We are seeking one additional presenter for a race and ethnicity session at the SHA meeting in Atlanta in November 2014.
Mark Baumanís proposal deals with Jews and the Native fur trade in colonial Georgia and South Carolina with special emphasis on trader, interpreter, and negotiator Moses Nunes. Nunes, among the first Jews to arrive in the colony in 1733, worked as a government official and landowner. He and a Jew in England become involved in issues of land ownership concerning Thomas and Mary Musgrove Bosomworth, besides numerous other issues. Jews participated in the fur trade as part of their transcolonial and transcontinental endeavors. Bonds of ethnicity and family, as in so many other of their economic pursuits, fostered their efforts in a similar fashion as they did for other ethnic groups involved in the trade.
Moses Nunes and his family crossed boundaries of religion, ethnicity, and race during an era when lines and limits remained in flux. Moving between Savannah, Augusta, and Coweta, Nunes entered into a long-term relationship with one of his slaves, Mulatto Rose, as he referred to her in his will. They had three children. James, Robert, and Francis. The latter married George Galphin II, son of the important Indian trader and agent, and his Creek wife, Metawney. Nunes freed his family in his will, and Rose and his three sons inherited his estate. Regardless of her slave status, they lived relatively freely in the frontier society. His sons participated in raids against competing Indians with George's brother, John Galphin. Nunes maintained his identity as a Jew and rose in society even becoming a charter member of the Masonic lodge founded by James Oglethorpe.
Dr. Michael Morrisís proposal addresses the life of Ulster-Scot fur trader, George Galphin. Galphin arrived in South Carolina in 1737 after abandoning a wife back in Ireland. He worked his way up through the colonial fur trade by serving the governors of South Carolina and Georgia as an ambassador to the Muskogee Creeks. He joined a powerful deerskin trading firm called Brown, Rea and Company which was his economic anchor while he established himself as a diplomat. To achieve his status as a major diplomat to the Muskogee Creeks, he helped the government of Georgia colony to dislodge and discredit its major Indian diplomat, Mary Musgrove Bosomworth. Along the way, he participated in several common law marriages including Caucasian women, African-American women and Native American women, like Metawney. He fathered children by all of these women and left them as legatees to a vast estate at his death. His black wives and children were his slaves until his death. He freed them and made them slave-owners with their freedom. His family line intersected with that of Moses Nunes. Both men helped to create a Creole culture in the Colonial Southeast and used the fur trade as their economic niche. Galphin came from a different ethnic background than Nunes and had to fight to rise in social status.
Thus Michael and Mark will be emphasizing (A.) how the fur trade served as a sort of ethnic niche and (B.) the relative fluidity of racial interaction. Apparently involvement in the trade as well as common law relationships with native and slave women actually helped people like Galphin rise while simultaneously exerting a positive impact on the careers of people like Nunes who essentially came from the upper class.
Please contact Dr. Mark K. Bauman at email@example.com.
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