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Candice Newman: Free Woman of Color



candon hearth

Candice Newman’s life is a unique part of the story of Warren County’s history.

Free people of color

She and William Newman, her husband, were free people of color who owned a dairy farm just south of the Vicksburg city limits. Candice had been born into slavery in South Carolina before being purchased by Thomas R. Newman and brought to this area where Thomas’ plantation resided in the east portion of Warren County. It was here that she met William. Being impressively resourceful, Candice was able to save enough throughout her early life to purchase the freedom of herself and her husband from Thomas Newman in 1840, and after petitioning the legislatures they were granted permission to remain in the State (certain states had laws prohibiting free blacks to live within their bounds).

Throughout her life, Candice made a significant impact in the community using her resources to secure the freedom of many enslaved children and raising several as her own. Though her success was met with many hardships throughout the years, she had an overwhelmingly positive impact on those who knew her.

The dairy farm

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Candon Hearth

The Newman Dairy Farm was located just off Halls Ferry Road at the present intersection of Confederate Ave. and Halls Ferry. It was there that William built their home, Candon Hearth, which existed well into the mid to late 1900s. William was a barber by trade, leaving Candice as the sole operator of the dairy farm. They had one child, Amanda, but many foster children they raised as their own. Candice would hire out young enslaved children in the community to work on her farm, and in time would purchase their freedom as they could afford to. Sarah and Samuel Washington recount this practice in their testimony to the Federal Government’s Southern Claims Commission when Candice was trying to recover her property that had been damaged or stolen by both Confederate and Union armies throughout the Civil War.

1888 map

1888 land tenure map showing the exact location(click to enlarge)

Tragedy at the farm

The War brought devastating tragedy to Candice and her family. The Confederate forces had already pilfered their property of livestock and other supplies. The property was of little importance in comparison to the loss of her husband though. William was one of the few civilian casualties during the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. On June 4, a stray cannon shell struck their home causing his death. Following the Siege, her farm was once again picked over by the Federal troops camped near her home with the promise that “Uncle Sam would take care of it.”

Following the War, Henry Cook, an attorney and Judge of Warren County, petitioned the court on behalf of Candice and Amanda to settle William’s estate. Before it was settled, Amanda died suddenly of illness leaving Candice the only heir. County Records of the period show that the Newmans still had an estimated $10,000 in debt to collect from residents of the area, but only $2,000 was collected as the War had wiped out the wealth of those who owed her. It would take years for her to recover her financial losses, but she continued to operate her diary farm.

Horse, mules, cows….pilfered by troops

In 1871, Congress approved a Commission of Claims for damages of private property incurred throughout the War. Candice Newman brought her suit against the Federal Government in 1874 with the help of Moyers & Dedrick, attorneys out of Memphis. The suit estimate being the sum of $2,229 included horses, mules, cows, milk, butter, 5,000 feet of fresh lumber, a cooking stove, and 40 gallons of molasses. The Claims Commission recorded detailed testimonies with follow-up cross-examinations of each witness for the claim (click the documents to enlarge them).

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The damage claim submitted by Candace Newman

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Page 2 and 3 of the damage claim

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Page 4 of the damage claim

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Page 5 – the settlement

Sarah and Samuel Washington, who were foster children of the Newmans, recount in detail the day the Union forces arrived at their farm.

Character testimonies were given by Judge Henry Cook and Alexander H. Arthur. Candice herself also went through the process of testimony and cross-examination in which she expels any myth that she was providing aid to the Confederacy of her own accord. In March of 1875,  Candice won her case, but the victory only allotted a fraction of what she had claimed. She was only able to recoup a total of $910. A complete copy of her claim is on file at the Old Court House Museum for anyone interested in further details of her story.

“Aunt Candice” as she was affectionately called

Candice Newman continued her work within the community up until the day she passed in March of 1894. Her obituary in the local paper is a testament to how beloved she was within the Vicksburg community: “Mrs. Candice Newman, died at her home on Hall’s Ferry Road last night. The old lady had reached the age of 96, and no colored person in this county had more warm and devoted friends among both races than did ‘Aunt Candice’ as she was affectionately called. Her residence here for more than three-quarters of a century has been marked by many deeds of charity, and her demise will be mourned by a large circle of friends. Some years before the late war she bought her freedom…Mrs. Newman accumulated considerable property, and has been foster mother to a number of orphan children, who she has cared for with gentle tenderness and who will mourn the loss of a dear and devoted friend…” William and Candice are buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery. Inscribed on her stone it reads, “A True Friend,” and on Williams, “I will plant thee a rose that will bloom after I am gone.”


Candace and William Newman are buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Division C, Square 49, lots 2 and 3.

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