The first known documentation mentioning members of the Combash family is from loan documents. In 1842, David Best borrowed $811 from Theresia McElfresh. To secure the loan, he offered Diana Combash and her three children as collateral. Diana's age was not recorded but Charity was eight-years old, Nelson was six, and Eliza Ann was four. As an enslaved woman, Diana Combash had no legal right to her own children.
While we don't know Diana's age, none of the people listed are the right age range or gender to be Diana. The four youngest people listed; however, are around the right ages and genders to be Charity, Nelson, Ann Eliza, and Elias Washington. Whether Diana was sold or emancipated is unclear. If the Combash children were still with David Best in 1852, they almost certainly moved with him from the North Hermitage to the South Hermitage (today's Best Farm).
There is no one of the right age and gender of Charity who would have been in her mid-20s in 1860. Elias Washington may be either the 15-year old male or the 18-year old listed. Nelson may be the 20-year old recorded in the Slave Schedule, this is further supported by David Best's sale of a "negro man named John N. [Nelson?] Combash" for $200 to John Linn in August 1860. Ann Eliza may be the 19-year old female listed; however, it is unlikely. Two months after the slave census was recorded in July, David Best purchased a 20-year old woman named Ann Eliza Combash from Joseph Thomas for $250. Best then sold Ann Eliza and Elias W. Combash to John Linn for $660. Each of the three contracts included limitations on the length of service. John N. was to serve until 1866. Ann Eliza's term was until the first day of February 1868. Elias was to serve until 1872. Whatever David Best and John Linn's intentions were in setting term limits for the Combash children, Maryland voters made them irrelevant when they approved a new state constitution that ended slavery on November 1, 1864.
Last updated: September 23, 2020