Oh, an interesting tidbit I learned. Okay, Jack Macon’s similarly aged owner was William Macon, whose dad was John. John seems to have had something of a drinking problem and so, long before he died, he divvied up a lot of his slaves among his children and the slaves were sent out to work and their income funneled back to the children. He even, it seems, set up a kind of conservatorship where his youngest children would have someone–not him–managing their money until they were old enough to make those decisions themselves. And then he threw himself into drinking himself to death. (Which he either didn’t exactly succeed at or it took a long, long time, since he lived in Maury County with the family of an established, adult child.) So, that was kind of heartbreaking–I’m going to ruin myself, but I’m going to take steps to protect my family from the financial costs of it.
But it gives me more evidence that Bobby Lovett is right–Jack probably never was freed. (First bit of evidence was seeing first hand that the second petition at the TSLA was not for Jack to be able to stay in the state after being freed, as some sources report, but for William to not be prosecuted for letting Jack continue to practice medicine.) So, with no evidence of him being freed and a family history of hiring out slaves to work and send money back and a well-documented practice of slaves living in Nashville and working while their owners stayed out in the countryside, I think we have to believe this was probably Jack’s situation.
But the other bit is this: John’s brother was Nathaniel Macon, who you probably don’t remember, but is the Macon of, say, Macon, Georgia and Randolph-Macon College. Which makes the claim that Polk was heavily influenced by Nathaniel Macon all the more interesting, when you consider that the two families certainly had to know each other, what with John sitting right down the street from all of Polk’s aunts and uncles.