Coon Telford

Written by Gene Barron

On August 11, 1865, Joseph and Mary Ann Carroll Telford had a son that they named Richmond. A young mulatto girl named Jennie aided in the birth. Joseph purchased this girl, along with another slave girl, in Natchez, Mississippi, for the sum of $700 each. Jennie had served the family as their house slave before the Civil War. After the war she was known as Jennie Telford.

When Richmond was born, Jennie looked down at him and exclaimed, “He show do looks long and skinny, jest like a coon!” The name stuck.

When Richmond died, they listed him as Richmond Telford in his obituary. Hardly anyone recognized the name and therefore few attended the funeral. If they had listed him as “Coon” Telford the church would have probably been full for all knew “Coon” Telford.

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Gene BarronGene Barron is a native of Spearsville, Union Parish, Louisiana. He has a genealogy database of 182,000 names, who are all connected to his family.

Gene has also written two historical books on Union Parish. I highly recommend both.

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