DNA, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

DNA Definites, no. 24: Nicholson.

Two more Nicholson matches at Ancestry DNA.

The first is with T.L. His ancestor Moses P. Nicholson migrated to Indiana in the 1830s, long before my great-great-grandmother Harriet Nicholson was born. T.L. has no other Iredell County lines, underscoring the unlikelihood that our match is through some other line.

Nich Hint

The second is R.H., who also matches T.L. R.H. is descended from a first-cousin marriage between grandchildren of both of John S. Nicholson‘s wives, as am I.

RHuey1

RHuey2

Unfortunately, Ancestry has a hard time interpreting matching trees that involve multiple spouses and fathers and sons with the same names, and these charts are not quite right.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Migration, North Carolina, Oral History, Other Documents, Photographs, Vocation

His name was Golar, and we called him “Doc.”

My grandmother:  He had a brother that was a barber. His name was Golar, and we called him “Doc.” Papa had him in there. Papa had a chair, and Doc had the second chair, and Walker had the third chair. 

Harvey Golar Tomlin was the only one of Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart‘s second set of children to see the twentieth century. Harriet and Abner Tomlin had as many as six children together, but I only know the names of three — Milas, Lena and Harvey Golar.

After Ab’s death about 1899, and perhaps Lena’s around that time, too, Harriet packed up her youngest son and took him to Charlotte, where they are found in the 1900 census living at 611 East Stonewall with Harriet’s half-brother William H. Nicholson. This photo may have been taken there:

NICHOLSON -- Doc Tomlin

They did not stay long. In 1902, Harriet gave birth to Bertha Mae Hart, whose father Alonzo she married in 1904. By 1910, Harvey Golar, called “Doc,” had left his mother and stepfather’s household and was living in the Wallacetown neighborhood of Statesville with his half-brother and family: Lon W. Colvert, a barber, wife Caroline, and children Mattie, Gola, Walker, Louise, and Margaret (my grandmother). He trained under Lon and went to work in his shop. In the photo below, which can be dated to 1917 by another taken at the same time and showing a calendar, Doc appears with Lon’s son Walker and a client.

COLVERT -- Barbershop 1

On 11 Jan 1917, H.G. Tomlin sold a parcel of land to L.W. Colvert and wife Carrie Colvert for $10.  In a deed filed at Iredell County Courthouse, the land was described as “Beginning at a stake at a post oak, Ramsour’s old corner, running North 88 W. 16 1/2 poles to a stake on road East of the track of the A.T. & O. R.R.; thence S. 8 W. 9 1/2 poles to a stake Pearson’s corner; thence S. 88 E. 16 1/2 poles to a stake; thence N. 8 E. 9 1/2 poles to the beginning, containing one acre more or less and being the identical lands conveyed by William Pearson and wife to Abb. Tomlin by deed, dated 19th day of June, 1891 and recorded in deed Book No. 17 at page 101 of the Records of Deeds of Iredell County.”  Doc apparently had inherited the property from his deceased father, though I’ve found no estate file.

Doc was possibly liquidating his assets as he pulled up stakes in Iredell County. Five months later, he registered for the World War I draft in Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky. (Middlesboro, Kentucky? What was the pull? The push?) Though he was prime age and had no infirmities, I have no evidence that he ever served in the military.

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In any case, Doc seems not to have stayed gone for long. On 7 September 1918, Harvey Golar Tomlin applied for a marriage license for himself, of Iredell County, age 24, colored, son of Ab Tomlin (dead) and Hattie Hart (living), and Flossie M. Stockton of Iredell County, age 24, colored, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Stockton, both dead.  L.W. Colvert witnessed the application, and W.O. Carrington, minister of the A.M.E. Zion Church, married the parties on 8 September 1918 before L.W. Colvert, N.S. Allison, and Eugene Stockton.  (Flossie was the sister of Dillard and Eugene Stockton, both of whom married Lon Colvert’s half-sister Ida Mae Colvert.)

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The couple’s only child, Annie Lavaughn Tomlin, was born 9 August 1919 in Statesville. At least part of that year, however, Doc was in Louisville, Kentucky, as shown in the city’s 1919 directory:

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The 1920 census shows the family in the north Statesville suburbs: Jessie Stockton, age 28; his sister Flossie Tomlin, age 25, a public school teacher; niece Anna L. Tomlin, 4 month; and brother-in-law Havey Tomlin, age 26, barber. Doc’s last-place listing in the household is telling. Was he really there? Or tacked on as an afterthought because, after all, he was Flossie’s husband?

There are clues. Both Flossie and Doc were enumerated twice in the 1920 census. On Garfield Street in Statesville, public schoolteacher Flossie Tomlin and her daughter Annie L. appear in the household of Flossie’s brother Eugene Stockton, his sister-in-law (technically, but in reality his common law wife) Ida M., and their four children. The enumerator recorded this household in January 6, 1920. Seven or eight days later, however, 200 miles away in Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky, another censustaker recorded 26 year-old North Carolina-born barber Harvie Tomlin as a roomer in the household of barbershop manager Alex R. Simpson and his wife, Lina. Then on March 3, Flossie and Annie were recorded in Jesse’s house, above. I’d bet money that Doc was actually in Kentucky.

I don’t know where Doc spent the 1920s, but it was more likely that he drifted around the Appalachian Plateau than returned to Statesville. There are glimpses.

For example, in the 1925 Dayton, Ohio, city directory:

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And then the 1926 Portsmouth, Ohio, city directory:

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Doc did not stay long at the Play House. On 19 May 1927, the barbershop ran an ad in an announcement of the grand re-opening of the Play House building and its businesses. Harvey G. Tomlin is not among the barbers listed:

Portsmouth_Daily_Times_Thu__May_19__1927_

The 1930 census found barber Harvey Tomlin in Carnegie, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, living at 205 Broadway in the household of Sabry Goldsmith, a 35 year-old Florida-born barbershop proprietor. He was described as single.

Perhaps he was.

The 1932 city directory of Cincinnati, Ohio, shows Doc living in a boarding house on Wade Street:

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However, on 6 July 1933, in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky, Harvy G. Tomlin, 40, colored, divorced, born in North Carolina to Ab and Harriett Tomlin and a resident of “Cin. O.” married Lena R. Simpson, 49, colored, widowed, born in Kentucky to John and Elizabeth [no last name reported]. Thomas Hanly, J.P., performed the ceremony before Helen Peddiford and Helen Byers. The couple had applied for the license in neighboring Kenyon County, Kentucky. Lena Simpson, you may recall, was married to Doc’s employer and landlord at the time of the 1920 census.

The 1936 Cincinnati city directory shows Doc living in a house, presumably having found SROs unsuitable to married life:

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In the 1940 census of Cincinnati, Hamilton township, in a rented two-family house at 943 Monastery Road, the census taker encountered Harvey G. Tomlin, 48, and Lena R. Tomlin, 58. Harvey apparently had put down his barbering tools and worked as a butler for a private family. The couple are erroneously described as white, and their birthplaces are reversed. (Harvey’s is listed as Kentucky; Lena’s, as North Carolina.)

Two years later, despite a negligible chance of being called up, Harvey Golar Tomlin registered for the World War II draft in Cincinnati.

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The back of the card noted that he was 5’4″ tall and weighed 198 pounds and that he had brown eyes, black hair and dark skin.

The following year, Doc returned to Statesville to obtain a so-called delayed birth certificate. It was filed on 31 July 1943, showing that Harvey Golar Tomlin was born 12 May 1894 in Statesville, that his birth was attended by Dr. Long, and that his parents were Abb Tomlin, colored, born 1852 in Iredell County, and Harriet Nicholson, colored, born 1862 in Iredell County NC.

I lose sight of Doc for more than a decade until the Statesville Record & Landmark posted a brief article on 8 June 1955 mentioning that Bertha Hart Murdock had left half-interests in a lot to her brother “Harry” G. Tomlin and niece LaVaughn Schuyler.

Lena Tomlin died 17 July 1959 in Cincinnati. Doc did not grieve long for he was back in Statesville getting married six months later. In another small-world, keep-it-in-the-family moment, Doc’s third wife, Mary Bell Frink, was the widow of William Luther McNeely, whose sister Caroline married Doc’s brother Lon Colvert.

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It was a short-lived union. On 8 May 1961, Harvey G. Tomlin, son of Abbe Tomlin and Harriet last-name-unknown, died in Statesville of coronary thrombosis. He had been living at 229 Garfield Street (Ida Colvert Stockton lived at 214 Garfield) and working as a butler.

I’ve been able to find very little about Doc’s only child. Social Security records indicate that Lavaughn Tomlin married a Scruggs in about 1943 and a Schuyler about 1953. She lived in Jamestown, New York, in the 1940s and died 30 May 1997 in Salisbury, North Carolina. An abstract of her death certificate reveals that she had worked as a registered nurse. She was my grandmother’s first cousin. Did she know her at all?

[Follow-up, 5 August 2015: I just found this snippet in which my grandmother mentions Doc being in the Midwest:

My grandmother: And he [her brother Walker Colvert] got a girl pregnant, and Papa sent him to Kentucky rather – so that he wouldn’t have to marry that girl.

Me: Really?

Grandma: Yes, he did.

Me: What did he do in Kentucky?

Grandma: He was a barber out there.

Me: Oh, okay.

Grandma: And I had, I had an uncle. Uncle – I don’t know if you’ve seen Doc or not. … Doc was out there. In Louisville. And he sent for Walker. And Papa sent him out there ….]

Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.

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Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs

What was.

Photographs from the Welch-Nicholson House and Mill Site National Register nomination file held at the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Raleigh. Many thanks to File Room Manager Chandrea Burch and National Register Coordinator Ann Swallow.

My great-great-grandmother Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart walked these rooms.

This, of course, is all gone now. Burned to the ground one night in the 1980s.

Photos and Plan Welch-Nicholson House_Page_1

Photos and Plan Welch-Nicholson House_Page_2

Photos and Plan Welch-Nicholson House_Page_3

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

William emerges.

As I discussed here, my great-great-grandmother Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart had two half-brothers named William. I discovered her mother’s son, William H. Nicholson, in the 1900 census. The newly widowed Harriet and her young son Golar — the only one of her Tomlin children to see the 20th century — were living in her brother’s household in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. With this information, I found William’s 1909 death certificate. Harriet was the informant, and she listed his parents as Burwell Carson and Lucinda Nicholson. Other than a few city directory listings, this was the only documentation of William that I had until last night, when I found this:

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It’s hard to read, but it’s a Mecklenburg County marriage license for William H. Nicholson. On 3 April 1884, he married 38 year-old Lizzie King of Charlotte.

… William had a wife?

I went back to the 1900 census and examined it more closely. At 611 East Stonewall, William “Nickolson,” age 51, plasterer; Harriet Tomlin, 38, his sister; and Golda, 6, his niece. (Actually, his nephew.) Harriet was described as a widow, with only one child of ten living. (This is not quite right either, as her oldest child Lon was also alive, but 80% mortality versus 90% is meaningless.) William, in fact, is described as married, but there is no wife in the household. Where was Lizzie Nicholson?

I searched further. More city directories have been digitized since last I looked, and I quickly found several entries from the latter half of the first decade of the 1900s. Here’s one:

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 9.25.48 PMWalsh’s City Directory for Charlotte, North Carolina, 1907.

If there had been a rough patch around 1900, it was smoothed over within a few years. William’s 1909 death certificate describes him as married (though his sister came all the way from Statesville to provide information.) Lizzie died just a year later.

I went back further. I’d seen city directory listings for William Nicholson in Charlotte in 1890 and 1891, but last night I found a couple like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 9.32.50 PMA Directory of the City of Charlotte, North Carolina for 1896 and 1897.

Same occupation, same address, same wife. This appears to be William using his middle name, Henry. I found others: in 1889, Henry Nicholson, brickmason, and Lizzie Nicholson, cook at the Central Hotel, living at 611 East Stonewall. In 1897, Henry H. Nicholson, laborer, and Lizzie Nicholson at the Stonewall address. The entry below: Nicholson & Allen (c) [for “colored”] (Lizzie Nicholson & Richard Allen), proprs Northern Rest, 220 East Trade.  In 1904: Henry Nicholson (Isabella), plasterer, 611 E Stonewall.

A Newspaper.com turned up nothing on William Henry, but there were several notices published in late 1910 and early 1911 regarding Lizzie Nicholson’s estate, and a delinquent property tax listing in 1894 that reveals that she was the owner of the Stonewall address. Levine Museum of the New South’s People of 1911 Charlotte project depicts the Sanborn drawing of this one-story house on an unpaved street and lists its owner at that time as Montgomery Caesar. The Second Ward street is no longer residential, and 611 is just a block from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. East Boundary Street, William and Lizzie’s other address, is gone. And 220 East Trade is now the Epicentre.

When Northern Restaurant was, though, a small but confident ad:

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Charlotte Observer, 16 September 1896.

Then, less charitably:

Charlotte_Observer_3_14_1897_Northern_Rest

Charlotte Observer, March , 1897.

Charlotte_Observer_10_8_1897_Northern_Rest

Charlotte Observer, 8 October 1897.

So, to update what I know about Harriet’s brother:

William Henry Nicholson was born between 1842 and 1848 to Lucinda Nicholson and Burwell Carson. His whereabouts in 1870 and 1880 are unknown. He was trained as a brickmason and plasterer and plied both trades in Charlotte. In 1884, he married Lizzie King (whose first name was possibly Isabella). It was at least her second marriage. (Her parents’ names on the license are nearly illegible, but they are not “King,” and she is referred to as Mrs. in the document.) Lizzie worked as a cook at a hotel, and then at her own establishment, Northern Restaurant, which she co-owned with Richard Allen. Perhaps before her marriage to William, Lizzie bought or inherited a house at 611 East Stonewall in Charlotte. For a brief period around 1900, William’s half-sister Harriet lived at the Stonewall house. By 1907, William and Lizzie had moved to 200 East Boundary, and each of them died in the house there. William died in December 1909, and Lizzie not quite two months later in February 1019.

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Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Roadtrip chronicles, no. 3: Eagle Mills ramble.

Monday afternoon came the highlight of the whole little road trip. I’d arranged to meet P.P. at a little cafeteria at the crossroads that is Harmony, North Carolina. I first spoke with her a little over a month ago, when she responded to my blog post about Walker Colvert’s will. P. is a distant cousin, another descendant of Thomas and Rebecca Nicholson Nicholson, and I was giddy with anticipation.

After lunch, at her direction, I headed north on Highway 21 toward Houstonsville. The sky was overcast, and a little drizzle had begun that would deepen into steady rain before long. I was undeterred. Over the next few hours, we traced the back roads of Eagle Mills and Union Grove townships, rolling through fallow fields, pastures, and woodlands, crossing and recrossing Hunting Creek and its tributaries. This was Colvert and Nicholson ground zero, and the highlights of our ramble warrant their own blogposts, soon to come.

My everlasting gratitude goes to Cousin P.P. for her generosity of time and knowledge.

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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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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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