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About the Family Historian


Good Hope
Freeport, IL

My name is Joyce Salter- Johnson; I was born, in Good Hope, Mississippi 1939. Good Hope is a small self-sustaining black community in Newton County, founded soon after emancipation proclamation, by my great grandfather Filmore Johnson. The community then and to this day consists mostly of Johnsons, Salters and others. In 1949, my parents migrated north to Freeport, Illinois, as did most of the Salters in the community.

The summer of my twelfth birthday, and several summers after that, I returned to the little community of Good Hope. Since that time, I have been totally, immersed in my Salter family history. Who were these Salters, where did they come from? Were they enslave or free? I spent most of that first summer asking questions and listening in on conversations I probably should not have. During that time, however, I learned mostly though oral history, that my motherís Grandfather Frank Salter, was one of three known sons born to Hardy and Louisa Salter.

After forty years of researching my Salter family history and with new technology, I was able to trace my ancestry back to my great great grandfather, Hardy Salter. The 1870 US Census list Hardy Salter (b.1799), and his wife Louisa (b.1808), as being born in North Carolina. Frank Salter; (b.1835) the first known son of Hardy and Lousia was born in Georgia. Their second son, Cason Salter; (b.1844) and third son, Alfred Salter (b.1853), were born in Alabama. Later, records would indicate that Hardy, his wife Louisa, their three known sons, and their wives, and most of their children died in Newton, Jasper, and other nearby counties in the state of Mississippi.

With the aid of the White Salter family historians. The valuable assistants of Save The Family Institute. The Newton County Historical and Genealogical Society; and years of research I have obtained, what I believe to be reliable information, and records that document that, the descendents, of James Salter of South Carolina, North Carolina; Washington and Jefferson County Georgia; Conecuh County Alabama, Neshoba County, and Yazoo City, Mississippi were the owner of my family, the Black Salters

I am writing a book, and filming a documentary about my search for Hardy Salter. Over the years, I have researched Salters from all over the world both (black and white). Salters who immigrated from England, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and Barbados, West Indies. I visited the Salters in Salter, South Carolina, Salter Path, and Beauford, North Carolina; the Salter of Washington, and Jefferson County in Georgia. I have received records and valuable, information pertaining to James Salter in Conecuh County Alabama. I spent the last year in communication with a direct descendent of Samuel Salter( b,1800 ), of Yazoo City , Mississippi and most recently with Gertrude Stephens a long time expert on the James Salter family in Alabama.

At the age of 65, I have decided to follow the migration trail of the James Salter family (b.1731South Carolina, North Carolina the journey taken by my ancestors the Hardy Salter Family of North Carolina. On this journey, I took along several family members and a small camera crew to document the event.

On this journey, we visited some of the places that I discovered during my research. The birthplace of James Salter and what I, believe to be, the birthplace of Hardy Salter We spent the day with the slave owning Salterísí in Sandersville and Bartow, Georgia. In Evergreen Alabama, we visited the Revolutionary War monument erected in honor of James Salter. In Neshoba County, we visited the gravesite of David M. Salter the Great Grandson of James Salter. Finally back to Good Hope, Mississippi, and the little black community where most of my ancestors and I were born.