John Easton found his mother after decades of searching

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John Easton found his mother after decades of searching


Other (Newspaper Article)


Easton, of Indianapolis, Indiana, found his mother, Clara Clounch, of Paducah, Kentucky. They were separated by sale when he was seven years old.


New York Sun (New York, NY) (reprinted from the Indianapolis Sentinel)


July 3, 1892


Indianapolis, IN
Rushville, IN
Paducah, KY
Lovelaceville, KY


Jesse Nasta


Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress



A Former Slave Finds His Mother, and Proves His Identity by a Strange Mark.
From the Indianapolis Sentinel.
John Easton, a colored fireman at the Nordyke-Marmon Works, has been for more than twenty years trying to find his mother, and about two weeks ago got traces of her whereabouts. They were separated when he was 7 years old, he having been sold by their master, William Hobbston, in Kentucky, to Dr. Henderson of Osceola, Ark. When the war came on Easton ran away and fell into the care of soldiers. After the war he came to Indiana and worked for years at Rushville. He then removed to Indianapolis, working for three years at the stockyards.
This was the story Easton told C. G. Kumler, foreman at the Nordyke-Marmon Works. As to the name of the town in Kentucky where Hobbston lived, all Easton could say was that it was something like Lovelace. Kumler became interested in the man’s search and learned that there was a Lovelaceville in Kentucky. He also got information that V. S. Lovelace lived there. Writing to him, he soon received a reply, in which Lovelace said he had been a resident there for fifty years, and knew many persons whom Easton had mentioned. Among those was Duke Robertson, who still remained on his old plantation on the south side of Mayfield Creek. Kumler asked Easton if he remembered the creek.
“Yes.” replied Easton. “I can remember that. My mother used to wash the clothes in a creek and dry them on the bank, and I used to go swimming in it.”
“What was the named of it?”
“I can’t remember.”
“If I told you could you remember it?”
“Yes, I think I could; but am not sure.”
“Well, was it Mayfield Creek?”
“Yes, sir; that was it, and it had a bend in it called Walnut Bend, where I used to fish.
Kumler then wrote again to Lovelace, inquiring about Clara Hobbston, as John called his mother. The answer of Mr. Lovelace was: “The woman you seek was Clara Clounch. Clara’s husband was and is William Hobbs, not Hobbston. She and Bill are both alive yet and live in Paducah, Ky. They had hard times during the war. They were living a mile from this place, peaceable, law-abiding citizens, but were awakened in the dead of night by bushwhackers. Bill was shot in his cabin and made a cripple for the balance of his life.”
These letters from his old home aroused great hope in Easton’s breast. He could hardly wait for a letter to his mother to reach Paducah, and wanted to go immediately to her. Kumler, however, advised patience, and asked Easton if he had any particular mark by which he could be identified. “Yes, sir,” he said, “I was born with two thumbs, and one was cut away when I was about six weeks old. You can see the scar on my hand where it was.” It was by this scar the mother identified her son, who is with her in Paducah.




“John Easton found his mother after decades of searching,” Other (Newspaper Article), New York Sun (New York, NY) (reprinted from the Indianapolis Sentinel), July 3, 1892, Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery, accessed October 21, 2018,

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