apart from the Levy family) The opening of bank accounts by Phillis and Susan was a momentous occasion and because of it we are able to remember and honour their family members. I hope that if you are searching for any of the people above that this piece of research will help you along your way. If you discover what became of the sisters I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
This research was undertaken as a contribution to the #SlaveNameRollProject
Freedman's Bank record 1872
Federal Census 1880 Geddis
Federal Census 1880 Geddis
Federal Census 1870 spelling Getters
Federal Census 1870 Bacchus Geddis
African American Genealogy