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

Double jeopardy.

Salisbury_Truth_4_23_1896_Cas_Brown_throat_slit

Salisbury Truth, 23 April 1896.

I can’t say for absolute certain, but I am pretty sure that the lucky man was William Caswell “Cas” Brown (1871-1934), husband of Mary Caroline Miller, both of Steele township, Rowan County, North Carolina. If so, the couple married two days after Hint Chambers succumbed and the day before this blurb was published.

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Enslaved People, Other Documents

Recommended, no. 2.

Eric Foner’s Gateway to Freedom.

Actually, I don’t recommend this book. The New York Times does. I haven’t read it yet. But I will because (1) Eric Foner admitted me to the graduate program in history at Columbia (and I’ve forgiven him for losing my only copy of Joseph R. Holmes’ photograph), and (2) in the 1930s, Ardeanur Hart worked for a descendant of Sidney Howard Gay at the family’s Staten Island house, formerly an Underground Railroad station.

 

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Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 3. Strong Woman.

I’ve been working on my Book of Negroes post, digging in my Family Tree Maker files and through scanned documents, cross-referencing and making notes. At the top of the list of enslaved ancestors is Juda, a woman named in the 1819 will of Elizabeth Kilpatrick of Rowan County, North Carolina. Kilpatrick left her “negro boy Dave” to her son Robert Kilpatrick, her “negro girl named Lucinda” to her daughter Mary Kilpatrick, and directed that her executors sell her “negro woman Juda and all her children (not disposed of).” There are gut-punches all through this document — Lucinda was my great-great-great-grandmother — but that last one always tears me all to pieces. Put it all together, and you see that Kilpatrick owned one family of slaves — Juda and her children — and she directed that that family be ripped apart upon her death.

Elizabeth Kilpatrick’s will was devastating enough. And then I found her 1829 estate records. There, in faded script is the last sighting of Juda and her not-disposed-of children, Matthew, John, and Kezy. It’s damnably hard to read, but if you peer closely: Negroes Juda $50 Matthew $425 John $2[illegible]0. And below, a notation: Kezy Unsound Not sold by consent of Heirs Remains in the hands of [illegible]. (Another note in the file records a change of heart — on 20 October 1830, Kezy was, in fact, sold for $74.75.) I don’t know how old Juda was when she was sold away from her children in 1829, nor Matthew, John, Kezy, or Dave, but Lucinda was about 13.

And, so, without the need to explain further, the “strong woman” to whom I dedicate this edition of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is my great-great-great-great-grandmother Juda.

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 Estate of Elizabeth Kilpatrick (1829), North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org

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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Such estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life.

In the name of God Amen, I John van Pool in the State of North Carolina, and County of Rowan, being perfect in mind and memory, calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say principally and first I give and recommend my soul into the hand of almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial, nothing doubting but at the general ressurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God. And as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

1st, I give and bequeth to my son-in-law Samuel McNeely my waggon and hind geers.

2nd, What household furniture I did not sell, I give and bequeth to my Daughters Nancy and Margaret.

3rd, I give an bequeth to my grand Daughter Eliza Pool fifty dollars if she lives to come of age. If not, it will be Equally Divided among my own children.

4th, I give to my grand Children Margaret T. Pool and Elihu N. Pool sixty dollars.

5th, I give to my well beloved son David Pool forty dollars.

6th, I give to my well beloved son Jacob Pool fifty dollars

7th, I give to my Daughter Margaret fifty dollars.

And the remainder of my Money to my other three children Nancy, John, and Maria to be equally divided amongst them.

I likewise constitute, make, and ordain Samuel McNeely Executor of this my last will and testament, and I do hereby disalow, revoke, and disanul all and every other testaments, Wills, Legacies, requests, and Executors by me in any wise

Willed, bequeathed, ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament in Witness whereto I have there unto set my hand and seal this 13th day of October in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight hundred and Twenty-Five.

John X Van Pool

Test. John McNeely Sen’r

Test. John McNeely Jun’r

Wm B. McNeely

Recorded at August Sessions, 1827, in Will Book H, page 401, Rowan County, North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970, familysearch.org.

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My great-great-great-grandfather John W. McNeely was the son of Samuel McNeely and Nancy Van Pool McNeely. Nancy Van Pool’s parents were John Van Pool, above, and Elizabeth (perhaps Peyser). John Van Pool was the son of Jacob Van Pool, a native of Cecil County, Maryland, and Elizabeth Hampton, who married in Rowan County in 1752. (This is all sort of accepted wisdom. I have not done any original Van Pool-Hampton research. And, sadly, my Van Pool matches were purged with the “new and improved” version of Ancestry DNA.)

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Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Requiem for Peter and Flora.

Working on my DNA Definites Neill piece sparked an idea for a running post. Sort of my own Book of Negroes. A list of (1) enslaved family members and (2) the enslaved people owned by my family members. I thought briefly about who might make the list, then relegated the idea to “to do.” And then last night —

Well, Illbedamn.

I ran an idle Google search for “Iredell County slavery.” At the top of the third page of results, I ran up on this: a bill of sale for two slaves, Peter, aged 22, and Flora, aged 12, sold by my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather James Nicholson to Robert S. Gray on 15 October 1829.

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Lot 387. Yes. This document was included in a list of items in an on-line estate auction conducted November 16, 2014. I am two months too late. The bill of sale sold. And probably for more than Robert Gray paid for Peter and Flora.

And so I got up this morning and started my Book of Negroes. The format is eluding me, but I’m compiling the entries. The ancestors have called, and I’m answering.

Image posted by Butterscotch Auction Gallery, Bedford, New York, liveauctioneers.com.

 

 

 

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Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

He was rejoicing at the opportunity.

The sixth in an occasional series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908.

Defendant introduces JONAH WILLIAMS:

I have had a conversation about this land. All I know is what Hagans and Tom told me. The first talk was with Napoleon Hagans. (Defendant objects.) Best I remember I went to him to borrow some money to open my brick yard in the Spring. He referred to this deal and some other deal. Tom wanted to take up some papers, and had done so, and I remarked to Hagans how much better off than he was before. He said he was rejoicing at the opportunity. He promised to give 800 lb. of cotton until he could work a advance to him. He said if Tom did that he would never disturb him his life time. I asked Hagans to have it in a written contract, that his heirs might dissent from it. He replied that 800 lb. was a good interest on his money, and his heirs would probably be satisfied. I had a conversation with Tom. I saw him two or three weeks after that. (Plaintiff objects.) I spoke to him about Hagans taking up the Exum paper. He told me Hagans had ***** to take that up. Hagans had given him a chance to pay the debt off. Whenever he paid anything on the principle, he would not have to pay the 800 lb., but simply a lawful interest on the money. I advised Tom to do his best and pay some in on his principal.

CROSS EXAMINED.

He said that he had taken up the mortgage; had it transferred. He said Claim, I might have said mortgage. I don’t say ‘Pole Hagans told me all his business, but I knew about as much as anybody. Said he was going to let him, (Tom) pay 800 lb. of cotton until he could pay the principle. Mortgage given in 1881 to Mrs. Exum. This conversation about 12 or maybe 14 years ago. Don’t know whether it was as late as 1890. Began brick business in 1893. I can’t tell whether it was in 1880 or ’90. ‘Pole Hagans died about two or three years before this took place.  Tom married my sister. He is not a member of my church. I turned him out. He is a Primitive Baptist. I preached Napoleon Hagans’ funeral.

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Elder Jonah Williams was a brother of my great-great-great-grandfather, Adam T. Artis. Adam Artis married Napoleon Hagans‘ half-sister Frances Seaberry. Tom Artis married Jonah and Adam’s sister Loumiza Artis.

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Enslaved People, Virginia

Recommended, no. 1.

“The Old South, like any other long-vanished society, is distant from us, and strange. The more we learn about it, the more we realize we do not know. If the story of free Afro-Virginians in Prince Edward County teaches us anything, it is the danger of making assumptions about that past and its people based on what we see around us today, or on what we think we know about the history of other periods, or on the hubristic notion that our own society is superior to theirs in every conceivable way.”

At 619 pages, this is not light reading. But may I strongly recommend to anyone with the least interest in 19th century, southern, or African-American history Melvin Patrick Ely’s Israel on the Appomattox: A Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s through the Civil War. It’s a richly detailed, scrupulously documented, compellingly limned history of Israel Hill, a community of freed slaves in southern Virginia.

 

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DNA, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

DNA Definites, no. 18: Neill.

As I moaned about in November, I lost most of my deep DNA matches when Ancestry rolled out its “new and improved” test analyses, mostly in lines that branch above my great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Allison Nicholson. Imagine my joy, then, when I recently noticed two new matches whose family trees indicated descent from James and Agnes Ann Falls Snoddy Neill of Iredell County, North Carolina. James and Agnes’ daughter Elizabeth Neill married Theophilus Allison (1754-1805) and gave birth to Mary Allison (1792-1857). Mary Allison Nicholson was Thomas A. Nicholson’s mother.

The first match, T.S., is their great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson. I contacted L.P., who administers T.S.’ account, and learned that he is her maternal uncle and is a cousin of J.W., my other Neill/Falls match. T.S. is my fifth cousin, three times removed. L.P. and J.W. are my sixth cousins, twice removed.

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State of North Carolina, Iredell County

In the name of God Amen,

I James Neill of Said County being in a sick & low condition but thanks be unto God being at this time in perfect mind & memory do make this my last will & Testament. & first I recommend my [obscured] unto God who gave it me & my body I recommend to the Dust to be buried at the discretion of my Exr. In a Christian & decent manner. & as touching my worldly Substance that I am now possessed of I give & bequeath as followeth (viz)

After all my lawfull debts is paid I leave unto my daughter Sarah ten shillings

& unto my Daughter Hannah I leave ten shillings also

& unto my son Wm. I leave & bequeath the land he lives on

& unto James Holmes my son in law & Each of the bodily Heirs of my daughter Mary now deceased I leave to each five shillings

And unto my son Archibald I leave ten Shillings

And unto my son James I leave & bequeath the plantation he now lives on being a part of the Tract of land my son Wm. now lives on

& unto my daugter Elizabeth I give ten Shillings

& unto my son Robert I give & bequeath the land I now live on includeing my new entry Joining my ould Samuel Neills, Andrew Ramseys, & James Patterson, lands together with the residue of my Personal Estate Except what I give & bequeath unto my beloved Wife which is as follows (viz) I leave unto her a mare called Short her saddle & bridle her bead & furniture a third of my houshold furniture a third of my Dwelling house if necissary for her accommodation the above movable property to be at her disposal at her death Together with a good & honourable maintainance to be given her by my said son Robert during her natural life Also I leave unto her my negro wench Luce & the one half of my cattle to be eaquel in value with my son Roberts half the whole of which is to be at her disposal at her death.

And Lastly I do hereby constitute & appoint my beloved Wife & my son Robert to be the Executors of this my last will And Testament And I do in the presence of the subscribeing Witnesses publishing & Decclareing this & no other to be my last Will & Testament In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & Seal this 22d Day of June 1793

/s/ James Kerr, John Falls Jurat     James X Neill {seal}

Will of James Neill, Will Book 1, page 154. Iredell County, North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970, familysearch.org.

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August 23rd, 1793 Iredell County State of North Carolina. In the name of God Amen I Agness Neill of the State & County aforesaid being in a Sick & poure State of health but being Sound in mind & Memory I do will & Bequeath to my son Andrew Snoddy, one feather bead the one I have for my own use with all the furniture belonging to the same also three Puter Dishes Six plates Six Basons five porringers one large Metal pots one small Do. Item I Bequeath to my Daughter Elizabeth Alison, Wife of Theophilus Alison, my Chest & all my body Cloas, also the mare willed to me at my Husbands death, Mare named Short, also Six Head of Sheep I do Give & bequeath to my son James Neill, one Cow & Calf, & one year old heifer, also my Table & four Chares & one Smothing Iron, Also I do bequeath to my son Robert Neill the Loom & What tacklings there is belonging to the Sd. Loom & one Smoothing Iron Item I Do leave & Bequeath to my grand Daughter Agness Alison, Daughter of Theophilus & Elizabeth Alison one feather Bead, & all the furniture belonging to the same as known by The white cotton tick with one Copper Tea Cittle.

I do also leave to my grand Daughter Agness Neill, Daughter to my son Robert & Margaret Neill, one feather bed, & furniture it is a striped Tick the remainder of my Stock to be Sold & Eaquell Divided among my three sons & Daughter Andrew Snoddy Jas. & Robt. Neill & Elizabeth Alison. I Do request them to give me a decent Buring to be paid out of that part of the Stock which to be Sold. I do also give & bequeath to my son Andrew Snoddy Six yards of thick cloth which I now have.

I make this my last will & Testament & do my son in law Theophilus Alison to be my Executor in Witness whereof I have set my hand & Seal this 23rd Day of August A.D. 1793 Test

Thomas Allison Junior, Samuel Wilson Jurat   Agness X Neill {seal}

Will of Agness Neill, Will Book 1, page 153. Iredell County, North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970, familysearch.org.

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In the name of God Amen, Theophilus Allison of the County of Iredell in the State of North Carolina being very sick and weak in body But of Perfect mind and Memory thanks be unto God calling unto the mortality of My Body and Knowing it is appointed for all men all to die do make and ordain this my last will and Testament that is to say Principally and first of all I give and command my Soul into the hand of almighty God that give it and my Body I recommend to the Earth to be Buryed in decent Christian Burial at the discretion of my Executors and as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form first I give and bequeath to my dearly Beloved wife my Negro Woman named Soose and her child Esther my mare named Short and saddle and Bridle her Bed and furniture and all the dresser Furniture and Six head of Cattle of her own picking also six sheep of her own Choosing the one half of the Kitchen Furniture to be hers and hers for ever also I give to my well beloved Daughter Nancy Allison Peggy Allison Mary Allison Elizabeth Allison and Daely Simonton Allison and my well beloved Jefferson Theophilus Allison an Equal divide of the remainder of my property (Excepting my Land) to be given to them as Mary Becomes of age the plantation I now live on I allow my Executors to dispose of at any time if they think Best Before my son Jefferson Theophilus Allison come of age and make Good Titles and the price thereof to be my sons Jefferson Theophilus Also my Tennessee Land I allow to be equally divided among my wife and children I allow for the support of the family & use of the place my sorrel Mare called Magay and her year old filly and the horse called Tobby and wagon and four pair of Gears and all other Plantation Tolls & all the Hogs and as many of my cattle as my Executors shall Think necessary and the remainder of both Horses and Cattle to do to public sale. I also allow my Executors to keep upon the plantation the rest of my Negroes not willed but if they my Executors should at any time think Better to hire or sell one or more of my Negroes to do it and make good rights all other property not mentioned if needed for the use of the family to be kept, but if not needed to be sold and I do by these presents constitute appoint and ordain my trusty friends Elizabeth Allison my wife Richard Allison my brother and Joseph Kerr my brother in law Executors of this my last will and Testament and do by these presents revoke and disavow and disalow all other former Testaments will Legacies bequests and Executors by me in any wise before named willed or bequeathed, ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this the seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one Thousand Eight hundred and five signed seal published pronounced and declared in presents of us –

John Knox

Robert Knox       Jurat                 /s/ Theophilus Allison

Jherrod Stroud

Will of Theophilus Allison, Will Book 2, page 44. Iredell County, North Carolina Probate Records 1735-1970, familysearch.org.

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Agriculture, Land, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina

A sufferer by the hailstorm.

Carolina_Watchman_6_27_1889_hailstorm_ransom_miller

Carolina Watchman, 27 June 1889.

The Ransom Miller named above may not have been not “my” Ransom, but a white man. However, “Green Miller, col.” was definitely my great-great-grandmother Martha Miller McNeely‘s brother-in-law, husband of her sister Grace Adeline Miller Miller.

Two days earlier, a Winston-Salem newspaper had also posted an appeal for help for Rowan County’s devastated farmers.

WS_Progressive_Farmer_6_25_1889_appeal

Winston-Salem Progressive Farmer, 25 June 1889.

When it came down to it, however, despite having “lost nearly everything,” Green Miller somehow failed to benefit from the Wood Grove Alliance’s appeal.

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Carolina Watchman, 11 July 1889.

 

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Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2. King.

That’s this week’s thing — King. Whatever way you want to go with it. I thought I had a great Martin Luther King Jr. idea, but the photograph I thought I was going to build it on didn’t show what I remembered it showing. (That is, black folks’ Other Trinity — MLK, JFK and Jesus — mounted on my grandmother’s dining room wall. They were there, but outside the frame of the photo I wanted to use.) Another suggested King, Elvis, is not an option. The apocryphal “all Negroes can do for me is shine my shoes” story held sway in my family, and in consequence the man and his music play no role in any story I can tell. (Except the one in which my sister called her friend to tell him she’d heard Elvis had died. The girl gasped, hung up, then called back later to deliver a tearful thank you message from her father. We were mystified.)

I picked cousin Louella Henderson King instead. Said my grandmother, Hattie Henderson Ricks:

And I think Mama Sarah said that Molly was older than she was, but I reckon they was ‘long there together. Nancy was older than both of them, and A’nt Ella was the youngest one. She and Mama always were together, ‘cause they all played “sisters.” But Sarah was really Molly and Nancy and Ella’s niece. Their brother Lewis’ child.

Unfortunately, I have had few sure sightings of Louella “Ella” Henderson in the record. The first is the 1880 census of Faisons township, Duplin County, North Carolina: James Henderson, 62, wife Eliza, 38, and children Alexander, 21, John, 19, Nancy, 14, Julia, 8, Edward, 6, and Lewellen, 4. (My grandmother was not quite right.  Nancy was oldest, and Ella was youngest, but Julia, called “Molly,” and their niece Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver were about the same age.)

My grandmother recalled that Ella was married twice, and her first husband was a King. In the 1900 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, I found Adam King, day laborer, and wife Ella, cook, married 16 years and living on George Street.  There are a number of problems here though. This Ella was 34. Mine was ten years younger. Most critically, this couple’s marriage license (1) issued 29 August 1884, when my Ella was only 8 years old, and (2) it shows this Ella’s maiden name as Herring.

The same couple appeared in the 1910 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County.

On 22 April 1914, a woman named Ella King died of “exhaustion from acute mania” at the state hospital just Goldsboro. (This was a psychiatric facility reserved for African-Americans.) She was 34 years old, her parents were unknown, and she was buried in Forsyth County, North Carolina. I don’t think this is my Ella either. Her age is off by a few years, and there is no known reason for my Ella to have been buried half-way across the state near Winston-Salem.

Plus, on 27 Dec 1918, Lon Bryant applied for a marriage license for Patrick Diggs and Nancy Smith, both of Goldsboro.  One of the witnesses to the ceremony was Ella Wilson, also of Goldsboro NC.  Nancy Henderson Smith Diggs was the Nancy my grandmother spoke of, the elder sister of Ella.  I suspect that Ella Wilson is Ella Henderson King, remarried, but I have no evidence.

Perhaps: in the 1920 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, living on Smith Street were South Carolina-born Ed Wilson, 39, a supervisor in a box factory, and his wife Ella, 30, a washerwoman.  Is this the right Ella? I don’t think so. Her age is off, too.

And that’s it. That’s all I have. My grandmother told me that Ella left Goldsboro and moved to a city in the western part of the state. Gastonia, maybe? Bessemer City? She could not definitely recall. I’ve searched statewide for women who could have been my Ella. Though I have not found her, but she is not completely lost.

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