James Rice Slatter (center) with sons William (left) and David (right)
James Rice Slatter (center) with sons William (left) and David (right)

James Slatter was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War. He was born in Halifax, North Carolina, in 1740 and died in Halifax on April 5, 1799.

He is buried in a National Cemetery and according to family tradition he was honored in the Revolutionary War.

He married Charity Cotton, and they had four children. His second born was Ascension (1768-1803), and his youngest child was David Rice (1775-1834). David married Mary P. Martin (1790-1844), and they had six children. The oldest was James Rice (1809-1896), who married Rebecca Estill.

Their son William J. Slatter married Roberta Volumnia Barrow, daughter of Robert Ruffin Barrow and granddaughter of Ascension Slatter, who had married Robert Ruffin’s father Bartholomew Barrow. So Clara and William were second cousins, because they shared James Slatter as great-grandfather.

The Barrow Family had migrated from North Carolina to Tennessee before settling in Louisiana and had strong ties to Tennessee. In 1871 my great grandfather William J. Slatter (1833-1917) visited the Barrows in Louisiana and met great grandmother Roberta Volumnia Barrow, daughter of Robert Ruffin Barrow and his second cousin. After a short six month courtship, William and Roberta married without the consent or knowledge of her father, and bought an elegant two story brick house on North High Street in Winchester Tennessee.

William J. Slatter as a young man
William J. Slatter as a young man

William was good with the pen; a poet, author, multi-lingual and was the editor of the Winchester Appeal and The Home Journal newspapers; the bound volumes of the newspapers and William’s book collection can be found at Volumnia Farm today. William was also elected to the Tennessee legislature. In April 1861 William Slatter enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army, company C, 1st Tennessee Infantry, and in 1862 until the end of the war served in the Waties South Carolina Artillery Battery and was captured in the battle of West Point Georgia in April 1865 and sent to prison in Macon Georgia until the end of the war, when he was released and returned to Winchester, Tennessee.

In 1873 a terrible financial crisis hit the Tennessee area and William lost the newspaper and was heavily in debt. Fortunately in the mid 1870’s Roberta received a sizable inheritance from the death of her father and paid off all of William’s debts and by the 1880’s they had five children. Roberta with her brother Robert R. Barrow Jr. had interest in the vast Barrow Lands and farms in Terrebonne Parish in Louisiana. She had to make frequent business trips to Terrebonne and fell in love with Residence Plantation, which was where her father Robert R. Barrow Sr. claimed his residence among his many farms. William didn’t want to leave Winchester and the beautiful Cumberland Mountains for the low delta flat lands of Terrebonne Parish. The loss of their only son David completely devastated William and he began to have a drinking problem. This combination of factors led to their divorce in 1883.

After the divorce Roberta remarried T. Albert Woods in 1888. Albert Woods was killed in a gunfight over a debt in 1889 in the front yard of Residence Plantation, and he is buried in a Woods family cemetery plot in Magnolia Cemetery in Houma, not far from the Slatter-Gaidry family plot. Roberta lived with her 3 daughters at Volumnia Farm in Terrebonne Parish until her death in 1900. Roberta is buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Houma in the same plot as Roberta’s daughter Clara Slatter Gaidry and all of Clara’s descendants.

Clara married Wilson J. Gaidry; their descendants occupy and manage the plantation today. After the divorce William lived out his life in the Confederate Soldiers Home in Nashville Tennessee.