North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Dr. Joseph H. Ward

Lisa Y. Henderson:

Pretty excited about this:

Originally posted on Wilson County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Blog:

Lisa Henderson programOn Tuesday October 28 a local genealogy phenom (although she is now a lawyer in Atlanta) will present her findings on Dr. Joseph H. Ward, an African American doctor who was born in Wilson in 1870.   Although he began his life in Wilson, a place that at the time had few prospects for an African Americans, by the 1890’s he was in Indianapolis practicing medicine as a licensed physician.  Come and listen to Lisa tell how she untangled the complicated history of his life and family.

In the mean time get absorbed in her brilliant blog about the history and genealogy of the free and enslaved persons of color in North Carolina, Scuffalong: Genealogy

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Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Adam’s daughters reconnect.

I spoke by phone almost two hours yesterday with D.J., who reached out to me via Scuffalong. I started this blog for several reasons, an important one being the hope that others interested in the families I’m researching would find useful information and would reach out to collaborate. In just over a year, I’ve connected to several such people and, in addition to sharing my research, have gained access to invaluable leads and angles that I’d never considered. I was particularly happy to “meet” D.J. though, because she is also a cousin. We are descended to the same degree from two of Adam T. Artis‘ daughters — Louvicey and Lillie Beatrice — making us fourth cousins.

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Civil War, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Oath of allegiance.

Though he was of prime soldiering age, I have found no evidence that James Lee Nicholson, father of my great-great-grandmother Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart, ever enlisted or fought in the Civil War. He married in 1861, a few weeks after North Carolina seceded, and his wife Martha “Mattie” Colvert Nicholson gave birth to their first son in 1864. Otherwise, I have no idea how he spent the war years. Today, however, I found an oath he signed a couple of months after the Surrender, promising to abide by all laws made concerning the emancipation of slaves, i.e. those related to the newly won freedom of his four year-old daughter and her mother:

JL Nicholson oath

 

 

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Births Deaths Marriages, Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina

Collateral kin: the Hamptons.

On 30 Jan 1905, in Statesville, North Carolina, my great-great-grandfather John W. Colvert married Adeline Hampton.  The marriage was performed by J.H. Pressley, the same Presbyterian minister who would marry John’s son Lon and Caroline McNeely a year later.  John and Adeline had had four daughters together. Selma Eugenia, Ida Mae, Lillie Mae and Henrietta were born between 1889 and 1893, and I don’t know what kept John and Addie from marrying for so long — or finally induced them to tie the knot. Separate or apart, I’ve found none in the 1900 census.

Addie’s whole family, in fact, is elusive in enumeration records. Her marriage license and death certificate reveal that she was born about 1864 in Wilkes County, North Carolina — northwest of Iredell — to Horace and Myra Hampton. (Other death certificates report Myra’s maiden name as Russell.) In the 1880 census of Wilkes, Addie appears in Wilkesboro township with her parents, younger siblings Vance, Josephine and Henry, and nephews and niece Arthur, Horace and Emma Hampton. Ten years earlier, however, in the 1870 census, Horace and Myra cannot be found, and Addie seems to be living in a household headed by much older siblings.

The 1890 census has perished, but Horace Hampton, “the veteran bridge keeper,” appears in a brief congratulatory article in the Wilkesboro Chronicle on the prosperity and good behavior of the county’s colored people.

Wilkseboro_Chronicle_1_14_1891_Horace_Hampton

Wilkesboro Chronicle, 14 January 1891.

Unfortunately, the family’s next mention is an obituary for Myra Hampton, which reveals a surprising number of siblings for Addie. Most of the children were adults before Emancipation, thus do not appear in census records with their parents. Also, though Myra’s age is given as “about 80,” the 1880 census suggests that she was closer to 70 at the time of her death.

Wilkesboro_Chronicle_1_3_1900_Myra_Hampton

Wilkesboro Chronicle, 3 January 1900.

Just over a year later, the Chronicle mocked Horace Hampton’s efforts to reclaim his position as bridge tender on the Yadkin River.

Wilkesboro_Chronicle_4_3_1901_H_Hampton_bridge

Wilkesboro Chronicle, 3 April 1901.

In June 1905, less than six months after his next-to-youngest daughter finally married the father of her children, Horace Hampton passed away.

Wilkesboro_Chronicle_6_14_1905_H_Hampton

Wilkesboro Chronicle, 14 June 1905.

 Adeline “Addie” Hampton Colvert outlived her husband by almost 20 years. She is buried next to him in Green Street cemetery in Statesville.

Adeline H Colvert death cert

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Letters, Maternal Kin, Migration, North Carolina

The notebook in the shed.

The notebook in the shed yielded a number of treasures, some bittersweet.

I found a copy of a letter from my great-aunt Julia Allen Maclin, postmarked 11 May 1982, and another from my aunt, Marion Allen Christian, dated 14 August 1982, that push the date of my earliest genealogical inquiries back three years earlier than I remember. I knew I’d written to Aunt Julia early, but thought for some reason that it had been in the mid-’80s, when I was living in Massachusetts and researching in earnest. Though she opened the letter with a disclaimer — “I don’t think I can be of much help in tracing geneology of the Allen-Holmes family” — she in fact laid the groundwork, revealing her grandparents’ names (except her mother’s mother’s, which she did not recall) and telling me what she knew of her parents’ siblings. “All of my father’s and mother’s family are dead,” she concluded. My aunt followed up with a trip to Charles City County that shed a little more light. A few years later, I made copies of photos from Aunt Julia’s albums — her parents, her siblings as children, even a portrait of Joseph R. Holmes. (Which I unwisely gave to Eric Foner to use in Freedom’s Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction just before I left graduate school in 1991. He misplaced it before the book was even published, and my cousin has not been able to find the original in what remains of Aunt Julia’s scrapbooks.)

There is also a letter from Ardeanur S. Hart, dated 16 October 1985 — almost exactly 29 years ago. I have no recollection of having written to or heard from her, which makes her note all the more poignant:

“Dear Lisa, It was a surprise, but pleasant one, to have a letter from you. I am sure you know I don’t remember you, were you there when the reunion was in Virginia?” (In 1982. I was not there; we had never met.)

“I will do the best I can to give you the names of the folk I know that live here, thier schools, Jobs etc. I don’t know, so I can only tell you thier names.” (Is this really what I asked her about?!? Did I squander an opportunity to go back in time for information about people still living? What could she have told me about Henry and Martha McNeely?)

“I hope this helps a little I can’t help more, please give my love to your mother & father. I hope I will be able to go to the reunion, if I keep well, I am 83 yr old now, and folk don’t care to be bothered with folk my age –” (Oh, Ardeanur. What I wouldn’t do to be able to bother now.)

” — but I am still singing and enjoying it, in my church chior, and in a choral group of senior’s. Sat Oct 19th I will do solo work at the ‘Hyet Regency’ downtown for the Columbus City widows which I am looking forward to.” (Wonderful!)

“I shall be looking forward to seeing you someday. Meantime write again some time, continue your studies, and take care of your self.” (Did I? Did I write again? And when I saw her the following summer, did I do anything besides take a photo?)

And then, after listing the Ohio McNeelys — basically descendants of her aunt Janie McNeely Taylor Manley — “I am Ardeanur Smith Hart. Daughter of Addie McNeely Smith husband (deceased) no children senior citizen. Alone.” (Emphasis hers. Oh, Ardeanur.)

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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Name of your spouse, if any.

The new tenant wants access to the shed, so I trudged over to clean it out this morning. On the floor, behind a bicycle and some galvanized pails, I found two dusty three-ring binders. The papers in them were beginning to yellow and were foxing on the outer leaves, but basically in good shape. One contained notes and articles related to my graduate thesis — fodder for http://www.ncfpc.net — and the other contained copies of some of my earliest genealogical research, stuff I’d long thought lost.

Among other things, there was a stack of the questionnaires distributed at the 1986 Colvert-McNeely family reunion in Statesville. That was the reunion at which I snapped this photo of Cousin Ardeanur S. Hart. Had she …?

Ha! Yes, she had:

IMG_5141 copy

And just like that, her husband’s name — Frank W. Hart.

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