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COLUMN: Who is Roxana Coleman?

COLUMN: Who is Roxana Coleman?

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Warren Clay Coleman

Find out more about Norman McCullough’s book at

As I continue my research to know more about the Coleman/Barringer family, Roxana is important because she was the mother of Warren and Thomas Coleman.

Roxana was a chattel slave and she had two children with General Rufus Barringer. Because of this relationship, the history of Concord and Cabarrus due to Warren's legacy, changed the world for the better.

According to a newly "discovered" book, Cabarrus County Tax Assessments, 1860-1863, Cabarrus Genealogy Society by Bernard W. Cruse, we see that Roxana, (or Roxi) listed in the book was 34 years old and she was valued at $1400. Thomas and Warren were worth $1600 each and they were 18 and 14 years old respectively. Because of this primary information, it is a fact that Roxana was born in 1829 and she died in 1904.

However, like Thomas the history regarding Roxana is very limited. In my book, (see I compare her (Roxana) to Sally Hemmings, the female "companion" of President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had at least six children with Sally and their descendants have met on several occasions once it was clear that their relationship was real. Under normal circumstances, we would be talking about Thomas, Warren and Roxana Barringer. However, due to the peculiar nature of American slavery, off spring derived their surnames from their mothers (slaves) and not their fathers.

When Rufus Barringer begins to marry white women, starting in 1854, the record indicates that his relationship with Roxana, Thomas and Warren did not continue on the surface.

The Cruse book also indicates that Barringer owned 17 slaves and he married Eugenia Morrison, the daughter of a Presbyterian pastor who founded Davidson College.

As Rufus was getting married, Roxana remained a slave until 1865. How to remedy this horrific history is a question that the City of Concord will have to, like so many other cities, reconcile their past to move forward in the future.

Norman J. McCullough Sr.

Norman J. McCullough Sr.

Norman J. McCullough, Sr., is a retired RCCC Instructor, a home owner living in Concord, and an author of Norman also serves as a trustee at Price Memorial AME Zion church. He can be reached at


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