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

In honor of Pat Painter.

I had a hunch, so I Googled for an obituary. Sure enough.

I wrote of Pat York Painter in February 2015. We had made chance acquaintance online when she commented on one of my blog posts on the basis of our mutual descent from Thomas and Rebecca Nicholson Nicholson. “If you’re ever in Iredell County,” she said, “I’ll show you around.” I made it a point. And on a gray and rainy winter afternoon, I rounded the hills and crossed the creeks of Eagle Mills township, ancestral home to my Colverts and Nicholsons and related Daltons, as Pat narrated. She spun a web of stories that introduced me to the lands on which Walker and Rebecca Parks Colvert and Harriet Nicholson lived and identified the enslavers of Josephine Dalton Colvert’s forebears.

“Mrs. Pat York Painter, 80, of Harmony, died Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Born in Iredell County on December 4, 1936, she was a daughter of the late Richard Barnard and Mabel Arlene York Hayes.

“Pat was retired from the Iredell County EMS, where she was the first female Paramedic in Iredell County. She spearheaded the startup of the First Responder Program and was honored with a Lifetime Membership in the Iredell County Rescue Squad.  She graduated from Harmony High School and dearly loved her horses, gardening, driving her tractor and being outdoors.  She was a hardworking and determined person. She also helped maintain the old Liberty School House.

“Survivors include her children: Linda D. Bronson (Kevin), Susan D. Smyth (Rick), John Duchinski (Julie), Trish D. Velzy (Steve) and David L. Painter (Emily). Also surviving is her brother, Tony Barnard (Lisa) and grandchildren: Dylan Smyth, David A. Painter, Kinsley Jo Duchinski and Jayce Johnson and a special cousin, Joe Mullis.

“Services celebrating Pat’s life will be conducted at 3:00 P.M. Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Macedonia United Methodist Church with Rev. Mack Warren officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church from 1:00 to 3:00 prior to the service. Members of the Iredell County Emergency Services will serve as active and honorary pallbearers.

“Condolences may be sent online to the family to www.nicholsonfunerals.com. Memorials may be given in lieu of flowers to the North Iredell Rescue Squad, 1538 Tabor Rd., Harmony, N.C. 28634.  Nicholson Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements.”

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Many thanks, Pat Painter. Rest in peace.

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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.

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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

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Photos and Plan Welch-Nicholson House_Page_7

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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:

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Charlotte Observer, March , 1897.

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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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