Pompie Adkinson Miller
by S.P. Jordan
"It is well to relate an incident of the Civil War in connection with Joyce Diggs Miller (note: born 1823 and died 1900, daughter of Auguston Diggs and Lucy Ann Eddens and wife of Booker M. Miller). A strange and unusual occurrence of humane and Christian duty on the part of an Anglo Saxon Southern Mother, and love and devotion on the part of a slave born Negro boy. It is believed to be the only incident of its kind to be recorded in the entire South, and is on which our Northern friends cannot comprehend or accept as fact.
When the Federal Army, under the command of General McClellan occupied the Virginia Peninsula between the James and York Rivers in 1862, foraging parties of soldiers visited the plantation of Booker (M.) and Joyce Diggs Miller. Every Negro slave left their home and went off with the Yankee soldiers. Later, when inspecting the Negro cabins Mrs. Miller found a little Negro baby boy, dirty and half naked, behind a cabin door. It had been abandon (sic) by its mother. Mrs. Miller could not let the Negro baby die; nursing bottles or nipples were not convenient, so the baby was carried into the house, washed and dressed in clothes of her own babies. Mrs. Miller nursed the Negro boy until he could walk. Segregation was necessary. The boy was given a room and received the same attention which was given the other children of her family. The boys name was Pompie Adkinson, but when he grew to manhood he took the name of Pompie Adkinson Miller. Four of Mrs. Miller’s men were seafaring men. When Pompie came of age, he to (sic) went to sea, and at the end of each month sent a portion of his wages home to his “Missie”. This money was not disbursed, but was placed in trust for the Negro boy. Portions of the old plantation was given to the sons when they married and established homes of their own. Pompie was deeded and acreage and Mr. Miller built him a home upon this allotment, appropriating the money Mrs. Miller had placed in trust for this purpose. After the death of Booker and Joyce Diggs Miller, the surviving members of the family sold the residue of the old farm and settled in Norfolk, Va. Pompie married and raised a family. Of that family of fourteen souls, Pompie the Negro slave boy, remained on his allotment of the old plantation until his death.
Pompie had the good will and respect of every white family on the North River, Mathews County, Va. He was a good man and a Christian. There was a strange attachment, a regard and affection of the part of the Negro boy for the entire Miller family, and that there were no expectation of reward, other than the kindness of his white benefactors."
Note in pencil on page: father of “Miss Effie” Jordan who visited “Aunt Ola” Hudgins a month or so every summer …of Port Haywood.
Pompie's real name appears to be Alex or Alexander. I was able to find him living with the family in two census records. The first, in 1870 has him listed as just Alex and in 1880 he is listed as Alex Atkinson. In June 1887 a marriage record in Mathews County listed a A. Adkinson marrying a J. Ferguson. I am intrigued by this story and will be doing some further investigations! If you know anything about Alex Pompie Adkinson Miller please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org