The Domminickers of North Florida: Thomas, Hall, Bland, Forehand, Simmons, Mayo

In Holmes County, Florida, there existed a separate community of Indian mixed-blood people who were given the derogatory label of “Domminickers” by local whites (a domminicker is a type of chicken).

These mixed-blood Indian families maintained their own church and school well into the mid-1900’s.

This is a record of their documentation from the time thy first arrived in north Florida:

1840 taxation census of Walton County, west Florida (later split to form Holmes)
Page 2:
Betsy Allen…..2male FPOC, 4 female FPOC (FPOC = Free Person of Color)
Page 7:
Henry Stephens…1white female, 16 male FPOC
Alfred Mayo….8male FPOC, 4female FPOC

1847 walton county tax list:
William Chavers (sic Chavis)….$3.00….free man of color
Wiley Hall………………………$6.00….free man of color
Note: he would only have been taxed double if his wife was also a FPOC

1850 census Walton county:
Household #109: Hall, Wiley……..age 45….farmer…born NC
Catherine…age 40……………born NC
Wesley……….8……………………GA
Mary…………6……………………FL
James………..4…………………….FL
Margaret…….2…………………….FL

1855 Walton tax list:
Daniel Gunn….$3.30…………free man of color
Jonathan Manor (sic Mainer)…free man of color
Benj. Thomas…$3.30……….free man of color

These mixed-blood families of Allen, Mayo, Chavers, Hall, Mainer, and Thomas can be found in the 1810-1820 census of Northampton, NC…on the site of the Meherrin reservation. The specific names of Hall and Thomas are on documents relating to lease/sale of Meherrin reservation property.

One origin legend of the Domminickers (at least the viewpoint of local whites) is recounted in Article 2 – Florida volume of the Federal Writers Project in the late 1930’s:
“The beginning of the Dominicker Settlement was before the Civil War in 1855 by a black man named Joe Thomas. A slave raised a family of four children one boy and three girls, by a white woman named Polly Thomas. She owned the black man and after her husband was killed she took her slave for a husband and raised the four children. Their son Berrian Thomas married a white woman named Rally Hall. Their daughter named Martha Thomas married a white man named Bill Bland. The other girls raised a family of children without being married for different colored men.”

I will re-paste the same oral legend and insert what facts are documented by census and taxation records:
“The beginning of the Dominicker Settlement was before the Civil War in 1855 (Benjamin Thomas’ family was on the 1850 census, so had to have arrived prior to 1855) by a black man named Joe Thomas (the progenitor of these Thomas’ was named Benjamin). A slave (Benjamin Thomas was taxed as a “free man of color” so obviously wasn’t a slave) raised a family of four children one boy and three girls, by a white woman named Polly Thomas (Benjamin’s wife was named Jane). She owned the black man (once again, Benjamin was never a slave) and after her husband was killed she took her slave for a husband (illegal under Florida law…she, the slave, and the minister would have been whipped and the marriage annulled) and raised the four children. Their son Berrian Thomas married a white woman named Rally Hall (Berrian Thomas married Mary Hall). Their daughter named Martha Thomas married a white man named Bill Bland. The other girls raised a family of children without being married for different colored men.”

The 1850 Census of Homes Co. shows:
Household #109: George W. Mayo (son of Alfred Mayo), wife and 2 kids
#110: Jane Thomas (wife of Benjamin Thomas), 5 children
#111: Micajah Stephens (son of Henry Stephens), wife and 3 children
#112: Alfred Mayo, wife and 5 children

Alfred mayo would lead a mixed-blood “wagon train” to Louisiana and settle among other mixed-bloods there to form what would later be called the “Red Bones.”

1870 census, Holmes county:

Household #320: Thomas, Berrian…45..Male…”M”…………..b. GA
Mary K…34……….”W”……………..ALA
Christian A. 5 (female) “W”………….FL
Hall, James M……13………..”M”……………FL
Benjamin F….10………..”M”……………FL
Ruth J………..8…………”M”……………FL

Household #321: Hall, Ann C…..62……..”W”………………b. GA
Elizabeth M…20…”W”…………………ALA
Amelia A……18….”W”…………………ALA
Willis F………16….”W”…………………ALA

Household #322: Thomas, Mary…..38…….”W”……………….b. GA
Mary J…8………”W”………………….FL
Sarah F…6……..”W”………………….FL
Franklin…1…….”W”………………….FL

Household #323: Bland, William….32…….”W”……………….b. FL
Martha……33……”M”………………….FL
Clara J……13……”M”………………….FL
June E…….4…….”M”………………….FL
William B…2……”M”………………….FL

1880 Holmes county census:

Household #142: Hall, Jeff………..INDIAN…34…………..b. FL
Catherine….”B”……….30……………FL

Note: census taker instructions for 1880 stated that only people of “predominantly Indian blood residing on known Indian reservations, or persons of unmixed Indian blood should be recorded as ‘Indian.’”

Household #208: Hall, James……..”W”……….23………….B. FL
Alice………”W”………23……………..FL
Mary………”W”……….1………………FL

Household #209: Thomas, Berry…..”Mu”………57…………..b. GA
Mary….”W”………43……………..ALA
Christian…”Mu”…..16 (grand-daug) FL
Hall, Benjamin….”W”…….21 (step-son)……FL

Household #210: Forehand, Sarah (Thomas)…..”Mu”…….52……………b. GA
John……………….”Mu”…….19……………..FL
Horace…………….”Mu”…….15……………..FL

Household #211: Bland, William………..”W”……..34……………….b. FL
Martha………..”Mu”…….44…………………GA
Clara………….”Mu”…….21…………………FL
Ginnie…………”Mu”….15…………………..FL
William………..”Mu”…..13………………….FL
Viola……………”Mu”….9…………………..FL
John……………”Mu”……4…………………FL
Sarah…………..”Mu”……1………………….FL
Hall, Sarah (Niece)….”Mu”…….15………………..FL
Franklin (Nephew) “Mu”…….13………………FL

1885 Holmes County census:

Dwelling: 531…..Hall, James M………”W”…..25
Alice M……….”W”…..26
Mary J…………”W”…..6
Coburn…………”W”….4
Margaret……….”W”….2
Arquilla…………”W”….45…Aunt

532……Thomas, Benjamin…….”Mu”…..60
Christian A…..”Mu”…..19…daughter

533…….Bland, Martha…………”Mu”…..44
Clara J………….”Mu”….28
Jennie…………..”Mu”….18
William…………”Mu”…16
Viola……………”Mu”….14
John…………….”Mu”…..9
Ailsy Ann……….”Mu”….4
Forehand, Sarah…………”Mu”….55….sister
Harris…………”Mu”…19
Thomas, Sarah………….”Mu”…18….niece

534……Forehand, John……………”Mu”….23
Pallis……………”W”…..30
Mary……………”Mu”….9
Lettice………….”Mu”….5
Harris, Jr………..”Mu”…11/12

535…….Mayo, William…………….”Mu”…..35
Margaret……………”W”……30
Melvin, Catherine…………”W”…….4…..niece

The primary families in the Dominicker community were Hall, Thomas, Bland (white man married a Thomas), Forehand (white man married a Thomas), and Simmons. Simmons did not marry in until quite late (after 1880) after the Simmons man (censused as a “Mu” farm laborer in Dale Co, ALA then as “Indian” in Washington Co, FL) came in. This guy’s Simmons family connects back to the Simmons’ of Sampson Co, NC.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s