Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents, Politics, Rights

So that we may know their strength.

In 1868, Francis E. Shober was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-first United States Congress from North Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District. However, the election was contested by his Republican opponent, Nathaniel Boyden, who accused Democrats of placing ballot boxes at the polls that were not clearly marked; of intimidating and threatening Republican voters; and circulating a race-baiting forged document –  purporting to come from the chairman of the National Republican Executive Committee – designed to discourage freedmen from voting for Boyden: If we can elect Grant we will not need the negro vote again, and we can assure you our next Congress will inaugurate a system of colonization that will remove the negro from your midst. … By all means, get the negroes to register and enroll, so that we may know their strength.

House and Senate reports are the designated class of publications by which congressional committees formally report and make recommendations to the Senate or House concerning, among other things, their investigative or oversight activities.  These reports are publicly distributed as part of the official U.S. Serial Set record of each Congress. Documents related to Boyden v. Shober appear in the 41st Congressional Serial Set. Among several others, Ransom Miller gave testimony in the matter in Salisbury, North Carolina:

Ransom Miller testimony

In April 1870, the House of Representatives investing the matter eported that although there was probably some minor intimidation and fraud, there was not enough to change the results of the election. Shober was seated and re-elected in 1870.

Adapted in part from http://ncpedia.org/biography/shober-francis-edwin

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Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs, Religion

Roadtrip chronicles, no. 6: Western Rowan County churches.

In Church Home, no. 9, I wrote about Back Creek Presbyterian, the church that my great-great-great-great-grandfather Samuel McNeely helped found and lead. I wanted to see this lovely edifice, erected in 1857, for myself:

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And I wanted to walk its cemetery. I didn’t expect to see the graves of any of its many enslaved church members there, but thought I might find Samuel McNeely or his son John W. Dozens of McNeelys lie here, many John’s close kin and contemporaries, but I did not find markers for him or his father. (I later checked a Back Creek cemetery census at the Iredell County library. They are not listed.)

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Within a few miles of Back Creek stands its mother church, Thyatira Presbyterian. This lovely building was built 1858-1860, but the church dates to as early as 1747. There are McNeelys in Thyatira’s cemetery, too, and this is the church Samuel originally attended.

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Just up White Road from Thyatira is Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. I visited its cemetery in December 2013 and took photos of the the graves of descendants of Joseph Archy McNeely (my great-great-grandfather Henry McNeely‘s nephew), Mary Caroline McConnaughey Miller and John B. McConnaughey (siblings of Henry’s wife, my great-great-grandmother Martha Miller McNeely.) Green Miller and Ransom Miller’s lands were in the vicinity of this church.

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Photos taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2015.

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Enslaved People, Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Roadtrip chronicles, no. 4: Rowan County deeds.

My notes from an hour or so spent poking around the Rowan County Register of Deeds’ office:

  • No deeds filed by my Henry W. McNeely.
  • Julius McNeely bought his one and only parcel of land — the one his half-brother Henry’s children inherited — for $20 on 5 January 1876 from J.M. and H.E. Goodman.
  • In 1869, John W. McNeely applied for a homestead exemption. The application, filed at Deed Book 44, page 247, attached descriptions of his real and personal property. His real property consisted one tract of land bordered by Joshua Miller on the north, Frederick Menius on the east, “Dr. Luckey” and Ephraim Overcash on the south, and Jacob Shuliberinger and Mrs. Malissa Pool on the west, containing 235 acres and valued at $940.
  • On 7 January 1880, Ransom Miller, husband of Mary Ann McConnaughey, paid $900 to John S. Henderson, trustee for the estate of Archibald Henderson and Jane C. Boyden, for 135 acres. The land’s bounds lay on the north side of Sills Creek and touched on the Buffalo Big Road, crossed Second Creek and followed its meander to the intersection of Back Creek. On 1 December 1883, Ransom paid G.W. and C.C. Corriher $600 for 40 1/2 acres west of Neely’s Mill Road.
  • On 18 September 1889, Green E. Miller, husband of Grace Adeline Miller, paid $220 to John S. Henderson, trustee for the estate of Archibald Henderson and Jane C. Boyden, for about 22 acres. [Archibald Henderson Jr. and Jane C. Henderson Boyden were children of Salisbury lawyer Archibald Henderson. John Steele Henderson was Archibald Jr.’s son.] The plot description: “beginning at a stone in a field, South of where the said Green Miller now lives” running at one corner to a stake or stone in Ransom Miller’s line. The land was part of the Foster tract on the east side of Sill’s Creek and the west side of the Neely’s Mill Road, but not immediately adjoining either. Green had contracted to buy the property on 30 November 1886.
  • Oddly, on 28 May 1897, Green Miller and John Henderson sold 10 acres of the above tract to “Grace Adeline Miller, wife of Green Miller” for $100. [What was this about? Records seem to indicate that Adeline and Green remained married until her death in 1918. Why did he partition the land? And, why, if Green had purchased the full tract in 1889, was John Henderson listed as a grantor?]

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This section of the Cleveland, North Carolina, USGS quadrangle topographical map helps narrow the location of Ransom, Green and Adeline Miller’s properties in Steele township, Rowan County. (1) is the point at which (2) Second Creek branches into Back Creek and Sills Creek. That Ransom and Green’s lands adjoined supports a conclusion that Ransom was, in fact, the man referred to in the letter published in local newspapers about a damaging hailstorm in the area. The road running north-south is today called White Road. (3) marks the location of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, attended to this day by descendants of Adeline’s daughter Mary Caroline Miller Brown, her brother John B. McConnaughey and cousins of Martha Miller McNeely‘s husband Henry W. McNeely.

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Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Speechless.

My head is spinning. I’m watching a documentary on PBA, Klansville USA. The film focuses briefly on a 1965 Klan march in Salisbury, North Carolina. A commentator appears on screen, a black man who was a police officer at the timePrice Brown Jr. I have never met him, or his mother or father or siblings or children, but I recognize the name immediately. He is my third cousin, once removed, the great-great-grandson of my matrilineal ancestor, Margaret McConnaughey.

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

Double jeopardy.

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

A sufferer by the hailstorm.

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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.

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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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Education, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Colored children of school age.

 

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Thirty-five years after Emancipation, the Miller-McConnaughey and McNeely families were still clustered in western Rowan County, working small farms that they owned or rented. Education was a prized advantage, and many children in the neighborhood completed at least a few years.  This school census, taken in 1900, lists all school-aged children in a household, though there is no way to tell if the children actually attended.

The six youngest children of Ransom and Mary Ann McConnaughey Miller are listed: Florence A., Ida L., Margaret Lina, Spencer Lee, Hattie A., and Thomas Eddie Miller.

Green and Grace Adeline Miller Miller‘s household included Walter, 10, and Bertha, 7. Both children were listed as the couple’s grandchildren in the 1900 census. Bertha Todd was the daughter of Green and Adeline’s daughter Margaret Miller and Alfred Todd. I don’t know who Walter Kerr’s parents were, but it seems likely that his mother was either Margaret or Mary Caroline Miller.

George Miller, by then in his mid-60s, is listed with a 13 year-old boy named Ernest. This appears to be the Earnest Hilliard listed in his household in the 1900 census and described as a grandson. Was he Maria Miller’s son?

Finally, Arch McNeely, nephew of Martha Miller McNeely‘s husband Henry W. McNeely, is listed with four of his children, Ann J., Callie, Julius L.A., and Mary E. McNeely.

Copy of document from School Records, Rowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

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